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Agog! – a feast of foreign films

The Agog! program has been rescheduled due to covid restrictions. The Friends of the James Theatre will now present the Dungog Foreign Film Festival (Agog!) on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 October 2021 (COVID restrictions allowing). Five award winning recent international films, with an emphasis on beautiful locations, the first at 7pm on Friday night 29 October, and the rest from 11 am on Saturday 30 October. Our famous Supper behind the Screen is served before the final Saturday night film. Tickets $16 per film, Supper behind the Screen $50. Ticket packages of $70 for all five films, or $60 for all Saturday films.

Bookings online at https://www.trybooking.com/BSXGI

Chile (2020) 1h30m
Friday 29 October, 7 pm

The Mole Agent (PG)

Get ready to fall in love with The Mole Agent. The Academy Award nominated documentary that Indiewire calls “the most heart-warming spy movie ever made” is coming to the James Theatre to open the Dungog Foreign Film Festival (Agog) on Friday 29 October.
Sergio is a Chilean spy. Sort of. He is recruited by a private investigator who needs someone to infiltrate a retirement home for a client who suspects her mother is being abused.
However, Sergio is 83, not 007, and not an easy trainee when it comes to technology and espionage. But he is a keen student, looking for ways to distract himself after recently losing his wife. While gathering intelligence, Sergio grows close to several residents and realises that the menacing truth beneath the surface is not what anyone suspected.
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, The Mole Agent is a stylish combination of observational documentary and a hilarious and heart-warming spy movie. A unique meditation on compassion and loneliness that will infiltrate your heart and never let go.
“A refreshing, beautifully made documentary” – The Hollywood Reporter
“Funny, poignant and finely crafted.” – The Hollywood Reporter
“A completely original film experience” – What She Said
★★★★ “This deeply humane film is concerned with the invisibility of age, and how easily society forgets those who held us up. It’s so much more than a whodunnit, and all but the hardest hearts will fall in love with its spirited group of characters who have so much still to give.” – Time Out
Director: Maite Alberdi
Cast: Sergio Chamy, Romulo Aitken, Marta Olivares
Language: Spanish
Duration: 115min.

Argentina (2019) 1h55m
Saturday 30 October, 11 am

Heroic Losers (M)

Featuring the great Ricardo Darín starring together with his son Chino for the first time, the latest from director Sebastian Borensztein (Chinese Take-Away) is a rousing tale of working class solidarity and collective revenge.
In times of the infamous Argentinian Corralito, the neighbours of a little town trace a plan to recover the money they lost after learning that their bank manager and a corrupt lawyer have stolen it.
The year is 2001, and Argentina is hitting the lowest point in its great depression. His glory days far behind him, retired soccer star Fermín (Ricardo Darín) now runs a service station in a sleepy provincial town. Hoping to pull his family and their community out of decline, Fermín seeks to convert some abandoned grain silos into a viable storage facility. He convinces friends to invest in the cooperative, but is railroaded by a conniving bank manager into placing their cash into a savings account just as the banks are about to be frozen by the government, rendering their money useless and their plans quashed.
For a time things seem only to get worse, until rumours spread of a secret depository containing the cooperative’s pilfered cash and much, much more. With Fermín as their Robin Hood–esque leader, the group conspires to infiltrate the cache, but it’s going to take some serious resolve, a little inspiration, and a lot of luck to pull off this honest-person heist.
Based on the novel by Eduardo Sacheri, Heroic Losers is by turns sombre, hilarious, and suspenseful. Teeming with a memorable crew of characters you can’t help but root for, the film serves as a reminder that when our institutions fail us, we have no choice but to look to our neighbours — and hold onto our dreams.
OFFICIAL SELECTION Toronto International Film Festival (Special Presentations)
WINNER Goya Awards 2020, Best Iberoamerican Film
Director: Sebastian Borensztein
Cast: Ricardo Darín, Chino Darín, Luis Brandoni
Language: Spanish
Duration: 115min

France (2020) 1h35m
Saturday 30 October, 2 pm

Antoinette in the Cévennes (M)

An Official Selection of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, Caroline Vignal’s hilarious and life-affirming comedy sensation stars the wonderful Laure Calamy (Call My Agent!, Aurore) as a woman who finds herself on a journey of self-discovery in somewhat unexpected circumstances.
40-something primary school teacher Antoinette (Calamy, in a career-making turn) has been eagerly looking forward to a long-planned weekend escape with married lover Vladimir (C’est la vie!’s Benjamin Lavernhe), the father of one of her pupils. However their plans are upended by his wife’s booking of a surprise hiking trip in the picturesque Cévennes mountains in the South of France (a six-day trek made famous by best-selling author Robert Louis Stevenson). Completely unversed in the ways of the wilderness, the spurned Antoinette impulsively decides to follow them, and once paired with an unlikely companion – an obstinate but evidently wise grey donkey named Patrick – discovers much, much more than she bargained for…
Carried by the remarkable Calamy, Vignal’s wonderfully mischievous film offers both Antoinette and audiences an uproarious and poignant reminder of the virtues of independence, and that the journey, not the destination, is often the reward. Buoyed by rave reviews and phenomenal word of mouth, this understated, heartfelt charmer outperformed several US blockbusters, becoming one of France’s biggest hits of the year.
OFFICIAL SELECTION Cannes International Film Festival 2020 WINNER César Awards 2021, Best Actress (Laure Calamy)

Director: Caroline Vignal
Cast: Laure Calamy, Benjamin Lavernhe, Olivia Côte
Duration: 85 mins
Country of Origin: France
Language: French


Canada (2019) 1h34m
Saturday 30 October, 4 pm

From the Vine (M)

A middle aged businessman (played by Joe Pantoliano) arrives in Rome on a flight from Canada. At customs, the border agent asks if the man is visiting Italy for business or for pleasure. But the man cannot answer. It’s neither business nor pleasure. “Just pick one, Signore,” the border agent intones…and so begins From The Vine, the story of Mark Gentile, an attorney and automotive company executive who travels to his childhood home in rural Italy to recalibrate his moral compass.
Mark returns to the tiny village of Acerenza in Southern Italy, where he visits the vineyard where he grew up and finds it in a state of disrepair. Mark gets an idea to bring the overgrown property back to life and start producing wine again. Mark convinces various denizens of Acerenza, each with their own comedic personality, to aid him in this seemingly impractical effort, promising everyone a share in the business if it is successful. Concerned about his sudden and lengthy trip, Mark is eventually joined by his wife Marina, and his daughter, Laura. Now reunited with his family, Mark brings them in on his plan to rejuvenate the winery and starts to reconnect with a wife he has alienated, and a daughter who doubts his motives. As the joys of Italy start to work its particular magic on Mark and he begins to let go of his past humiliations, he starts to mend his relationships, but things never quite go to plan…
From The Vine is a story about Italy, humour, life, love, wine, and how one man finds himself again in a world that had counted him out. From The Vine is based on the award-winning 2010 novel Finding Marco, by renowned author Ken Cancellara.
Director: Sean Cisterna
Cast: Marco Leonardi, Joe Pantoliano, Wendy Crewson, Paula Brancati
Duration: 94 mins
Country of Origin: Canada
Language: English, Italian

France (2020) 1h44m
Saturday 30 October, 7.30 pm

The Godmother (M)

Bonjour – Isabelle Huppert strikes again!
The effervescent Isabelle Huppert returns as The Godmother, where the gritty realism of Breaking Bad meets the stoner comedy of a Cheech & Chong movie.
Huppert will leave you grinning from ear-to-ear in her performance as Patience Portefeux, a middle-aged police interpreter who switches sides to become a wholesale narcotics trafficker. Armed with her insider knowledge of the law and a striking wardrobe of Hermès scarves, Patience reinvents herself as a drug lord.
As well as delivering laughs, The Godmother is a moving and heartfelt drama about female empowerment. The audience is encouraged to vicariously take delight in Patience’s transformation and gleefully relish the scenes where she dominates her competition in the drug trade and thwarts detection from her colleagues in the police.
Based on the award-winning novel by Hannelore Cayre – who also co-wrote the script – The Godmother is a beautifully crafted blend of French noir, drama and comedy with a triumphant performance by Huppert as a defiantly independent woman making her mark on the world with a bang rather than a whimper.

Director: Jean-Paul Salomé 
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Hippolyte Girardot, Liliane Rovère, Farida Ouchani, Iris Bry
Duration: 105 mins
Country of Origin: France
Language: French

Live performance
Saturday January 22, 2022 at 7.30pm

John Waters and Stewart D’Arrietta with The Liverpool Band – The John Lennon Songbook

Celebrating The 50th Anniversary of the IMAGINE Album

Booking link: https://www.trybooking.com/BSXGR

John Waters is known to many as an outstanding Australian TV and film actor, and a generation grew up with him as a host of Play School. His John Lennon show “Looking through a Glass Onion” was a hit in London and New York. In these strange times, he is touring regional Australia, and it is great that we can now host such a concert at our very own James Theatre Dungog.

Tickets are on sale now. We expect that tickets will sell quickly at the price of $65 Adult, $35 under 18 years of age. Be assured that if COVID restrictions prevent the performance going ahead, you will receive a full refund.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of IMAGINE, the whole album will be performed live by John Waters and this band – a band that has toured the world performing the songs of John Lennon to great acclaim.

‘Lennon’s spirit shines through’- New York Post

‘D’Arrietta is a powerful pianist with strong beats for a Honky Tonk’- Curtain Up, New York

‘John Waters encapsulates the essence of Lennon.’– CAPITAL RADIO, LONDON

The great response to our recent performances of the new ‘Songbook’ concept has led to the idea of a tour, marking the anniversary of this iconic album with an entire rendition of it, track by track. Plus rocking on with some favourites from Lennon and the Beatles’ amazing catalogue.

Waters and D’Arrietta are enjoying the on-stage freedom that comes from doing a concert of songs where they can perform ‘as themselves’.

John Waters says:
“The ‘Glass Onion’ show is a different and rather unique category of ‘theatrical style’. It’s always exciting to do. But this ‘Songbook’ is a band gig, and a more intimate style of bringing these great songs to people. We do it in our own way, and it gives us a personal contact with our audience, which is such a happy vibe.

It feels like we’re all getting together again. For over a year the whole world has had to stop hanging out and socialising, and now that we have the chance, we need something like this. I know I do.

Exploring some of the lesser-known John Lennon tracks on his solo career albums is always a revelation, and I’m loving the process of learning more than you thought you could, with every new move. I’d like to continue doing that, so I can’t think of a more appropriate way than celebrating IMAGINE, and all the things that the famous one-word title conjures up for everyone.”


October 2021

  • 29 Fri 7pm
    The Mole Agent (PG)
  • 30 Sat 10.30am
    Heroic Losers
  • 30 Sat 2pm
    Antoinette in the Cévennes (M)
  • 30 Sat 4pm
    From the Vine (M)
  • 30 Sat 7.30pm
    The Godmother (M)

January 2022

  • 22 Sat 7.30pm
    Live performance
    The John Lennon Songbook
Entertaining Dungog, a history of the James Theatre, available now.