Inaugural Bristol Kino Club a resounding successPosted on: 01 Dec 2022
A new Bristol film club has launched it's first night - to a sold-out crowd and resounding success.
Bristol is a city oft-praised for its cultural focus and dedicated artistic community – and with cinemas like Watershed, The Cube, and Redfield Cinema (currently under threat from land developers), film is no exception.
That said, whilst Bristol has no lack of opportunities to watch the gems of cinema both old and new, there’s a lack of community and discussion in Bristol’s film spaces: enter, Bristol Kino Club.
Bristol Kino Club, brainchild of Hana Nour-Elmi, is a new kind of film club – where attendees can rediscover underrated gems of cinema history and then discuss them afterward with fellow audience members.
This week, BKC had their inaugural screening at the Cube Microplex – the 1996 film The Watermelon Woman. The film follows a fictionalised version of director Cheryl Dunye investigating the life of a 1930s black actor known only as “The Watermelon Woman”, and closely examines the protagonist’s intersectional identity as a black, queer woman.
Watermelon Woman is a film with cult appeal and a lot to say, but its name isn’t often on the lips of cinephiles – a key part of Bristol Kino Club’s mission. Nour-Elmi explained the choice, saying:
“We are especially interested in digging out films that aren’t traditionally screened – there are a lot of independent films that get a lot of recognition...we wanted to give a shout out to films that are just as important but aren’t given as much credit.”
On the night, The Cube quickly filled with the usual crowd – which is to say, a diverse mix of people from all walks of life. The event had sold out – no mean feat for a fledgling cinema club.
Visitors queued up for their pleasingly quaint ticket stubs, and made their way inside before a brief but impassioned introduction to the club and the film by Nour-Elmi.
The film itself was a good pick – fresh, odd, and bursting with personality, it ends on a thoughtful note – revealing the not entirely hidden twist that (and, spoilers for a 27-year-old film follow) the entire thing is a work of fiction, and there is no Watermelon Woman.
We had the most amazing crowd last night. It was an honour to host an event for Bristol’s amazing film crowd. All made possible with the generous help of our sponsors and collaborators. A big thank you to our #BristolKinoClub members who made this night a total success! pic.twitter.com/ByIzgu9z14— BristolKinoClub (@BristolKinoClub) November 30, 2022
Bristol Kino Club, looking to spark discussion, end each showing with a question. Here, it was: “How do we honour truth when there are limits to what can be captured in a frame?”
Thoughtful stuff indeed, and a question the audience members seemed to set to discussing quickly and with fervour. Unfortunately, it struck me that people seemed to stay within their established social groups – perhaps something that will change with subsequent screenings.
All in all, the night was a rip-roaring success for the new cultural endeavour – leaving me looking forward to screenings further afield.
Patrick is a filmmaker with so much Bristol in his blood the white blood cells are graffiti'd. Educated at the Northern Film School in Leeds, he’s returned home to be a Videographer and Reviewer for 365Bristol and BARBI. When he’s not messing about with cameras, he enjoys playing guitar, spending far too much time on tabletop RPGs, and being an awful snob about cider. Have a look at his work here, or get in touch at email@example.com.