"The Scala had magic. It was like joining a club - a very secret club, like a biker gang or something ... It's like they were a country club for criminals and lunatics and people that were high ... which is a good way to see movies." - John Waters" The Scala was perverse in every sense of the word. It made sleaze romantic. That cinema was a refuge from suburbia. It made me feel as if I wasn't the only misfit in the world." - Peter Strickland (In Fabric)
Post-punk and pre-digital, the Scala was London’s most infamous repertory cinema, showing double-bills of classics, cult movies, horror, animation, LGBT+ and experimental films throughout the Thatcher years. In the audience were filmmakers including Ben Wheatley, Martin McDonagh, James Marsh, Carol Morley, Joe Cornish and Viv Albertine who have since attested to the Scala’s influence and legacy, while Christopher Nolan still carries his last Scala membership card in his wallet.
Scala Cinema 1978-1993 by Jane Giles is published by FAB Press and has been shortlisted for the 2019 Kraszna-Krausz for excellence in moving image book publishing. Jane Giles started going to the Scala when she was 17, and was its programme manager from 1988-1992. A film exhibitor and distributor, Jane is the author of books The Cinema of Jean Genet, Criminal Desires and The Crying Game (BFI Modern Classics) in addition to writing for The Guardian, Time Out, Sight & Sound and others. In this special event, Jane Giles will be in conversation with Watershed Cinema Curator Mark Cosgrove for a discussion on the Scala's influence.