To the Phillip Road Centre! …on Saturday evening. Moving Image, the independent community cinema for Wivenhoe was showing The Artist. Add a certain prefix to the front of the film title and you could have a hyperlocal Made In Wivenhoe movie for the ready.
Don’t forget yer specs, was the message ahead of the evening at Moving Image. Unless you are a cinematic ignoramus (Wifey was with me…) then you must know that The Artist is a silent film, of sorts.
Factor in my focussing abilities of around two feet without specs, and even the Moving Image bargain price of £4.50 for the Oscar winning fives times over flick might have seemed a little steep.
Following the short break, the summer season [oh yes] down at the Phillip Road Centre returned with a tremendous success. Pack ‘em in, stack ‘em high – and that was just the extra seats that were needed some fifteen minutes ahead of showtime.
Golden Days of Moving Image I tell you, Golden Days.
Which was a bit like The Artist itself. Ever since Moving Image announced that the much talked about film that doesn’t involve any talking [aha!] was to be screened, there has been plenty of speculation as to how it would play out at the glamour of the Philip Road Centre.
It may not have been the same experience as Leicester Square – and thank the chuffers for that – but the Philip Road Centre added something a little extra special to the screening.
Nope – it wasn’t the extra thick industrial black out curtain that did a sufficient job as the sun tried to set across the main screen; it wasn’t even the fancy Dan *shhh* Big Society funded new projector.
One of the many assets that make Wivenhoe’s Moving Image unique is the sense of community that has developed around the independent cinema. The Artist is a film that requires some trust from the audience.
Sure, there’s a musical backing, but you need the audience to find the rhythm of the plot, and to participate collectively, much in the same way that the audience within the film itself was carrying out.
Any film within a film is usually a bad idea. Post-modern twaddle ‘aint my idea of a good weepie. But The Artist managed to transport you back to the Golden Days of the talkies, via the Golden Days of Moving Image, and then place the audience within the audience as part of the plot.
Yeah, post-modern twaddle.
Tell us about the Moving Image high tech approach to the low-tech production…
The sound system performed well for a film whose soundtrack is mostly orchestral. You could also imagine a full on ensemble in the pit of the Philip Road Centre, orchestrating in real time.
Just don’t mention the phrase fleapit.
This is a film that just wouldn’t work on TV. You need the collective, community shared experience, as the rise and fall and [SPOLIER ALERT] rise of the main character is played out in silent form. The ooohs, aaahs and BLOODY HELLS of the audience are essential to the development of the plot.
Come the closing credits and The Artist was the first film at Moving Image where I have witnessed a spontaneous applause from the audience. It could have been corny, but it was a celebration of not only of the film, but also the way in which it worked so well at Wivenhoe’s Moving Image.
Golden days I tell you. Golden Days.