Please take a seat: arthouse cinema seeks new front row

The January programme for the David Lean Cinema includes Night Will Fall for Holocaust Memorial Day and screenings of Mr Turner. But the campaign group which stages the screenings has a problem

The Save the David Lean Campaign was a triumph of local resident activism in 2014, defying the council and proudly re-opening the Clocktower’s arthouse cinema in April.

cinema seatsBut the volunteers have been staging two or more screenings in the cinema each week since with a serious handicap: the Philistines at the council who closed down the cinema managed to remove six of the nine front row seats. Only in Croydon…

Temporary chairs have had to be used since. The campaigners – not the cinema owners, the council – are running an appeal to find replacement seating: “The missing seats should be three pairs of two, all of which can be removed if needed to accommodate wheelchairs. Two of the pairs were somewhat battered a result of the handling necessary over the years, and unfortunately a former member of staff disposed of them towards the end of last year.

“We are therefore looking for replacements but finding the right type of mid-1990s cinema seats, ideally in pairs, is extremely difficult,” said Adrian Winchester, the chairman of the Save the David Lean Campaign.

Timothy Spall plays Mr Turner in Mike Leigh's acclaimed film, showing at the David Lean Cinema in January

Timothy Spall plays Mr Turner in Mike Leigh’s acclaimed film, showing at the David Lean Cinema in January

“However, the third pair was retained and we would like to return it to the cinema soon. The problem is that it lacks its three arm rests, which are mostly made of a combination of wood, foam rubber and fabric. We therefore ideally need an individual or company willing to make these for a reasonable cost. If we had an offer, it would also make sense have two or three others arm rests repaired.”

The SDLC has announced its programme for January 2015, with a record eight films, including Mr Turner, which they anticipate selling out. “We also have two films linked to Holocaust Memorial Day, which will include the recently completed documentary Night Will Fall on the day itself (January 27).” Tickets for all screenings are now on sale.

To be added to the Campaign’s membership list, or offer help or services in locating suitable front row seats, please email

  • Tickets for all screenings are £7.50. Concessions (Freedom Pass-holders, full-time students, claimants and disabled) £6.
  • Bookings can be made  via TicketSource 

David Lean Cinema October programme

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated

hundred foot journeySat Jan 3 (2.30pm only) THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (PG)
2014 USA 122min Director: Lasse Hallström
Starring: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte LeBon. Comic hostilities abound in a “Mumbai vs Michelin” restaurant face-off in a picturesque French village.

Thu Jan 8 (11am and 7.30pm) MR TURNER (12A)
2014 UK 150min Director: Mike Leigh 
Starring: Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson. An acclaimed exploration of the later life of JMW Turner, one of Britain’s greatest artists.

Tue Jan 13 (7.30pm only) LEVIATHAN (15)
2014 Russia 140min (subtitled) Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Starring: Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Elena Lyadova, Roman Madyanov. The 2014 London Film Festival’s Best Film: a black comedy shining a light on contemporary Russia, as an ordinary man battles to save his home from the clutches of corrupt authorities.

The 78 ProjectThu Jan 15 THE 78 PROJECT MOVIE (15)
2014 USA 96min Director: Alex Steyermark
Featuring: John C. Reilly, Victoria Williams, and many more. A travelogue across the United States, recording today’s musicians on vintage 78rpm equipment as they perform the wonderful early American songs that inspired a century of popular music.

Tue Jan 20 (7.30pm only) HANNAH ARENDT (12A)
2012 Germany/Luxembourg/France/Israel 113min (subtitled) Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Starring: Barbara Sukowa, Axel Milberg, Janet McTeer. The first of two films linked to Holocaust Memorial Day is an involving dramatisation of the public and personal turmoil caused by philosopher Arendt’s writings on Adolf Eichmann and “The Banality of Evil”.

2014 UK/USA 114min. Director: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode. The life of extraordinary mathematician Alan Turing, who masterminded the cracking of the Enigma code.

Night Will FallTue Jan 27 (7.30pm only – Holocaust Memorial Day) NIGHT WILL FALL (15)
2014 UK 80min Director: Andre Singer
Featuring: Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Bernstein. The remarkable inside story of a lost documentary on the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.

Thu Jan 29 KON-TIKI (15)
2012 Norway/Denmark/Germany/Sweden/UK 114min (subtitled). Directors: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
Starring: Pål Sverre Hagen. A thrilling adventure, based on the true-life story of Thor Heyerdahl and his crew, who attempted to cross the Pacific by raft. Nominated for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

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