PHOENIX CINEMA CREAKS WITH HISTORY AND GRANDEUR
WORDS BY PAUL HICKIN
Standing in stark contrast to the tentacular rise and dominance of the multiplex, independent cinemas often look out of step and out of time. But that is part of the strange appeal. The Phoenix Cinema dates back to 1912, creaking with history and old-fashioned grandeur, almost reminding us of the importance of cinema – all cinema, and not just the Hollywood blockbuster. You may not get the same selection of food and drink as at the multiplex, nor as comfy and spacious a seat, but you will get a greater sense of intimacy, fewer people whatsapping friends mid-movie, and the feeling you are sharing this film with fellow appreciative cinephiles. I remember watching, what became my favourite film there, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, and being blown away by this black-and-white subtitled exploration of female identity. Maybe it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, just like the Phoenix, but the ending (semi-spoiler alert) left me wondering whether the cinema’s reel had imploded. Bonus: Patrons of the Phoenix include Benedict Cumberbatch and Ken Loach.
Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Road, East Finchley, London N2 9PJ. Phone: 020 8444 6789