Reel on the River season begins Feb. 7

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Ryan star in Jack Goes Boating

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Ryan star in Jack Goes Boating

The winter season for Reel on the River begins next month.

The local film group is featuring five challenging and entertaining films. The series opens on Feb. 7 with Jack Goes Boating, a romantic comedy from the U.S.A. directed by and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Other films this season include a “how-it-happened” documentary, Inside Job, which was listed as one of the top 10 films of 2010; Made in Dagenham, a high-spirited British comedy about female workers on strike at the Ford auto plant during the 1960s; Incendies, a Canadian-made drama with subtitles; and The Illusionist, an animated film of grace and beauty from France.

Series passes for all five shows are $35 and on sale now at Murdoch’s Book Shoppe, Shoppers’ Drug Mart in Mission and The Reach in Abbotsford. Single tickets will be available on the night of the screening for $10 each.

All films will be shown at SilverCity at the Junction in Mission at 7:30 p.m.

Reel on the River is a non-profit group committed to screening Canadian, foreign and independent films. The group is affiliated with Film Circuit and the Toronto International Film Festival which provides its films. For further information visit www.reelontheriver.ca or call 604-826-4963.

2011 Reel on the River

Jack Goes Boating

Date: Feb. 7

USA, romantic comedy (PG)

Language: English

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s (Capote) directorial debut is an unconventional tale of love, betrayal and friendship set against the backdrop of working-class New York City. Based on an off-Broadway play, Jack Goes Boating centres on Jack, a reggae-loving limo driver who lives a quiet, unremarkable life. When two friends, looking to break him out of his quiet existence, introduce him to Connie, Jack is soon inspired to learn to cook, pursue a new career and take swimming lessons so he can give Connie the romantic boat ride she wants. This is a charming slice-of-life story that shows us how love can be funny, awkward and important, often at the same time.

Inside Job

Date: Feb. 14

USA, documentary (N/R)

Language: English

A “how-it-happened” documentary, Inside Job is the definitive screen investigation of the recent global economic crisis. Narrated by Matt Damon in suitably wry style, it is directed by Charles Ferguson who proves to be one of the most astute critics of the carefully mounted campaign to defraud people of their money.

In a series of interviews, the filmmaker pins wiggling financiers to the wall with well-informed arguments. The end result of this film’s precise and careful analysis is that the financial crisis which kicked the world economy into the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression, could have been avoided.

Made in Dagenham

Date: Feb. 28

UK, social comedy (N/R)

Language: English

The irrepressible Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) leads this supremely talented cast, directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls), in a rambunctious comedy of the 1968 strike at Britain’s Ford car plant in Dagenham. Female workers walked out of the plant protesting against sexual discrimination. Taking their cause to Ford headquarters and Whitehall resulted in equal pay for equal work across the globe — no small feat in any era. Expertly weaving history with comedy and drama we witness not only the actual strike but the warmth and individuality of the women involved. Details of the UK in the 1960s take us inside each character’s world.

This truly inspiring story was a crowd-pleaser at the Vancouver Film Festival and is not to be missed.

Incendies

Date: Mar. 14

Canada, drama (N/R)

Language: French with English subtitles

Screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and based on an internationally acclaimed play, Incendies follows two siblings who try to unravel the mystery of their mother’s life. When a notary reads the mother’s will to her twins they are surprised to learn of a father they thought was dead and a brother of whom they have never heard. They decide to travel to their mother’s homeland of Lebanon in search of the truth. Slowly they piece together Nawal’s heartbreaking story and her exceptional courage, from the village where she was born all the way to Canada. Set against the bloody Lebanese civil war, director Denis Villeneuve has moved production outside of North America and created a “real masterwork.”

The Illusionist

Date: Mar. 28

UK/France, animated drama (PG)

Language: English/French

Based on an original screenplay by French comedian/filmmaker, Jacques Tati, The Illusionist is an animated film of grace and unique beauty. Set in Paris, London and Edinburgh in the 1950s the shabby, struggling illusionist, Monsieur Tatischeff, is forced to accept work in far-flung fringe theatres, bars and cafes. During an engagement in the Scottish Isles he meets Alice, a poor young girl who believes his tricks to be real magic. Enchanted by her enthusiasm, the illusionist conjures up increasingly lavish gifts, desperate not to disappoint her. This is old-school, hand-drawn animation with a pencil-and-watercolour look and little dialogue. The shimmering colours and memorable characters will leave you charmed and delighted.