GalleryFilm has been going for several years now and it has achieved what every organiser dreams of; a steady and loyal clientele. Liz Buchanan who leads the team of five film-afficionados states that it is because of the mix of movies.
“We try to be surprising by picking iconic films that have not been over-exposed on television or in cinemas. We also want a mix of styles hoping to contrast a dark and moody film with a light-hearted comedy. So this season we show Capote, a thought-provoking film about the well-known author Truman Capote and this dark movie is later followed by the musical comedy Irma La Douce, starring the brilliant team of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. The two films could not be more different, but each film has stood the test of time.”
Liz and her team all love film passionately, “otherwise we would not be involved,” she admits with a laugh. “And it’s wonderful to see that we have now a following. It’s not just about the films, it’s also the social setting. In balmy evenings we can enjoy the pre-film drinks in the wonderful gardens of Dulwich Picture Gallery, you don’t get that kind of setting in your regular cinema. “Liz does not add that the first glass of wine is included in the ticket price and so are the imaginative nibbles, all prepared by the film team. Nor can you get an additional glass of wine for the bargain price of just two pounds at your local. “We know several of our regulars meet up with friends for a quick supper in one of the restaurants in the village and then come over to the Gallery for some wine and snacks before enjoying the film, thus making it a great evening out.”
The team is meeting very soon to start planning for the 2015 winter season. “On my dream list is Advise and Consent, a political thriller from 1962 directed by the great Otto Preminger and starring Henry Fonda,” says Liz but hastens to add, “we all come with our own wish-lists and then try to agree on the best of the lot.” Liz is quick to admit that they don’t always get it right. “We had never had a Western and we thought that might appeal and last season we picked Winchester 73, a classic, but that was one of the few times we had unsold seats.” There has also sometimes been small technical hiccups, but the Gallery has now invested in top-of-the range technology,” so no more hiccups,” assures Liz.
The coming season starting in September will commence with the showing of Untouchable, a heart-warming story that deals with a difficult subject – physical immobility – in a most politically incorrect manner. This French movie has received plaudits from critics and audiences from all over the world.
“We wanted to honour the brilliant actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and we chose the film Capote. It deals with the American author’s troubled relationship with two murderers which became the basis for his fictional novel In Cold Blood. It is in my view his best film and received 37 awards and nominations,” says Liz. It is a fine movie in its own right but a fitting tribute to the actor who recently died.
Come November, there will be another master class in acting to be seen. The Lion in Winter from 1968 star Katharine Hepburn, Peter O’Toole and a young Anthony Hopkins. The bitter fight between King Henry II and his imprisoned queen Eleanor of Aquitaine give the two lead actors a chance to display a firework of artistry and a personal chemistry seldom seen on the screen.
The season ends with a real Christmas treat, the musical comedy Irma la Douce, starring Jack Lemmon falling for the Parisian tart with a heart, wonderfully acted by the irrepressible Shirley MacLaine in one of her best performances. It is directed by Billy Wilder.
So why not join the regulars for a fine evening out. GalleryFilm offers good company, fine films with proper film notes and an opportunity to meet other film-fanatics and all at a very reasonable price.
£9, £7 for friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery
Each sociable evening includes a complimentary glass of wine, snacks and film notes.
Bar opens at 7.00pm and screening at 7.30pm, Linbury Room, Dulwich Picture Gallery