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Here at the Damaris Film Blog, we publish regular discussion guides to help you make the most of the latest cinema releases.
Baby (Ansel Elgort) has a talent. As long as he’s plugged in to a playlist on one of his many iPods, blocking out the tinnitus that’s been ringing in his ears since childhood, he’s the best getaway driver in town.
Again and again he’s roped into bank robberies by Doc (Kevin Spacey), a crime lord to whom he owes a longstanding debt. This means working with the unsavoury characters in Doc’s constantly rotating crew, including unstable Batts (Jamie Foxx) and ruthless lovers Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eliza Gonzalez).
What Baby really wants is to leave this all behind, and drive off into the sunset with diner waitress Debora (Lily James). But getting out of Doc’s clutches could be the hardest and most costly escape of his life.
Imagine sitting down for a meal with someone different to you.
Something stopped you coming here before. The expectation of awkward silence, perhaps. The suspicion that your worst fears about the other person might be confirmed. Your discomfort with the unknown.
But as you begin to look at each other, to eat together, something shifts. You talk about everyday things, and begin to enjoy each other’s company. A joke catches you off-guard, and you start to laugh. You forget yourself.
Life-affirming new documentary Summer in the Forest is in cinemas and online June 23. This poetic film follows the life of the L’Arche community in Trosly, France, where people with learning disabilities and those who support them have found what it truly means to be human.
This companion booklet introduces the stars of the film, and the transforming wisdom of Jean Vanier, who founded the L’Arche movement.
We couldn’t be more pleased and proud to be supporting the release of Summer in the Forest, a beautiful and life-affirming documentary which will be released in cinemas and on V-O-D 23rd June.
The film (directed by Randall Wright) follows Philippe, Michel, Andre and Patrick, who were locked away and forgotten in violent asylums until the 1960s, when the young philosopher Jean Vanier took a stand and secured their release. Together they created L’Arche Trosly-Breuil, a community at the edge of a beautiful forest near Paris. A quiet revolution was born.
L’Arche (which now has 151 Communities in 37 countries) has a vision for a world where people with learning disabilities and their carers can discover a fuller life together. As part of the process of creating a companion booklet to go alongside Summer in the Forest, I paid a visit to the L’Arche Community closest to where Damaris Media is based: L’Arche Bognor Regis, on the South coast a short distance from the sea.
Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a loser. Though a talented musician, he just can’t seem to catch a break, drifting through the 1960s New York folk scene and missing every opportunity by inches. He sleeps on a different sofa every night, relying on favours and luck to get by. But Llewyn seems to deflect luck almost intentionally.
Now winter is closing in, he’s got no money in his pocket, and a fling with Jean (Carey Mulligan) – wife of his friend Jim (Justin Timberlake) – may have resulted in a pregnancy. The singer’s shambling odyssey is punctuated by sporadic encounters with a ginger cat, which seems to know something he doesn’t.
Carol (Lake Bell) is an aspiring voiceover artist who’s grown up in the shadow of her father, Sam Soto (Fred Melamed), an industry icon. Sam belittles her career chances as a woman in the voiceover world, preferring to encourage male protégé Gustav (Ken Marino). She’s also at odds with her father for other reasons, resenting his young girlfriend Jamie (Alexandra Holden), who seems to represent the kind of ‘baby-voiced’ femininity Carol hates.
When Jamie moves in and Carol is kicked out of Sam’s house, she moves in with her sister Dani (Michaela Watkins) and brother-in-law Moe (Rob Corddry), who are going through a rough patch in their marriage. Trying to keep things together in her personal life whilst pushing ahead professionally, Carol must find a way to make her voice heard.
This guide comes from our archive. It was written by Rachel Helen Smith.
Martin (Pierce Brosnan) is a disgraced TV presenter. Jess (Imogen Poots) is the wild child daughter of a politician. JJ (Aaron Paul) is a failed musician from America. Maureen (Toni Collette) is a single mother with a disabled son. These four characters could hardly be more different, but they share a common intent: they want to kill themselves.
Their lives collide one New Year’s Eve on the roof of ‘Toppers’ House’, a popular London suicide spot. The unlikely situation allows them to form an equally unlikely bond, and they all commit to surviving the next six weeks. One holiday, two trips to the hospital and one media firestorm later they’re still friends. But will it be enough to convince them that life is worth living after all?
This guide comes from our archive. It was written by Rachel Helen Smith.
Allan Karlsson (Robert Gustafsson) has lived an extraordinary life. Orphaned at a young age, he becomes an expert in explosives. Before long he has not only witnessed some of the most pivotal moments in the twentieth century, but in fact played an important role in them. Whether meeting presidents, fighting in wars or working on the atomic bomb, Allan seems to change the course of history wherever he goes.
On his 100th birthday, which he will be spending in a retirement home, Allan decides that he is not ready to give up on adventure. Escaping the birthday party that the nursing staff have planned, he climbs out of his window and heads for the bus station. It is the start of an absurd odyssey that sees Allan on the run from a gang of drug dealers, accompanied by an elephant. Allan’s approach to it all is best summarised in his mother’s dying words: ‘Whatever will be, will be.’
This is a child-friendly guide. Some questions are suitable for younger viewers.
Five years on from the events of How to Train Your Dragon, humans and their scaly, fire-breathing friends now live in harmony in the Viking town of Berk. Dragon-racing is a favoured sport, and Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is now closer than ever to his fearsome black steed, Toothless. The pair loves nothing more than to soar away and explore new horizons, with Hiccup evading the request of his father Stoick (Gerrard Butler) that he takes over as town chieftain.
But on one such adventure, Hiccup and his girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera) make an alarming discovery: a band of dragon-trappers working for the fearsome Drago Bloodvist (Djimon Hounsou), a tyrant amassing a dragon army. As Hiccup fights to counter this threat to Berk’s future, he meets Valka (Cate Blanchett), a mysterious woman who holds the key to his past.
California, 1970. Beach hippy and private eye Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) receives an unexpected visit from his ex-girlfriend Shasta (Katherine Waterston). She has been seeing wealthy, married property developer Micky Wolfmann (Eric Roberts), and suspects that his wife is plotting to have him kidnapped and committed to an insane asylum. Despite Doc’s lingering feelings for her, Shasta wants him to investigate the case.
It turns out that the next two cases Doc is asked to take on both have a connection to Wolfmann. In fact it seems that everyone he stumbles across – from saxophonist Coy Harlington (Owen Wilson) to brothel worker Jade (Hong Chau) to bull-headed police detective ‘Bigfoot’ Bjornsen (Josh Brolin) – is somehow tangled in the web of conspiracy. Cults, communists, street gangs, white supremacists, the FBI, an international heroin smuggling operation, politicians, pirates (possibly) and a syndicate of dentists are all involved. None of it really seems to make a lot of sense; but Doc, shambling from clue to clue in a dope-induced stupor, is quite used to that.