Call Out to Save Hammersmith’s Cinema

Special screening of star-studded drama gains support for campaign

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The effort to retain a cinema in Hammersmith received a major boost last night with a preview screening of a new short film at Cineworld on King Street.

‘The Call Out’ was written and directed by Carlo Nero, the son of the leading light in the Save Our Cinema campaign, Vanessa Redgrave.

Before the showing she related the reasons for her staunch support for cinema in Hammersmith. When she was nine years old she was taken by her nanny to the cinema for the first time at the site of the current Cineworld which was then called the Regal. They walked from Chiswick but got lost on the way and only arrived half way through a showing of Olivier’s Henry V, just as Falstaff was dying. This was a key moment in a lifelong love of cinema that has so far resulted in one Oscar and six nominations for Oscars.

Her husband Franco Nero told how he had started taking his son Carlo to this cinema when he was five and Carlo himself told how as a little boy his local cinema was a magical place where he could experience a host of different worlds. His love of cinema didn’t end when he was a small child. A few years later he would be sneaking into films in Hammersmith with certificates inappropriate for his age.

Carlo told the audience that there was reason to be optimistic about the future of cinema in Hammersmith. Although it seem unlikely that the current cinema site could be saved there was confidence that the developers would give a commitment to include a cinema in their scheme. He pointed to the growing success of smaller community based cinemas such as ones in Brixton and Hackney against competition from the multiplexes.

The film itself was a subtlety observed piece on loneliness in a modern city. It featured an outstanding central performance by Stephen Graham as a London police sergeant. The Liverpudlian actor adopted Ray Winstone's accent for the part which was perfect for the piece's hard-edged sentimentality. He was ably supported by Samantha Bond and Vanessa Redgrave who helped deliver a film which balanced comedy and pathos.

The plot was based on a short story by ex-New York cop Leonard B Francavilla who also happens to be Carlo's godfather. After the screening, he told the audience about how his former job had given him an insight into the isolation of some people's lives both young and old. On numerous occasions he would be called out to break into a flat to find a body which had been undiscovered for weeks sometimes slumped in a chair with a glass of wine poured out in a room filled with pictures of children and grandchildren.

'The Call Out' is to be screened this Thursday (2nd May) on Sky Arts at 9pm as part of their Playhouse Presents series.



May 1, 2013

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