If you find the ambiance of the Rio Cinema in Burnham cosy and welcoming with its comfortable seats, then you would like the U3A Film Club, which meets in a private house and adds to the pleasure the presence of friends and the arrival of refreshments. Unfortunately most of us will not be able to enjoy this, as there are no vacancies in the group at the moment.
The group meets monthly and, as the name implies, watches films, but is also a social occasion. Seated comfortably with wine and nibbles, coffee and biscuits, the film is watched and interruptions discouraged except that is for spontaneous laughter or gasps, as one would at the cinema. Films are usually no longer than 2 hours. Opinions are reserved until the end when a short discussion ensues on various aspects of the film ranging from things such as the costumes in Hello Dolly to the plots and of course the actors which in turn leads to conversations about other films. As each person’s taste varies not all members attend every month but it seems that if Daniel Craig was in a film then the ladies would all be present and the men don’t have much persuading to attend if Sophia Loren is acting.
Between them the dozen or so members have amassed a choice of around 400 films on DVD or video. These are all carefully catalogued and marked with the month and year when the film was seen: a democratic decision is reached as to which film will be shown the following month. Courtroom dramas and spy films are popular with the group but they also watch war films and musicals but not the most up to date films or foreign language films.
One of the films seen early in the group’s existence was Cathy Come Home, Jeremy Sandford’s drama about a young family’s slide into homelessness and poverty. It was a defining moment in the 1960s, demonstrating how far drama could influence the political agenda. The controversy generated by Cathy Come Home led to public outrage at the state of housing in Britain, and gave a welcome boost to the (coincidental) launch of the homelessness charity Shelter a few days later.
In June Cassandra Crossing will be shown and sounds fascinating. The plot of this film is set around the existence of a strain of plague at the U.S. mission at the International Health Organization; three terrorists seek to blow up the mission. One of the terrorists manages to escape capture and the fear is that he is infected with the plague. He stows away on a train and the fears are increased with the risk that all the passengers on the train will become infected. The train is then to cross a dangerously unsound bridge, Cassandra Crossing………. and – male members of the group – keep the evening free as Sophia Loren is one of the stars!!