Sunday, 26 April 2009
Our two new films opening next week present quite a challenge. We don't shrink from it, and this is what running an arthouse cinema is all about - taking risks. Rolling the dice with two films like this has become less frequent, but it's an essential part of who we are and what people expect from us. Our programmer is an expert on finding the gems among the hundreds of films released each year.
MODERN LIFE, a French documentary about a rural community in France that is slowly dying out in the face of globalisation, is such a gem. But is there an audience for it? In 2004, we all thought that the era of the blockbuster documentary had arrived. Fahrenheit 9/11 and Supersize Me were hugely successful and subsequently a whole array of doc features were released, to diminishing returns. There is a sense in the arthouse sector now that topical documentaries are a no-go area and fewer get picked up at festivals.
Also opening is SHIFTY, a microbudget Brit film that at first glance appears to be a standard geezer drug-dealing movie, but upon closer inspection reveals a fantastic, warm, superbly acted little film. Again, the market for films like this would appear to be there (KIDULTHOOD, ADULTHOOD, BULLET BOY) but SHIFTY falls into that strange nether land between a film aimed at urban youngsters or an arthouse film for the chattering classes to discuss 'youth' issues. The marketing seems to be aiming for the former, yet it's playing in Picturehouse cinemas across the nation, the preferred destination of the latter.
The only way these two films have a fighting chance is if this terrific weather ends soon....maybe you'll catch me on the roof of the cinema doing a raindance.