Cinema City Diaries - Week Four

Harrison Ford in 'Blade Runner'.
Harrison Ford in 'Blade Runner'.

The City of Culture’s month-long celebration of film, ‘Cinema City’, finished with Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece ‘Apocalypse Now’ last night in the Nerve Centre. Clearly experiencing withdrawal symptoms, Sunday Journal reporter and Derry Journal film critic, Andrew Quinn spent the last few days taking in what ‘Cinema City’ had to offer.

Sunday November 24, 8.34pm - ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ at the Brunswick Moviebowl

Martin Sheen in 'Apocalypse Now'.

Martin Sheen in 'Apocalypse Now'.

It was the final night of the Foyle Film Festival and what a brilliant movie to sign off with.

It tells the story of how Walt Disney (Hanks) managed to convince Mary Poppins author PL Travers (Emma Thompson) to give her approval to the 1964 film adaptation Mary Poppins, which starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Without question it’s one of the most magical and wonderful films of the year. It went on general release on Friday.

Before the film was screened, the Foyle Film Festival team handed out their ‘Light In Motion’ awards.

The festival’s ‘Best Irish Short Film’ is recognised by the Academy. This means Derry director Stephen Fingleton, who won the award, could receive an Oscar nomination for his short film ‘S.L.R.’ which stars Liam Cunningham.

Speaking at the festival’s gala closing, Bernie McLaughlin, Foyle Film Festival director, congratulated all the winners: ‘The standard of entries to this year’s Light in Motion Awards was incredibly high so our judges had a few hard decisions to make along the way. We wish all of the filmmakers continued success in their careers. As with previous winners it’s a case of ‘watch this space’.”

For this cinema lover, the last month, while awfully exhausting, has been without question one of the highlights of not only the City of Culture year but of my entire life spent living in Derry.

Understandably, cinemas must cater for the mass market but during Cinema City there was a chance to see less well-known films at both the Brunswick Moviebowl and the Nerve Centre.

I’ll miss it when it’s all gone.

Tuesday November 26, 7.47pm - ‘Blackthorn’ at the Nerve Centre

One of my biggest regrets during ‘Cinema City’ was that I never got to meet the wonderfully talented Sam Shepard.

I’d never seen ‘Blackthorn’ before but I knew what it was about.

Only a handful of people went along to the screening of the film in Cinema One in the Nerve Centre - sometimes less is much much more.

What a delightful film!

Sam Shepard plays an ageing cowboy by the name of James Blackthorn but his real name is actually Butch Cassidy.

In this film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid survive the famous gun battle in Bolivia and we find Butch living out the rest of his days in a small shack in the Bolivian mountains.

Now much older, Butch pines for home and decides he must he see it one more time before he dies so he hits the road and starts making his way north.

A chance encounter with a Spanish engineer means Butch gets a little sidetracked and is forced to bring out his gun one more time in order to survive.

As soon as the film was over I checked to find out what other people thought and I couldn’t understand why the film only had an average rating of 6.5 out of 10.

I spoke to two sisters after the film was over and they, like me, had never seen the film before.

They were called Denise and Michelle Gallagher and that ‘Blackthorn’ was the first film they’d been to see during ‘Cinema City’.

The sisters lamented the fact that last night’s screening of ‘Apocalypse Now’ was to be the last of the month long celebration and like me, they pined for more.

Wednesday November 27, 7.44pm - ‘Blade Runner’ at the Nerve Centre

‘Bombay Bicycle Club’ was playing in the Nerve Centre on Wednesday evening which meant the organisers had to move the screening of Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece, ‘Blade Runner’ from Cinema One to the smaller Cinema Two.

It was a sell out.

‘Blade Runner’ is the same age as me, albeit it is much more attractive looking, and it still has the pulling power of any big movie blockbuster.

There was a group of teenage girls sat next to me. Initially I thought that they thought they were in the queue for ‘Bombay Bicycle Club’ but I was wrong.

It made me smile to think that here was a classic movie made over 30 years ago and three teenagers from Derry were interested enough to come along and see it.

All three told me after the movie was over that they enjoyed the film. Harrison Ford’s Deckard now has three new fans.

There was so many people in the cinema that it was extremely warm but with a film such as ‘Blade Runner’ I didn’t mind putting up with a little heat.

From the film’s opening scene to when Deckard finds the origami unicorn, everything about ‘Blade Runner’ is utterly slick and cool and it epitomise the Science Fiction genre.

Is he a Replicant or isn’t he? This is a question that will rage on forever.

If you want my two pennies worth, I think he is a Replicant.

Friday November 29, 7.34pm - ‘28 Days Later’ at the Nerve Centre

It’s certainly one of Danny Boyle’s best films and after listening to him talk in great depth in St Columb’s Hall last week about how they shot the scene where Cillian Murphy walks over Westminster Bridge, it only seemed fitting that I make it along to the screening of the film in the Nerve Centre.

Just like his films, Boyle is delightful and interesting. The same has to be said about ‘28 Days Later’

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, it opens with Cillian Murphy lying naked on a hospital bed in London. There is no one else around. London is a ghost city.

A virus called, ‘Rage’, has infected most of the population, turning them into zombie-like creatures who crave the blood of humans.

It’s a remarkably well made film and Killian Murphy is amazing in it. And like most Danny Boyle’s films it has kickass soundtrack.

And now the end is here...

Like I’ve already said, the last month has been absolute treat and without contrivance or an ulterior motive I have to praise the hard work of everyone involved with ‘Cinema City’ at the Culture Company and the team responsible for putting the Foyle Film Festival together for all of their hard work. November was one hell of a month.

Legacy has been a buzzword of late and ‘Cinema City’ has already started its own legacy by allowing a 14 year-old Derry filmmaker, Louis Kerr, to screen his own movie ‘Loose Ends’ at the Nerve Centre on Thursday past.

Louis’ screening alone is a sign of the success that was and always will be ‘Cinema City’...