RADIANT CIRCUS travelled across London for our first visit to Classic Cinema Club – Ealing in Ealing Town Hall and a screening / discussion of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai comedy SANJURO (Japan, 1962). Here’s our writeup.
The words “Kurosawa” & “laugh riot” don’t often get used hand-in-hand, but SANJURO (1962) is one of the maestro’s funniest films. From Toshirô Mifune’s eye-rolling ronin to Takako Irie’s sublime performance as the (vain)glorious Chamberlain’s Wife, and a perpetually self-imprisoning POW, there is a lot to chuckle at here. However, the final act of violence is so breathtaking, so extreme, there can be no doubting the seriousness of the film’s message: a really good sword remains in its scabbard.
This was our first chance to meet the fine folk at Classic Cinema Club – Ealing, projecting in the grand civic surroundings of Ealing Town Hall. From a warm welcome by all volunteers to good projection and an insightful post-screening presentation, it is clear why community cinema continues to outpace its commercial kin; brilliant films and interactive special features where you’re part of the action, for a modest price.
The economies of running community screens remain a challenge. Helped by organisations like Cinema For All – who can assist with the all-important licensing fees – and a venue which offers discounts for local groups, a good number of tickets still need to be sold each week to break even (and get ready for the next show). Whilst film industry funders flock to the next special project to build “new audiences”, it’s the routine volunteer commitment – week in, week out – of sharing the world’s finest features that should command more serious support.
RADIANT CIRCUS has always been about the hunt for adventurous moving pictures, travelling across London to find the best of what’s on. Of course you should keep supporting your local indies, but we also hope more of you will join us on our journeys. For some reason film audiences don’t travel. More people should follow the film the same way theatre goers fear nothing of a night tube home from a fringe theatre hit or a site-specific venue.
What will you find when you get there? Classic Cinema Club – Ealing offers authentic film appreciation at its finest. No grandstanding blowhards, no 4D “in your face” technology, no highfaluting film theory, just a determination to screen brilliant films and make sure they (really) matter. Thanks to committee members Alan, Robin, Ian, Kathy and Simon for making RADIANT CIRCUS feel so welcome (and sorry if we’ve missed anyone!). We’ll be back, for sure.
HUNGRY FOR MORE?
- Find SANJURO (1962) on IMDb.
- SANJURO screened at Classic Cinema Club – Ealing at Ealing Town Hall as part of their LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! season (SEP to OCT 2018). Consider a membership of just £10 for 12 months to support their brilliant work.
- Support RADIANT CIRCUS by clicking the link and buying your copy of SANJURO on BFI DVD from the big river.
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Featured Image: SANJURO (1962).