Last night we became members of the longest running cinema in Canada. It opened its doors in 1914 without a name, briefly running as The Pastime, before becoming the Prince Edward in response to Great War patriotism. For more than 70 years, since 1937, it has been known as The Fox Theatre, a mainstay of the Beach community.
In going to a film at the Fox, what struck me was the way in which our homogenised, glossy multi-screens have actually reduced rather than heightened pleasure in a trip to the cinema. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed going to a cinema this much, as opposed to enjoying the film. There was a sense of being part of an audience sharing an experience; as well as fresh popcorn and candy, coffee, gourmet teas, homemade cakes and more are available at really reasonable prices (with 10% discount for members). It restored to the experience a sense of the personal and of connection.
There is only one screen, yet the Fox caters to all tastes. With two to four showings each day, it rarely screens any film more than half a dozen times – you have to make a conscious choice to put films that you really want to see into your diary! In the last month, possible choices have included Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story (which is what we saw last night), The Invention of Lying (mainstream), Handmade Nation (a documentary about an arts and crafts movement), Cairo Time (winner of Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto Film Festival), French film Coco Before Chanel and Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo. For those so inclined, there’s even an all-night showing of B-movies of questionable taste and quality!
Even from our new home, we should be able to walk to the Fox within less than 20 minutes. With membership at only $10 per year and member tickets at $7, I think there is little doubt that we will become regulars!