Cinema | (18) | 96 minutes |
2nd February 2024 – 8th February 2024

… Or, The Incredibly Strange Rise And Fall Of The World’s Wildest Cinema And How It Influenced A Mixed-up Generation Of Weirdos And Misfits

Directed by Jane Giles and Ali Catterall, their film debut, SCALA!!!, Or, the incredibly strange rise and fall of the world’s wildest cinema and how it influenced a mixed-up generation of weirdos and misfits is based on the book Scala Cinema 1978-1993 (2018, FAB Press) by Jane Giles, a former programme manager there.

It’s an anarchic, uproarious, and ultimately heart-breaking documentary telling the riotous inside story of London’s legendary Scala cinema.

During the politically tumultuous period known as Britain’s post-punk ‘Thatcher years,’ the Scala cinema, originally located in Fitzrovia before it moved to King’s Cross, served as a hugely significant cultural hub, drawing in over a million visitors from across the UK. And as SCALA!!! shows, though operating for just 15 years, from 1978 to 1993, this short-lived but iconic venue would leave an indelible mark on an entire generation.

With its daily changing double-feature screenings, and unforgettable All-Nighters, the Scala’s programming featured a diverse range of films, from high art to cult classics, sexploitation, horror, Kung-Fu and LGBTQIA+, everything shown in rare, well-worn 35mm and 16mm prints.

The cinema’s lineup regularly showcased alternative auteurs such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Walerian Borowczyk, Russ Meyer, John Waters, Derek Jarman, and David Lynch, among many others who challenged the boundaries of taste and convention.

In SCALA!!!, previously unseen archive footage, photography, film clips, and newly commissioned graphics and animation bring the Scala cinema back to life, in addition to revealing and frequently hilarious interviews with nearly 50 audience members and original Scala staff, who share their personal memories of the cinema and its profound significance on their lives and future careers, whether as actors, activists, artists, comedians, filmmakers, musicians or writers.

Among those interviewed are Barry Adamson, John Akomfrah, Ralph Brown, Adam Buxton, Caroline Catz, Mary Harron, Matt Johnson, Princess Julia, Isaac Julien, Nick Kent, Beeban Kidron, Stewart Lee, Mark Moore, Thurston Moore, James O’Brien, Paul Putner, JoAnne Sellar, Peter Strickland, Cathi Unsworth, Ben Wheatley, Jah Wobble, Stephen Woolley and John Waters. Barry Adamson has also composed the original soundtrack.

Transcending mere nostalgia, SCALA!!! serves as a universal testament to the power of cinemas in inspiring impressionable young minds and fostering a sense of community for outsiders—a place where everyone is welcomed.


2nd February 2024 – 8th February 2024

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