David Lean Cinema prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary

Given the huge efforts of the volunteers of the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign, who managed to secure the future of the arts house venue in the Croydon Clocktower after its closure due to austerity cuts, this year’s 25th anniversary of the cinema’s original opening is well worthy of celebration.

A true part of the borough’s cultural  heritage, taking its name from one of this country’s greatest ever film directors, the Croydon-born Sir David Lean, the 60-seat venue continues to offer a rich mix of Hollywood blockbusters and lesser-well-publicised films.

And to help mark the 25th anniversary, the first film being screened in March is Be Natural, a documentary about one of the pioneers of early cinema, Alice Guy-Blaché. Narrated by Jodie Foster, the film will be followed – as so many of the more interesting David Lean Cinema screenings are – by a Question and Answer session.

Showing another, less palatable side of the women in the media industry, Bombshell is one of the month’s headline screenings, telling the story of the appalling reign at Fox News (meh!) of Roger Ailes – and offering a good compare-and-contrast project over the portrayal of a monster between John Lithgow and Russell Crowe in the recent Loudest Voice TV mini-series.

Sir David Lean: Croydon’s finest

Full details of the David Lean Cinema’s programme for March are outlined below, plus links to the tickets sales pages.

Tickets go on sale on Thursday February 6.

  • Tickets for screenings are £7.50. Concessions (Freedom Pass-holders, full-time students, claimants and disabled) £6; Under-25s are £5.

David Lean Cinema programme for March

All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm, unless stated

2018 USA 103min Dir: Pamela Green
Features: Alice Guy-Blaché, Jodie Foster, Kevin Brownlow

Alice Guy was in the audience for the Lumière Brothers’ first demonstration of moving pictures in Paris. She became more involved in the demonstration of their early equipment and went on to create the first narrative film, The Cabbage Fairy, in 1896. Over 20 years, Alice was a prolific writer, director and producer of films in France and the United States. This documentary restores her reputation as the Mother of Film.
David Lean Cinema 25th anniversary celebration, with Q&A

2019 UK/USA 119min Dir: Armando Iannucci
Stars: Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw

Armando Iannucci creates a characteristically exuberant reworking of the Dickens classic with a varied but vibrant cast headed by Dev Patel in the title role.

2019 UK/USA 119min Dir: Armando Iannucci
As Mar 5 above.
Babes in Arms Screening

Tue Mar 10 UNCUT GEMS (15) (7.30pm)
2019 USA 135min Dir: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Stars: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Idina Menzel

Director duo Safdie brothers return with relentlessly chaotic crime thriller. Adam Sandler is at his career best, playing Howard Ratner, a gambling addicted jeweller in New York City who always chases big breaks at the expense of everything else in life. He manages to get his hands on what could be his biggest break yet, a rare black opal embedded in a rock. The otherworldly cinematography helps create a frantic world that channels Howard’s anxiety as he attempts to get the opal to an auction.

Thu Mar 12 HONEY BOY (15)
2019 USA 93min Dir: Shia LaBeouf
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe

The idea that a film be semi-autobiographical for the writer is not a revolutionary one, yet Honey Boy seems starkly more truthful than most other films might allow. Otis is a successful child actor, suffering through a life of torment courtesy of his manipulative father. Shia LaBeouf writes and stars as his own fascinating parent, triggering a cycle of psychological abuse and dependency.

Tue Mar 17 WEATHERING WITH YOU (12A) (7.30pm)
2019 JAP 112min (Japanese with English subtitles) Dir: Makoto Shinkai
Stars: Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Sei Hiraizumi

Makoto Shinkai has created another stunning anime, which was the highest-grossing film in Japan last year. Hodaka runs away to Tokyo, which is experiencing unusually high levels of rainfall. He eventually gets a job as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine, and meets Hina, who seems to able to control the weather. “Thrillingly beautiful” (The Guardian).

Thu Mar 19 BOMBSHELL (15)
2019 USA 109 mins Dir: Jay Roach
Stars: Margot Robbie, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman

US channel Fox News has become notorious not just for its right-wing agenda but its toxic workplace culture, following the 2016 confrontation between hosts Megyn Kelly (Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Kidman) and their CEO, serial sexual harasser Roger Ailes (John Lithgow, appropriately loathsome). With Academy Award nominations for Theron and Robbie, Bombshell presents “a damning portrait of a poisonous environment which divides people against each other” (Mark Kermode).
The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss

Sat Mar 21 A HIDDEN LIFE (12A) (1.30pm)
2019 USA 174min Dir: Terrence Malick
Stars: August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Matthias Schoenaerts

Can a devout Catholic swear loyalty to Adolf Hitler? When Austrian peasant farmer Franz Jägerstätter refuses, and is threatened with execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife, Franziska, and children that keeps his spirit alive. Malick shoots the idyllic valley scenery and Franz’s family life beautifully, while reflecting on theological questions and the Church’s complicity with the Nazi regime.

Tue Mar 24 QUEEN & SLIM (15) (7.30pm)
2019 USA 132min Dir: Melina Matsoukas
Stars: Jodie Turner-Smith, Daniel Kaluuya, Bokeem Woodbine

Fugitive-Road movies struggle to cover new territory, with fierce competition from genre-defining giants. Queen & Slim takes well-known elements from different sources and creates an interesting compound, adding its own surprising limits to pace and tension. After an altercation with a racist police officer leads to murder, the titular duo attempt to outrun law enforcement and retain their freedom together. An intoxicating drama from one of the Emmy winning writers of Master of None.

2019 USA 109 mins Dir: Marielle Heller
Stars: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper

Tom Hanks stars in this fictional account of the children’s TV entertainer Fred Rogers, subject of last year’s documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Cynical Esquire writer Lloyd Vogel is sent to interview Rogers, sensing that his kindly persona is a fraud. Rogers side-steps his probing, instead asking Vogel about his youth and exposing the journalist’s troubled relationship with his father. Hanks has been Oscar-nominated for his role, but equal praise has gone to his co-star Matthew Rhys. A truly uplifting film.
The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss

Tue Mar 31 PARASITE (15)
2019 S Kor 132min (Korean with English subtitles) Dir: Bong Joon-ho
Stars: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo

South Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s film of extremes is set in a society of polarised people. A visual feast of a black comedy where the characters are all unsympathetic and there is a lot to laugh at. The action is sited in the dire poverty of the semi-basement dwellers near the sewers and those who live splendidly on the hill and how they predicate on each other in their own particular vacuum. Excellent performances.

Thu Apr 2 EMMA (U)
2020 UK 116min Dir: Autumn de Wilde
Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Nighy, Josh O’Connor

Jane Austen’s esteemed comedy is reimagined in a quirky new film adaptation. Emma Woodhouse is a young headstrong woman with a love of meddling in other people’s lives. The talented British cast, including Anya Taylor-Joy and Bill Nighy, delivers a light-hearted satire of social class and coming of age in the 19th century. The soft palette and visuals provide a gorgeous background to let the hilarity unfold in Autumn de Wilde’s directorial feature debut.

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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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1 Response to David Lean Cinema prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary

  1. Tony Skrzypczyk says:

    I believe that prior to showing any films it was used to hold a meeting for people interested in forming the Friends of Shirley Windmill. Will try to find the original orange A4 programme.

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