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Exciting news has reached pasties & cream of plans to create a state-of-the-art, two-screen digital cinema and cultural space in Newlyn, in the old Turner’s fish house (pictured above). Up your street? Get thee along to the open day on Thursday to look at the plans & show your support.
With the local elections last week having taken the area’s pulse and found it somewhat faint, this is a well-timed reason to be cheerful. If planning goes smoothly, says owner Suzie Sinclair, it could be up and running by early next year.
My favourite line of the press release is the bit where it promises ‘comfy seats’ and luxurious surrounds. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Savoy Cinema in its own quirky, insufficiently heated way but the seats could never be called comfy.
Open day 2–5pm for general public – all visitors welcome. St Peter’s Church Hall, The Coombe, Newlyn.
I nearly died of surprise when I got to the cinema last night to find the Penwith Film Society‘s screening of ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ had sold out, and a cluster of people waiting for some unlikely tickets to become available. It’s not often the Saveloy sells out.
Other than the brilliant Penwith Film Society’s weekly screenings, there’s an awful lot of mainstream fare, so the second cinema-related surprise of the week is that there’s also a one-off screening of a locally shot art-house film taking place on Thursday evening.
Local film director Mark Jenkin’s second feature-length film, Happy Christmas, is the film in question – ‘an interwoven seaside hymn to gift-wrapped promises and unwanted presence’. It is filmed in Penzance and around West Cornwall – I am hoping from the photo stills to see some gritty after-dark shots of the prom. Drinkies & nibbles in the bar upstairs afterwards.
Book in advance. www.merlincinemas.net
I’ve had a bath, downloaded my photos, and strewn muddy camping kit all over the lounge. After the non-stop stimulation and good vibes of Port Eliot Festival over the weekend, Monday morning from where I’m sitting is looking a little grey and boring.
But I still have many inspirational words ringing in my ears, so I thought I’d write a blog post before they are drowned out by the pile of admin tasks. As someone tweeted last night: “Back from Port Eliot with serious festival state of mind. Do I go back to work tomorrow, or set up an organic cider press in Cornwall? Sigh”.
The journalistic shorthand for writing about Port Eliot is to say that it is incredibly posh. Well, it turns out Read the rest of this entry »
Anyone else caught The Way Back? It’s an epic film showing at the moment in several Merlin cinemas telling the thought-to-be-true story of a group of prisoners in a Russian Gulag who escape and walk 4,000 miles from Siberia to India – and freedom – in the most ridiculously inhospitable conditions and with the odds stacked horrifically against them.
Well, aside from being an inspiring film with staggering scenery, for Cornish viewers there is an added twist. As I sat there in chilly conditions in St Ives’ cinema, just a few miles away in Camborne lives the man who claims to be the real-life protagonist of this drama. Having kept it to himself for decades, in 2009 Witek Glinski told his tale to a journalist.
I thought a quick google would establish the bare bones of the true story but no… pretty much all facts to do with this seem still to be under discussion and whole books have been written on the subject. Here’s one of many articles about it. And another. I got sucked in and before long I had been clicking around for the best part of an hour.
Still, true or not true, and whether the real-life mega-hero of the story does indeed live in Cornwall or Read the rest of this entry »
If you missed the documentary on BBC4 the other night entitled ‘The Art of Cornwall’, fret not – you can still catch it on iPlayer here for another four days.
It is well worth watching, energetically narrating the remarkable story of how St Ives came to be one of the Britain’s most important art colonies, and generously seasoned with anecdotes and background about the lives of the main players (Ben Nicholson, Babs Hepworth, Wallis, Frost, Heron…).
Even if I did find the commentary by Dr James Fox a little over-dramatised and breathless at points, his levels of enthusiasm and depth of knowledge won me over (and helped me overlook the wearing of a suit on windswept Cornish cliffs in the opening frame and the glossy sports car ;-)). Apart from anything else, there is some truly inspiring footage of West Penwith. Take a look.
Here’s the Beeb outline:
“For a period in the 20th century, Cornwall was the home of the avant garde, eclipsing Read the rest of this entry »
Last night I watched The Wrecking Season on BBC4, a wonderful self-portrait of the late Cornish playwright Nick Darke, shot not long before his untimely death. I just found out that you can’t watch this back on the iPlayer, but I was so taken by it, I’m going to post about it anyway.
Bound together by Darke’s gently passionate character, and his inquisitiveness about the great theatre of the ocean, the docu-film explores the tradition of beachcombing (or wrecking) and his fascination with long-haul drift. Incredibly, Read the rest of this entry »
Unless you’ve been hiding under a large granite rock on Bodmin Moor for the past year (a small one wouldn’t do it), most Cornish dwellers will know that the new, Tim Burton-directed Alice in Wonderland was filmed in Cornwall. More specifically in Antony House and grounds, a vast 18th-century pile in east Cornwall on the beautiful Rame Peninsula, overlooking the River Lynher.
But even if you have managed to escape the news, you wouldn’t get far into a visit here before the penny dropped. There’s an Alice-themed shop, Queen of Hearts cupcakes (see above – obviously I fell for them hook, line and sinker) and an automated Mad Hatter in a clocktower on the lawn exclaiming repeatedly ‘I shall be late!’. (Not to mention a timed ticket system to even out the flocking crowds.)
And who could blame them for hamming it up a bit? It’s not every day in the life of an old Cornish country mansion manned by silver-haired volunteers that you get a Disney film crew in your midst.
I went to Antony House last Saturday and Read the rest of this entry »
I clicked my way around Penzance the other day with Google Street View, which was pretty exciting, but this morning I stumbled across some even more compulsive footage: a video of Penzance on a sunny day in 1964.
Probably only long-standing locals will make it to the end of the six minutes, lovely though they are, but it’s worth a look if only for the chirpy Beatles soundtrack, the cool old cars, bobbies on bikes, and to marvel at how little, essentially, PZ has changed.
I did, however, note one key difference: no one in Penzance dresses that smartly anymore. Men in suits and braces? Women in dresses and heels (all sporting a fetching pastel-cardie-over-the-shoulder look)? I feel so underdressed in my Hager vor hoodie.
The last film I saw at Redruth’s Regal cinema was Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which dates the trip at circa 1988 – a time when I almost certainly would have been wearing high-waisted stonewashed jeans with zips at the ankles. So you could say my visit last night (to see The Hurt Locker) was long overdue.
Two decades on, the Regal is a surprisingly fancy affair, tricked out with neon deco signage, a bar and – the unique selling point – a licensed screen with saloon-style black leather seats, two-person love seats and acres of leg room.
That perennially short-changed Redruth should be the chosen cinema for this sort of flagship treatment isn’t perhaps as surprising as it first seems. Architecturally, this is easily the county’s most interesting cinema, an art deco affair dating back to 1935, with a gorgeous fin tower on the left, deco signage and a circular lobby. Read the rest of this entry »