David Lean Cinema Campaign announces latest free season

Croydon volunteers are showing council-inspired initiatives the right way of doing things on the big screen as well as with summer fairs.

Oscar-winning film director Sir David Lean, one of Croydon’s most famous sons, his local legacy “trashed” by the council

Last year, Croydon Council hi-jacked the name of the David Lean Cinema and transferred its use from an intimate, 68-seater arthouse theatre in the Clocktower complex, to the vast auditorium of the Fairfield Halls, which has tended to show blockbusters that are readily available at the multiplex cinemas elsewhere in the borough.

The council’s move has hardly been an overwhelming success, with few films on the programme and small audiences. The Fairfield has just two films scheduled for September and currently only two more planned after next month (one of which is a repeat of The Artist).

Meanwhile, the small band of cinema enthusiasts who formed the Save The David Lean Cinema Campaign continues to put together a more consistent and cogent series of arthouse programmes, with the latest, and fourth, set of screenings due to take place in the Spreadeagle pub, just yards from the real David Lean Cinema.

Attending the screenings is free – the organisers just ask that cinema-goers patronise the pub’s bar before taking their seats. No advance booking; seats are first-come, first-served.

The Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign was formed last year after Inside Croydon reported local celebrity Ronnie Cornett express his utter disgust for the council’s actions, which the Tory peer and Downton Abbey screenwriter Julian Fellowes described as a “meaningless cut”.

Following a brief sojourn to Shirley for a special screening, the SDLCC returns to the pub’s upstairs rooms for what it describes as “a diverse selection of modern productions from the UK, Europe and America, all of which would have been screened at the cinema in the Clocktower, if it hadn’t closed”.

Adrian Winchester, the campaign chairman, said, “We are playing a major part in filling the gap that will remain until the cinema reopens.”

The SDLCC September films have been selected by Philip Howard and Christine Sales, the David Lean Cinema’s programmer. “Audiences can expect exactly the sort of films that drew discerning patrons to this greatly missed cinema,” Winchester said.

European cinema has proved particularly popular at Campaign events and the offbeat French romantic comedy Delicacy will begin the season on September 4. All films will be screened at 2.30 and 8.00pm. The full programme is:

Tue 4 Sep: Delicacy (2011 France)
Wed 12 Sep: In Darkness (2011 Poland/Germany/Canada)
Tue 18 Sep: Moonrise Kingdom (2012 USA)
Tue 25 Sep: The Angels’ Share (2012 UK)

And following the SDLCC’s screening at the Shirley Community Centre Association in June, attended by nearly 100 enthusiasts, they are planning a further visit to Shirley on October 6.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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