Monday, June 06, 2016

Modern Romance and Check the Gate at The Prince Charles Cinema

As the digitisation of cinema continues apace, the debate about the continued relevance of 35mm has largely focused on issues of shooting and preservation, but one key aspect of the celluloid issue that rarely gets discussed is that of film exhibition. Watching a film on a 35mm print is a distinct pleasure that is disappearing from our cinemas as too many (including the venerable BFI Southbank) opt for the cheaper and easier DCP options. I have access to a lot of HD digital copies of films at home, so when these cinemas screen a classic film on DCP (often using the ridiculous oxymoron “digital print”) there is no motivation for me to buy a ticket, whereas a presentation on film has a life, a texture and a richness to the image that no digital simulacra can match.

While we have probably lost the battle for new releases being released on prints (aside from a few who still use their muscle to do so), the presentation of older films in the original format is a battle that’s worth fighting. So I’m thrilled to be involved in Check the Gate, a new season of films at the Prince Charles Cinema in collaboration with Park Circus aimed at championing the experience of watching films projected from film. The Prince Charles has firmly established itself as capital’s home of celluloid with a continuing programme of 35mm and 70mm presentations, and for this season they invited a variety of curators to choose a film that they would love to see projected.

We at The Badlands Collective have taken the opportunity to present Modern Romance, Albert Brooks’ brilliant and criminally undervalued romantic comedy, which is unavailable in the UK on DVD or any streaming service, and while Brooks has been hailed for a number of his acting performances in recent years, his great work as a director – particularly the four films he made between 1979 and 1991 – are frequently overlooked, when they should be as iconic and acclaimed as the work of Woody Allen. Our screening of Modern Romance takes place on August 11th at 20:45 and tickets are available here.

While you’re on the Prince Charles website, check out the rest of the Check the Gate lineup, which constitutes the best repertory cinema programme that I have seen in many years. I’m particularly excited about 35mm presentations of Apocalypse Now, Thelma & Louise, In a Lonely Place, O.C. & Stiggs and Pride of the Yankees – plus the mouthwatering prospect of The Right Stuff projected from 70mm – but whatever you’re into, you’ll find something to excite you in this eclectic and brilliantly curated season. The full list is here.
Viva 35mm!