Coming of Age

This month our Plotlines theme is “Coming of Age” – one of the best-loved themes for “feelgood” movies. And maybe some with a slightly bitter twist to the tail, too. The protagonist may start the story as an innocent child but by the end has gone through a realisation or a rite of passage that begins, or even completes, their journey towards an adult understanding of the world. This often means becoming older and wiser as they see the people around them with new eyes…
Here are just a few Coming of Age films:

Stand By Me
Gregory’s Girl
My Ain Folk
National Velvet
Zero de Conduit
Dazed and Confused
Meet me in St Louis
Spirit of the Beehive
Whistle Down the Wind
Shadow of a Doubt
Night of the Hunter
My Summer of Love
Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery service, The Cat Returns – in fact most of the classic Ghibli series
Gas Food Lodging
Bridge to Terabithia
My Life as a Dog
Ghost World
Fanny and Alexander
Let the Right One In
Lacombe Lucien
Les Quatre Cent Coups
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Apu Trilogy
Tokyo Sonata

…and if we could we would probably play all of these as one giant Coming of Age programme!

As well as a Back to School kind of theme for September, it feels particularly appropriate to be looking at Coming of Age this month having just attended the annual BFFS conference for community cinemas. Meeting other film societies and seeing how they work has been fascinating but quite sobering in terms of seeing how much we still have to learn. If we were in a movie we would be going through a rite of passage moment round about now. Some of these organisations have been going for years, have committees of ten people and are massively organised and in comparison we are very young.
The great thing about being young of course is that you have lots of energy and enthusiasm, the courage to try new things, and even if you make mistakes there is always hope for the future! So come along with us as we make this journey and be part of our story.

Meanwhile, the film we have chosen to represent the rite of passage theme is “If….” (Anderson, GB 1968)
Not the obvious choice given the list above, but it seemed very relevant at the moment in a political environment where ex-public schoolboys rule the roost, where hierarchies and class are as alive and well as ever they were – but protest movements have gained new strength and voice too – perhaps their own coming of age.
Intrigued? Do come and join us on Sunday 30th September at Common Ground (St Peter’s Hall) Machon Bank, S7 1GR for a slightly earlier start than usual.
Martin Carter of Hallam University will be introducing the film at 4pm, with discussion time afterwards – not to mention tea, cake and lashings of ginger beer. Doors open 3.30pm. Admission free to members though donations always very welcome. Non-members can sign up on the day. We hope to see you there…

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