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Who can recall his past cinemas

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Mark Kermode | 12:43 UK time, Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives was the surprise winner of the Palme D'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival. A mystical tale with something of the David Lynch about it, the film has received almost universal critical acclaim. So what chance do you think there is you'll see it in a cinema?

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  • Comment number 1.

    Uncle Boonmee was released here in Dublin last Friday in two cinemas, The Irish Film Institute and The Lighthouse, both arthouse theatres. I traveled about 3 miles to see it, as I live close to the city centre.

    For what it's worth, I thought it was really boring.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hello Doc.

    Answers are what I'm after.

    I saw Pirahna 3D fairly recently, and I was pretty much blown away by it.

    As a fan of the same kind of 1980's shlock that you profess to have a well-argued soft spot for, I walked out of the screening of that particular film fully confident in the knowledge that the following week's podcast would feature an "upset" of a positive review from your good self.

    The film was well made, amusing and single-mindedly pandered to the kind of audience who I feel a great affinity with, and I was surprised to hear you (albeit flippantly) describe it as "trash" in a recent Kermode Uncut video podcast.

    Bearing in mind that your comment followed a lengthy diatribe about how reprehensible it is to review movies without having seen them, I am left wanting a bit more information.

    Would a brief review be out of the question?

    That said, I would be more than satisfied with an apology and a promise to catch up with this terrific little shlocker on DVD as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 3.

    Sorry Delbongo, you're a bit misguided to repeatedly ask for this. Piranha 3-D is appalling and not worth wasting any more time and effort over. I'm gutted I spent £16 (2 tickets) on what wasn't even a good exploitation movie. Let's leave it there, shall we?

    ON topic, I wanted to see the Illusionist but as I live in West Wales I had two chances. Slim and none. Chapter Arts in Cardiff may have showed a brief run but that's a 2 a half hour round trip for me.

  • Comment number 4.

    Well I'm a Midlander so if it ain't showing near me I simply pop down to London, grab a copy of TimeOut and find a place that is showing the movie -

  • Comment number 5.

    @Touchfinder: maybe you needn't mourn the non-viewing of the Illusionist. After the miracle that was The Triplets of Belleville, I was in a cinema the minute Sylvain Chomet's new movie was out (I'm in Paris, so that was a while ago). But even though it's still wonderfully crafted, I regretfully found out that it wasn't really working. I found myself questioning the motives of the characters as well as those of the director. But then, I'm no fan of Tati either, so perhaps this explains that...

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    There's a fantastic cinema in Newcastle upon Tyne - the Tyneside, on Pilgrim Street. Uncle Boonmee is currently showing twice a day, and a few times next week -

    A delighted Friend of the Tyneside Cinema

  • Comment number 8.

    Don't get me started - there's just three cinemas within my reach: two are part of the same massive chain (Cineplex) and only rarely show independent films - certainly never foreign ones (as a fan of "The Thick of It" I was pretty crushed when I was told they wouldn't be screening "In the Loop"), the focus is on blockbuster pictures. The third is privately owned but only has two screening rooms and has to struggle for customers, so they're even less likely to screen anything without wide appeal.

    In Cineplex's defense, though, they're beginning to give more films a chance (Scott Pilgrim for instance ran quite a few weeks there), and are also screening classic movies (Hitchock, Welles) once a week - along with live broadcasts of theater performances (it's how I got to see Simon McBurney's absolutely stunning "A Disappearing Number".).

    So we're getting there, but it's a slow process.

  • Comment number 9.

    P.S.: I should have elaborated: I'm in Ontario, Canada, so my sob story probably has no bearing on most readers here. Ah well.

    Also: Just got my Wittertainment Code of Conduct printed AND laminated and can now carry it with me wherever I go - thanks again for the validation, I spent my entire life wondering if I'm the only one who's bothered by such behaviour.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm only saved because I live between two Picturehouse cinemas: Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds. Although they're both half an hour's drive away (and driving through the dark countryside seems a lot further than popping on the #12 from Waterloo...) and as there's no buses available in the evenings it sadly curtails my ability to enjoy the fact they're licensed! Even so, no sign of Uncle Boonmee at Cambridge, and it's only showing once at Bury (Dec 7th) at their regular Tuesday evening cineaste slot. So yes, you have to be fairly determined to keep up with films outside London, or be happy to do regular double (or even triple)-bills to fit in with the limited screenings on offer...

  • Comment number 11.

    I live near a theater (The Gulf Breeze Cinema 4 to give them a plug) that shows 'art house' and independent flicks. I've seen movies like 'Let The Right One In', 'Synedoche, New York', 'Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind', etc there. 'It's only about 11 miles away so if there is a smaller movie that's getting a lot of 'buzz' there's a good chance I can see it there.

    How long do I have to wait? Movies that they're currently showing:The Burning Plain (2008), Harry Brown (2009 and only 1 showing per day), Hachi:A Dog's tale (2008), Ondine (2009), Winnebago Man (2010) and John Rabe (2010)... I did manage to catch 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' about 2 weeks after it was released elsewhere in the states...

    If it's not showing there I'm out of luck. There's not another theater like this for 200 miles as far as I know.

    I live 'across the pond' by the way...

  • Comment number 12.

    As it happens, there appear to be nine cinemas showing it - SIX of which are in the London area. Which is okay: for me London is an hour's train journey. But the times I've found only go up to Thursday and while I am in London on Thursday, I'm not there for Uncle Boonmee. And at around £16 return, I can't keep shuffling up to London and back for every film.

    It might show up at a more local arts cinema (Norhampton Forum), but it's not on their schedules at the moment and those have been announced up to the end of January. I'd like to catch it, but if it takes time, so be it. In related news, my semi-local plex gave five of its nine screens over to Harry Potter the other day.

  • Comment number 13.

    It's showing at the Quad in Derby starting on the 3rd of December. Excellent cinema. :D

  • Comment number 14.

    Here in Glasgow we have the GFT (Glasgow Film Theatre) that shows many of the more obscure arthouse and foreign films. True, you may have to wait two or three weeks after the initial release to catch them but they get there eventually.

    Having said that, I notice that Uncle Boonmee only appears to be scheduled for single screenings on three consecutive days in the middle of December. The GFT are pretty good at slotting in extra screenings later if the demand is there.

    Thee recent Kurosawa season made me a very happy bunny.

  • Comment number 15.

    The closest cinema screen to me is 25 miles away on the capital of my island Portree on the Isle of Skye. And was lucky enough to get the New Harry Potter film on release date as usually when it does show films its at least two weeks after the release date. However it is really lovely to go to the cinema where there it seems like your really having a treat. But when i do go to the city i take full advantage of it, two weeks ago when I was in Glasgow for the weekend managed to fit in 3 films, Easy A, Another Year and Jackass, which was nice. As for Uncle Boonmee id have to take the four and a half hour drive to Glasgow if i wanted to see it. Hold on ill just get my keys....

  • Comment number 16.

    I moaned about Birmingham's lack of access to new art house movies last year (see

    In that case it was having to wait a couple of weeks for Synecdoche that finally made me flip. 'What's the big deal?' I was asked at the time - 'just wait till it comes around'.

    Trouble is I've been 'waiting' since as long as I can remember. Worse, there are smaller cities and towns (Norwich, Nottingham for example), that are well served by well-programmed art house cinemas that very often get films like Synecdoche and Uncle Boonmee in their first week.

    When Digital projection first came along one of its great promises was that the lack of physical prints meant that we could have lots of copies of whatever film we wanted. Yet the system is the same now as it was in the 1980s. Pick any less-than-mainstream film from the past year and I bet in 9 out of 10 cases not only does London get it before Birmingham but so does Sheffield, Nottingham, Norwich, Newcastle, Manchester and Bristol. We're due Uncle Boonmee in mid-December....

  • Comment number 17.

    I live in Blackpool and the furthest I ever get is Manchester.

    So that's 3 to 4 hours of total travel time (dependent on the train) costing around £14 on top of whatever the cinema ticket will cost...

    Essentially seeing a film in Manchester will be costing me around triple in both time and money.

    Most of my cinema trips to Manchester are organized as part of some form of day/evening out to justify the train fare alone, psychologically I feel less burned as I've pottered around some shops, maybe picked up a bargain or geeky item or two and then been for some good food before ending with the cinema and the journey home. All this however adds up to spending even more money over the course of the day; which means these cinema trips to Manchester happen very rarely.

    On a more positive note I've found Manchester is a very forgiving city when it comes to train times, sometimes having trains that run directly to Blackpool in the early hours of the morning as opposed to Leeds where the last train tends to be before 11pm, thus rendering late screenings an impossibility to view.

  • Comment number 18.

    I live in dorset with bournemouth and its two odeon theaters about 10-15 miles away from me so not much chance of this film being screened in that town. There are some smaller arthouse/picturehouse/lighthouse theaters around like the tivoli in wimbourne and the lighthouse in poole which show films of a 'dementionalised' nature where you may be able to see these movies a few weeks/mounths after general release.

    But apart from that i normaly travel to southampton to the harbour lights or multiplexi there, for such films as the 'the girl who played with fire' (and will be traveling again for 'the girl who kicked the hornets nest). I also went there (harbour lights) to see 'enter the void' only 30mins train journey and worth the £10-£12 it takes to get there so i can say "i went to see that in a cinema" rather than just on the blu-ray or dvd home theater system.

  • Comment number 19.

    I live in Lincoln, with have an Odeon cinema. It is pretty awful for screening films I'd certainly like to see, most of the left field releases either get one showing or none at all. Pan's Labyrinth only had one showing here, despite being Oscar nominated and we only got it months after the initial release. A Prophet or Let the Right One In weren't shown at all. I'm originally from London and was probably spoilt for choice. Now I have to travel to Nottingham (an hour on the train) to see something that doesn't include robots or pirates.

  • Comment number 20.

    i'd have to take a half-hour metro ride into Newcastle as it's showing every night at the fantastic Tyneside Cinema.

  • Comment number 21.

    The otherwise excellent Harbour Lights Picturehouse in Southampton, which is the only cinema I visit nowadays, doesn't seem to be showing Uncle Boonmee any time before Christmas. That doesn't mean they won't show it - Mary & Max is getting two screenings this weekend and has been out for some time now, but in answer to your question: it seems I will be waiting a while.

  • Comment number 22.

    It's on at the Filmhouse up here in Edinburgh. That's about 15 minutes walk from here.

  • Comment number 23.

    The National Media Museum in Bradford are only showing for a week, which I'm visiting family that week, but the week I come back they will be replacing it with Robert Rodriguez's Machete.

    I really can't see the point in the Bradford Cinema I've just mentioned as well as the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds, as they only show them for a limited time, and the majority of the time have one showing, which is late in the evening.

    These art house cinemas fail to realise that this is a 24/7 society, and no one works a simple 9-5 shift anymore. The general movie fan population will just wait for the dvd to come out, like we have done with many other foreign films in the past.

    They need to start acting like the multiplexes with mulitple showing times (early afternoon showings onwards), keeping it on the big screen for more than a day, or a week, so everyone gets a chance to see the film.

  • Comment number 24.

    I live in north wales . the nearest pace showing it is Liverpool which is a 1 h 50 train journey, costing £18.10 for a return (or 4 1/2 hours each way by bus using my weekly bus pass, which I have done a few times making a very long day)

  • Comment number 25.

    Manchester's Cornerhouse has been screening it all week; I got to the Saturday screening and wasn't disappointed. It's vying with Social Network to be my favourite film of the year - the chief difference (of which there are a few) being one is a modern story told through traditional means, the other is a traditional story told through modern means. Anyhow, between here and the Odeon, there are few films we Manchester-based should struggle to see.

  • Comment number 26.

    Well I thought i could rely on the wonderful Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff to be showing this but it isn't, at least not this month. I'd be very surprised if they weren't going to schedule it, but as to when who knows?
    Just discovered that I missed The Arbor just a couple of days ago, drat!

  • Comment number 27.

    This subject makes me mad... I live in a backwater hick town called Birmingham, there are no independent cinemas for miles (don't taunt me with the mac or the (new) electric).

    I, like the proprietor(?) of the Phoenix, grew up with the double-bills (and even triple-bills, I saw the three colours trilogy in one sitting for the price of one ticket) of the "old" electric cinema in Birmingham. I still have my 2003 membership card. I would travel back in time to see something like Wai dor lei ah yut ho there. But ultimately, I'm with Neonman. Rather than watch utter mindless tosh at the multiplex I'm forced to peer-to-peer good films and then "consume" them at home. That is, I watch them and then delete them, I don't burn them, distribute them, or try to sell them.

  • Comment number 28.

    As has already been mentioned, the Glasgow Film Theatre is a great place for independent/arthouse films, and is showing Uncle Boonme in Decemeber, though only for a few days.

    I'll never forget going to see Fire Walk With Me and Mulholland Drive there, back to back. Great place.

  • Comment number 29.

    Imagine a double-bill of something like The Hill and then The Rock, serious then frivolous. Antichrist and Fight Club, or even Ôdishon and Oldeuboi... well I can dream.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm lucky - I'm a 15 minute bus ride from Cornerhouse in Manchester where it's on all this week. One of the finest independent cinemas and art centres outside London.

    However, the coalition government in their wisdom have announced cuts to the funding for Cornerhouse. Not enough for it to close but enough for the future to be a worry.

  • Comment number 31.

    Oh and it isn't piracy that is killing cinema, it's the multiplex debasing it to the level of Saturday night television.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am considering going to see Uncle Boonmee however i will have to see it in the same place i went to see Winters Bone and The Runaways in. The Assembly rooms and to get there and back i have to take a bus then wait at a train station for about half an hour. A total distance of about 50 miles and i have to wait untill the end of January and all because my local world of cine would rather continue to show Dispicable Me in both 3d and 2d.

  • Comment number 33.

    Little or no chance of me seeing it, I am ashamed to say. If it is a good piece of work it deserves an appreciative audience.

    My problem is that the last time I went to the cinema, the seats were dirty and throughout the programme my feet were sticking to months of cola and popcorn that had not been properly cleaned off the foor. At least I think it was cola and popcorn, I didn't dare look..!

    That was several years ago, so you can see what an impact that bad experience had.

    I'm afraid that going to the cinema isn't always the pleasant experience that it should be. It is rather expensive these days and I tend to feel as though I am being factory farmed...

    Perhaps I'll wait for this movie to come out on DVD...

  • Comment number 34.

    I walked across the road cause I live in central london. The film sent me to sleep

  • Comment number 35.

    I myself live in Burton Upon Trent in the Midlands; the town has it's pro's and cons like everywhere of course but as far as film goes.....there's nothing to shout about at all, just a 'Cineworld' which only caters for the boom-bang-a-bang mainstream fare which is not to my liking.
    As a non-driver for medical reasons, I'm limited to trains and the like to get to bigger cities such as Derby, Nottingham and Birmingham; being a non-driver is invariably something of a hindrance in certain aspects but, on the other hand, despite this being a relatively small town, trains are easily accessible either directly from here or by changing at one of the bigger stations a stones throw away if needs be.
    Until the opening of the truly excellent QUAD gallery and cinema in Derby in 2008 which another poster already referred to above (from my doorstep: a 35 mins walk to the station, 20mins train ride and another 20 mins walk to the cinema), I usually had to take a mind-numbing multi-stop train ride to the Showroom cinema in Sheffield to see arthouse fare such as 'Uncle Boonmee...'. The time it sometimes took to get there and back....ah man, I could have sat through Bela Tarr's 'Satantango'. Twice.
    I have to admit however, it would be heaven to be able to go somewhere within walking distance from my house so I could to the cinema on something of a whim instead of having to plan it like military manouveres just to ensure I don't miss the last train home. Which I have done before. And that evening got expensive real quick.
    Incidentally, the 'Uncle Boonmee...' DVD isn't scheduled for release until late March 2011 by the looks of things in case anyone was alternatively waiting for that instead....?

  • Comment number 36.

    As the first comment mentions, Uncle Boonmee is on at the Irish Film Institute, (IFI) and the Lighthouse in Dublin.
    The IFI is 246km from my house in Cork according to Google.
    Slight chance it might come to a cinema club in about 6 months time. That is the best I can hope for since our underappreciated Kino cinema had to close

  • Comment number 37.

    It's actually being shown in 5 cities here in The Netherlands as we speak! The nearest is about an hour long train ride away...which for me is too much of a bother. If it was the only time the film would be shown, ever, in Holland and it wouldn't be available on DVD it would perhaps be a different story but seeing it on DVD is fine.
    But I actually prefer to see a movie I'm really, really looking forward to and I feel I shouldn't miss at home on DVD as seeing it in the cinema sometimes ruins the experience to an extent. Just the other day e.g. I went to see "The American" and as the film started and seemed to be building up to something, someone in the row in front of me decided to bring her jacket to the wardrobe right when things started happening. So pretty much the entire row in front of me had to stand up to make way for her and I couldn't see a thing! It really ruined the impact of the beginning. Oh well.

  • Comment number 38.

    In the last few years I have lived in Lincolnshire and Staffordshire and to see anything remotely interesting would have to travel at least 50 miles. Even for things such as Bright Star and The Road, let alone foreign films. So unfortunately for me I always have to watch my most anticipated releases sat in my living room many months later, but at least there's no phones and no talking there!

  • Comment number 39.

    Our nearest theater is a thirty-minute drive from here and that's a multiplex.

    But actually that's a lie because we have a single screen in town, but it smells like a damp basement and it only plays the stupidest movies available. For the past few weeks it's been playing Due Date.

    There's a decent arthouse theater about three hours from here that I've driven to a few times when on the odd occasions that I've actually had the time, the inclination and the gas money, but even that's a fat chance to Uncle Boonmee, so... yeah, waiting until DVD.

    Shame. I'm really dying to see it.

  • Comment number 40.

    The reality of my situation is that I will see such films on DVD or Blu Ray.

  • Comment number 41.

    Foreign film generally never comes out near where I live in Idaho(USA). Even for smaller independent oscar buzz films I usually have to drive to Salt Lake City. If this film opens in Salt Lake I will see it there.. If not.. I will have to wait until I can rent it on DVD.

  • Comment number 42.

    As a manager of a one screen cinema, I feel it necessary to chime in and explain the reason WHY it's so difficult to get to see these films. If you want to play a film on the release date, you typically have to commit to a two week run, usually not being allowed to show any other films during this period. Which is fine if you have three or four screens, but for one screen a virtual impossibility unless you're showing Harry Potter for example.

    Uncle Boonme may be a wonderful film, but for a rural location that our cinema is in, it would be commercial suicide to play it for so long. In fact, when films like these do get shown, they typically play to 20 or 30 people at the most, usually less. A film booking will cost you over £100 as a minimum guarantee, factor in staff wages, electricity, venue costs etc etc..... it can be a very expensive business screening specialist film, especially when you get very small turnouts.

    We try to balance it out, we play the Harry Potters to generate money which in turn helps to support the independent movies that we want to be showing more of. And in order to do that, most arthouse cinemas not in a city location will play "off-date", when the distributor allows you to screen a film for a few days. Unless you get hundreds of people in the middle of nowhere all wanting to see Uncle Boonme, then this situation is unlikely to change. I think it's great that cinemas are still showing these films, however it's very important not to forget the financial constraints that we're all under to keep our businesses afloat while not neglecting the important films.

  • Comment number 43.

    My nearest cinema (that non-driving me can access by myself) is in Lancaster, roughly a 40 minute bus journey and then 15-20 minutes' walk. Next one (again that I can get to) is the Liverpool One Odeon, which is 40 minutes on the bus, an hour on the train and a total of about 20 minutes walking. The Palace in Longridge, the fab little one screen cinema I mentioned here a few weeks back, is about 20 minutes away by car.

    So I've resigned myself to getting things on DVD, immensely looking forward to when I move to London and live 15 minutes' walk from a Picturehouse, and wishing I'd gone to the pictures more when I was at uni and was only half an hour's work from the Picturehouse in York city centre. Just goes to show, Joni Mitchell was right.

    Nearest place to me showing Uncle Boonmee (which I'm not desperate to see but mildly curious) - probably Manchester, as mentioned above, although quick Google says FACT in Liverpool will show it from Friday but only for four days and a total of five showings. Frankly, as much as I love FACT, it's not worth it, so another DVD job to eventually get round to.

  • Comment number 44.

    Just to echo Steve Bennett's earlier comment, yes this film only appears to be listed at the GFT in the middle of December. As the "second city of the empire"(sic) this is a pretty shocking state of affairs frankly!

    Not only that, but looking at Cineworld's listing, with its multiple showings of the Potter film, it kind of puts paid to the idea that having 18 screens allows them to show a larger variety of films - all they end up doing is mostly showing multiple copies of the blockbusters...

  • Comment number 45.

    Dear Mark,

    the question is not how far but for most people how on earth do you find out about great movies that are out there unseen. Multiplex cinemas, television, radio, newspapers, magazines and internet pretty much promote again and again the same mainstream films. I asked several of my colleagues if they have seen Let the Right one In. Ok they are not major film buffs but do they have to? None has seen that film and how could they know about it? Personally I research new films a bit more and I would travel up to an hour which usually I do, we have to go to Bath's Little Theatre Cinema. But I would never spend more than that even if its the best film made ever because I wouldn't know that beforehand :).

  • Comment number 46.

    Well, if we're lucky enough to get Uncle Boonmee in Oz (which could take up to six months before it makes it here), there will probably be only two cinemas that I could visit to see it. Neither of which are local to me. I have three cinemas locally. One multiplex(part of a huge cinema chain), another multiplex (independent chain with four complexes throughout Sydney) and one indepdent "family" three screen cinema.

    I will have to travel to either the Empire Independent cinema at Bowral (40 minutes and 60kms away) or see it at the Dendy Arthouse cinema in Sydney (60 minutes and 40kms away. However, as I work in Sydney the Dendy option is best.

    The farthest I've travelled to see a movie is over 800kms away (nine hours driving or one hour by plane). I flew from Sydney to Melbourne for a weekend to go with friends to a Sunday screening of a classic B&W movie, "Now Voyager" (my favourite) at an independent cinema in the Dandenong mountains.

    However, the movie ended up being a letdown. The print wasn't the best. The sound unfortunately kept fading in and out and of course being an old movie, the projection was square rather than letterbox, as we're used to which made the movie seem much smaller on such a large screen.

    I think I prefer my DVD copy of it. That's the farthest I've travelled to see a dearly loved movie. Certainly wouldn't travel that far for a movie I've never seen.

  • Comment number 47.

    I live just outside Cambridge so I smugly thought "this one's going to be easy, it'll be on at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse ...". But no, as La soeur lumière has already discovered there's no sign of it here and a trip to Bury by public transport would be a real trek: it would be easier to take train to London.

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm within 25 miles of The Broadway in Nottingham which is currently showing it and 13 miles of Phoenix Square in Leicester which has it next week.
    I've noticed that arthouse cinemas have taken to showing mainstream blockbusters for "sophisticated" audiences who like drinkies with their movies (the "wonderful" electric in Birmingham which used to be tatty but showed a wide variety of films is now refurbished and seems to be doing this regularly, Broadway is currently showing Potter in the main screen, I saw Broken Embraces at Cineworld ages before it turned up at Broadway). In part this seems to do with trying to bring in the money that the arthouse films don't. Cineworld was showing arthouse films but seems to have replaced them with Bollywood blockbusters instead.

  • Comment number 49.

    Must say I'm a fan of the aforementioned Manchester Cornerhouse. There haven't been many recent films mentioned on this blog that haven't had a showing there. I'm also quite impressed with the Manchester Odeon; as well as showing the usual blockbuster fare, it does screen some surprising movies. I saw, for example, 'Winter's Bone' there some months ago as part of Orange Wednesdays.

  • Comment number 50.

    the nearest independent cinema i know (although i do not know if it played this film you speak of) is in bradford, and i live in wakefield. This is a hefty car journey but seeing as though i dont own a car it is a train journey that costs about as much as the cinema ticket. Its a long way basically. My local multiplex didnt even show There Will Be Blood. Michael Bay would be proud i am sure.

  • Comment number 51.

    Hi Mark, I am very lucky to live near the Cornerhouse in Manchester, although it is on the other side of town from me, (I live in Salford and attend the University there) the only real trials I will have to endure are parking around the city centre, a venture often fraught with frustration. I think the longest journey I have made is to go and see 'In Search of a Midnight Kiss' at Harrogate Odeon. It was a one-off screening, and having falen in love with the fil on it's initial, short release, I made the jorney from Manchester across the pennines to catch it once again. The film broke down halfway through, but got going once more and I'm glad I made the pilgimmage. I have made similar trips to the Hyde Park Picture House to see screening of Tommy Wiseau's 'The Room' in order to hurl plastic cutlery at the screen, an experience alone that is worth the journey. I know your queston was regarding 'Uncle Boonmee...' in particular but perhaps you'd like to open up the debate about how far people have travelled for ANY film and why?

  • Comment number 52.

    I live in Hull and the closest place showing Uncle Boonmee is The Showroom in Sheffield (about an hours drive/train ride). I had to make the same trip to see Enter The Void.

  • Comment number 53.

    Can I echo the comments from JJ and MidtownSkyport about the magnificent Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle, which is an hour's drive away but well worth the trip. I'll probably give Uncle Boonmee a miss because it looks pretentious (and I speak as a devoted Lynch fan), but without the Tyneside I wouldn't have seen The Arbor, which is so far one of my favourite films of the year.

    On a side note, I just came back from the Side Cinema in the back of a cafe on the Newcastle quayside where they were showing A Canterbury Tale. Odd film, odd place, wonder if you've been Mark.

  • Comment number 54.

    I have to wait until February 2nd if I want to see it in Northampton.

  • Comment number 55.

    The fact in liverpool is showing this on 27/11/10, it's about 5miles awat from where i live.
    Fact is probably one of the best cinemas in the city, great sound system, they show a good mix of films and you take a pint in with you.

  • Comment number 56.

    In my youth, before simultaneous international releases and multiplexes bestrode the earth, I travelled from Philadelphia to New York to see the 1st public screening of The Last Temptation of Christ, and from Paris to Cannes to blag my way into the press screening of Wild At Heart.

    Now, I'm old and lazy. If it doesn't show up at Harbour Lights (my local art house), I probably won't see it until it pops up on Film4 or BBC Four. This is probably a shame as I find this kind of film probably has a better chance of working whatever magic it may hold in the large semi-isolation tank of a cinema.

    Between half and 3/4 of the multiplexes screens are showing HP7.1, so even seeing some of the other mainstream flicks on general release is slimmer proposition. Many of the art houses also need a slice of the blockbuster pie (to subsidize their more esoteric fare), which further reduces screenings of any alternatives. Even though there was a time when you had to seek out the films you wanted to see, and you did it willingly and often with a sense of adventure, having to do it now seems like an expensive and tedious chore.

  • Comment number 57.

    I'm pretty sure this film will never be released in any cinema where I live, which is quite sad. But there's Blu-Ray/DVD, so I have that.

    It's interesting to see you comparing 'Joe' to David Lynch. I've been told that he's very similar to Tarkovsky, which is always great. I need to check out his films quickly.

  • Comment number 58.

    just arrived home from Manchester's wonderful corner house where we go usually once a week. They show most of the good world cinema films and the odd good 'Blockbuster'
    We really don't know anything of Thai culture so were a bit in the dark as to what was going on for most( sorry all) of the film.
    if this won best foreign film @ Cannes well i'm not going to be taken in by that award again .. We came out (5 in our group) and all shook our heads , and did 3 or 4 other couples we spoke to ... I 'm not into 'Harry potter' and apart from being dragged to the 1st one by my kids I'd rather have gone to see that tonight than this tosh!!!
    Don't think our wonderful 'corner house' will show 'Harry P though .
    Andrew L

  • Comment number 59.

    #54 Robert:

    Is the Northampton Forum actually showing it then? Their online listings only go up to the end of January and I haven't been in for a couple of weeks (they've got ENTER THE VOID next week and I shall probably check that out even though I loathed Irreversible).

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm partially sighted and live in a town with one small cinema that shows just a few of the popular releases, anything 'unusual' would probably involve a 50 mile trip on public transport.

    Honestly most films I tend to download and then buy on DVD if I enjoyed them. Why do I download them? because I like film and by the time the DVD comes out they have been spoilt by being over reviewed or talked to death in general conversation.

    Inception was so over-hyped, reviewed and talked about that if I hadn't seen it illegally, sitting 3 feet away from a 40 inch screen, then it would have been ruined for me before the DVD came out.

    As for Uncle Boonmee I shall probably never see it as I can't see myself wanting to spend £15 to watch it.

  • Comment number 61.

    It's showing in Dublin at the moment but I'm 160 miles away. that's a 25 quid bus journey, a nine hour(round trip).

  • Comment number 62.

    As a fellow film critic (even if a student one), I was hoping to see Uncle Boonmee asap, but I won't be able to see it until December 3rd. Luckily I won't have to go that far - Chapter Arts in Canton, Cardiff is a wonderful place who show films that don't make it to the local multiplex not long after general release, just not quick enough for an up to date review unfortunately.
    Also seeing Enter The Void next week, which took about 3 months to reach us.

  • Comment number 63.

    As a new father any time I can give over to films is precious enough, and as I do not drive trips to the cinema a more precious still. I live in Leeds, so am ably catered for by two city multiplexes when it comes to box office block-buster fare. Also nearby is the great Hyde Park Picture House, but I have yet to see any listings they might have to screen Uncle Boonmee... .

    The HPPH does it's best, but even if I wanted to I could not see everything it screens. Uncle Boonmee, for example, I think I could give or take by the looks of it, but films such as Restrepo, Skeletons and the Illusionist were wonderful and engaging nights out.

    I reckon that when it comes to movies such as Uncle Boonmee getting seen, rather than it being so much of a issue regarding the number of screenings a film gets, it's a case of how much effort a cinema-goer is inclined to invest in getting to a show. In my case Uncle Boonmee is way down on my list of priorities under films such as Harry Potter, Tron or Narnia 3, however much I might purport to enjoy an diverse taste in films. That and patience; if there's a film I want to see that isn't hitting the big multiplexes, I'll cross my fingers that the HPPH will get it, but at the end of the day small cinemas can only cater for a profitable demand, and if I didn't get to see it it will only be because a film that can better support the cinema was shown instead, and who can complain when that happens?

  • Comment number 64.

  • Comment number 65.

    I'm from Denmark and in my city (Aalborg) we have a small "arthouse" cinema called "biffen". I would love to go there more than I do because the movies shown are usually to my interest. But If I go I can't make it an event, I'd have to go alone. Lazy as I am I say "Oh, well I'll catch it on DVD", but there's really not that many options for more obscure film besides buying them. That is if you don't want to wait for them to be sent on one of our two more cultural channels DR2 and DRK.

    I think that films like that for some reason feel more personal and someone like me really would prefer to watch them alone. That's why I love it when I suddenly realize "The diving bell and the butterfly" or "Broderie" are suddenly sent on a channel, or when it's late at night and suddenly a documentary comes on. They're like little personal gems that I can sink into. I also think it's daunting to go to a movie that could be the greatest experience of your life or make you really bored and or uncomfortable or STUPID. You're basically tied to your seat for something that is unpredictable. A blockbuster is predictable. Even "inception" spoke in a "language" we understood.

  • Comment number 66.

    Choosing an area to live that supports my interests includes living near an independent/arthouse cinema that shows such films (5 mins)!

  • Comment number 67.

    I wait until they're on BBC2/3/4,Film4 and watch in the comfort of my own home.
    I realised a while ago that if you stop going to the cinema, in about 3 years you get all the films for free at roughly the same rate as they originally came out. And without anyone kicking the back of your seat.
    Very few films (with the exception of "Tron Legacy" in 3D for which I am pooping my pants in anticipation) need to be seen when they come out.

  • Comment number 68.

    Oh, and, @57, I finally forced myself to sit through Tarkovsky's "Solaris" over the weekend, courtesy of Film 4.
    Dear me - what an overpraised, overrated pile of pretentious twaddle this is - and I love "2001" btw.
    Talk about a film that *really* needs a good car chase scene (instead of *that* 5-10 minute sequence - you know which one I mean).

  • Comment number 69.

    Living not too far away from the good doctor in Christchurch the closest place to me to see films of this nature is the very good Lighthouse cinema in Poole.

    Want to see Chico and Rita and its not on here, unless it does get a mainstream release, until the end of December!

    Well, better late than never.

  • Comment number 70.


    The most frustrating thing about this is when mulitplex cinemas use 2 screens to show a 3D version of a film and the 2D version. One of those screens could have been used for a movie such a Uncle Boonmee.

  • Comment number 71.

    I live in Jersey which only has a Cineworld multiplex. I think it unlikely that the cinema will show 'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives', so I won't see it until it is available for rental from from Lovefilm at the end of March 2011.
    I would love to be able to catch a train to London to see 'art house' films in a real cinema, rather than on a dvd at home.

  • Comment number 72.

    I'd have to travel to Dundee, which would take about half an hour on the train. The DCA there have a handful of showings between the 26th Nov and 2nd December. I probably won't make it to any of these and end up waiting till I can download it.

  • Comment number 73.

    i'll luckily not have to go far to see this, as brighton's duke of york picturehouse are showing it. i will though have to wait a little while, as the screening is not untill december 12, and it's the only one they're doing, so if i miss that, the oppertunity is gone.

  • Comment number 74.

    Living in Swansea, every good movie in the world seems to bypass us. We have two multiplexes that show exactly the same movies ten minutes apart from each other. Multiplexes boast choice, but what kind of choice is THAT? Even films with a 'buzz' about them like Frost/Nixon or The Wrestler fail to make it to the screen here. The only place waving the flag for us humble moviegoers who wish to see something other than big explosions and talking critters is the Taliesin Arts Centre who show movies not deemed worthy of multiplex audiences on a Monday and Tuesday night some months after the film's release. But with such limited time to show films they don't always show the films I'm looking forward to and quite often have to venture to Chapter in Cardiff some 40 odd miles away. And as it looks like the Taliesin has no plans to show Uncle Boonmee any time soon it seems i'm gonna have to jump on the train again. Oh well.

  • Comment number 75.

    Being in a smallish town, I have the unfortunate luck of only having a big name multiplex cinema. This wouldn't bother me, if it'd show more indie and foreign cinema films.

    I think its wrong that'd i'd have to travel to the nearest city, which would be Liverpool or Manchester to see a film. Although this would most likely lead to a good day out, travel expenses add up.

    I would prefer if there was a small one screen cinema in my town somewhere, as well as the multiplex, that could show smaller films. I'm not holding my breathe though.

  • Comment number 76.

    I live in Newcastle and this means i'm lucky enough to have the wonderful Tyneside Cinema at which you yourself did a gig for your book not that long ago. It's showing Uncle Boonmee right now and will for a few weeks to come depending on how popular it is. Just a quick trip into town for me, lovely.

  • Comment number 77.

    I live in Birmingham which I consider to be one of the largest and most cultural cities outside of London. Plenty of Cinemas including an IMAX and the ancient Electric Cinema which is famed for its alternative programme.

    No Cinemas are showing Uncle Boonmee...

    I only hope I can get to see Chico and Rita.

  • Comment number 78.

    Seen at the corner house manchester, awesome cinema. film had sections that were enthralling and parts that used twelve words when one would do. But, glad i seen it.

  • Comment number 79.

    A couple of people have already mentioned the Cornerhouse in Manchester. A superb cinema where I managed to catch the best film of the year, Dogtooth. I work in Manchester, so I get the chance to see films there from time-to-time, and when I leave, the rush-hour traffic has died down too!

  • Comment number 80.

    i would love to see this, but i think the real heart of the matter is not just that these films receive limited screenings but that the price of cinema tickets keeps rising and rising and rising, its almost becoming a once a month treat for a plebian, such as myself, to go and watch something! ANYTHING! i understand that massive blockbusters that cost billions of euros need to make their money back, but now indie Cinemas are charging roughly the same prices for films that probably cost around $20,000!

    on a slightly alternate note i would like to know if the Good Doctor has ever been to zeffirellis in ambleside? i went there once by pure accident and back to back i watched Whale Rider and Respiro (reaffirming my belief in the Cinema, suffice to say i now hold a dream of creating one of the most isolated cinemas in modern day globalised networked facetubed Britain, with 2 screen, 20 seats and not a leapy ear in sight!

    i think somewhere round low row might be a good place to start?!

  • Comment number 81.

    This is why I love London, no matter how obscure a film is or how limited a release it’s given you can always find it some where in this city. Coming from the North of England myself I’m eternally grateful to places like the ICA, Curzon Cinemas and the BFI for opening my eyes to film making of the highest order in the same way I was to Film Four when it first launched. Not to say that the North of England doesn’t have a decent arts quarter (far from it), it’s just I know how lucky I am to be in London and because it’s the capital city, everything comes here.

  • Comment number 82.

    You are all lucky, lucky.... people :)

    I live on the West coast of Scotland and the nearest cinema is 65 miles from my door, considering i watch around 6 films a week it's a personal tragedy for me.

    Every visit to the cinema has to be thought out, the equation being, is the 130 odd mile round trip at a cost of £30 for petrol plus £15 for two tickets going to be worthy of the efforts on screen? There's not much in the way of choice as the multiplex plays to the lowest common denomenator (plenty of nob jokes and sparkly vampires, NO SUBTITLES!). My visits are becoming less frequent firstly because of the distance, secondly the choice of film/output is usually poor and thirdly the etiquette of other film goers has gone down the pan over the last decade (no point going to those lengths if someone else is going to supply thier own commentary).

    I would give my left nut to have a local fleapit again as ours closed it's doors five years ago, fact is it simply cannot compete with online piracy & general disinterest.

    I guess until i get off my backside and start a film club I'll have to make do with my bluray.

  • Comment number 83.

    "the ancient Electric Cinema which is famed for its alternative programme"
    Make that "was famed".

  • Comment number 84.

    I live in Cornwall and my local cinema never seems to show anything even slightly obscure. Amazingly, a cinema about an hour's travel from me is showing Uncle Boonmee this week - unfortunately, I doubt I'll be able to get there before they stop showing it.

  • Comment number 85.

    My local cinema in Derry NI, used to be a disaster. Never mind small independent films. I missed the likes of Moon, Zodiac, 30 Days of Night, Eastern Promises, Sunshine, The Wrestler, just to name the good ones. I'm sure there were many more.
    But the worst of all. The unforgivable sin. The Departed. Yes, an Oscar winning movie starring Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon and Leo DiCaprio, directed by Martin Scorsese and they had the smart idea of not showing it.
    And it's not even a tiny cinema. It must have 8 or 9 screens. I don't get it!!
    I'll admit it's improved over the last few years but still, it was unacceptable. I have no idea how they run or who was in charge, but I guess they preferred showing some kiddie movie for an extra few months over an Oscar winning blockbuster. In terms of business, maybe they were right, who knows? But they must've had many upset customers. You think they'd have rethought their strategy when they got dozens of people asking for The Deaparted only to be truned away.
    Anyway, I was able to see most of these elsewhere through traveling to and from uni at the time. (80+ miles away)

  • Comment number 86.

    The nearest cinema that I can find showing "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" is in Bristol; this would mean at least a 2 hour round trip in the car for me...

    I used to live in London, just off High Street Kensington, and the Gate and Coronet cinemas in Notting Hill were fantastic! But, outside of London, as you alluded to in your blog, it's a very different story.

  • Comment number 87. - Click here to find the nearest cinema to you in the UK playing Uncle Boonmee:

  • Comment number 88.

    Nearest to Wolverhampton is Warwick Art Centre (36 miles or 1 hr by road away) where Boonmee is being shown on the 6th, 7th and 8th December. It's not listed as coming to the Lighthouse in Wolverhampton as yet although it may well do eventually.

  • Comment number 89.

    You can see "The Arbor" and "Another Year" at the Lighthouse, Wolverhampton however.

  • Comment number 90.

    This is actually something I've become concerned about in Glasgow, not for myself, but for younger audiences. For the most part foreign films are only shown in cinemas in the west-end of the city which means younger people form other areas either can't afford to or are not permitted to travel to these cinemas. It actually bothered me so much that I've recently started a cinema night in a youth club in my area to compensate for this.

    They still need to wait until I buy it on DVD, but at least they're getting to see these movies on a decent sized projector instead of a TV.

    this may be a bit off topic, but can anyone suggest any movies they think they would have loved to have seen as a child, but were not permitted the chance for whatever reason (bearing in mind my certificates can only go up to 12), thanks

  • Comment number 91.

    I know where you're coming from Krn, as I'm from Wakefield too.

  • Comment number 92.

    well, it's playing down the road, but the film doesn't really interest me. in a more general sense, i won't travel more than my usual journey to the multiplex would have once been - 10 miles? that said, i no longer go to multiplexes as it's not more choice across the board, not even more choice in one given location (as would have once been the case) but (as kermode says) more chances to see the same thing in one place... usually the same film starting every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day. that, and i'm fed up with how 20 years of industrial-estate film viewing in warehouses with projectors has turned the experience into one of overpriced crap, consumed whilst watching expensive unimaginative crap, with idiots who go to hide in the dark and mess about with their mates / their mobiles. whilst the few staff on hand try to cop-off with one another.

    for me, i'm constantly frustrated or amazed at how little sense critics, writers, film company workers (and so on) that i have occasional distant contact with, don't actually realise or understand how their non-previleged cohorts are simply not getting the amount of access (or quality, or regularity, or freedom... and so on) that they themselves would get. they forget, or don't care in the slightest, or don't understand that films need to do more than make it festivals in order to make themselves viable experiences. even if a film of interest makes it to a cinema in the UK, lots of industry folk are satisfied cos they imagine everyone lives in london and everyone can, at the drop of a hat, fit every available film scheduled throughout any give day in any - well, we can't, i won't, can't afford it and don't want to watch films all the time, unless you're going to pay me to be there. as they're paid to be there.

    in a sense, these small films from across the globe are far more accessible now than they were pre-DVD. it's just it's expensive and *it's not at the cinema*, usually.

  • Comment number 93.

    There is a very simple answer to that question. Digital distribution is that answer. It is a tragedy that multiplexes and mindless "Bay"esque types of movies are all that us film lovers can see nowadays. Unless distributors start releasing films online as opposed to in a cinema and charging us for a download that would only work for 24 hours (I'm sure you could write some program/code to do that) then the simple truth is that almost NO-ONE will travel to see this sort of film.

    There's only so far you spread the message about something through old fashioned word of mouth. With the internet there is no limit to how far your film could travel...

  • Comment number 94.

    I spend my week in Lincoln which only has an Odeon. Luckily I am in Leicester on the weekends which has the brilliant Phoenix Square cinema. They are screening Boonmee 7 times from the 10th to the 13th.
    The Phoenix Square will probably be gone soon though as the general public would rather pay through the nose to be force-fed 3D excrement at the monolithic Showcase De Lux. Dark times.

  • Comment number 95.

    What's up Doc.

    "Uncle Boonmee" is showing from the 26th Nov - 2nd Dec at the DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts). I live about 3-4 miles away.

    I've just got home after being at the DCA (which is a cinema i enjoy visiting very much) to see "We Are The Way We Are (Somos lo que hay)" and i would recommend checking it out.
    Complimentary comparisons have been drawn between it & Let The Right One In.
    That should grab your attention!
    3 word summary: Mexico City, Cannibals.
    3 word description: Thrilling, Chilling, Intelligent.

  • Comment number 96.

    Ouch Mark - you've touched a very raw nerve and - we live in a multiplex wasteland in N W Surrey - at least 4 big multiplexes within 15 mile radius which only show the big films. We do have one mini oasis 10 miles away which is a small,struggling independent - but he's having to increasingly show the big kids films to keep going - and, sadly, when he does show the great films you recommend there's very little support - I went to the see Winterbone and was the only person there. I can't travel too far to see something wonderful as I have ankle-biters and babysitters aren't cheap so I do feel cheated. I can't bear the fact that at the moment every single local cinema is showing nothing but Harry Potter, Harry Potter for weeks to come - fine I've nothing against the film - but can't at least one of them smuggle in an arthouse film as well. Rant over but the pain remains

  • Comment number 97.

    I don't know when this film would have opened here, but I was lucky enough to stumble onto a blogger who lived in my town and said that it was playing in a small film festival in town in a week and thankfully was able to see it. It was my least favorite of the three films of his that I have seen, although it had its magnificent moments. At any rate, I have driven up to an hour and a half each way to see a film this year, that being Everyone Else from Maren Ade which was getting no release here, and I would have driven, and would have had to have driven, as far to see Grandrieux's Un Lac when it had a screening earlier in the year, but my sporadic blog-scanning alerted me to the sole screening in my region two days after it had occurred and all was lost. This, then, highlights another issue: For those films lucky enough to get one screening or one week in a theater, how is anyone supposed to know it's playing? I had been keeping track of Everyone Else for about a year waiting and waiting for a screening anywhere nearby, knowing who held the rights to the film the whole time. For other films it's not always so clear, and even knowing where to find that distant-but-just-close-enough screening is often half of the battle. Thus, while you highlighted that the multiplex starves the options, the options are additionally starved by the difficulty of finding out which films are playing within, oh, an hour's drive. And this in the internet age when a company could relatively costlessly poll its audience and inform them of releases if there were some centralized method. In the supposed information age the cinema distribution seems to be trapped in the dark.

  • Comment number 98.

    Nevermind 'Uncle Boonmee...', I had to travel the 30 mile round trip from Coventry to Birmingham just to see Scott Pilgrim! Even then I had to do that on 2 separate occasions because the film was not shown before 8 o'clock in the evening.

  • Comment number 99.

    I live in Ipswich and London is the closest screening; sometimes I get lucky and find somewhere in Norwich. So will not be seeing this film for a while.

    When will they release films on all formats simultaneously (box office, cinema, DVD, etc), I wouldn't be a year behind then

  • Comment number 100.

    I live in Stirling in Scotland near the Macrobert centre, which only has one small screen but shows a lot of less mainstream films, quite often on a "one night only" basis. The films mostly appear a few months after the release dates, but at least they're making an effort.

    The larger Vue cinema pretty much shows the blockbusters, and only the blockbusters; it has about 6 screens and we had to travel to the next town to see Easy A...


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