Coup 53

World premiere wins

international praise

Winchcombe Film Society was one of only 20 venues in England to participate in the world premiere of Coup 53, an ‘explosive’ documentary about the CIA and MI6 overthrowing democracy in Iran in 1953.

Previewed at the Toronto Film Festival last year, the documentary was released in the UK, US, Canada and Ireland on Wednesday 19 August.

Due to an archive licensing issue, the film has now been withdrawn from public screenings and any pre-orders will be de-activated from midnight on tuesday 15 September. If this affects you, please email

The documentary features Ralph Fiennes who plays the part of a real-life British spy and was followed by a live Q&A with the actor, editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, The English Patient), and UK-based director Taghi Amirani.

Immediately after the premiere, the film was positively reviewed by The Guardian, New York Times, and reassessed more cautiously in an extended piece by Simon Heffer in The Daily Telegraph. Click on the titles to read the articles. It was also the subject of features on Channel 4 and CNN.

At least 23 members bought tickets for the film, which with partners means probably well over 30 watched it, eliciting WFS’s greatest-ever number of comments. These, including one from Jean C, who once lunched with the editor’s wife, included ‘gripping’, ‘fascinating insight’, ‘shocking’, ‘fascinating and sobering’, ‘very pleased to have watched it’, ‘significant’, ‘poignant’, ‘I was glued’.

‘An amazing construction of many, many facts – most of which I knew nothing of, and not a few of which shocked me – riveting.’ ‘A revelation .. thoroughly recommended.’ ‘What an eye-opener. We’ve managed to interfere in just about every trouble-spot on the planet.’

WFS screenings


Winchcombe Film Society meetings have been suspended until further notice due to Covid-19. In due course we will either schedule extra meetings in 2020 if it is safe to do so, and/or carry membership into 2021.

If the infection rate declines further but it is still inadvisable to use Abbey Fields, it may be possible to introduce a Reels on Wheels service, to deliver films on loan from WFS’s collection of more than 130 titles, to members’ homes. Members will be kept up to date by email.

Please take extra care of yourselves and loved ones in the meantime. We look forward to seeing you after the intermission.

And in normal times ..

A welcome awaits you at Winchcombe Film Society. Membership costs just £24 pp for a full year of films, (or pro rata) normally on the last Friday of the month, with no further admission charge.

We meet at Abbey Fields, Back Lane, Winchcombe GL54 5QH. Members can enjoy a glass of wine at just £1.50 from 7pm before the 7.30 screening, or free tea, coffee and biscuits. Please come early. Limited parking is available.

We present a variety of recent UK and foreign films, usually after a short introduction. All, even those in English, are shown with sub-titles if available. For this year’s full schedule, click this link: 2020 Programme

We try to make it easy to make friends, and socialise later at the nearby Corner Cupboard. For more details, click this link: Contact us .

Previously at WFS

Cold war

Friday 28 February

Poland 2018: 1hr 29m, Cert 15.

Ill-matched lovers become involved in an impossible affair across the Iron Curtain. Shot in black-and-white, and featuring folk, choral, classical and jazz music, the film is evocative of 1950s Poland. It scored 94% audience approval.

Interview with director Paweł Pawlikowski on Poland’s film industry today: click here.

Loved it? Loathed it? Email

We loved it. Every scene beautifully composed like a painting, the locations as much a star as the actors. Paris looked as Paris should, even the garret, helped by the constant haze of cigarette smoke. As suggested, the music was interwoven beautifully interwoven – Kate & Rob R.

Two doomed lovers choosing suicide in the last scene, on bench at crossroads, remark, “Let’s go to the other side, the view is better there”. Excellent way to conclude their ‘departure’ – Bob S.

Perhaps a misleading title. Wow, how different. Black & white certainly took one back. Wondered at opening if I would stay but overall a love story with tensions between what East and West offer. Music should appeal at some time to most tastes. Interesting to have blank screen between each chapter. What more could one ask? Borrow if you haven’t seen it – Nick H

Loved it – Heather and Haydn

I found it disjointed but beautifully shot; not a strong story nor memorable – Lloyd.

Excellent choice – a love story told without sentiment. The black and white was arresting and added to the intensity. Adds to the line of great Polish films of which perhaps we should see more – John S.

Beautifully shot, full of period atmosphere and fabulous music. Only disappointment was the predictable storyline – Derek and Ruth.

He abandons music troupe to chase her, she chases him, back and forth across Europe – doomed lovers ending it at the crossroads. Typical love story, but not believable against 1940s morals or culture. Brilliant music and cinematography though – Sue S.

Well-structured and followed the rules of these limited release films that focus on people and relationships. 8 out of 10 – Graham S.