u3a - Film


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Hello and welcome  

If you belong to u3a and love films, this page is for you.

Welcome 2022

I hope that recent times have not been too bad for you. And that sharing films with others has helped you through. Gradually we are starting to meet up and see films together again – though many u3a groups continue to benefit from Zoom meetings too.

With the return of cinemas, the big screen experience has made a fantastic difference for many of us. I am a fervent supporter of independent cinemas, and I hope you are lucky enough to have one where you live. That’s, of course, if you feel ready to return to the cinema – some do and some do not.

New films and Golden Globes

In January the Golden Globes awarded best picture and best director to The Power of the Dog. You can see this brooding western drama on Netflix. Other Globe winners were Spielberg’s new version of West Side Story (best musical picture) and Kenneth Branagh’s autobiographical Belfast (best screenplay) – you can see these in cinemas. More new films to look out for are noir thriller Nightmare Alley, Agatha Christie remake Death on the Nile, a new Almodóvar, Parallel Mothers, wartime drama Operation Mincemeat … But how about you - what are you looking forward to watching?

Thank you

As you’ll know, there are many different kinds of u3a film group. Some meet up to talk about what they’ve been watching; some watch films in members’ homes; some have trips to cinemas; some screen films in a community hall. I have been really pleased to hear from quite a few members, and I reckon that’s just the tip of the iceberg of all your activities! Thank you to all those who have been in contact. Do keep the messages coming. And if you feel inspired to send in a mini-review of a film you’ve seen, that would be great too.

Some words from Falkirk u3a Film Group

John from Falkirk u3a Film Group writes: “I am in the fourth year as group leader, and am thoroughly enjoying the experience of watching a whole variety of films, then having a right good discussion with enthusiastic film lovers.

“I know there are different ways of operating a film group, but I decided that I would screen a film, mostly from my own DVD collection, via a projector. This proved very successful as I was able to use a community room for free at a local supermarket. I showed around 15 films up until lockdown, ranging from classics like Sunset Boulevard to the thought-provoking and prophetic film The Truman Show.

“Like all other groups I had to think up a new way of continuing to run the film group, and we now meet monthly via Zoom. Prior to the meeting I suggest three or four films to be shown on TV, and then we discuss as a group at our Zoom session. We have discussed around 60 films ... I have also started showing a short film during the Zoom session and so far I have shown around a dozen, lasting from six to fifteen minutes. This is maybe something that other film groups would like to try out, and for anyone who is interested, they could email me for the links.”

Thank you John, it was good to hear from you.

NB If any groups are interested in the short films that John mentions, let me know and I will forward your details on.

How does your u3a group enjoy film?

How do you watch movies, how do you decide on them, are there any challenges to running your sessions? How do you see 2022 rolling out? Are there things you think should be covered on this page? I look forward to hearing from you!

A gentle reminder about film licensing

If you screen films to your group outside the home, for instance in a community hall, all your film screenings must be licensed. The good news is that national u3a buys every year an ‘Umbrella Film Licence’ from the film licensing company MPLC. This means that all local u3a branches are licensed to show any film covered by MPLC. This company licenses a huge number of films, but it does not cover every film. In some cases a group would need to buy an additional licence. For more information and advice, contact me.

In praise of streaming

I would like to put in a good word for catch-up TV, especially BBC iPlayer and All4, and also for Netflix. These are free or low cost, and they seem to have stepped up and made an even greater number of brilliant films available to us during Covid. (On iPlayer, check when your film expires, as some are on there for shorter times.)

If you’re signed up to Netflix you’ll see it has an impressive array of films. If you find Netflix offers too much choice – making it difficult to choose! - why not consider doing a Google search? For instance “best films on UK Netflix January 2022” or whatever your current month is. Or “best crime dramas on UK Netflix”. Or “best new films … “ Whatever you’re interested in! As you sift through the search results I guarantee you will find some gems. Doing a search first will help narrow you down to good quality, current results. Another good tip, of course, is to ask for recommendations from friends … and from your u3a fellow film fans.

Films from these kinds of sources can be great material for a film group that meets monthly on Zoom – a bit like John mentioned earlier. Each member watches one or two pre-agreed films at home, and then all discuss the films at the Zoom meeting.  You could of course meet more frequently, or hold your meetings in person.

Something for everyone

From classic films on iPlayer like The Jackal, Citizen Kane, Bringing Up Baby … to any number of new releases and classics on Netflix … not to mention selections from your DVD libraries and new movies in cinemas … Films have something for everyone. Why not let me know about a film you or your group have especially enjoyed recently?

Claire Salisbury 

Claire can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or use the link at the top of the page.