Discover free films for watching, discussing and exploring filmmaking.
When I was younger my older sister and I used to watch VHS tapes so many times that we would break them. Fortunately, with advances in technology, this is no longer the case, although my absolute passion for all things film still continues and I hope that through running a weekly film club this passion is transferring to my students.
One of my earliest cinema memories was watching Babe. I adored the story so much that I forced three different family members to take me to see it on three separate occasions. The film follows the titular Babe, a smart, determined pig, who after narrowly avoiding being taken off in a truck to what he thinks is 'pig paradise', is then adopted by a streetwise and initially stern border collie called Rex. After various setbacks and under the firm guidance of Rex and the kind hand of Farmer Hogget, Babe successfully learns that through a combination of determination, politeness and a can-do attitude, even a pig can successfully achieve the seemingly impossible - in this case herding unruly sheep.
This is a film I want to share with my club because as well as being charming, intelligent and witty, it instills positive messages about resilience and overcoming life's hurdles. It also works as a nice partner piece to one of my favourite cinema releases of this year - Disney's Zootropolis - as both explore similar themes and feature determined but sympathetic animal protagonists who overcome prejudice and problems to achieve their goals.
I was too young to see Jurassic Park in the cinema when it was released in 1993, but when I first watched it on video at the age of about seven my reaction was one of pure, unadulterated, childlike giddiness. I was fanatical about both film and dinosaurs, and subsequently collected merchandise and watched the film repeatedly. Now every time I watch that film I'm taken back and filled with the same childlike wonderment and joy.
It is utterly immersive; John Williams' rousing score captures each moment perfectly and the awe-inspiring special effects still seem groundbreaking today. All combined with some of the most precise suspense editing I can remember - and those raptors! It's sure to thrill this generation of film clubbers, who may be aware of the recent sequel but are yet to see the original. Furthermore, it's a complex film that opens up timely questions about man versus nature, power, and the role of technology and science within society.
Now every time I watch that film I'm taken back and filled with the same childlike wonderment and joy.Grace Eardley
Mrs Doubtfire, like Jurassic Park and Babe, took shape in the form of a novel and keeps an audience engaged through character and narrative. It also tackles various themes including that of growing up through family conflicts and divorce. What makes the film such a great choice for a film club is how it balances these often tricky themes with warm, friendly humour.
Robin Williams stars as Daniel Hillard, who is left heartbroken when his wife gets custody of the children and then hatches a plan to carry on seeing them by disguising himself as a firm but fair Scottish nanny. Trouble ensues when he must quickly switch roles from busty Scottish nanny back into American dad.
All these films are personal to me. They played a key part in forging my passion for film and helped me make sense of the world around me whilst I was growing up. I hope they give you some ideas and promote a similar response from your club.
June's Leader of the Month, Jennifer Skinner, from the Isle of Tiree, Scotland, explains how running a film club has benefitted the small island community.
Viewing time 5 mins
A film guide that looks at Zootropolis (2016), exploring its key topics and themes through informal discussion.
Disney’s brave new world of Zootropolis hops onto our screens with an important message about acceptance.
Reading time 8 mins
Eye-popping Steven Spielberg creature-feature in which dinosaurs cloned from dormant DNA by a research organisation run amok.
11+ years 121 mins
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