Tuesday, 28 September 2010

'Welcome to sunny East Finchley'

Love him or hate him, Mark Kermode knows what he's on about. He's like Kim Newman in that his encyclopedic knowledge of film is sort of depressing; there's no way a yawning airhead like me could cram that much knowledge into my tired little brain. Some people say he's arrogant, too hyperbolic and sure of his own opinion. But I don't reckon that's true. It's not arrogance, it's a willingness to contribute. Followers of Mark Kermode's Film Blog will be familiar with his habit of sharing notoriously audacious views via a short video - and then encouraging viewers to respond to said views in the 'comments' section. A few weeks later, he'll discuss those comments in a follow-up video. Those who comment are wise to be equally audacious. It's a way of building a public forum where everyone's opinion is valid. His recent discussion of the impact of 3D cinema is a good example.

I find it all a bit heart-warming. That's possibly because I'm an emotional wreck. Anyway, his latest post was even more self-indulgent than most:

I defy even the most fervent Kermode-hater not to have their cockles warmed by his passion and enthusiasm for the Phoenix cinema in East Finchley. Especially when he keeps going on about how 'glamorous' it is these days. I mean... is it? My own equivalent would have to be the Vue cinema in Clifton Moor, York, back in its hey-day when it was a Warner Village Cinema. That's certainly never been a glamorous place, stuck in the middle of a retail park, adorned by a carpet warehouse and a Tesco's. Its car park is awfully popular with teenage boys on mopeds. But back when I was a wee bairn, my Grandad Syd and I spent every weekend at the Warner Village / Vue cinema in Clifton Moor. Once, when I was 9, he took me to see The X Files movie, which was rated 15. Nothing more exciting had ever happened to me, ever. Another time I took a day off school to queue around the building to see Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace. Oh fuck off, I was only little.

What I'm getting at is that Mark Kermode's attitude to cinema evokes these kinds of memories. It's inclusive, not exclusive. Everybody's experience of film is worth talking about. The stronger the impact of that experience, the more passionate your opinion of it, the better. So just remember next time you hear about that time he got ejected from the Cannes première of Lars Von Trier's The Idiots for screaming, from the back of the cinema, 'C'est de la merde! C'est de la merde!': he only says it because he cares.

No comments:

Post a Comment