Sharp Blue: Adaptation


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I’ve always liked the idea of having a special place where I felt completely at home - somewhere that’s just right, where the people are just like me, where I’m entirely comfortable - but I’d never managed to find one. I’ve been to lots of wonderful places and I know lots of wonderful people, but for some reason things have never quite fitted together perfectly. I’ve never felt like I’ve resolved all the misfits between me and my surroundings: I’ve never been fully adapted for my environment or my environment for me. After many years of never quite feeling at home anywhere, I’d decided that the only way to find a physical and social place that was all mine was to build one from scratch, a task that has proven much harder than I expected. I’d pretty much resigned myself to having to build that place by a gradual process of trial and error evolution, and thought this task would take a massive expenditure of time and energy. But yesterday, I found what might turn out to be my first special place: the Cube Microplex cinema.

Over the years, I’ve watched films at a bewildering number of venues, from commercial multiplexes to arts cinemas to small, run-down cinemas in little villages. I’ve gone to film societies run by other people, and screened my own choice of films in several series of Film Nights in Cambridge. In various ways, I’ve loved watching films in all these places. The Cube, though, feels special. It’s a little, members-only cinema tucked away in an obscure part of Bristol just beyond the fringes of the central shopping district. Even finding it was fun: it’s not the most visible of venues, even when you know where to look (which I didn’t). As soon as I wandered in, it felt different to any other cinema I’ve frequented and it took me a little while to realise why: it feels like it’s run by film lovers for film lovers, with no other considerations. It’s clearly not making much money, and equally clearly everyone in the audience is there to watch the film, for love of film. (When I got home, I found it’s entirely run by volunteers, which came as no surprise.) Commercial cinemas have never felt like that. Nor have college film soctieties - people are often there just for something to do. Nor, even, have my own Film Nights - those are social occasions as much as chances to immerse oneself in a movie. Watching a film in the Cube felt a little like coming home. And it’s made me feel like I have an attachment not just to my family or my friends here, but to the greater city itself. I think I’m going to have some wonderful times at this quaint little cinema.

Poster for Adaptation(The movie I watched last night was Adaptation, a beautifully constructed if self-indulgent film about making films, and about adapting books, and about life. I think I like it even more than Kaufman and Jonze’s earlier Being John Malkovich - it’s touching and funny and wonderful, with two great performances from Nicolas Cage, a reminder how wonderful Meryl Streep can be, some fun intersections with the earlier movie, and the perfect ending. It’s also pretty clever - there are two levels of reality in the movie, and some scenes exist simultaneously in both - I had almost as much fun talking about the movie afterwards as I did watching it. If you get the chance, see it!)

Update: Not just volunteers! Their FAQ makes clear that they’re self-economic, opensourced, technosalvationist hardware-environmentalist volunteers high on Fight Club and nonproprietary existence. No, I’m not making this up.

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