2011 Wild Strawberries started with a bang – a huge turnout for two screenings of Mike Leigh’s 1996 hit film, Secrets and Lies. Programmed to tie in with the release of Another Year (inexplicably ignored by the Academy except for Screenplay – but then, Mr Leigh couldn’t compete with the dead cert. popularity of a Royal in trouble…), several members of Wild Strawberries had requested the film. The audience loved it, applauding at the end as the lights went up and the memory of troubled Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn), peace-loving Maurice (Timothy Spall), and the rest of the familys’ secrets and lies drew to a close.
The recent death of actor Pete Postlethwaite reminds us of all the films on which he made his very distinct and memorable mark and none more so than in February's choice for Wild Strawberries; the endearing, sometimes angry film, Brassed Off, about a colliery brass band fighting for survival while the mines are being shut down. Set in the small, northern English town of Grimley, where the mine’s closure will mean the loss of thousands of jobs, Postlethwaite is bandleader Danny, full of fighting spirit, demanding complete commitment from the band members, no matter what is going on around them. For him, keeping the band going is a way of keeping the town going, and he sets about getting them ready for a 14-town competition. It may be their last chance if the pit closes. There’s drama a-plenty along with romance and humour in this terrific film, with a truly convincing performance from the late, great actor.
A great start to what we hope will be a good year ahead for our film club.