Monday, 5 April 2010
National Film Theatre
Going down to the NFT, home to the Bfi (British Film Institute) is probably the thing I miss most about no longer living in London.
It's been spectacularly renovated by Rick Mather Architects and there's now a great new bar and restaurant. Still I'm more than a bit nostagic for the days when the only bar was at the Thames side entrance. Like the Royal Festival Hall it was a place which wasn't trendy exactly, just a meeting place for film lovers young and old. I guess it's still the same but to me the NFT bar now feels a little bit self conscious.
In any case it was the place I first saw so many classic films. It all started with a screening of George Lucas's THX 1138. At each screening there are film notes to take away and I've kept every one of them. They're in a folder and with each film I see the notes go into the file. It's like a chronology of my time in London.
I used to meet friends at the bar and often arrrived early sitting at the high benches which looked out at the Thames, watching the world go by with a glass of wine and soaking up the atmosphere.
The last film I saw there was Hirokazu Kore-Eda's gentle film 'Still Walking'. But looking through my collection of film notes, some of my highlights include Wim Wender's 'The American Friend', Satyajit Ray's 'Pather Panchali', King Vidor's 'The Fountainhead', John Frankheimer & George Axelrod's 'The Manchurian Candidate', Alexander Mackendrick's 'Sweet Smell of Success', Ingmar Bergman's 'Fanny & Alexander', Roman Polanski's 'Chinatown', Martin Scorsesse 'Mean Streets', Terrace Mallick's 'Days of Heaven' and Billy Wilder's 'The Apartment'.
Long live the Bfi!