Big thanks to everyone who made it to the movie marathon! Here’s a “synopsis” of the event.
Please add your own recollections and thoughts to this!
Stu and David brilliantly set up the PA on Thursday morning, which allowed us to have great sound quality for all the films, helping recreate a real big screen environment! Speaking of screens... Well, we had a MUTHA of a screen! David and I transported the necessary kit and some beanbags down to the space at about 4.30pm, and James, David, David’s brother (sorry I’ve forgotten your name! Alan?), Sam (David’s wife) all mucked in with transforming the space into a cinema! James had (luckily) put up screens before so could direct us on that, and David’s brother showed me how to use the data projector which was so great! I think we all shared some knowledge with each other during set up, and it was a very nice atmosphere, full of excitement about the coming night. Then David, his brother, and Sam left (to attend a gig and party).
Freya was the first guest on the scene, quickly followed by Michael and Charlotte. The first film screened at 8.30pm. I ceremoniously popped a bottle of rose cava. A riotous celebration of Wilhelm Reich’s work and ideas, mixed with a healthy dose of politics, and some full on nudity and male erections (at which point James said “cue: your boyfriend walking in” and, as if by magic, he did!). There was lots of audience reaction to some political/sexual tenets in the film. Great fun yet profound, it was to become James’ favourite film of the night (though you’d have to ask him how it fared in comparison with “Snakes on a Plane”). There was some talk of maybe playing the film silently as James performs Das Kapital one day soon. Yvonne arrived near the end of the film, and admitted that she was indeed “expecting this sort of thing” (though the film’s ending could not be said to be indicative of what had preceded it I think!) Two people arrived, a couple, the girl was called Jo I think, and I can't remember the guy's name. Helen (who works in the Town Hall with James) and her boyfriend Lee arrived after this first film, accompanied by Terence – the Tiger! A huge stuffed tiger which managed to charm the socks off each and every one of us – particularly Freya, who throughout the night remarked on all the different types of animals present in the films - this included lots of horses, a llama, and a lemur, in various films. Helen and Lee’s bed was complete with duvet, pillows, mattress thing, Terence (who doubled up as an extra pillow for people), and Helen thoughtfully brought some pairs of really comfy socks to share around – “I’m all about the comfort!” – which Michael and James gladly indulged in (for the fourth film).
I have jumped ahead! The second film was Armenian, and full of beautiful extravagance and flamboyancy, a real vision, tableaux vivants, full of mysterious rituals and movements repeated, and is certainly a “very special film” (Michael). Freya and Phill loved it too (it happens to be one of Freya’s favourite films, and she loved seeing it on the big screen for the first time). James enjoyed it too: “It’s amazing, yeah. Quite nightmarish. I’m glad I’m not asleep!” Chris headed home. The table of communal food was looking very good indeed! Lots of bread, cheeses, crisps, cakes, hummous, salad, apples, bananas etc. Kept us going and there was plenty left over.
Andy, Stu, Lucy, David and David’s brother arrived from the British Wildlife gig at the Brudenell. Next up was a great fun animation, re-telling the story of the ancient Indian text The Ramayana, and essentially recasting it as “the greatest break up story ever told”. Much laughter was enjoyed by all, and the great PA really came into its own for the brilliant music. After the end of the film, Andy and Yvonne went home to get some much needed sleep.
The fourth film was a very psychedelic and visionary film full of symbolism and rites of passage and dealing very much with the notion of expanding consciousness – it had a lot of energy. Michael and I sat on the white sofa throughout and had discussions about Catholicism, sexual repression (making links between the current film and the first film, where “fascism is the frenzy of sexual cripples”), and Charlotte woke up just before a really loud scream in the film, which must have been quite a shock! James thought the film was “a bit silly really” and the filmmaker had maybe taken too many drugs. I thought he was being reductive, and lumping psychedelia in with drugs as derogatory, rather than considering them both in the context of consciousness. Michael, James and I also marvelled at how the filmmaker had managed to get so many people involved in the film, and Michael voiced how impressed he was that lots of old people were participating in a visionary and very modern film – “Beautiful”.
The fifth film was an anarchic Czech delight with fabulous avant-garde techniques and a celebrated work of the Czech New Wave. I totally fell asleep.
Then came the sixth film, an original Swiss tale of a man’s eccentric nature and coping strategies, as well as a tender, beautiful and heart-breaking portrait of a family trying to cope with his eccentricity (and maybe breakdown/mental health issues), set against a backdrop of themes like global tourism and the romantics’ notion of the “Sublime”.
James boomed in my ear to wake up and put the next film on, which I did – and stayed awake for! A multi-layered experimental work of great beauty. Phill loved the sound recordings of nature used in the piece, and Freya spotted many animals, and concluded that some found footage must have been used (the close ups of lava flow would have probably been too dangerous to film in person unless you had an exceptionally long lens). This prompted Freya and me to discuss technical film-related stuff for a while, which I loved – cameras, film stocks, chemicals etc. By this point the room was fully light (the sun having risen) and it looked like a bright and beautiful day outside. Those remaining at this point were Freya, Phill, Helen, Lee, me, and James, and Lucy and Stu (who had been sleeping but awoke and went to catch a train). We packed up and tidied everything away, but left the PA and screen in place – the screen to be dismantled on Tuesday. The mood was very jolly, and very friendly, and I think we were all feeling closer to the space and the people we had shared the experience with. We left when it was about 10.10am.
I then went to Bradford to see a film with Chris in the cinema called “The Woman With the 5 Elephants”, a documentary I’d recommend, that’s showing in the Bradford Film Festival. My gorgeous man then took me out for lunch to the Love Apple, we came home, I had a bath, and crawled into bed. Now I am wide awake and it’s about 1am and so I’m getting all this down before I forget it! I’m going to go to bed again and try to sleep – wish me luck!