Liz Buchanan, who heads the GalleryFilm team at Dulwich Picture Gallery, admits they do not always get it right. “This season we have tried to appeal to our filmgoers by listening to what they want. And our first three films this year were all great successes and played to full houses. But our first Western, the classic Winchester 73, was less popular and this was in spite of many of our regulars saying they wanted a Western.”
GalleryFilm has managed, in spite of that Western hiccup, to maintain loyalty from its audience by offering not only good films but also a unique club and convivial atmosphere. Half an hour before the films are screened there are drinks and delicious bites served, first drink is free and if more is needed, the decent wine is only £2 per glass. You won’t find that anywhere else. Regulars chat to each other and newcomers are made especially welcome by the lively GalleryFilm team.
Still, the main attraction is the film and there are some gems to come. First off on 2 June is the delightful romcom, Two for the Road, starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. The chemistry between the two is almost palpable and so is the light touch and the humour. It is written by the English author Frederic Raphael and is directed by the award-winning director Stanley Donen. The film chronicles their 12 year
relationship and why it is on the brink of falling apart. While travelling through a sunlit French landscape they re-assess their marriage.
On 14 July it is time for one of English cinema’s masterpieces, which launched the careers of both James Fox and Sarah Miles. The Servant is directed by John Schlesinger and with Dirk Bogarde in his most demanding role. Also starring is a young Wendy Craig and James Fox. It is the most perfect portrait of the 60’s as well as a sharp depiction of the changing relationship between master and servant. The psychological drama is tightly constructed and has not lost any of its power.
The season continues 8 September with Untouchable, another recent critical favourite. The French movie portrays the relationship between a paraplegic aristocrat, who hires a North African ex-con as his carer. It is funny, touching and lacks any trace of cloying sentimentality. Nine weeks after its release in 2011 in France it became the second biggest box office hit and was nominated for eight Cesar awards, earning Omar Sy the award for Best Actor. This true story of an unlikely friendship will charm everyone.
This is followed 13 October by Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. This is GalleryFilm’s tribute to the actor who died earlier this year and who is regarded as the best of his generation. The film is based
on the life of the author and socialite Truman Capote and especially his relationship with the murderers convicted for the crime Capote wrote about in his novel In Cold Blood. The film was a turning point in the career of Hoffman and was nominated for a staggering 37 awards and Hoffman carried home the Oscar for Best Actor.
Another magnificent star-turn is Lion in Winter, to be shown on 3 November. This film is acclaimed by critics and audience alike. It stars Katherine Hepburn, Peter O’Toole and Anthony Hopkins. Hepburn is a mesmerising Eleanor of Aquitaine and her scenes with her husband King Henry II played by O’Toole crackles with electricity and is considered Hepburn’s best. Many see this film as a master class in acting and should not be missed.
Everyone loves a good musical and Showboat is another classic from the golden age of Hollywood musicals, and GalleryFilm’s Christmas Special on 9 December. The action takes place on a paddle steamer along the Mississippi river and Ava Gardner proves that she was not only one of the most dazzling stars of her era but also a very good singer.
All in all, Liz and her team, has managed to pick films to appeal to as many as possible. Old classics and those about to become classics. Do come and join the fun by enjoying the best films in great company – and with cheerful mingling before the film is screened.
Tickets £9, £7 Friends includes a glass of wine and snacks
Tickets for the first three films are now available
Online at www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
Through Friends at 020 8299 8750 Mon-Fri 10am-4pm
Or from Friends Desk in the Gallery
Tickets can also be bought on the night at the door – cash only!