“A certain existentialist despair…”
Even that, uttered by another person in the queue , wasn’t enough to put me off going to one of my favorite cinemas ever the other evening. Headed to the IFI because they had the restored version of Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle Of Algiers (restored? I can’t imagine what it looked like before, as it was still a bit messy). It was brilliant, well worth the hype and a genuinely unmissable piece of Italian neo-realist 60’s afro-French political drum thumping. Unique and compelling.
Before you take that and make what you will of it I should establish my credentials. I’ve been obsessed with French cinema since I was a teenager and with the IFI since in opened in September 1992 (I was 19! Jaysus!). I saw the first two movies there – the Sandra Bernhardt documentary Without You I’m Nothing and the Jeremy Irons drama Waterland and since then I’ve seen everything from Sullivan’s Travels and Aidan Walsh – Master Of The Universe to Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, from Hidden and Swimming Pool and Night Watch to 2001, from Metropolis and Irreversible and Ulysses to the legendary 7 and a bit hour performance/documentary/meditation Hitler – Ein Film Aus Deutschland and a couple of hundred other lost afternoons and evenings.
For years I’d lived there. It’s been a while and to be back there last week was lovely. It’s the place I can always indulge the nerdiest of my film loves (and where the feck do we go since The Lighthouse closed?!?!?) and I had a great time. I’ll be back. Soon.
The one thing about going there is, movie for movie, I’ve been disappointed less in the IFI than anywhere else over the whole of my moviegoing life. Never been? Shame…