One of the perks of working as a programmer for the David Lean Cinema, and being retired, is that I can get to exhibitor screenings. This allows me to see films in advance, and recommend that we screen them. Two of the June films suggested by me are Makala and Beast, so you decide on how good my critical judgment is!
We start off this week with our regular Babes in Arms screening. This month’s film is Greta Gerwig’s critically acclaimed feature Lady Bird. This is a 15 certificate film, and we need to stress that these performances are designed for mothers with babies up to one year old. Please do not bring toddlers to these films. Our ability to screen 15 films is based on the fact that the infants will not understand what is on the screen. Thank you.
Tuesday evening’s film is You Were Never Really Here, starring Joachin Phoenix as an ex-military man working in the murky world of private security, who is asked to rescue a kidnapped young girl and punish her abductors with extreme prejudice. British director Lynne Ramsay takes a genre subject and, with composer Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead), puts her own unique spin on it. Mark Kermode called it “a head-spinningly accomplished work that reconfirms Ramsay as one of the most thrillingly distinctive and daring film-makers of her generation”.
Last week’s screening of A Fantastic Woman, was preceded by a screening of our current BRIT School Showcase short A Bright Girl She Was, and a short interview and Q&A with its director Nancy-Belle Hannah-Griffiths (on the left of the picture), ably conducted by the Campaign’s Youth and School’s Coordinator Alex Tyler. Nancy-Belle is in her last year at the BRIT School. She apologised for the dark theme of the film, but promised that the short she is working on as her final year project concerning the downside of social media, will have an upbeat ending! Hopefully we can screen it at the David Lean in the future. May’s BRIT School short is Living with Autism, a thoughtful film about how a mother deals with her young son’s condition.
Everyone was most impressed by A Fantastic Woman, a subtle portrayal of the transgender experience. Finding Your Feet proved very popular – there’s another screening on Wednesday, at the time of writing only one ticket remains.
A Fantastic Woman, winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award is our presentation on Tuesday evening. This outstanding piece of cinema from director Sebastian Lelio is the story of Marina, a transgender woman whose life falls apart when her older lover, Orlando, dies. The film is all about Marina’s fight not only to grieve for Orlando but for her rights following his death. Daniela Vega is superb in the lead role – moving, impassive and long-suffering as she’s constantly stripped of her dignity in the midst of her grief. Some seats remain to see this low-key, but powerful, moving film.
And a reminder that Nancy-Belle Hannah-Griffiths, the director of the current BRIT School Showcase short A Bright Girl She Was will be present at the main feature on Tuesday and looks forward to taking part in a short Q&A following her film.
Last week’s new films were a couple of gems. A modest audience came to see On Body and Soul on Tuesday. The fact that this was a Hungarian film with an 18 certificate and a somewhat bizarre premise may have put people off, but it turned out to be a very touching story about two emotionally starved co-workers whose shared dreams bring them together. Very positive feedback from those who saw it. We like to think that this is the kind of film the David Lean champions. Thursday’s more mainstream offering was no less delightful. Lady Bird is Greta Gerwig’s possibly autobiographical study of a teenage girl growing up in Sacramento, dreaming of a better life and enduring an often fractious relationship with her mother. It featured another standout performance from Saoirse Ronan, and again audience reaction was very positive. There is a further chance to see it on Wednesday 16 May at 19:30, and it is also our next Babes in Arms screening.
Two repeat screenings to note this week – Phantom Thread starring Daniel Day- Lewis and Lesley Manville shows again on Monday 9 at 19:30. A last chance to see this stylish and entertaining movie: seats are available. For all future repeat showings, please see the panel below. And there are a few places left for the hugely successful Darkest Hour on Wednesday at 19:30.
The Babes in Arms choice for Tuesday at 11:00 is this year’s Best Picture Oscar-winner – the extraordinary romantic fantasy The Shape of Water.
Meanwhile, two very different new films for you to consider – on Tuesday at 19:30 we’re showing On Body and Soul, an unusual love story in an unusual setting. When Endre and Maria meet at work, they discover they share the same dreams where they meet in a snowy forest as deer, and fall in love. Not that strange so far maybe, but Endre is the manager of a small abattoir where Maria works in the office. On Body and Soul had an Oscar nomination for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film and is a Golden Bear winner at the Berlin film festival – an accolade for the return to cinema of Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi. It’s a beautiful, moving and touching story of two lonely people finding love in unorthodox circumstances and features outstanding cinematography and a haunting musical score. An early scene within the abattoir resulted in an 18 certificate, but if you’re aged 18 to 25 you may wish to take advantage of a £5 Rush Ticket on this occasion – just come to the box office desk up to an hour before the start of the programme (cash only).
Happy Easter. We are still in the re-screening season, with two of the five titles this week re-screenings, and more to come – see the panel below. We can also announce our May programme – full details here.
This week kicks off with another screening of Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s portrait of the edgy relationship between an aloof couturier and a young waitress. Set in the 1950s, Anderson and composer Jonny Greenwood channel the films, literature and music of the time to produce a fascinating drama, beautifully acted by Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville and newcomer Vicky Krieps. The film is playing on Tuesday 3 April at 14:30, and again on Monday 9 April at 19:30.
On Tuesday evening at 19:30, we are showing The Final Year, award-winning director Greg Barker’s chronicle of the final days of the Obama presidency. It follows the foreign policy team as they criss-cross the globe dealing with international problems, and then watches their shock at Trump’s victory. The Guardian said ” It’s chilling to witness Obama’s cool intelligence and statesmanlike composure, given the knowledge of who will come to replace him”.
On 27 March 2014, the David Lean Cinema Campaign re-opened the cinema with the punk documentary Basically Johnny Moped. Almost four years on to the day, we’re delighted to present another special event featuring HERE TO BE HEARD: THE STORY OF THE SLITS – the ground-breaking all-girl punk band formed in 1976. The David Lean is one of the first venues to show this new documentary on its nationwide tour, and will be hosting a Q&A with director William Badgley and the group’s bass guitarist, Tessa Pollitt.
It’s a full house for this prestigious screening on Thursday, but we’d like to thank all our patrons for their support over the past four years and hope that you’ll continue to enjoy the films we present in future. Thanks are also due to Croydon Council, the David Lean Foundation, and our many volunteers without whom we simply wouldn’t exist!
Please note that with the early start of the film at 19:00, the Arts Bar will be open from 18:00, with music from The Slits enhancing the mood…… Read More.
Coco, our film showing on Tuesday evening features the finest Oscar-winning animation from Pixar, creators of Up and Inside Out. Whilst providing a great deal of fun, it will also tug at your heart strings! This 19th feature from the legendary studio is the tale of a 12 year-old boy called Miguel who dreams of becoming a star like his idol, musician Ernesto de la Cruz. But before his ambitions can be realised, Miguel must defy his family traditions, and shape his own destiny. Coco takes us on Miguel’s thrilling journey by combining Mexican culture with a unique sense of colour, energy and fantastic direction. It’s a masterpiece of its kind, and well worth seeing. Tickets will be available from our box office beforehand, so if you’re aged 25 or under, why not take advantage of our £5 ‘Rush’ ticket offer. Read More………
Unusually we are screening five films this week. First up is The Greatest Showman, a last chance to see this dazzling, foot-stomping musical starring Hugh Jackman. This is our Babes in Arms show on Tuesday morning, and the combination of music and colour should please mothers and babies alike!
The film in the evening is Loveless, director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s follow-up to Leviathan, which I’m sure many of you remember from our screening back in January 2015. The plot concerns an estranged couple and the son that they ignore until he goes missing. This bleak parable of modern Russian society was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, but lost out to A Fantastic Woman, which we will be showing in April.
Last week’s weather proved a problem for some of you, especially those living away from the centre of the borough, and it was noticeable that there were empty seats in our sold out performances of Darkest Hour on Thursday. A big ‘thank you’ to our volunteers who came in to staff the venue, and allowed us to operate as normal. As Roger, our Operations Manager, put it, in response to an email enquiry as to whether we would be screening the film: ‘The Luftwaffe couldn’t stop Churchill and neither will a bit of snow’! This is probably a good time to remind you of our refund policy, which is outlined here, and some of you have recently been able to take advantage of this. Read more……..