Sunday, 20 July 2014

If You Build It They Will Come

When I first heard about Little Lightning's plan to create an art house cinema in a local barn here in Framlingham I was delighted and said so on this blog. Last night, after a couple of months of anticipation, the big night finally arrived and a sell out audience headed to Little Lodge farm for the opening. 

It was a warm and sultry evening so we chose to walk and took a bucolic stroll around the castle moat and the mere before heading across the quintessentially English cricket ground. We arrived to be met by the charming hostess Georgie and assistants serving welcome glasses of chilled prosecco. 

The barn is still in the course of restoration and we had been warned in advance that temperatures might drop inside the building. There was little chance of that with early evening temperatures still in the twenties as we took our seats in the barn which has been comfortably furnished with a mix of old sofas and chairs. A chilled glass of white wine from the well stocked and inexpensive bar behind the screen was welcome as we settled down to watch the wonderful 1988 Italian classic Cinema Paradiso

I am sure that we were not alone in having seen the film before but it was an inspired choice of opening movie being, as it is, a love letter to cinema. You can't fail to be charmed by the scene stealing performance of little Salvatore Cascio who plays Toto the child who befriends projectionist Alfredo and begins a lifelong love affair with the silver screen. 

This was the Director's Cut - a longer version containing new scenes - so there was an interval in which, continuing the Italian theme, we were served a very tasty spaghetti dish and an equally delicious tiramisu.    

As the evening progressed the sounds of thunder echoed around the cinema as one of the enormous storms that have been rolling around the South East and East Anglia over the last few days found its way to Framlingham. As the barn is not fully renovated yet, each lightning flash briefly lit the cracks between the roof tiles and, with perfect timing, one of them accompanied an explosion on screen.

We hoped that the storm would pass before we needed to head home but there was no let up to the torrential rain so we walked back down the pitch black and flooding road in a state of some nervousness. We were kindly offered a lift by the organisers but we were so wet that we declined for fear of soaking their car. Our way was, fortunately, lit by a torch lent to us by friends - without it we would have had to rely upon the lightning to help us find our way back.

It was an excellent evening; a great film choice, lovely food, excellent comfortable venue, tremendous value and good company. We're really looking forward to the next one The Thomas Crown Affair on Saturday 16th August - let's just hope that next time it's Little Lightning only in name.