The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
Senior Screenings at the Curzon, Clevedon
10 October 2012

The Curzon cinema in Clevedon, near Bristol, runs a series of Senior Screenings on Wednesday afternoons. On 10 October 2012 they screened A Matter of Life and Death (1946) and they invited me, Steve Crook, to introduce the film and to lead the discussion group afterwards.

The Curzon cinema in Clevedon isn't a part of the Curzon chain of art house cinemas that we know and love. It is a community cinema that just happens to share the same name. There's been a cinema there since 1912 and it's been through various ownerships and a few moments of crisis but the local community managed to band together and have run it since 1996.

It's across the other side of the country from me, 150 miles each way. But I thought it was worth the trip as I needed some time off work and I always like to discover cinemas that I haven't visited before. A pleasant enough journey, on the super-slab for most of the way. Very few hold ups, apart from a brief one on the outer London car park (AKA the M25) but even that was fairly clear of traffic.

I got there by about midday so that I had a chance to look around the cinema and the town itself. It's not a place I'd been to before. Clevedon is a seaside town, actually on the Severn estuary rather then the sea itself. It has a pier which is still managed by a local preservation society, despite attempts to have it demolished by the local district council - another victory for the community :)

The cinema has a nice museum attached which shows a lot of the history of the cinema and has a nice collection of projectors of various sizes & formats.

The screening started at 2pm. The cinema is surprisingly large for such a small town, holding over 300 seats and with a fair sized screen. The Seniors Screenings matinées often attract over 50 people I am told, we didn't manage that many for this screening but they were an interesting and interested crowd.

I was introduced and read out an introduction. The film itself was a very good quality digital print from Park Circus. A nice round of applause from the audience as it finished and as I wiped away the customary tears.

Most of them remained for the discussion afterwards. Tony Billinghurst is a member of the group of Seniors and has introduced and led discussions himself - so he knows the ropes & knows many of the audience. He started by asking how many had never seen it before - surprising number of hands were raised. Then he handed over to me for the main part of the discussion. Quite a lively discussion with some interesting questions and comments, many of them commenting on the unusual nature of the film, which was much enjoyed, and the high level of intelligence of the story & script. All most enjoyable.

Then we gradually drew things to a close with a nice vote of thanks and an appreciative round of applause. We all said our good-byes and I set off for home by about 5pm. A lovely day out.

Other P&P trips