I originally planned to use this article as a chance to review the year in film of 2017, to offer my opinion on a variety of topics e.g. has the Marvel universe reached saturation point? And while I’m sure you would be delighted to read my meanderings (for the record, my answer is a resounding yes to the previous question), I feel that there is a topic which no review of 2017 in film can realistically shy away from, namely the outpouring of allegations of abuse and harassment made against producers, directors, actors and others involved in the industry spanning the last few decades.
It’s terrible to think that this has gone on for so long and been kept under wraps for all that time. There’s a number of films I’ve been meaning to watch but with allegations being raised against some of the main stars, it makes me feel a bit torn. Do you, as some people have suggested, separate the person from their art and continue to watch their films/TV shows? It’s not as if watching a film that they have made is in any way condoning their actions otherwise. Still this doesn’t feel quite right. Or on the other hand is it better to boycott these people completely? Even though this feels a bit much, surely the problem has always been that no-one is willing to do anything about the issue, just stand by and let it carry on. Of course taking the latter route means that productions that hundreds of people have worked long and hard on creating are at risk of being failures because of one person’s actions, again this doesn’t feel quite just. It was interesting to read that Ridley Scott made the decision to cut Kevin Spacey out of his new film All The Money In The World (on which filming had completed) almost immediately when allegations arose against the actor, primarily not due to a sense of duty or justice but for business reasons. I admit that when I first heard the news, I assumed it was because the director had decided to take a stand against the alleged behaviour however it turns out that he reckoned it was better to spend 10s of millions of dollars reshooting scenes with a different actor (Christopher Plummer), rather than risk losing 100s of millions of dollars at the box office because of the public shunning Spacey. All the money in the world indeed…
Personally I think I have decided to take somewhat of a middle ground, not to actively boycott certain films or actors but also not to be in any hurry to see their latest offerings either.
I realise that these articles aren’t vehicles for my wittering but rather a chance to offer an insight into the Mearns Community Cinema group and our upcoming events and plans. To that end here’s some details of what the next few months holds in store for the group and for you as our valued supporters.
In January and February we are showing films which were selected due to their own merits but, on reflection, are both based on real events and have themes concerning historically (and presently) persecuted social groups.
In January, we are excited to be showing Detroit, the latest film directed by Katheryn Bigelow, the Oscar winning director of The Hurt Locker and Point Break. Detailing a single night in the midst of the Detroit race riots of the 1960s, it has had great reviews and its themes feel very much relevant in today’s political and social climate. Among the lead actors are two of the UK’s brightest acting talents – John Boyega, Finn from the latest Star Wars films, and Will Poulter, one of my favourite actors, who has appeared in We’re The Millers and The Revenant over the last few years.
In February, in association with local ambassadors of the government initiative Year of Young People, we have decided to celebrate LGBT history month and show Pride, the 2014 British film about a LGBT group who decide to make a stand with the miners during the strike in the 80s. It has a strong British cast headed by Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton and promises to be a fantastically funny and dramatic, heart-warming tale.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2018, for Mearns Community Cinema it promises to be an exciting time. We have a number of plans that we will all be working hard to bring to fruition. Firstly, the return of the Saturday afternoon family film slot. It was always popular and with the winter weather causing many a weekend plan to be dashed, where better than the local cinema to spend a couple of hours? Other than that, we are hoping to run more events with local businesses in order to further support the local community. We have ideas of our own but if you are part of a local business that may be interested in working with the cinema group then please do get in touch. We are also hoping to show films from different genres to ensure that the whole community feels represented by the group, we are particularly keen to show some foreign language and more independent films. We will of course keep you updated on this via the usual channels.
We have plenty of other ideas/dreams bouncing about, not least the possibility of season tickets and/or a Mearns based film festival. They both need a good deal more consideration but I think it’s fair to say the group has plenty of enthusiasm when it comes to making the cinema a convenient, inclusive and top quality facility for the community!
One final note on something that I’m sure has come to the attention of many of you and honestly has irked the members of the group for a while. The heating in the theatre has been the subject of many discussions in our committee meetings but we have now received confirmation from the campus staff that they have identified the root of the issue and have implemented a temporary fix while a more permanent one is arranged. This was put in place for the last couple of showings and seems to work well. We can only offer apologies for any inconvenience this has caused previously and hope that the fixes made manage to avoid any further temperature based problems.
Thank you again for reading through my thoughts, and thank you for your ongoing support of the cinema group, we appreciate it massively and hope we are providing a cinema that the community is proud of!
Jamie Leigh, Chairperson