FILM IN LEWISHAM IN THE AGE OF THE BIG SOCIETY: A Prophet in Crofton Park/Campaigns for a local cinema

First, the Brockley Jack Film Club is screening A Prophet on Monday night. Everything I have heard about it is really good and I'm sad to be missing it.
Sentenced to six years in jail for attacking police officers, Malik is an illiterate young man who can read people. A young Frenchman of North African descent, he inhabits the border between two different peoples – the living and the dead. In a brutal prison where he has to kill or be killed, he makes the obvious choice and ends up surprising everyone. From the first scenes, it’s apparent why this film won 29 major awards around the world. Tahar Rahim was named Actor of the Year by London Critics only because there was no category for Actor of the Decade.
You can watch the trailer here.

The Film Club, who you can also follow on Twitter, is run by local people in their own time, for no profit, and shows a film once a month at the Brockley Jack Theatre, which is also run by the local Southside Arts and can also be followed on Twitter

The Brockley Jack Film Club is just one of many fantastic self-managed film clubs in South East London, all both deserving of your support and between them offering a great selection of films. 

Like the large number of Big Lunches in this neck of the woods, this is a testament to the strong spirit of voluntary action and civic engagement around here, and a sense of community which I think is much stronger than in many parts of London, as well as to the odd mix of high cultural capital and low financial capital that characterises the area.

eros-cinema-01532-350On the other hand, it is also a testament to the fact that Lewisham is the one of the only boroughs in London with no cinema. Our last one, in Catford, was eaten up by the very suspicious Brazilian-based evangelical church, UCKOG. Lewisham once had a thriving cinema culture, as documented beautifully here, but this is gone.

There is very little the local authority can do about this, short of opening a municipal cinema, so it is unlikely that the various campaigns for a cinema in the area - see here and here- will come to much, unless one of the cinema chains recognises the market potential.

I've been thinking, as Lewisham closes its libraries and replaces them with "community libraries" run by "social enterprises", about the Big Society. In lots of ways, the Film Club, the Big Lunch and possibly even a community library are wonderful examples of local civil society and its potential to bring people together and create something positive: something we own because we made it, something totally outside the state. But when this sort of thing does the job the state should be doing and actually does better (e.g. when it replaces a municipal library), that's surely not such a good thing.

Anyway, go and see A Prophet. And Slumdog Millionaire open air tomorrow, and Gerry at the Roxy next week, and Enter the Void at the Amersham the day after, and the Brockley Max festival at the end of the month, and start setting up a Big Lunch on your street if there isn't one already planned. (I'm pasting my 33 nearest ones below the fold; I'll be at no.2.) But also let's keep up the fight against the brutal cuts...

The Big Lunch in SE4, 5 June, click on streets for details:

  1. Salehurst and Neighbours, SE4 1AG (0.0 miles)
  2. RUSHFORD ROAD, SE4 1SG (0.1 miles)
  3. Crofton Park Road, SE4 1AE (0.1 miles)
  4. chudders, SE4 1EE (0.2 miles)
  5. Huxbear street party, SE4 1EB (0.2 miles)
  6. Amyruth Road, SE4 1HQ (0.3 miles)
  7. Rise, SE23 1NL (0.3 miles)
  8. Malyons Road, SE13 7XF (0.4 miles)
  9. Buckthorne Road, SE4 2DG (0.4 miles)
  10. Maclean Road, SE23 1PD (0.4 miles)
  11. Sunnyside Up, SE6 4UR (0.5 miles)
  12. Tatnell Road 2011, SE23 1JX (0.5 miles)
  13. Comerford Road, SE4 2BA (0.6 miles)
  14. VCC, SE23 1JN (0.6 miles)
  15. Fermor Road, SE23 2HN (0.7 miles)
  16. Embleton, SE13 7DQ (0.8 miles)
  17. Blythe Vale, SE6 4NW (0.8 miles)
  18. Whitburn, SE13 7UQ (0.8 miles)
  19. Wickham Gardens, SE4 1LY (0.8 miles)
  20. Garsington Mews, SE4 1LL (0.9 miles)
  21. Hurstbourne Road, SE23 2AQ (0.9 miles)
  22. Ivydale, SE15 3BU (0.9 miles)
  23. Devonshire Road, SE23 3SZ (1.0 miles)
  24. dundalkroadse4, SE4 2JJ (1.0 miles)
  25. Perry Vale, SE23 2SN (1.0 miles)
  26. Crossways, SE4 2NL (1.2 miles)
  27. Word of Life, SE13 6BT (1.2 miles)
  28. Ardmere , SE13 6EJ (1.2 miles)
  29. Elswick Road, SE13 7SP (1.2 miles)
  30. Lewisham College Students, SE4 1UT (1.2 miles)
  31. Brightside Road, SE13 6EP (1.2 miles)
  32. Bold Vision, SE14 5TY (1.2 miles)
  33. Rokeby Road, SE4 1DE (1.3 miles


skidmarx said…
Like many evangelical churches in Brazil, the building was a converted cinema.

I see your Rick Ross link has a lot of stories on them. I can recall visiting Brazil in 2005, and being told of a major evangelical scandal then unfolding, though it might have been one of the other churches.
Andrew Coates said…
Bob, your future library service looks incredibly dodgy, worse than even the fate ours faces:

On cinemas, why is there not even a Multiplex? Is it because people can get to central London?

We have a multiplex and a Film Theatre - the later is now run by volunteers and is cited by the Tories as an example of the Big Society and I'm not sure about its long-term future.

The Prophet is brilliant. I particulary liked the way it showed the Corsican gangsters. A more recent French film that's a must-see is Of Gods and Men.
Ruby said…
I agree that The Prophet is a brilliant film. I haven't seen Of Gods and Men yet but it's on my 'to see' list.

It is a real shame that Lewisham doesn't have a proper cinema. It's great that we have such rich and varied offerings from film clubs locally but it would be good to have a permanent cinema too. I've written to the council in support of the campaign for one on the Ladywell Leisure Centre site. It's true that won't come to anything unless one of the big chains is interested but to make sure that can happen we also need to ensure the land is given a planning designation which allows a cinema to open there.
bob said…
Thanks Andrew, thanks Ruby.

It's true that we don't have a cinema because enough people can access multiplexes elsewhere, including Up West. But of course, only some people can make those journeys, and pay for both the travel and the ticket.
skidmarx said…
It was just reported on the BBC that a UKCOG application to covert a cinema in Walthamstow has been turned down.
This should definitely be very interesting!

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