Established in 1914, Hyde Park Picture House is one of the UK’s oldest cinemas, located just outside of Leeds City Centre. The Grade II listing building features an intricate balcony and gas lighting, cultivating a vintage intimate atmosphere, reminiscent of times gone by. The cinema screens the best art house, independent and classic films from around the world for the fine folk of Leeds and beyond to enjoy.
Dunkirk is the latest film from director, Christopher Nolan. It was shown exclusively on a brand new 35mm film print. Fans of the director have been waiting a long time for the film, since its first teaser release in April 2016. It tells the dramatic narrative of the legendary evacuation of British allied troops during WWII. It boasts a stellar cast including Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and also, Kenneth Branagh. It will also feature the inaugural feature film performances of Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney and Harry Styles.
Nolan is a champion of analogue film, he worked closely with Warner Brothers, the film’s distributor to make the film readily available on both 35mm and 70mm for the small number of cinemas able to project it. Hyde Park Picture House was the only cinema in Leeds screening Dunkirk on 35mm, utilizing its two 1960’s Cinemeccanica projectors, originally housed at the Odeon in Grimsby and then, Longue in Headingley before finally ending their journey at Hyde Park, almost a decade ago. The cinema's six projectionists are each fully trained to project the 35mm film.
After a successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fun, £2.4 million was pledged towards an ambitious regeneration project, to maintain the skills and equipment required to project analogue film in the 103 year old cinema. The scheme is currently in development and will soon serve to allow the cinema to engage with much more heritage-based activity, both in relation to it's own history but also, the rich history of film within the region.
“Dunkirk represents a rare opportunity to see a new film released on 35mm film, a format with a rich heritage, as well as a unique warmth and depth, difficult to replicate digitally”, says Michael Sharples, Projection Manager at the Hyde Park Picture House. “We’ve gone to great lengths to preserve our 35mm projectors, and maintain and train projectionists who know how to work with film - so we’re delighted to have the chance to put all this work to good use and play our part in keeping this century-old format alive.”