I love it when London merges unexpected places with screening events and tonight we had the mix of table-tennis, Richard Curtis, Bill Nighy and ABOUT TIME at BOUNCE ‘The Home of Ping-Pong’ in Holborn and it was all thanks to The Flicker Club and their incredible work.
Not content with a simple screening of Curtis’ latest offering ABOUT TIME, that does feature Ping-Pong as a very important part of the narrative, the venue couldn’t be better placed to tie it all together and also offer us some time with legendary British screenwriter and director Richard Curtis. He gave us a welcoming and insightful introduction to the film as he spoke of how close this is to his life, heart and history. It turns out that Curtis used to play the game with his father when he was younger and, like lead Domhnall Gleeson, was also one of the ginger clan and so didn’t exactly have a lot of success finding someone special in those earlier days. He also spoke of why the film begins on New Year’s Eve and this is because it has always been one of the worst nights of his life and quite frankly, I completely concur and am sure I’m not the only one with stories.
This was my first encounter with ABOUT TIME, which stars Gleeson, Nighy and the inimitable Rachel McAdams, and I found it absolutely beautiful and a bit of a modern classic, with the additional bonus of leaps into time-travel. I There’s surely a slight inspiration from his love for Doctor Who – he did write the excellent ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ – but also of his undying passion for the good in life and observing people doing the best they can with what they’ve got. What always impresses me about Curtis’ writing is how it still manages to affect you on a personal level. I’ve grown up with his work and much like my love for Nick Hornby and Cameron Crowe; he always manages to find something that I can relate to.
ABOUT TIME gives you the message of living every day, not necessarily to the fullest but to the best you can. It’s somewhat an ode to family, friends, lovers and the future but by recommending that you just let it take a natural flow and see what happens. I’m not necessarily talking sentimentality because in Curtis’ other films such as LOVE, ACTUALLY and FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, they do have the essence of this but they also have something bigger, which is that reminder to appreciate this humble tiny entity we calllife. Sure, in ABOUT TIME both Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy have the advantage of hanging around dark cupboards (you’ll see) and moving through their own timeline but in a strange sense, you can do that yourself by just taking it all in.
After the screening, we were joined by the aforementioned Bill Nighy (who gives one of the best acting performances of his career) who teamed up with Richard Curtis to take on some lucky raffle winners in a game, you’ve guessed it, of Ping-Pong! It went to the wire but was all in good spirits and overall, we all felt a little lucky to just be a part of the evening. I highly recommend checking out The Flicker Club for their future events and they’re also super brilliant because all their profits go directly to charity. They’re currently working with FilmMAD and WaterAid and you can check them out directly by clicking along here. Do it!