Joplin sings out in a blockbuster movie programme of stars

By the time any of March’s movies are screened at the David Lean Cinema, the outcome of the 2016 Oscars will already be known.

But it’s reasonable to surmise that the coming month’s programme of films at Croydon’s arthouse cinema may be the most bedecked with awards and prizes than any shown since the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign took on the operation of the Croydon Clocktower venue.

Trumbo posterFrom The Revenant, the frontiersman saga featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and the barely decipherable Tom Hardy with its 12 Academy Award nominations, to Youth, with Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel doing their tried and trusted schticks, there’s big box office in almost every screening, as well as acclaimed performances, such as from Maggie Smith in a repeat screening of The Lady in the Van, due to public demand.

A documentary about the tragically short life of Janis Joplin and a showing of various century-old silent films about the suffragettes help fulfill the venue’s arthouse remit, but there’s plenty of blockbusters, including the latest Tarantino Western, and some heart-strings-tugging socially conscious stories, with Trumbo and Spotlight.

March’s programme is released earlier than in the past, as a response to the growing demand for each month’s tickets, which are on sale now. Don’t hesitate – chances are, they won’t be available for too long.

To be added to the Campaign’s membership list, please email

  • Tickets for all screenings are £8. Concessions (Freedom Pass-holders, full-time students, claimants and disabled) £6.50.
  • Bookings can be made  via TicketSource 

David Lean Cinema programme March 2016

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated


Joplin: poignant

Tue Mar 1 JANIS: LITTLE GIRL BLUE (15) (7.30pm)
2015 USA/UK 103min. Director: Amy J. Berg
Featuring: Janis Joplin, Cat Power
The story of Janis Joplin, a lonely bullied girl from Texas who discovered the Blues and moved to San Francisco, exploring her relationships with men, women, drugs and low self-esteem.

Fans of her timeless music may know something of Joplin’s story but this film reveals much more, with Cat Power’s readings of her letters providing a fully rounded view of the real Janis. What is uncovered makes her death at the age of 27 all the more poignant.

Thu Mar 3 THE REVENANT (15)
2015 USA/Hong Kong/Taiwan 156min. Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson
Deep in the wilderness of the 1820s American frontier, a group of fur trappers flee a native attack. Experienced scout Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) guides their escape through misfortune and betrayal. Refusing to bow to fate, Glass survives the brutal winter to seek revenge. Dominated by the landscape and Di Caprio’s committed performance, and giving more respect to the Native American tribes than those who came to exploit their homeland, The Revenant is an immensely powerful cinematic experience.

Lady in the vanTue Mar 8 THE LADY IN THE VAN (12A) (2.30pm)
2015 UK/USA 104min. Director: Nicholas Hytner
Stars: Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Jim Broadbent, Frances De La Tour, Roger Allam
When Alan Bennett reluctantly allowed a transient old woman to park her van in the driveway of his Camden home, the private, fastidious author didn’t expect his guest to stay for 15 years.

In this highly enjoyable adaptation of Bennett’s diaries and stage play, Dame Maggie is remarkable as the contrary, bigoted, vulnerable and somehow sympathetic Miss Shepherd.

2015 UK 75min. Programmed by: Bryony Dixon, Margaret Deriaz
International Women’s Day screening. Alongside the release of Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette, this fascinating selection of silent films from the BFI National Archive shows how women were portrayed on the cinema screen while their battles were still being waged on the streets outside. Newsreels depict women contributing to the war effort – as munitioneers mixing dangerous explosives, or running hospitals for the wounded in France – and while some comedies mock the suffragettes, others feature pioneering female actresses as resourceful action heroines. Followed by an informal discussion.

Thu Mar 10 ROOM (15) (11am and 7.30pm)
2015 Ireland/Canada/UK/USA 118min. Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Stars: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers
Based on a Man Booker Prize-winning novel, Room tells the story of Ma (Larson) and her son Jack (Tremblay). Unbeknown to the five-year-old child, the pair are prisoners, held captive by Ma’s abductor Old Nick in the squalor of a garden shed. This world is all Jack knows until escape brings new experiences and, for Ma, new pressures. Room tempers its bleak premise with hope, serving as an endearing love story between mother and child, and delving into the psychological and emotional journey of its characters with powerful yet understated performances.

Hateful Eight posterFri Mar 11 THE HATEFUL EIGHT (18) (7pm)
2015 USA 168min. Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth
Eight hard-bitten travellers shelter from a blizzard in a remote Wyoming log cabin. How many will come out alive?

Tarantino’s wickedly enjoyable snowbound Western is full of his signature whipsmart dialogue, macabre humour and charismatic characters with mysterious pasts: Jackson’s army veteran turned bounty hunter, Roth’s dandy hangman and Leigh’s fireball prisoner among the more memorable.

spotlight posterTue Mar 15 SPOTLIGHT (15)
2015 USA 129min. Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Rachael McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton
The Spotlight team of reporters undertakes special investigations for the Boston Globe newspaper. In 2002, they followed up rumours that a paedophile priest had been sheltered by the Catholic church.

Not since All The President’s Men has a Hollywood movie captured the dynamic of a news desk so well; that was about the Watergate investigation, this focuses on another piece of journalistic digging and challenge to Establishment authority of no lesser importance. The excellent ensemble cast – with Ruffalo and McAdams sharing Oscar nominations with McCarthy – reveal the determination and skill with which the Spotlight investigative journalists exposed a systematic cover-up, leading to a national scandal and a Pulitzer Prize.

Tue March 22 TRUMBO (15)
2015 USA 124min. Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Bryan Cranston, Elle Fanning, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren
Dalton Trumbo was one of Hollywood’s finest screenwriters, yet his left-wing beliefs led to broken friendships, imprisonment and blacklisting in the McCarthyism era of anti-Communist paranoia. Cranston (Breaking Bad) is superb and surprisingly funny as the principled outcast who refused to abandon his calling, writing Oscar-winning screenplays such as Spartacus under a false name.

Dad's Army posterThu Mar 24 DAD’S ARMY (PG)
2016 UK 95min. Director: Oliver Parker
Stars: Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tom Courtenay
It would take a special cast to justify reviving the nation’s favourite Home Guard platoon – and with Jones as Captain Mainwaring, son of Croydon Nighy as Sergeant Wilson and Gambon as Private Godfrey, that’s exactly what this production has. Zeta-Jones adds glamour as a journalist reporting on the platoon’s exploits; meanwhile, MI5 discover a radio signal from Walmington-on-Sea to Berlin… “Surpasses the original… a clever, durable and indeed lovable comedy” (The Independent).

*The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss.

The Big ShortTue Mar 29 THE BIG SHORT (15) (7.30pm)
2015 USA 130min. Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt
As the millennial boom rolled on, the housing market seemed like the best one-way bet in town – anyone could own a home (or five), and the banks made vast profits packaging and selling on mortgage debt. A few small-timers, lone wolves and oddballs – Carell’s splenetic trader and Bale’s death-metal-drumming fund manager among them – realised the foundations were rotten, and set out to profit… McKay is brilliant, telling most of this potentially complex story in outrageously entertaining style, while mindful of the human cost of the crash and furious at the amoral decadence which led to it.

Youth posterThu Mar 31 YOUTH (15)
2015 Italy/France/UK/Switzerland 129min. Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Stars: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano
An acclaimed composer (Caine) stays at a Swiss spa hotel with his daughter and best friend, and a strange selection of fellow guests. They reflect on their lives: age and youth, past and future, commitment and betrayal. This seductive, stylish and slightly surreal comedy-drama is a worthy follow-up to Sorrentino’s wonderful The Great Beauty, and Caine is as good as ever at the head of an extraordinary starry cast.

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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
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