Arts Cinema & West End Late Screenings

Fellini’s La Dolce Vita

At the weekend I had a couple of late nights in London, but as I’m well past the age of clubbing I wanted to find a late night cinema and watch an off-the-beaten-path movie. It was pretty disappointing that that vast majority of cinemas in central London don’t seem to run any films past midnight at the weekend. I’d have thought that there is a massive market in London for people who want to spend a few hours in the cinema catching-up with an art film.

Perhaps I am an old romantic, but I was in the mood for a Fellini, a Bergman, a Truffaut or a Hitchcock. Instead the films on offer in central London where the same that I can get back at home – only slightly earlier than the screenings in Leicester. Even that bastion of cultural naffness Time Out is getting a sense of the decline of the London art cinema scene. “A mood of doom and gloom has descended over the London film scene.”

Perhaps there isn’t really a market out there any more for art cinema in public places, with the rise of home cinema and the import of global cinema via the internet our film culture is very different than it was. I can’t help thinking we are missing an essential alternative to the booze-fueled club and bar culture that soaks up so much of the late night life of our cities.

I pray for the chance to walk from a late night showing as the rain beats down on the dusty city, the collar of my coat upturned against the cold, Woodbine in hand and a head full of cinematic dreamscapes.

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