Happy 4th of July to you!
This time last year we celebrated by recreating Amityville beach in downtown Sheffield, showing “Jaws” in a unique waterside venue, with mechanized shark fins gliding silently downstream as the sun began to set. A hot summer night, great atmosphere and a lovely audience for a classic film made it one of our favourite ever film club screenings.
So the film was a “blockbuster” that most of us have already seen a dozen times – so what? We began the film club with the aim of showing films that have broken the mould in some way, that you might not have seen before, or not seen for a long time. But we also show films that we like. Our real aim is to share good films – as our motto says, Experience Cinema Anywhere! – and just because a movie has broken box office records doesn’t mean it’s not artistically valid, or a good film.
Actually, I think “Jaws” is pretty much perfect for its genre, with some unforgettable moments (not just the scary ones) and a fantastic script.
The film we showed after that was “The Breakfast Club”. Which again is an excellent film for its genre, with quite a cult following. So when we had a few comments – mainly from people who weren’t actually there – saying things like, “But when are you going to show some proper films?” we felt a bit perplexed.
Writing as someone who got 80% in a recent Guardian “How Highbrow are you?” film quiz (proud to say that the other 20% included “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”), I think there is room for all sorts. At Film Club we try to reflect that belief, from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again. Over the years we have shown a few of both.
We like to think that we are the cinematic equivalent of Radio 6 Music, dedicated to the love of music and playing a broad selection – mostly independent, but not always. Films that have inspired people, films that were groundbreaking when they were released, films that make you think.
In the last few months we’ve shown a few films that many in the audience had not seen before (“Pandora and the Flying Dutchman”, “Amateur”, “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg”, and “Laughing Gas” in 16mm) alongside some more well-known and well-loved titles such as “Paris Texas” and “Belleville Rendezvous”.
We are proud to be part of a growing and exciting independent film scene in Sheffield, catering for many different tastes. Check out our friends and collaborators Five and Dime, Film Unit, It’s only a Movie and Celluloid Screams – all offering the opportunity to see a fabulous range of films. Between us we hope there’ll be something for everyone.
To be honest, sometimes we’d like to be more adventurous, but because we only screen once a month and there are so many films and so little time, we try to choose films that somehow fit the Zeitgeist and are – like the chewing gum in that old advert – good to share.
Anyway, we intend to keep on showing a varied programme and, where possible, celebrate unusual venues and screen in different formats.
Not only that but we’ll be screening in a secret venue to add to the thrilling atmosphere of the film! It’s not necessarily one of the greatest films ever made but it’s a perfect example of its genre and one that will definitely be good to share.
There will be some classic art house on its way in the autumn too, and next year our very own “Film Bites” mini season at the Showroom Cinema – but there will also be some of the films we love that fall more into the “Guilty Pleasures” category than the art or the auteur. And so what? As far as we’re concerned, they are all “proper” films.
What do you think? Do get in touch. We’d love to know.
“Creature From the Black Lagoon” is showing on Saturday July 12th in a secret outdoor venue. Tickets here http://www.wegottickets.com/event/277091