Summer Madness sees Lean times return to arthouse cinema

It is hardly summer madness for the David Lean Cinema to go back in time.

Director David Lean with his star, Katharine Hepburn, on location for Summer Madness in Venice in 1955

Director David Lean with his star, Katherine Hepburn, on location for Summer Madness in Venice in 1954

But that’s exactly what the Clocktower’s arthouse cinema will be doing in June, with a screening of the eponymous Oscar-winning director’s Summer Madness, and doing so with the sort of technology which Lean himself would have recognised, and probably approved – a 35mm projector.

Summer Madness is the first Lean film to be shown since the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign got the venue re-opened last year. The sorry tale of how the then Tory-run council man-handled and mishandled the cinema’s equipment and fittings when the closed it down has been recounted in the past.

Viewing films using 35mm projectors may be a thrill for some of the regular cineastes who attend the David Lean Cinema, and for campaign chairman Adrian Winchester, he believes that it is something of which the director of Lawrence and Zhivago would have approved: “It’s impossible to be sure that Lean would have welcomed digital projection of his films,” Winchester said.

It’s particularly satisfying that our first David Lean film offers an opportunity to finally get the cinema’s 35mm projectors working again. The Fairfield Hall’s projectors are now in the Cinema Museum, so we’re sure you won’t see 35mm at any other Croydon venue.”

a-little-chaos-posterSummer Madness is being shown as part of the Croydon Heritage Festival, but the month offers the usual eclectic mix of American comedy, Indian documentaries and star vehicles.

A Little Chaos, directed by Alan Rickman and starring Kate Winslet, is a sumptious-looking drama based around the gardening in the Versailles of the 18th Century Sun King, while on June 18, the David Lean Cinema screens the latest re-make of Far From the Madding Crowd, a 2015 take on Thomas Hardy’s gripping Wessex tale featuring Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen.

To be added to the Campaign’s membership list, 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 June programme

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated

Tue June 2 MY NAME IS SALT (U) 7.30pm
2013 Switzerland/India 92min Director: Farida Pacha
Year after year, in the monsoon season, the sea rushes across an Indian desert. When the waters recede, thousands of families move in to extract the salt baked into the earth. This documentary combines beautiful photography and unhurried observation to honour the labours of one such family, when generations work together to raise their harvest from a harsh but beautiful environment.

Thu June 4 A LITTLE CHAOS (12A)
2014 UK 117 mins Director: Alan Rickman
Stars: Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Ehle
At the Versailles palace of the Sun King Louis XIV (Rickman), a young widow (Winslet) is determined to make her mark as a landscape gardener. In doing so, she challenges both the social order and the more conventional designs of the unhappily-married head gardener (Schoenaerts). “Winslet is charming” (Daily Telegraph) in this enchanting period drama.

wild tales*The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for people with hearing loss.

Tue June 9 WILD TALES (15) 7.30pm
2014 Argentina/Spain 122min (subtitled) Director: Damián Szifrón
Stars: Ricardo Darín, Érica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg

Life in modern-day Argentina is full of frustrations – crime, corruption, incivility and infidelity can drive anyone to the brink. In six short stories, Szifron shows how revenge can be sweet – sometimes… This exhilarating anthology, full of wonderfully intense performances, is “blackly comic and wonderfully controlled” (The Independent).

Thu June 11 THE DARK HORSE (15) 11am & 7.30pm
2014 New Zealand 124min Director: James Napier Robertson
Stars: Cliff Curtis, James Rolleston, Wayne Hapi
This superb feature is closely based on the life of Genesis Potini, a Maori speed chess champion who battled bipolar disorder. Released from hospital into the custody of his older brother, the leader of a fierce biker gang, Gen (Curtis) is motivated to stay on the road to recovery by helping a kids’ chess team, and tries to extricate his nephew from the gang. Robertson drives the story forward with relentless but humane direction, while Curtis delivers “a breathtaking performance, note perfect in every gesture, mesmerising in its conviction” (Guardian).

Tue June 16 IT FOLLOWS (15) 7.30pm
2014 USA 100min Director: David Robert Mitchell
Stars: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
Midsummer in Detroit: teenager Jay (Monroe) gets serious with her new boyfriend – who then reveals that he’s passed a curse on to her. She’ll be followed, slowly but inexorably, by a shapeshifting creature until she is killed or passes the curse on. Her friends first assume she’s merely traumatised, but then have to face the truth… Mitchell builds psychological tension with great skill, aided by Monroe’s sympathetic performance, an ominous electronic score and sweeping outdoor photography – like Jay, you’ll be nervously looking for “it” at every moment!

2015 UK/USA 119min Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Featuring: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge
Thomas Hardy’s classic tale of the headstrong, independent Bathsheba Everdine and her three contrasting suitors: aspiring shepherd Gabriel Oak (Schoenaerts), prosperous farmer William Boldwood (Sheen) and soldier Frank Troy (Sturridge). Mulligan is ideally cast as Bathsheba, whose choices and passions present a exploration of relationships and love – as well as the ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.

Tue June 23 WHILE WE’RE YOUNG (15) 7.30pm
2014 USA 97min Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried, Charles Grodin
Beginning to feel their age, 40-something New Yorkers Josh (Stiller) and Cornelia (Watts) are eager to hang out with 20-something hipsters Jamie (Driver) and Darby (Seyfried). Josh’s career as a documentary maker is failing to match that of Cornelia’s genial father (Grodin), and he envies the creative freedom displayed by Jamie, another filmaker. As relations between the two couples turn sour, Baumbach finds both humour and poignancy in their inability to bridge the generation gap.

Summer MadnessThu June 25 SUMMER MADNESS (PG)
1955 UK/USA 99min Director: David Lean
Stars: Katherine Hepburn, Rossano Brazzi, Isa Miranda
Croydon Heritage Festival screening.

The 2015 festival will highlight Croydon’s famous people, so it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate our connection with David Lean, born in South Croydon in 1908.

Summer Madness was Lean’s third colour film and his personal favourite of all those he directed. It tells the story of Jane (Hepburn), a spirited but lonely American who finds romance when she meets Renato (Brazzi) during a holiday in Venice. These will also be the Campaign’s first screenings in 35mm; the iconic but now rarely-seen medium that’s inextricably linked to our cinematic heritage.

Tue June 30 DIOR AND I (12A) 7.30pm
2014 France 90min (partially subtitled) Director: Frédéric Tcheng.
Featuring: Raf Simons, Pieter Mulier, Florence Chehet
After the abject departure of John Galliano, Christian Dior hired Raf Simons as its artistic director. It’s soon clear that while Simons has an impressive vision to present an updated New Look in an ambitious catwalk show, the eight week schedule will put his new colleagues under great pressure. 1940s archive film and excerpts from Dior’s autobiography are combined carefully with fly-on-the-wall footage of the shy Simons, his spritely assistant Mulier and their gifted and very entertaining atelier staff.

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