Kermode Presents…

Here at The Plaza Cinema we are incredibly lucky to count one of the country’s most prominent film critics amongst our regular patrons.

Mark Kermode has become a familiar presence in print, as film critic of The Observer, on our TV screens and on the radio, building up a loyal fan following in the process. Purely by chance he also likes to watch films at our cinema.

 

Over the years he has also started to show films here as well.

Beginning in 2013 with ‘Silent Running’, Mark has hosted a series of personally curated screenings of 35mm films.

Every few months, just for one night and in one screen, we roll the clock back to the days when mechanical contraptions hammered away and real physical film wound its way across the room, spooling from one platter to another, and passing in front of a white hot lamp that threw a flickering image onto the screen. It is very different from the smooth silent digital cinema of the everyday. Hard to believe that cinemas across the country used to show films this way all the time.

Mark is passionate about film, film the medium, the physical stuff on which a movie is preserved and exhibited, and he takes every chance he can to show real, 35mm, films.

Since that first screening that Mark hosted, the irregular series has come to be known as ‘Kermode Presents’ and has taken in a wide range of different genres and styles.

There have been more science-fiction screenings, including ‘Moon’ which featured a fascinating discussion between Mark and writer-director Duncan Jones.

And there was ‘Hackers’, a film that was certainly ahead of its time and which seems to become more and more eerily prophetic as time goes by. Again, the director, Iain Softley, was on hand to take questions from the audience.

Incredibly, when we screened ‘Sorceror’ in 2014, Mark arranged for the director, William Friedkin, perhaps most famous for making ‘The Exorcist’, to record a message especially for the occasion.

When Mark chose Yann Demange’s Irish troubles film ’71 the films musical composer David Holmes was on hand for a fascinating insight into the troubles from a personal stance. The Northern Irishman was moved to tears after confirming it was the first time he’d watched the feature in full on a big screen. David then took to the decks at an after party at Hubbox alongside Mark’s band The Dodge Brothers.

Last summer Mark’s choice was David Lynch’s black and white classic ‘The Elephant Man’, yet another unexpected change of direction from a critic who’s tastes are as eclectic as his knowledge of film is broad.

Before that, and as if to demonstrate the range of material that can feature in a ‘Kermode Presents’ screening, Mark’s pick was ‘Jailhouse Rock’, which he co-hosted with Elvis super-fan Sanjeev Bhaskar.

As you would expect, some great directors have featured on the series over the years. Not many have appeared twice. ’Inception’ director Christopher Nolan is an exception. That film screened in 2014 and was the ctatlyst for a fascinating discussion. When, earlier this year, ‘Dunkirk’ was released, we were delighted to discover there would be a 35mm version, a rarity these days, and we quickly added it to the list.

All of Mark’s choices could be considered leftfield in one way or another, but I don’t think anyone expected him to pick an Adam Sandler film and declare it an overlooked classic. That is just what happened when we showed ‘Punchdrunk Love’, however, and by the end of the Q&A I don’t think there was anyone who disagreed with him.

It just goes to show that, as long as we can track down a copy on 35mm film, there is no telling what title Mark might pluck from the depths of his internal film archive in order to introduce it to an audience of expectant and inquiring film fans one night, hopefully soon, here at The Plaza Cinema, Truro.

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