Film Clubs are the unsung heroes of the community and Tuffnell Park Film Club may well take the golden popcorn award for best screening schedule with the genius of its soon-to-be five year long Chain. Starting back in 2012, it’s the brainchild of Wayne Gooderham and Nigel Smith and it’s far from just an unending cinematic non sequitur of cult films. Instead, each film is linked to the previous screening in one way or another and it’s created a stream of great cinema that has been going fortnightly for the last five years.
The opening link in The Chain was Roger Altman’s 1992 Hollywood satire, The Player, which was screened back in July 2012, and it led on to the first vote for the next film in the chain. The theme was simply “films referenced in The Player” and the choices were between Bicycle Thieves, Sunset Boulevard and Touch of Evil. The vote picked out Bicycle Thieves as the winner, and from then on in it’s been a continuous thread of stand-out, cutting-edge and unique film experiences.
There’s been everything from Harold And Maude, which took the 7th vote with a theme of “Odd Couples”, to Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, which followed Les Diaboliques, linked by their private school setting. Screenings have also included lesser known delights like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, Stanley Kubrick’s Paths Of Glory, Francis Ford Copolla’s The Conversation, Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha (pictured above) and Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing.
Wayne and Nigel have been giving Tuffnell Park Film Club audiences three distinctive films to vote for every fortnight and they’re now up to their 112th vote, which has selected Peter Bogdanovich’s 1972 romantic comedy, What’s Up, Doc? It’ll be screened on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at the home for the Club, Tuffnell Park’s The Star. The theme for the latest vote was “Neo-SCREWBALL!” leading on from Howard Hawks’ 1938 screwball comedy, Bringing Up Baby.
The themes themselves have been wildly varying over the years with “dreams, dream, dream…” giving audiences a choice between Billy Liar, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Spellbound (Billy Liar won it by a nose), and “psychosexual breakdowns” throwing out Black Narcissus, Death in Venice and Repulsion, with the latter taking the vote.
Just looking at the few we’ve listed above, there are a lot of great films that don’t make the cut, and the Tuffnell Park Film Club has 140 titles that have lost and not been screened as of yet; not least of all Black Narcissus (see trailer below) which Wayne and Nigel have been desperate to show ever since. While it doesn’t account for all of the lost votes, they do have a few more options in the can for additional screenings to the fortnightly Chain. They’re now up to an extra show every other week to cover off special occasions like Halloween, tributes and the quarterly film quiz winners’ selections, making the Film Club a weekly event.
Black Narcissus trailer:
With the five year anniversary just a little over a month away, it’s a fantastic achievement for Tuffnell Park Film Club, which has been going from strength to strength over the years. With plenty of screenings still to come, surely there will be enough space for a showing for the Himalayan convent drama soon.
You can see all of the films in the Chain, along with every theme and vote candidates at www.tufnellparkfilmclub.com/the-chain/. You can also follow Tuffnell Park Film Club on Twitter to keep up-to-date with all of its future screenings.