3 March 2012

Great deal all round

Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess in Broken Blossoms (1919), via Wikimedia Commons

I’m not a frequent film-goer, much to Megan’s despair. I prefer my art live. But this year we’ve joined the ANU Film Group so I’m attending more films. By now, it’s almost a venerable institution. I was a member 27 years ago (!) and it’s pretty much unchanged: same handouts and posters, same venue, seemingly the same screen and PA. What’s to like about it? It’s diverse and exposes you to all manner of films. It’s a just-comfy-enough venue (with seating that’s adequately raked) with an undergrad vibe (but with its share of grey-hairs in the audience). There are no ads – just lights out and film on. It’s easy to park. It’s open to all comers and it’s cheap. I still remember with a chill the opening scene of Something wicked this way comes – one amongst several films I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. And I love the chatter that arises after some films. You can tell you’re surrounded by people who know whether the story of the virus in Contagion is feasible, or whether Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, could have written Shakespeare’s plays, as recounted in Anonymous. (FYI, there was chatter after Contagion but chuckles after Anonymous). And, despite their better surroundings and 3D sound, I prefer to escape the commercial grind of cinema chains. ANUFG is a great deal and can be engrossing or just a plain entertaining interlude. Recommended when there’s no jazz on.

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