Are you sitting comfortably? Let the movies begin…

There really are some terrific films on offer at the David Lean Cinema next month. And they can now all be watched from the comfort of a properly furnished and re-upholstered cinema.

In November, the cinema is showing the controversial Mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Pfeiffer and Ed Harris (controversial because for the many who love it, there’s an equal number who loathe it); there’s Blade Runner 2049, which promises to become regarded as a sci-fi classic as much as the Ridley Scott original; then there’s the tear-jerking Goodbye Christopher Robin; the artistic homage Loving Vincent; a special screening of The Globe Theatre’s Henry V; and – at last – a tennis movie in Borg v McEnroe which might actually work as a piece of cinema, even if the film lasts only half as long as the 1980 Wimbledon final it is about.

So, are you sitting comfortably?

The campaign group which worked so hard to get the Clocktower’s arthouse cinema re-opened have, for almost four years, been trying to find a set of theatre seats to complete the front rows of the venue. Inexplicably, after the cinema was closed by the council as part of its austerity cuts (which ended up costing more money than it ever saved), some bright spark allowed a six seats to be removed from the front row, apparently lost forever.

Now, with help in funding from the charitable foundation named after Croydon’s Oscar-winning director, the cinema has its full complement of proper seats.

Their restoration coincides with the completion of another upgrading project, in the cinema’s projector room.

There is a new track system inside the projection box, with a digital and 35mm projector, both mounted on low platforms on wheels. The digital projector is now placed behind a new, more central port, but it can be wheeled into the space to its right when needed. This enables the 35mm projector to use the same port, thus also allowing access to the non-moving 35mm projector to its left.

The campaign’s latest newsletter explains: “The digital projector now offers a virtually perfect image, without the screen overlap trimming and lack of symmetry experienced since 2007. Any on-screen horizontal or vertical lines are now correct, instead of conspicuously sloping… Our loyal patrons can finally enjoy the picture they deserve!”

The replacement seats, which returned to the front row last year, are now part of a fully re-upholstered front three rows. Local company Oakwood Refurbishment Ltd undertook the building work and Powell Cinema Engineers manufactured the track system, paid for with grants from the David Lean Foundation and Fairfield ward councillors – which is laden with irony, because it was on the Tory councillors’ watch when in charge of the council that they shut the cinema and the seats disappeared.

  • Unless otherwise stated, tickets for all screenings are £8. Concessions (Freedom Pass-holders, full-time students, claimants and disabled) £6.50
  • Bookings can be made by clicking here

David Lean Cinema programme for November

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated

2017 UK/USA 112min. Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Michael Gambon, Eddie Izzard
Some years after her close friendship with a Scottish ghillie, as depicted in Mrs Brown, Queen Victoria finds that an Indian clerk, Abdul Karim, offers her similarly good company – but many in the establishment are unsettled by their association. Filmed on location at Osborne House.

Thu Nov 2 BORG vs MCENROE (15)
2017 Swe/Den/Fin 107min (Partially subtitled). Director: Janus Metz
Stars: Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård
The 1980 Wimbledon men’s singles final was one of tennis’s great five-set thrillers – a marathon battle of technique, nerve and stamina. While this was apparently a clash of opposites – “ice-man” Björn Borg against “Superbrat” John McEnroe – director Metz and Swedish ace Gudnason take time to explore the superstitions, obsessions and stewing emotions underneath Borg’s stoic exterior, while LaBeouf is a natural fit in both looks and reputation as the American upstart.

Tue Nov 7 MOTHER! (18) (7.30pm)
2017 USA 121min. Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer
Aronofsky’s much hyped and debated art-horror meditation on what it means for a mother to give everything in the pursuit of familial bliss is a thrilling, phantasmagorical nightmare. Fluent in the horrors and hilarity of dream logic, the Black Swan director hauls his audience up a Jacob’s Ladder of domestic anxieties laden with heavenly allusions, laying scenes over one another with all the escalating tension and irrationality of a panic attack. Whatever your ultimate verdict – masterpiece or allegorical misstep – this combination of Requiem for a Dream’s psychological terrors and Noah’s Biblical tone is among the most vital, not-to-be-missed movies of recent years.

2017 UK/Pol 94min. Directors: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman
Stars: Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn, Helen McCrory, Saoirse Ronan
Animated by 115 artists creating 65,000 oil paintings in the style of the artist, Loving Vincent relates the final weeks of Van Gogh’s life as a detective story with a young man trying to deliver Vincent’s last letter whilst questioning those who knew him about the circumstances of his death. The first animation of its kind, and a real labour of love, the film’s technique endeavours to do justice to the unique genius of one of the world’s best-loved painters.

Tue Nov 14 IN BETWEEN (15) (7.30pm)
2016 Isr/Fra 103min (subtitled). Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
Stars: Mouna Hawa, Sana Jammelieh, Shaden Kanboura
In present-day Tel Aviv, three young women strive for independence against the odds. When hijab-wearing Nour takes the spare room in their flat, she’s initially startled by the lifestyles of lawyer Layla and chef/DJ Salma, but as the hypocrisy of her fiancé Wisam is revealed, she comes to value their friendship. Layla hopes to combine professional and romantic life on her own terms, while lesbian Salma needs to keep up appearances with her conservative Christian family. This compelling and groundbreaking portrayal of modern Arab-Israeli life has caused shockwaves in its homeland and won deservedly huge praise from worldwide audiences.

Thu Nov 16 GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (PG) (11am and 7.30pm)
2017 UK 107min. Director: Simon Curtis
Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Will Tilston, Kelly Macdonald
AA Milne returns from the trenches shell-shocked and determined to write the great anti-war book. When his socialite wife escapes to London, leaving him and the nanny to look after their son, a bond develops that leads him to create a series of books based on their time together. But fame that comes at a cost to the whole Milne household in this “unsparing cautionary tale about the poisonous effects of sudden and unwanted stardom” (BBC). * The 11am screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss.

Tue Nov 21 7 DAYS (12A) (7.30pm)
2016 Ita/Switz 96min (subtitled). Director: Rolando Colla
Stars: Bruno Todeschini, Alessia Barela
When they meet on an isolated Mediterranean island, tasked with arranging the wedding of his brother and her best friend, a couple soon begin an affair, promising that it will last only the week. As time passes and the big day approaches, how strong a bond have they formed? Setting their passionate mid-life romance against stunningly beautiful scenery, radiant underwater sequences and close observation of local tastes, sights and sounds, Colla has created one of the most enjoyable movie getaways of the year.

Thu Nov 23 HENRY V (U) (2pm and 7pm)
2012 UK 164min. Director: Dominic Dromgoole
Stars: Jamie Parker, Sam Cox, Paul Rider, Brid Brennan
Shakespeare’s masterpiece concerning the turbulence of war and the arts of peace tells the romantic story of Henry’s campaign to recapture the English possessions in France. But the ambitions of this charismatic king are challenged by a host of vivid characters caught up in the real horrors of war. Henry V which, in 1599, opened the original Globe with the words “O for a muse of fire”, celebrates the power of language to bring to life courts, pubs, ships and battlefields within the “wooden O” – and beyond. [Tickets £15. No concessions]

Tue Nov 28 BLADE RUNNER 2049 (15) (7pm)
2017 UK/USA/Can 163min. Director: Denis Villeneuve
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas
This compelling sequel to the 1982 classic follows LAPD Officer K (Gosling), a new futureworld cop (“blade runner”), who discovers a long-buried secret that threatens to undermine society. K sets out on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Ford), a former blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. This sensational sequel, by the director of Arrival, boasts awe-inspiring design, cinematography and score alongside the first-rate performances from Gosling and Ford: it “simply couldn’t be any more of a triumph” (The Guardian).

Thu Nov 30 THE PARTY (15)
2017 UK 71min. Director: Sally Potter
Stars: Timothy Spall, Patricia Clarkson, Bruno Ganz, Kristin Scott Thomas
Politician Janet is celebrating her new cabinet post by holding a little soirée with her academic husband Bill, some old friends and their partners, plus a smooth-talking banker. What could possibly go wrong? Some long-hidden secrets and smoking guns, perhaps? Playing out in real time, director Potter delivers an observant, droll, just-absurd-enough farce, with Scott Thomas holding the film together as our dubious heroine. “A short, sharp, funny shock of a movie” (The Guardian).

Sat Dec 2 THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS (12A) (2pm)
1978 Italy 186min (subtitled). Director: Ermanno Olmi
Stars: Luigi Ornaghi, Francesca Moriggi, Omar Brignoli
Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes and regarded as the last great work of Italian neo-realism, Olmi’s film depicts the lives of the peasants living and working for a landlord in 19th century Lombardy over the course of a year. One father, trying to provide an education for his son, uses the tree of the title, with terrible consequences for his family. “One of the most neglected masterworks of the Italian cinema” (Empire).

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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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