Nerja Cinema Club

By Daniel Kruyer
Remember Saturday mornings when Mums and Dads could have a well earned “lie–in” while all their little darlings went off with the rest of the kids down the street to the local flea pit?

Mile End Odeon

Mile End Odeon


Every seat in the Mile End Odeon, my local, would have a screaming Ovaltina sitting on the edge of it, lapping up the latest instalment of the weekly serial. Hundreds of screaming boys and girls delighting in Earth Men killing Martians, Cowboys killing Indians and Flash Gordon foiling Ming the Merciless; convinced even then that “a man could fly” as Superman whizzed around the world wearing a real cape unlike the old bits of curtain we had to wear in order to keep the world a safer place. And even in the Mile End Road the Cinema proprietor need only rely on one man in a tuxedo and two short middle aged ladies armed only with a red rimmed torch to prevent one or more of their patrons from burning the place down. Those were the days and then the Russians had to go and move into the Crimea and spoil it all!

Saturday Morning Pictures is where many a movie lover like me became smitten. And we all like movies don’t we? Movies make us laugh and cry. They educate. At their best they transport us to places that many of us will only visit through the medium of film and give us an insight into the lives of the people who live there. At their worst they provide us with an opportunity to sit in a large dark room with a bunch of complete strangers and grab a couple of hours shut eye. What a privilege then to have our own Saturday afternoon / Wednesday evening cinema club right here, in Nerja.

The movies shown each month are chosen by the Nerja Cine Club’s Artistic Director Paula who, as well as having a real talent for choosing all that’s good from the world’s latest releases, also happens to be a qualified medic, meaning that more often than not there will be a Doctor In the House. Talking of which, each season will have at least one classic movie to be enjoyed, often included to celebrate the Birth, Marriage or Death of the film’s maker or star. This month’s crop has already given us Wolfgang Peterson’s sublime anti -war master piece ‘Das Boot’(happy birthday Herr Peterson) and last month, David Lean’s epic ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ was shown with an Intermission and a drink during it! I myself will remain in the auditorium listening to Maurice Jarre’s score while sucking on a boiled sweet, what was I saying about the old days?

It would be remiss of me not to mention the stout work of the Centre Cultural’s resident projectionist, Miguel who also collects the tickets at the door, and while he hardly ever sports a Tuxedo for this task, he is rarely without a smile. But he’s real charm stems from his desire to keep his patrons on their toes, deliberately running the first five to ten minutes of the film with either the wrong subtitles or the wrong sound track or both at the same time. To listen to Cary Grant dubbed into Serbo Croat while you mentally try to translate the Arabic subtitles into what ever language you happen to speak is quite a challenge, unless like me, you are a ‘Saddo’ whose seen Arsenic and Old Lace so many times that you can recite the dialogue backwards anyway. The last time I did that by the way a priest was called inspiring the making of another particularly good movie.

But seriously folks…… For only ten euro’s we Nerjans can sit comfortably in the air-conditioned Cultural Centre and see eight films per month. Hollywood block busters with their car chases, bad language, gratuitous sex and violence. British films about young, amiable, middle class chaps who get themselves into a ‘bit of a pickle’. And then there are the great, great films from all over the world that perhaps we would not rush to see at our local flea pit or stay up late to watch on TV. Films that take us into the homes of people we may never meet in the flesh. Films that tell the stories that highlight the differences and similarities across the cultures, transcending, race, religion and gender. Films that stimulate conversation and debate and all of them shown in a “cinema near you”. And one that’s within walking distance of any number of debating chambers who are so pleased to play host to discussion groups that they serve tapas with the drink. Come and join our club, Your Saturdays and Wednesdays will never be the same.

For Nerja Cine Club’s April Programme Click Here

Also by Daniel Kruyer You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Pick Olives

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Latest Comments

Danny, Danny, Danny. What can I say? Your piece was priceless, not just as an invitation to me to revisit Nerja's Cine Club (I shall get onto the Easyjet site forthwith to arrange my trip), but also for its evocation of memories of Mile End Odeon, which was my local too. I have to say that Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm in 1961 or whenever it was has remained huge in my memories (even huger than the Cine Club's screen permits). I thank Danny too for reminding me about red-rimmed torches, and for letting me in on the origins of The Exorcist. Can I also congratulate him for remembering that in the East End films were called films or pictures and not movies, and using the appropriate nomenclature (sorry - that wasn't a word we used to bandy about in the East End) by the latter stages of the article? Great article, mon brave (as we only used to say in the East End of Paris).
by Tom Keller

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