THE world premiere of a newly restored Alfred Hitchcock silent film, The Lodger, will take place with full orchestral accompaniment at London’s Barbican arts centre next week – but North East cinema buffs can enjoy it without the expense of a trip to the capital.
Thanks to a new scheme hailed as “an exciting new era in entertainment” by Tyneside Cinema chief executive Mark Dobson, the Newcastle venue will be able to screen the film simultaneously with the Barbican.
The Pilgrim Street venue is one of a new group of art-house cinemas across the country linked by super-fast digital technology.
The screening of The Lodger marks the re-emergence of the film and the birth of the Cross Artform Venue Network, or CAV Network for short.
Cinemas in 13 other cinemas, including Nottingham, Cardiff, Dundee, Glasgow and Manchester are also part of the new network. The technology means all will be able to offer their customers film premieres, discussions or interactive presentations taking place in other participating cities.
“We’re excited to be able to offer this wonderful opportunity to our audience in the Newcastle area and, as members of the CAV Network, we’ll be able to simulcast many more such events in the future,” said Mr Dobson.
“This is the beginning of an exciting new era in entertainment and I’m delighted that the Tyneside Cinema is involved.”
Ali Hossaini, chief executive of the CAV Network, said: “Digital technology has been truly transformative for the arts sector, opening new ways of working and opportunities for collaboration.
“Now, for the first time, the CAV Network can offer local audiences the chance to participate in a broader range of film events.” Mr Hossaini is a philosopher who turned to producing groundbreaking, science-influenced TV and live shows.
He pioneered interactive TV for Cablevision using fibre optic loops to deliver live video on demand in New York. He also developed interactive technologies that let people participate in TV via webcam.
He was responsible for one of the first webcasts ever, a multimedia opera called Honoria in Ciberspazio which was broadcast from the University of Texas in 1996, and has worked on projects with Johnny Depp, Selma Hayek, Robert Downey Jnr, Winona Ryder and Sean Penn.
Alfred Hitchcock was a film innovator from an earlier era.
Heather Stewart, creative director at the British Film Institute, describes him as one of the great artists of the 20th century.
“His contribution to world cinema is immense and it’s important that we make his work as accessible as possible and give people the opportunity to see his early films,” she said. “They are the foundation of his whole body of work.”
The Lodger: A Tale of the London Fog – to give the film its full title – was released in 1926 when Hitchcock was struggling to get a foothold in an emerging industry.
His few previous films had been beset by bad luck and none had been a commercial success.
His luck changed with The Lodger. Released in January 1927, when he was still in his twenties, it was Hitchcock’s first thriller and it became a major commercial and critical success in the UK.
Film historians recall the film, starring Ivor Novello, as the first truly “Hitchcockian” film.
It has been restored by the British Film Institute and has a new score by Nitin Sawhney, who will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican on July 21. Tickets for the Tyneside Cinema screening at 7.30pm on that day can be bought from the box office on 08452 179 909 or www.tynesidecinema.co.uk