The Didsbury Fictional Film Club is a new club that welcomes students and members of the public to discover a diverse range of films. Operating in and around Didsbury in local cinemas, the premise of the club is simple: come along to a film you may not get the chance to see elsewhere, and join everyone for a lively discussion afterwards.
The club was founded by third-year Univeristy of Manchester student, Jack McMeechan, who is responsible for coordinating which cinemas to visit and for the club’s PR. Jack was inspired by childhood memories of watching films with his grandad;
“When I was younger my Grandad used to invite me round and put on a film every weekend. He was, and still is, my best friend so I was fairly open-minded because I trusted his judgment. We would watch mainly classic and foreign language films, films I would have never watched otherwise. So I sort of wanted to do the same thing on a wider scale: put on films that people have missed, or never even come in contact with. I suppose when we go down to it, it’s just an extended version of my Grandad’s one-man film club,” Jack recounts.
The best thing about the club (aside from the stellar selection of movies) is its inclusivity as it’s open to all members of the public meaning that discussions can take place between multiple generations. There is no subscription required, only the reasonable price of a ticket which subsidises the cost of other screenings.
The film club is still in its beginning stages: Sunday March 5 marked the Didsbury Fictional Film Club’s sophomore screening which was Oliver Hermanus’s 2022 film Living at the Savoy theatre in Heaton Moor. Nonetheless, the club’s membership is growing steadily with 80 members already demonstrating an interest in discussing films and attending meetings.
Jack is thrilled with this development, “everyone has now really bonded: varying from recommendations for films, to chat about upcoming ones, or even some members who have film premieres themselves and have sent in a link to the group so people can watch it online. The response and the proactive attitude of everyone to be part of the community has been absolutely brilliant!”
The club encourages an atmosphere of friendliness as members discuss their thoughts over tea and coffee after the screening. Jack also has big plans for the future, “Ultimately, what has always been my aim is to have an age-diverse film club (including students, working and retired members) all chatting in the pub (or cafe if it’s early) after going to see a thought-provoking film in the cinema. And we’ve achieved that each week. If we could consistently attain that on a fortnightly basis, I’d be absolutely delighted”.
So much of student life is limited to interactions with our own peers, engaging with local residents with shared passions is an amazing way to expand one’s perspective and to feel a connection with Manchester. I asked Jack what his dream film would be to screen, and he told me, “It’s actually our next screening. It’s The Servant directed by Joseph Losey and written by Harold Pinter.” Is there any better encouragement to come along?
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