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  • Writer's pictureEugene

Green Book (2018)

10th August 2019

I enjoyed this humourous film and the fact it was based on truth. The story of two very unlikely companions over a two month concert tour of the deep south of America; a black, educated and gifted pianist and his driver/minder, a New York Italian night club bouncer. What could possibly go well? Gradually each man learned lessons from the other and broke down their long held prejudices. Anger often flared but eventually they grew to value and rely on each other. The shorts before the interval were as outstanding as usual. We were taken on the difficult but determined journey of the young black ballerina, Ingrid Silva, and was delightful to have a her on screen sending a personal message to RCC. The second short featured Sheku Kanneh-Mason. I have very much admired him since he won Young Musician of the Year; he makes the cello "speak". Twelve people assembled to discuss the evening's entertainment and there was unanimous praise for the short films. We all agreed that a whole evening devoted to short films would be exciting and well received. Most people enjoyed Green Book but there were dissenters who felt it was too contrived and formulaic, not enough was made of the green book, the background music was not varied enough and the New York Italian speech was not authentic. The question of subtitles was raised and many people thought they were unnecessary but they were not hard of hearing. The bracketed asides- sighs and groans- were completely unwarranted, but for my part, I could ignore the latter and found the subtitled speech an aid. Sonia


A total of 96 people watched Green Book to what seemed like unanimous appreciation. There were a couple of trials run: we included subtitles for the hard of hearing. We were not sure whether these would be too intrusive for those blessed with good hearing so our Feedback Lady took a poll as people were leaving. 72% spoke positively - either they didn't notice the subtitles or did and liked them (even those who would prefer them without the [stage directions] or on a different part of the screen. Which means that 28% did not approve. The message I will take from this is that it is good in future to include them on some films - particularly those with heavy dialectualised speech, but on those with more emphasis on the visuals, not. From a personal perspective, I was surprised to find myself frequently looking for the subtitles before the picture. Our other experiment was to run a Facebook live feed. This may benefit some of our regular visitors unable to be with us in person - particularly for the short films which are typically not encumbered with such onerous licence terms as the main features. It also enables me to give rich feedback to small film makers, such as last evening's when knowledge of the audience applause would be much welcomed by Ingrid Silva. Eugene.

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