Not the most popular flavour of Jacob’s once popular chocolate-coated biscuit, but neither mint nor orange would serve my titular needs.
As mentioned in my last post, whilst in Cambridge at the end of September I took in some of the annual Film Festival. This was great fun, as ever, and allowed my to renew my acquaintance with the Arts Picturehouse, but offered two particular cinematic delights.
Firstly, I saw Othello transmitted live from the National Theatre – the first time I’d been to see the theatre at the cinema. This was surprisingly effective and does allow you to get extraordinarily close to the action (and the actors!) and I shall definitely use the cinema to catch plays again (it is even cheaper than the original and would normally involve a rather shorter journey). The performance of Othello itself was staggering powerful and more than worthy of the five start reviews it had garnered.
My second highlight was a British romantic comedy with the rather improbable title of Dead Cat. This was enormous fun, not the clichéd nonsense that is so often passed off as romantic comedy, and made for a tiny fraction of the budget. Since I saw it, it has even won prizes (so, it wasn’t just me that liked it). Sadly, lacking a major studio the film has no distribution deal and so can only be caught at film festivals – today Cambridge, tomorrow Oaxaca. It can’t find funding from the BFI as it is not appearing at festivals considered “major” enough and can’t appear there due to the lack of funding. Given the tosh that weekly fills our multiplexes, I can’t help but feel something is very wrong in the way we fund movies.
My local cinema now, the Harbour Lights, is also part of the Picturehouse group, but is somewhat smaller than its Cambridge counterpart. It does, however, offer the advantage of reclining seats and a balcony with views across the marina which has been a very pleasant place to partake of a little pre-movie cake (though may become less desirable as winter closes in).
At the Harbour Lights, I have enjoyed a rather fine run of films in recent months with my top tip being What Maisie Knew. My most recent visit was to see Le Weekend which I was amused to see had been given a 15 certificate. Given its subject matter I cannot imagine it would be of any possible interest to the under 15s, despite the lure of its fruity language and use of soft drugs. No, the people who should be kept away are the over-50s who might acquire some highly inappropriate ideas if exposed to the movie’s content. Perhaps the BBFC could use my input for future classification?
All too often when I do go to the cinema, avoiding the over-hyped blockbuster, the place seems far from full – though this may be as a tendency to visit when normal people are at work. Nonetheless, I worry that my attendance is not going to keep art house cinema going (despite my economically significant consumption of incidental cake and ice cream). So, can I exhort the readers of GofaDM to give films whose blocks are far from busted a try – there’s a surprising amount of decent stuff out there, and art house cinema doesn’t even have to be depressing (though it certainly can be, if that is your desire).