The theme for this month – Flights of Youth

Theatrical Release

Lean On Pete (2018)

Directed by Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years)
Written by Haigh and Willy Vlautin
Starring: Charlie Plummer, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Travis Fimmel, Steve Zahn and Thomas Mann.

“Fifteen-year-old Charley (Plummer) drifts from day to day with little direction in life. His mom took off a long time ago, never to be seen again, and his ne’er-do-well dad, Ray (Fimmel), is nobody’s idea of a role model. Ray sees nothing wrong with bedding other men’s wives — and allowing them to get friendlier with the sensitive Charley than he probably should.” Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“On one such run he encounters gangly horse trainer Del (Buscemi), whose own racetrack luck bit the dust ages ago. After the young runner fixes the tire on his trailer, Del offers Charley a job shoveling horseshit and working with the few horses Del hasn’t yet sold off to ‘Mexico,’ aka the glue factory. Charley instinctually bonds with one of Del’s horses, the titular Pete, despite the warnings of both Del and his best jockey Bonnie (Sevigny) about how ‘that horse isn’t a pet.’ Meanwhile, Ray has his own serious health problems, and so when Del takes Charley on the lowliest of horse racing circuits, it’s up to the boy to work his way into sudden manhood as quickly as possible. It’s not easy. It might not even be possible.” Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

“Lean on Pete is far more modest. The movie is really about Charley and his attempt to hold on to his youth even as it is being rudely wrested from him by the rough circumstances of his life. His road trip is a series of comeuppances, starting with his disillusionment with Del and extending to an interlude with some knockabout war veterans and then with a homeless man (Zahn), who is as kindly when sober as he is enraged when drunk.

“Plummer made a sharp impression last year as John Paul Getty III in the misbegotten All the Money in the World, and, in a very different vein, he impresses here again. He’s playing a kid who at first seems gangly and awkward, but he has a wariness that allows him to persevere. He’s deceptively resilient.

“Buscemi’s performance is likewise marvelous.” Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

“One might even go so far as to claim that it’s part of the appeal; a welcome insulation against all the hazards in our path. And Haigh’s film is never less than heartfelt and affecting. It cares deeply for Charlie and hopes we do, too. So it insists we stick with him as the truck breaks down and he runs out of cash, trailing the badlands in search of a new home. In the end, perhaps, the kid is as much a symbol of soulful, martyred innocence as the racehorse at his side.” Xan Brooks, The Guardian
Archival films

Kes (1969)

Directed by Ken Loach (I Daniel Blake, The Wind That Shakes the Barley.)
Written by Barry Hines, Loach and Tony Garnett.
Starring: David Bradley, Freddie Fletcher, Lynne Perrie, Colin Welland, Brian Glover and Bob Bowes.

“But Kes is Loach at his best. He shot it on a very low budget, on location, using most local nonprofessionals as his leads. His story is about a boy who’s caught in England’s class-biased educational system. He reaches school-leaving age and decides to leave, but doesn’t have anything else he much cares about. He’s the butt of jokes and hostility at home (where his older brother rules), and inarticulate with his contemporaries.” Roger Ebert

Walkabout (1971)

Shot and directed by Nicolas Roeg (Don’t Look Now, Bad Timing.)
Written by Edward Bond and James Vance Marshall.
Starring: Jenny Agutter, Luc Roeg, David Gulpilil, John Meillon, Robert McDarra and Peter Carver.

“People told me I should forget the plot and simply enjoy the movie itself, but I have a built-in resistance to that notion, usually. Perhaps I should have listened.

“Because Roeg’s Walkabout is a very rare example of that kind of movie, in which the ‘civilized’ characters and the aborigine exist in a wilderness that isn’t really a wilderness but more of an indefinite place for the story to be told. Roeg’s desert in Walkabout is like Beckett’s stage for Waiting for Godot. That is, it’s nowhere in particular, and everywhere.

“Roeg’s photography reinforces this notion. He is careful to keep us at a distance from the physical sufferings of his characters. To be sure, they have blisters and parched lips, but he pulls up well short of the usual clichés of suffering in the desert.” Roger Ebert


Lean on Pete is at The Grand Cinema.
(For our Olympia members, Lean on Pete will be showing at Olympia Film Society on 5/11 9 PM; 5/12 4 PM & 9 PM; 5/13 5:00 PM; and 5/15 7 PM before our discussion.)

Kes will screen at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, May 4 in the Center for Spiritual Living (206 N. J St).

Walkabout will screen at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, May 11 in the CSL.

The TFC Discussion Night for these three films is Wednesday, May 16 in the CSL.

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