‘Clustered around a bright light, being told stories’

Last night, for the first time in 25 years, a movie was shown in Ormskirk. There used to be two cinemas in the town – the Regal (now a Tesco) and the Pavilion (now a nightclub.) Since then, huge multiscreens have appeared nearby, but to there has been no way in the town itself to see film as it ought to be seen – projected at a size big enough to absorb you into its alternative reality. Back in 1981 The Warriors was the last film to be shown at the Pavilion… which made it the natural choice as the first film to be programmed by Edge Hill’s Short Cuts film Society. It was a good night with around 120 people, including a sprinkling of local VIPs. The title of this post comes from Dr Peter Wright‘s excellent introduction – reminding us of the primal appeal of cinema as ‘a story told in the dark’, and outlining some of the ways that even ‘trashy’ movies can be thought-provoking. His talk situated the film in a number of contexts – as a text with origins in Greek literature; as part of late 70s culture (along with Shergar and the Royal Wedding); and as a film produced just as home video was threatening the industry. That wasn’t bad for a ten-minute talk, and left me envying the Film Studies students who get to spend serious amounts of time thinking in depth about this kind of stuff.

As an Ormskirk resident, the renaissance of cinema in the town is a small miracle. And, as one of The Warriors characters says, ‘Miracles is the way things ought to be.’