At the end of every year we look back, make a big spreadsheet, and share a summary of what we screened this year. We hope you enjoy it.
UPDATE - SUNDAY 23 JULY
We had a good meeting with the new manager of The Lord Palmerston on Saturday and are happy to confirm that we'll be returning there in August.
We are thrilled to be able to continue running the club with little disruption.
Earlier this week we learned that The Star has partnered with the Highgate-based gin-maker, Sacred, and is about to begin work converting the upstairs function room of the pub into a distillery. A gin joint if you will...
While this no doubt makes sound business-sense for the pub, it’s obviously disappointing news for the Tufnell Park Film Club as it means we have to start looking for a new venue asap.
In light of this, we’ve decided to move forward our fifth birthday screening to Tuesday 1 August and make this our final screening at The Star (& don’t forget to cast your votes!). Festen, the winning film of our Family Secrets-themed vote will now be the first film at our new venue.
The Star have been wonderful hosts to us and our members since January 2016 and we’d sincerely like to thank Duncan, Erik and all their staff for the great support they’ve given us.
We will keep you all informed of our new location.
Nigel & Wayne
We’ve taken part in the annual Scalarama festival every September since we started Tufnell Park Film Club in 2012.
Previously we’ve shown Orson Welles’ sweaty Mexican noir Touch of Evil, Mike Leigh’s indelible portrait of 90s London Naked and last year, our first animated film, Jan Svankmeyer’s stop-motion Alice.
This year Scalarama is partnering with Directed by Women, a global initiative, that celebrates female directors.
We will be part of it by screening two films from our ever-growing list of ‘also rans’. First, on Tuesday 6 September, we’re showing The Virgin Suicides. Sofia’s Coppola’s debut is a stunning adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides novel starring Kirsten Dunst, James Woods and Kathleen Turner.
Then, on Tuesday 20 September, we are changing tone with Sally Potter’s Orlando. Tilda Swinton is characteristically brilliant as the young 16th-century nobleman who Queen Elizabeth I (Quentin Crisp - unforgettable) commands should stay forever young - and does just that.
We hope you can join us for both of these additional screenings.
Stingray is a local favourite and Nigel in particular is an enthusiastic consumer of their American Hot pizza. But it’s not just pizza, they do a full menu of pasta, fish and grills.
We are delighted that film members can now get 10% off their bill at Stingray (limited to the member plus 3 accompanied non-members per table).
All you have to do is show them a valid membership card.
You can see the menu and book a table on the Stingray website.
From January 2016 Tufnell Park Film Club will be held at The Star on Chester Road.
After three-and-a-half years at the Lord Palmerston we've decided to move. Throughout its various management changes we've been able to show films for you at least every two weeks there without too much bother and for that we are extremely grateful.
In the recent months while The Lord Palmerston has had the decorators in we've relocated at very short notice to The Star on Chester Road (long-time members may remember we actually had a few screenings there back in 2013 when the Palmerston's function room was last revamped).
Duncan, the landlord at The Star, as well as his staff, have been wonderfully accommodating to us on these occasions, and on reflection we've decided that his pub will be a better place to host Tufnell Park Film Club from now on.
If you've not been to one of our recent screenings there, the upstairs room at The Star now has nice new curtains (not pictured) so it feels very cosy. One thing we've always enjoyed about The Star is that it has an HD projector and a good amp. And by January it will have a lovely new screen which is larger than the Lord Palmerston's so films there will also look and sound better and bigger than ever.
Very generously Duncan is offering all film club members a 20% food discount on a film club night (with no need to book your meal in advance) and 10% off food at all other times. All you will have to do is show a valid membership card when you order.
Our first film as permanent residents at The Star will be Sunset Boulevard on Tuesday 5 January. Coincidentally it was up for the vote at our very first screening in August 2012 (the link - films referenced in The Player).
Our ever-popular quarterly film quiz will also be back at The Star on Sunday 10 January.
It hasn’t been an easy decision (as regular members will no doubt be able to confirm; thanks for putting up with our dithering) but now that we've made it we are very excited about January and picking up where we left off. We are sure that you'll appreciate the hospitality at The Star and continue to enjoy watching films with us there on Tuesday evenings.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns do just post them below or send us an email.
And lastly, a sincere thanks for your patience and support throughout 2015: it has been appreciated. Roll on 2016!
Nigel and Wayne
An interview with Karina Longworth about her podcast You Must Remember This.
We've had a blast running the Tufnell Park Film Club these last two and half years. It continues to be an absolute pleasure to spend most of our Tuesday evenings sat up in The Lord Palmerston's appropriately named 'Club Room' watching great films in the company of an engaged group of people.
Rest assured/be very afraid we have no plans to hang up our clipboards any time soon, but to help cover our costs, from January 2015 we will be raising our annual membership rate from £10 to £15 a year. (We screened 34 films in 2014 and have no intention of slowing down next year so we hope you agree with us that being a film club member is still a bargain.)
We will still operate our 'try before you buy' policy so new members won't have to join until they come to their second screening.
And as recent screenings have been very busy, we'll be allowing members to reserve a seat in advance (just drop us an email and it shall be done!)
If your membership is due to expire in the next few months you may want to renew before Christmas to avoid the price increase.
But most importantly, in the new year we'll be replacing our cardboard membership cards with deluxe plastic ones. (Yes. You read that right: PLASTIC!)
It's a brave new world, people
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Nigel & Wayne
Tufnell Park, London
Sunday 29 September 2013
You don’t know me but I’d like to thank you for not only starring in Heathers and Beetlejuice but also for being the catalyst that broadened my cinematic and musical horizons.
On Tuesday evening I’m introducing Night on Earth at the film club I run with a friend in North London. I first saw Jim Jarmusch’s film at the Phoenix Cinema in Oxford when it came out in 1992 purely because you were in it. I was 15 at the time and pretty well obsessed with you. That picture at the top of this page? That was on my wall.
I was a committed teenage film geek back then. Little has changed. I first heard about Night on Earth because I saw you on the cover of Sight & Sound magazine. It was like no film I’d seen before: quirky, arty and with subtitles in three languages.
More importantly it was like no film I’d heard before. As a voracious reader of the music press I knew who Tom Waits was and had heard a few of his songs before. But Night on Earth was the first time I’d been exposed to a sustained blast of his weird percussion, accordions, harmoniums and pump organs and I loved every second. As soon as the film finished I walked to Our Price to buy the soundtrack. It cost more than £13! On tape! Instead I bought another Waits album I’d heard was meant to be good - Rain Dogs.
From that moment I became a devotee of both Tom Waits and Jim Jarmusch. It was only later that I learnt that Jim Jarmusch had used the music from Rain Dogs in the first film he made with Tom Waits, Down By Law.
I’m sure I’ve read that you’re a big Tom Waits fan. You’ve probably met him, after all you were both in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. When I saw Tom Waits play at Hammersmith Apollo in 2004 your old boyfriend Johnny Depp was in the front row! So many connections!
The connections from Night on Earth that sent me down a variety of cultural rabbit holes. Into Jim Jarmusch’s previous films, which in turn introduced me to John Lurie and Screamin' Jay Hawkins; towards more of Spike Lee and Aki Kaurismaki’s movies after seeing their regular actors in Night on Earth, and most significantly for me, to Tom Waits’ incredible back catalogue.
Without you, would I ever have travelled to Berlin and Paris (twice) to see Tom Waits? Would I have seen this clip of Tom putting a red snapper down his pants? Possibly not. So thank you once again for opening my eyes and ears.
It’s an idea that started three years ago with Scala Forever, a collaboration between various London venues and organisations that paid tribute to the legendary Kings Cross repertory cinema that Stephen Wooley started in 1979.
Famous for its cult double bills, zombie all-nighters and the resurrection of Hollywood fare that seldom got a look-in at The NFT, the cinema’s projector bulbs were dimmed in 1993 after a legal battle with Warner Bros following an illicit screening of the then-banned A Clockwork Orange.
When I moved to London in 1999 The Scala had just reopened as a music venue but its days as a cinema where you could see John Waters films one day and John Wayne the next were still spoken about in reverential tones. While the BFI screens a wide array of old movies and cinemas like the magnificent Phoenix in East Finchley show the occasional oldie, the culture of repertory cinemas in London is dead.
(If you do want to experience an exciting rep cinema culture then get the EuroStar to Paris. I’ll never forget seeing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with a sold-out audience on a Sunday afternoon some years ago.)
The argument goes (and presumably the economics bear this out) that in a world of John Cassavetes box sets, stunning restorations of classics on Blu Ray and a decent smattering of foreign films on-demand on iTunes and LOVEFiLM there’s no market for cinemas to show old movies.
In their absence, the big question when we all have so many options at our fingertips is who’s going to help us pick what’s worth watching? Who’ll draw our attention to the gem we’ve never heard of? Where can we watch that film we’ve vaguely heard of but that’s never on TV and is one of Netflix’s many blindspots?
That’s what reps like the Scala did brilliantly and I think it’s one of the things people like about what me and Wayne Gooderham are doing at Tufnell Park Film Club. We’ve never tried to give anyone a film education or inflict anything too esoteric on members. Instead we attempt to adhere to Billy Wilder’s golden rule of “Thou shalt not bore” with films that are consistently entertaining and intelligent no matter when or where they were made. And our voting system allows members to influence the direction of programming.
There’s so much to enjoy in Touch of Evil and I hope we’ll see you when we show the film on Tuesday 17 September and raise a glass to the continuing efforts to keep the The Scala’s vision alive.
The Films We Wish You'd Voted For This Year
Being overly pre-prepared we’ve actually bought DVDs of films one of us was sure would win only to see them get hardly any votes at all (Nigel was convinced you’d all want to watch Saturday Night Fever!).
With the obvious exception of Brigadoon we’ve been pretty well pleased about how the voting’s gone but there are a few films that have been up for the vote that we dearly wish had triumphed.
To complement our Annual Report, these are our five picks each of the also-rans. If you haven't seen any of them, we humbly recommend that you rectify this at your earliest convenience.
Fun fact: The film inspired The Hold Steady song One For The Cutters.
So, those are picks. Let us know if there are any films you wish had won.
Four musicals that are much better than Brigadoon
It’s too easy to point out that Brigadoon isn’t the greatest musical of all time, and even though it made a packet at the box office, it’s pretty unwatchable to a modern audience (especially to anyone who’s ever met a real live Scotch person).
The accents are Dick van Dyke- in- Mary- Poppins dreadful and the evocation of a Scottish community full of twinkly-eyed tam o’ shanter-wearing, bekilted Highland dancing gephyrophobiacs is sentimental and laughably twee
Might I draw your attention to any one of these glorious musicals that are more fun, have better tunes and superb dancing?
Busby Berkeley‘s crowning achievement. As with most of the films where Buzz choreographed the dance sequences, the plot is largely irrelevant and you stick with it for the dance sequences. This film includes the breath-taking Lullaby of Broadway sequence: hundreds of perfectly synchronised tap dancers, filmed to emphasise the geometry of their mass. And with a peculiarly gruesome ending.
Lullaby of Broadway
Ginger Rogers could do anything Fred Astaire could do, only backwards and in high heels. They had rehearsed and danced this sequence so many times that the beautiful dress she is wearing is beginning to disintegrate and tiny filaments of ostrich feather float in the light. It’s said that she was bleeding into her shoes by the final take and she performs three amazing back bends, lower each time, and always ridiculously graceful.
Cheek to Cheek
Debbie Reynolds is so perky and loveable throughout this film. She’s wholesome and cheery and vivacious and is a contrast to the inherent seriousness of Gene Kelly, he always struck me as someone who took themselves terribly seriously. It’s worth talking “the whole night through” just so you can sing this song. It’s a real “let’s put on the show right here” song.
Okay, it’s not strictly a musical, but it is a film about dancing and music and this song pops up several times throughout the soundtrack. At this point, we know that you can dance any steps you like, that Scott will fulfil his father’s thwarted dreams it’ll all end happily ever after and that love is indeed in the air.
Love Is In The Air
These are my personal picks of five more of The Master's films that you might not have seen before but are certainly worth your time.
That said, I hope Kaspar Hauser whet your appetite for more Herzog, and these are my five recommendations for what to watch next. All are suitable for beginners.
Have I got the right films on this list? Leave a comment if you agree or disagree.
They should be viewed as Gold, Silver & Silvery, rather than Gold, Silver & Bronze. How would you rank Woody’s films?