On the dark winter streets of Buckfastleigh the smells of freshly popped popcorn mingled with those of warmly spiced mulled wine, drawing folk into the magic of an old-fashioned moving picture house. It was an evening sharing cinema entertainment with friends and neighbours in a way that no one person’s living room could accommodate and no mass market cinema chain could ever recreate.
Suspending belief, Buckfastleigh Town Hall was transformed into a truly intimate Cinema Club. Cabaret tables, miniature ice creams, atmospheric lighting and the most scrumptious Cosmopolitan cocktails, an absolutely inspired choice of cocktail to accompany the award-winning, star-studded feature film The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Friendly and familiar faces on the door and behind the well-stocked bar cheerily greeted everyone. Before the show the place was buzzing with chat and a bit of goss, season’s greetings, well wishes to Buckfastleigh Cinema Club on its launch night, and of course, eager anticipation of the film.
The lights went down and, judging by the bursts of laughter and applause, the audience were completely surprised and delighted by the brilliantly creative, witty local adverts that preceded the main attraction:
- Searles shop transformed into an on-screen Tardis;
- CafÃ© Michelle’s cappuccino chocolate topping mysteriously letter-shape-shifted in front of the audience’s eyes;
- The Seed’s folk sprouted up, naturally;
- Buckfastleigh Post Office had everyone singing along to ‘Postman Pat’ while on screen Pat and his black and white cat appeared and disappeared like the Cheshire Cat on post office shelves, and there was a mysterious wagging dog’s tail to boot;
- Trevor at Johnson’s Hardware displayed his Aladdin’s cave dream equivalent to builders and DIYers, ‘cept O’s and candles; and
- Bradleys Estate Agents were singing and a’swaying to ‘Our House’.
Then, as every film-goer knows, no film starts without the all-important announcement about mobile phones. This one was a real treat. There, on screen, were Jane and Graham in front of Curios, sat in two of their neatly arranged line of delectably collectable chairs; Jane turned to Graham, ‘The film’s about to start, have you turned your phone off?’ Every face in the house was beaming ear to ear!
The brief pause between adverts and main film exploded with the Cinema Club’s incredible sound system and a glimpse of a possible future feature film from the Club -filling the hall were the sounds of technology and space exploration from the trailer for ‘Martian’, a thrilling space ‘misadventure’ story starring Matt Damon. Then came the main event.
If you’ve never seen ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and weren’t able to attend the showing, you missed a visual feast and romping yarn. The scenes and settings, costumes and characters beautifully, nay exquisitely, drawn. From the opulence of historic grand hotels and the snow-covered Matterhorn mountains to knuckle-duster’d assassins, grand dames and extraordinarily devoted hotel lobby boys.
Meticulously stylish and deadpan, the story spans the period between the two wars against the backdrop of a changing Europe and rise of the Nazis. It centres on Ralph Fiennes’ character Gustave H, a legendary concierge at the famous European hotel, with an eye for wealthy attractive ladies who appreciate Gustave’s cultured and impeccably mannered company. When Tilda Swinton’s bizarre and magnificently crusty character, Madame D a ‘dear, dear friend’ of Gustave’s, dies (or is she murdered??), a battle ensues for her enormous fortune, including the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting ‘Boy with Apple’.
Often hilarious with some seriously funny dark humour thrown in and chase scenes reminiscent of 007 involving skiing and sledging at impossible break-neck speeds down tree and snow-covered steep slopes. Bill Murray and Saoirse Ronan shine equally brilliantly in supporting roles as M Ivan and Agatha.
Then as miraculously as the moving picture house appeared, it disappeared. Leaving in its place a Town Hall once again. And many people eagerly awaiting the next offering from Buckfastleigh Cinema Club.
Cosmopolitan (according to the IBA International Bartending Association)
4 cl Citron Vodka
1.5 cl Cointreau
3 cl Cranberry juice
1.5 cl Fresh lime juice
Shake all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a large cocktail glass. Garnish with lime slice. Enjoy! Especially while watching The Grand Budapest Hotel at Buckfastleigh Cinema Club!