Newsletter – 29 October 2017

Special events on November 2 & November 9

Our special events are one of the things that make us different from the majority of commercial cinemas and November sees the first two of the current season.

Next Thursday, Nov 2, we are screening I, Daniel Blake. This is a film that the selection group chose to be part of our usual eclectic annual programme, but you may have noticed that we are presenting it jointly with Abingdon Quakers. We became good acquaintances with this group after helping them run a successful screening of The Divide in June earlier this year. As the event went very well (a number of ABCD members took up the invitation to attend), we wondered whether they would like to ‘put their name’ to the Ken Loach film. They were pleased to do so and in fact they have arranged for the film to be briefly introduced by Fran Bennett, an Oxford academic and former director of the Child Poverty Action group.

For our part, we see this collaboration as an opportunity to make ABCD better known locally and hope that we will see some of our one week visitors on November 2 at future screenings. Don’t hesitate to encourage them in this direction. Incidentally, we have an electronic poster for this event. If you would like it, let us know asap on

Then, on Nov 9, Ian Christie returns to introduce and discuss with us Boris Barnet’s The House on Trubnaya, a Soviet silent comedy made in 1928. Ian has been to ABCD several times over the last twenty years, talking about Powell & Pressburger films (e.g. Black Narcissus & A Matter of Life and Death) and, last season, the films of R W Paul. It would be hard to find someone with better credentials as an expert on Soviet cinema. In the 1980s he curated a major exhibition on Eisenstein at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford and earlier this year curated the film aspects of the 1917 centenary exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, “Revolution: Russian Art 1917-32”.

As for the film, the following will give you an idea of what to expect:

“In The House on Trubnaya, the rarest and in many ways the richest of the films in this [DVD] collection, Barnet employs montage as only one tool among many — including freeze-frames, stop-motion animation, flashbacks and an elaborate, multistory set representing the apartment building of the title — to create a surprisingly skeptical comedy about a peasant maid elected to a position of power on the Moscow City Council. Still the least known in the West among the great Soviet filmmakers, Barnet would more than merit a collection of his own for the inventive and profoundly humanistic films he would somehow survive to create through much of the Stalinist era”. (Dave Kehr, New York Times, Oct 7, 2011)

Annual General Meeting on Nov 16

At this stage just a reminder that this important meeting is coming very soon. It is important – ABCD film screenings do not happen by benevolent divine supervention (so far as we know) – they are the product of people doing things. We could do with a few more people to make our organisation a bit more robust and generally more attractive, both to members and potential members. This may or may not mean joining the committee – your choice. Last year, for example, members organised a very successful publicity campaign for our French films; another shopped for comestibles for the Christmas event, which was much enhanced in consequence.

We will send you the formal papers for the meeting a few days before Nov 16, in the form of a members’ newsletter. If you would like to know more about the committee, speak to us on a film night or email us!