I help run a film club; every second Thursday we show a film to a small audience of around 20 - 25 people. We put it on during the day so inevitably the audience is mostly made up of older people.
We use a moderately priced office projector (£450) and a DVD player with a couple of good quality PC speakers and it works well enough. The projector needs enough light power which I now know is measured in lumens! Shutting out enough of the daylight is surprising challenge in a medium sized hall. It's all free with tea and cakes afterwards.
It is a real pleasure to do even if we have seen the films before although a run of films about singing cowboys was a bit of a personal challenge.
Our first film was Oklahoma and for me it's only redeeming feature was a belligerent Rod Steiger playing a surprisingly vicious character called Judd Fry. Justice was done to Judd though - sorry if you have not seen it yet. The important thing was that our audience enjoyed the well-known songs and laughed at some of the humorous moments and they clapped at the end -and that made the whole thing worthwhile.
We watched 'Paint Your Wagon' and this was more enjoyable - good songs including Lee Marvin singing 'I was born under a wandering star' and the odd sight of Clint Eastwood singing - lots of comedy and a look at the morality of one wife and two husbands - some good fight scenes and collapse of the entire town.
The 'Sound of Music' was popular - lots of songs that our audience know and like singing along to and an ending that apparently makes people cry even if they don't know why they are crying.
I have to say I was relieved to be told that they had had enough of musicals at that point.
The majority of the audience are women - sadly it seems men don't last as long. I see these ladies at other times and they can be a bit grumpy but they laugh at the films and sing along and clap at the end and are more animated and happy if only for a short time.
Most recently we watched 'Casablanca' we anticipated the most famous scenes - the things that were never said - "play it again Sam" - the things that were said - "of all the gin joints..." and so on.
It didn't matter about the dodgy rear projection scenes of Paris suddenly becoming the French countryside. We laughed at the corrupt and amiable policeman who expresses his shock and surprise because of the gambling - as he collects his winnings - and the final satisfying scene with the beginning of the beautiful friendship.
Films can do magical things - they bring people together and make them a little bit happier if only for a short time - gets them out of their houses and give them a bit of company. There is something special about sitting with other people to watch a film - it makes it a much more intense experience - better than watching at home on the TV.
Two of our regular audience died over the Christmas break. Not everybody had heard the news but the show went on.