Films viewed and discussed by APPCIOS Film Group

The Film Group first met during Covid times as a way of opening up an opportunity to meet online to discuss films chosen by the group, and also to consider themes and characters from a psychodynamic perspective to deepen our understanding.

We have pleasure in detailing below the films we have enjoyed so far.  The list will be updated as more films are chosen (films are in no particular order).

We hope you enjoy watching them as much as we did.

Library Classification:
Other Published Material

Authored on :
19/12/2023by :
Jackie Horsburgh

Containing Groups

Films viewed and discussed by APPCIOS Film Group

Wild Strawberries – Directed by Ingmar Bergman (1957)
Widowed seventy-eight-year-old Dr Isak Borg, a former medical doctor, has retreated from any human contact.   He is travelling from his home in Stockholm to Lund to accept an honorary degree.  Instead of flying, he decides to take the day-long drive instead.  Along for the ride is his daughter-in-law, Marianne.  The many stops and encounters along the way make him reminisce about his childhood summer home and his emotionally cold mother.   Hitchhikers Sara, Viktor and Anders remind him of his cousin Sara, whom he was going to marry.   And a bickering married couple, Sten and Berit Alman, remind him of Marianne and Isak's son, whose marriage is as strained as was his own.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Directed by Celine Sciamma (2019)
In 18th-century France, young painter Marianne is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse without her knowing. Therefore, Marianne must observe her model by day to paint her portrait at night.   Day by day, the two women become closer as they share Héloïse's last moments of freedom before the impending wedding.

Aftersun – Directed by Charlotte Wells (2022)
At a fading vacation resort, 11-year-old Sophie treasures rare time together with her loving and idealistic father, Calum (Paul Mescal).   As a world of adolescence creeps into view, beyond her eye Calum struggles under the weight of life outside of fatherhood.  Twenty years later, Sophie's tender recollections of their last holiday become a powerful and heartrending portrait of their relationship, as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn't, in Charlotte Wells' superb and searingly emotional debut film.

The Quiet Girl – Directed by Colm Bairead (2022)
Set in 1981, this film tells the story of a young girl, Cáit, who is sent away from her dysfunctional family for the summer to live with `her mother's people`. They are Seán and Eibhlín Cinnsealach, a middle-aged couple she has never met. Slowly, in the care of this couple, Cáit blossoms and discovers a new way of living, but in this house where affection grows and there are meant to be no secrets, she discovers one.

Luzzu – Directed by Alex Camilleri (2021)
A man risks everything to provide for his wife and newborn son by entering Malta's black-market fishing industry.

Shoplifters – Directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu (2018)
A Japanese couple stuck with part-time jobs, and hence inadequate incomes, avail themselves of the fruits of shoplifting to make ends meet.    They are not alone in this behaviour.  The younger and the older members of the household are also in on the act.   The unusual routine is about to change from the care-free and the matter-of-fact to something more dramatic, however, as the couple open their doors to a beleaguered young girl.   The reasons for the family's habit and their motivations come under the microscope.

The Banshees of Inisherin – Directed by Martin McDonagh (2022)
Set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN follows lifelong friends Padraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson), who find themselves at an impasse when Colm unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship.   A stunned Padraic, aided by his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and troubled young islander Dominic (Barry Keoghan), endeavours to repair the relationship, refusing to take no for an answer.   But Padraic's repeated efforts only strengthen his former friend's resolve and when Colm delivers a desperate ultimatum, events swiftly escalate, with shocking consequences.

La Belle Epoque – Directed by Nicolas Bedos (2019)
Victor, a disillusioned sexagenarian, sees his life turned upside down on the day when Antoine, a brilliant entrepreneur, offers him a new kind of attraction; mixing theatrical artifices and historical reconstruction, his company offers his clients a chance to dive back into the era of their choice.   Victor then chooses to relive the most memorable week of his life: the one where, 40 years earlier, he met his great love.

Breaking the Waves – Directed by Lars von Trier (1996)
Drama set in a repressed, deeply religious community in the north of Scotland, where a naive young woman named Bess meets and falls in love with Danish oil-rig worker Jan.   Bess and Jan are deeply in love but, when Jan returns to his rig, Bess prays to God that he returns to her for good.   Jan does come back, his neck broken in an accident aboard the rig.   Because of his condition, Jan and Bess are now unable to enjoy a sexual relationship and Jan urges Bess to take another lover and tell him the details.   As Bess becomes more and more deviant in her sexual behaviour, the more she comes to believe that her actions are guided by God and are helping Jan recover.

In the Mood for Love – Directed by Kar Wai Wong (2000)
Set in Hong Kong, 1962, Chow Mo-Wan is a newspaper editor who moves into a new building with his wife.   At the same time, Su Li-zhen, a beautiful secretary, and her executive husband also move in to the crowded building.   With their spouses often away, Chow and Li-zhen spend most of their time together as friends.    They have everything in common from noodle shops to martial arts.   Soon, they are shocked to discover that their spouses are having an affair.    Hurt and angry, they find comfort in their growing friendship even as they resolve not to be like their unfaithful mates.

Brief Encounter – Directed by David Lean (1945)
At a café on a railway station, housewife Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) meets Dr Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard).  Although they are both already married, they gradually fall in love with each other.   They continue to meet every Thursday in the small café, although they know that their love is impossible.

Untouchable – Directed by Olivier Nakache & Eric Tolenado (2011)
In Paris, the aristocratic and intellectual Philippe is a quadriplegic millionaire who is interviewing candidates with his red-haired secretary, Magalie, for the position of his carer.   Out of the blue, Driss cuts the line of candidates and brings a document from the Social Security, asking Phillipe to sign it to prove that he is seeking a job position so he can receive his unemployment benefit.   Philippe challenges Driss, offering him a trial period of one month to gain experience helping him.   Then Driss can decide whether he would like to stay with him or not.   Driss accepts the challenge and moves to the mansion, changing the boring life of Phillipe and his employees.

Atlantics – Directed by Mati Diop (2019)
Along the Atlantic coast, a soon-to-be-inaugurated futuristic tower looms over a suburb of Dakar.   Ada, 17, is in love with Souleiman, a young construction worker.   But she has been promised to another man.  One night, Souleiman and his co-workers leave the country by sea, in hope of a better future.   Several days later, a fire ruins Ada's wedding and a mysterious fever starts to spread.   Little does Ada know that Souleiman has returned.

Abouna – Directed by Mahamat Saleh Hamoun (2002)
A teenager and his younger brother search for their father after he fails to come home one day.

Night of the Kings – Directed by Philippe Lacote (2020)
The wild prison of Abidjan becomes the theatre of a fight for power, as the old 'chief' of the prison must submit his power, due to illness.  On the last night of the blood full moon a newcomer assumes the role of the storyteller, not knowing that this will end with his own death.   To stay alive, he begins to tell the story of a fellow criminal in the slum of Abidjan, and how he was driven to his death.

Nomadland – Directed by Chloe Zhao (2020)
Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road, exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.  The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, NOMADLAND features real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells as Fern's mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Directed by Martin McDonagh (2017)
After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town's revered chief of police.    When Dixon, one of his officers, an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated

La Dolce Vita – Directed by Frederico Fellini (1960)
In 1959/1960 Rome, Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) is a writer and journalist, the worst kind of journalist--a tabloid journalist.  His job is to try to catch celebrities in compromising or embarrassing situations.   He tends to get quite close to his subjects - especially when they're beautiful women.  Two such subjects are local heiress Maddalena (Anouk Aimee) and Swedish superstar-actress Sylvia (Anita Ekberg), with both of whom he has affairs despite being engaged to Emma (Yvonne Furneaux), a clingy, insecure, nagging, melodramatic woman.  Despite his extravagant, pleasure-filled lifestyle, he is wondering if maybe a simpler life wouldn't be better.

Amarcord – Directed by Frederico Fellini (1973)
One year in a small northern Italian coastal town in the late 1930s is presented.  The slightly off-kilter cast of characters is affected by time and location, the social mores dictated largely by Catholicism and the national fervour surrounding Il Duce, aka Benito Mussolini, and Fascism.   The stories loosely centre on mid-teen Titta and his household, including his adolescent brother, his ever-supportive mother who is always defending him against his father, his freeloading maternal Uncle Lallo, and his paternal grandfather who slyly has eyes and hands for the household maid.  Other townsfolk include: town beauty Gradisca, who can probably have any man she wants but generally has none as most think she out of their league; Volpina, the prostitute; Giudizio, the historian; a blind accordionist; and an extremely buxom tobacconist.  The several vignettes presented include: the town bonfire; life at Titta's school; Titta's father Aurelio at his beachfront construction worksite and his and his workmates' encounter with Volpina; Titta's confessions about his burgeoning sexuality; Aurelio being questioned by authorities about his anti-Fascist leanings; a fantasy sequence at the luxurious Grand Hotel; a family outing with Aurelio's institutionalized brother Teo; townsfolk embarking on a sail to witness a marine event; an annual car race; Titta's fantasy encounter coming true; events surrounding a big snowfall; a family tragedy and an event centring on Gradisca.

8 ½ - Directed by Frederico Fellini (1963)
Guido is a film director, trying to relax after his last big hit.  He can't get a moment's peace, however, with the people who have worked with him in the past constantly looking for more work.  He wrestles with his conscience, but is unable to come up with a new idea.  While thinking, he starts to recall major happenings in his life, and all the women he has loved and left.   An autobiographical film of Fellini, about the trials and tribulations of film making.

La Belle et la Bete – Directed by Christopher Gans (2014)
Forced to face the cruel side of life, a devastated, bankrupt merchant chances upon the enchanted castle of a hideous creature; the mere sight of it chills the bone to the marrow.   There, a fate worse than death awaits the poor father-of-six, who, after plucking a sweet-scented rose from the repulsive master's verdant garden, must do the impossible: permit his compassionate daughter, Belle, to take his place and pay for the sins of her parent.  Now, an impenetrable mystery shrouds the haunted mansion, and, as repugnance gradually turns into affection, only true love can break the spell.   But could Belle ever love the fortress's ghastly lord, the Beast?

Wings of Desire: Directed by Wim Wenders (1987)
Visible only to those like them and to human children, Damiel and Cassiel are two angels, who have existed even before humankind.   Along with several other angels, they currently wander around West Berlin, generally on their own, observing and preserving life, sometimes trying to provide comfort to the troubled, although those efforts are not always successful.   Among those they are currently observing are: the cast and crew of a movie - a detective story set in WWII Nazi Germany - which include a sensitive and perceptive Peter Falk; an elderly man named Homer looking for eternal peace; and the troupe of a financially failing circus, which has closed early for the season because of money problems.   One day, Damiel tells Cassiel that he wants to become human, to feel not only the sensory aspects of physical beings, but also emotional ones.   He embarks on this thought with the full realization that there is no turning back if he decides to do so.   His thoughts are largely because he has fallen in love with Marion, the trapeze artist with the circus.   If he does decide to become a human, there is no guarantee that he will be able to locate Marion or that she will return his affection.   His angels, however, may be looking out for him.


Great Expectations Directed by David Lean (1946)
Pip, a good-natured, gullible young orphan, lives with kind blacksmith Joe Gargery and his bossy, abusive wife `Mrs Joe`.   When the boy finds two hidden escaped galley convicts, he obeys under threat of a horrible death to bring these criminals food.   He must steal at peril of more caning.   A soldier comes for Joe who takes Pip along as assistant to work on the chains of the escaped galley-convicts, who are soon caught.   The better-natured one takes the blame for the stolen food.   Later Pip is invited to became the playmate of Estella, the adoptive daughter of filthy-rich Miss Havisham at her estate.   Being the only pretty girl he has ever seen, she wins his heart forever, even after a mysterious benefactor pays for his education.   Only after years in idle wealth, Pip learns that Havisham is not his benefactor as he assumed.

Lady Bird Directed by Greata Gerwig, (2017)
Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson is a high-school senior from the `wrong side of the tracks`.   She longs for adventure, sophistication, and opportunity, but finds little of that in her Sacramento Catholic high school. Her senior year improves; she finds her first romance, participates in the school play, and - most importantly - applies for college.

440 Blows Directed by Francois Truffaut, (1959)
Seemingly in constant trouble at school, 14-year-old Antoine Doinel returns at the end of every day to a drab, unhappy home life.  His parents have little money and he sleeps on a couch that's been pushed into the kitchen.   His parents bicker constantly and he knows his mother is having an affair.  He decides to skip school and begins a downward spiral of lies and theft.  His parents are at their wits' end, and after he's stopped by the police, they decide the best thing would be to let Antoine face the consequences.  He's sent to a juvenile detention facility where he doesn't do much better.  He does manage to escape, however.

Beast of the Southern Wild Directed by Benh Zeitlin, (2012)
Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, in the Bathtub, a southern Delta community at the edge of the world.   Wink's tough love prepares her for the unravelling of the universe; for a time when he's no longer there to protect her.  When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack, temperatures rise and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs comin and Wink's health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.

Moonlight Directed by Barry Jenkins (2016)
Three time periods - young adolescence, mid-teen and young adult - in the life of black-American Chiron is presented.  When a child, Chiron lives with his single, crack-addict mother, Paula, in a crime-ridden neighbourhood in Miami.   Chiron is a shy, withdrawn child, largely due to his small size and being neglected by his mother.  Chiron is bullied and he doesn't understand the slurs hurled at him beyond knowing that they are meant to be hurtful.   Apart from his same-aged Cuban-American friend, Kevin, Chiron is given what little guidance he has in life from a neighbourhood drug dealer named Juan and Juan's girlfriend,  Teresa, whose home acts as a sanctuary.  Chiron may have a predetermined path in life, one that will only be magnified in terms of its problems when he reaches his teen years unless he follows Juan's advice of truly making his own decisions for himself.

Groundhog Day Directed by Harold Ramis (1993)
A weather man is reluctantly sent to cover a story about a weather forecasting `rat` (as he calls it).   This is his fourth year on the story and he makes no effort to hide his frustration.   On awaking the 'following' day, he discovers that it's Groundhog Day again, and again, and again.   First, he uses this to his advantage, then comes the realisation that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing every day.


Storylines shown based on website

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Susan Maciver


It is so wonderful to be remided of all the films we have watched.