Screening Room: Episode 7

'Look Dave, I can see you're upset. I honestly think you should sit down at QFT.'

With a heat-wave on the way – or so they keep telling us – Queen’s Film Theatre launch a summer programme packed with enough chills and thrills to frost anyone’s ice-cubes. Sarah Hughes highlights some of the stand out features in the July/August programme in this month's Screening Room.

First up is The Tree of Life from Terrence Malick, director of such classics as Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and Badlands. A lush, philosophical, time-travelling sci-fi epic, The Tree of Life deals with the origins of life on earth, the death of a family and everything in between.

Fans of Malick have been waiting years for the delayed launch of the film. So, now it is here was it worth the wait? Despite the film winning a coveted Palme D’or at Cannes, the critics are split. At its screening, The Tree of Life was met with a medley of boos and cheers. ‘It just goes to show: love Malick or hate him, you certainly can’t ignore him,’ Hughes says.

Another film to look out for at Belfast's much-loved art house cinema is Sarah’s Key, the latest in Kristin Scott Thomas’ run of extraordinary French dramas. Adapted from Elle s'appelait Sarah by author Tatiana de Rosnay, the film follows ten year-old Sarah Starzynski on her desperate quest to escape the Nazi’s and rescue her little brother left hiding at home. 

A welcome respite from the dark themes explored above comes in the form of black comedy The Guard. Set against a backdrop of rural Ireland, Brendan Gleeson is Sergeant Gerry Boyle. He doesn’t seem a bad lad, but let’s just say you’d not use him as a spirit level. Gleeson and Don Cheadle as strait-laced FBI agent Wendell Everett take on a gang of multi-millionaire drug dealers.

Based on the trailer, The Guard is offensive, inappropriate and one of the funniest things you’ll see this summer. Plus, Gleeson strips down to a wet suit and comes wading out of the surf – who doesn’t want to see that?

Finally, Hughes highlights the latest Jameson Presents cult classic, Stanley Kubrick’s SF epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. A ground-breaking film then and now, 2001: A Space Odyssey changed the rules about science-fiction and introduced a whole generation to the idea of evil computers. Get ready to look into Hal’s beady red light and hear his wearily inhuman voice intone: ‘I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.’

Did it give you the shivers? Luckily, there’s a complimentary glass of Jameson’s Whiskey provided on the night to steady your nerves. So, what are you going to see? For more information about films at Queen's Film Theatre, check out the CultureNorthernIreland's What's On listings.