This month both the Phoenix and the Lexi cinemas screened Mid August Lunch. Both sessions were well attended. At the Phoenix the panel consisted of Pauline Moran for Equity, and Michelle Hanson columnist in the Guardian.
There was a lively ‘discussion’ in both cinemas after the viewing. At this point I would like to change the use of this term for what is in fact an exchange of views by members of the audience. There can be no informed ‘discussion’ without demonstrating the different points with actual footage. This can only be done in actual study sessions where the film is examined scene by scene. In my experience of showing films to groups of people, details and even whole scenes of a film can go unregistered or misremembered. Reactions to a film on a first showing are subjective, involving many factors from personal experience and expertise to ideology. The sharing of thoughts about a film with other people enriches the experience of going to the cinema and makes it a social exchange as it exposes different point of view. However this does not help to understand and assess the film any better.
I do think that some films representing older women need to be examined in detail. Some, because they reinforce ageist attitudes and some because they stimulate the intellect or engage the emotions.
Mid August Lunch is in my opinion a film that reinforces prejudice and I hope to demonstrate this by analysing it when it is released on DVD.
Notes: One member of the audience at the Lexi contradicting my last blog did identify with the protagonists.
Michelle Hanson in the Guardian of 27th March wrote an interesting column about it. It is worth reading.