Some of my earliest film memories are of sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night when my parents were asleep and watching the late night films on BBC2 and Channel 4. Foreign language films were best - I could turn off the sound and watch them without the fear of being caught (though page 888 on teletext was a lifesaver for subbing other films).
The landscape of British film over the last (almost) 40 years since Channel 4 was launched would look very different without their funding. Most of the finest films from this country have the Film4 logo at the start and it’s safe to say that some fantastic films wouldn’t have been made without their involvement. Scrolling through Twitter this morning I noticed that All4 has John Carpenter’s classic Assault On Precinct 13 available to watch (you just need to go to channel4.com and register to view). That got me wondering what else they might have. There are some classics of the past 35 years on there at the moment. Some of the films need no introduction; Trainspotting, Sexy Beast, Local Hero, Brassed Off, The Motorcycle Diaries and Croupier, but I thought I would mention a few that we’ve screened at Eden Court over the years.
Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, 2012)
In 2016, director Ben Wheatley visited us for a screening of his film Free Fire, and we had a really interesting Q&A with him following the film. Four years before that we screened the Scottish Premiere of Wheatley's Sightseers at the Inverness Film Festival, a caravanning road trip around Northern England with murderous goings on (I have to admit that I too have been to the Pencil Museum in Keswick. It’s not as exciting as it sounds). Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Oscar-nominated Loveless premiered at the festival in 2017, about a young boy who goes missing after overhearing his warring parents say neither want custody. It’s a powerful film from Russia’s greatest director since Andrei Tarkovsky. Also premiering at the festival in 2017 was the Egyptian crime thriller The Nile Hilton Incident starring the perfectly cast Fares Fares (who in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story the year before). It’s one of the best crime films of recent years.
The Nile Hilton Incident (Tarik Saleh, 2017)
Back in February, as part of Winter Highland Pride, we screened Beautiful Thing - one of the most touching love stories in ‘90s British cinema. It was filmed amongst the concrete of Thamesmead, famously used to dramatic effect in A Clockwork Orange.
In January I wrote a blog about starting to work at Eden Court and what it meant to me. Included in this was a list of my favourite films we’ve screened over the 20 years I've been here. In that I mentioned that my favourite film I’ve watched at Eden Court, which was in the pre-redevelopment Riverside Screen (now the MacLean Room) was Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding (the week it was on I must have watched it 3 or 4 times, all on my own in the mornings before screenings started for the day).
Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2001)
The colours and soundtrack of the film still feel so vibrant and alive in my memory after 18 years. I have the film on DVD but haven’t watched it since that week in the Riverside as the thought of the film is still so fresh. If I watch it outside of the cinema I might lose that memory of sitting on my own, transfixed by the film. It’s such a joyous film and the perfect watch if you feel you need the spirit of humanity to lift you away from the current circumstances.
This blog was written by: