This screening clashed with the final of Strictly Come Dancing unfortunately, and our audience numbers therefore took a hit. Apparently eight of the 27 milion TVs in the country were tuned to it just as we were enjoying some wonderful short films on the theme of friendship followed by the 50 year old story of Butch Cassidy. All volunteers were offered free drinks for this show (as they will be for the next two) as a token of the Trustee's Christmas thanks.
A fifty year old film would not, on the face of it, be a great contender for public attention against Strictly Come Dancing. However, it is certainly a film that retains its high levels of appeal and entertainment. Although we all know the outcome, we believe in the invincibility of Butch and the Kid until the very end when the two of them against a whole army weights the scale irrevocably. Both men are romantic, humourous, legendary and I am certain far more likeable than the historic pair they portray, particularly as Paul Newman and Robert Redford were so handsome. A classic film to lighten the heart, a tonic in our gloomy times.
The short films beforehand extended the theme of friendship, in two cases beyond the bounds of most of our experience. In the first, children were being asked about what makes a good friend. It appeared to be something they had already considered carefully; they showed great discernment. Another film exhibited the positive dedication of being a true friend. Three or four young men took it in turns to carry their wheelchairbound friend in a specially designed backpack on their extensive travel holidays. They even carried him to a mountain summit. It was a very moving, humbling film and yet totally without sentimentality. We ended with a TED talk and I was again moved to tears. This was the story of two mothers with no common language. One had lost her son in the attack on the Twin Towers in 2011, and the other, didn't know where her son was or if he was still alive as he had been arrested, accused of implication in the plotting of the disaster. The two women held hands as they told their stories, each understanding and wanting to be understood in the unity of their grief. Thank you Anne for finding such outstanding films again this week.
Everyone in our small discussion group had enjoyed the evening greatly. Asked why supporting the bad guys seemed so acceptable, it was decided that Butch and the Kid were not bad all through, they weren't mean, as evidenced in the second attack on the train when the same guard as in the first, was carefully encouraged to leave the train before blowing up the wagon. It was also a film of make believe in that several of their successful stunts were impossibilities as, for example, when throwing themselves into the deep gorge without resulting in so much as a scratch. We all found the music in the soundtrack beautifully engaging. The film stood the test of time, we thought, without showing it's age.