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"Blinded by the Light" Badlands screening review etc.

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Please scroll down to read a review from long-time Badlands customer Ian Henry from last night's exclusive screening of "Blinded By The Light" where the film’s director Gurinder Chadha made an unplanned appearance to introduce the film in her bathrobe!!

We hope everyone who was lucky enough to be drawn out of the hat enjoyed the film and we are sorry that even with 100 seats we were unable to offer tickets to everyone who wanted to come along. If you did go and have any thoughts on the film, the director and others involved would be very interested to hear them . Please email us and we can pass on your comments. There should be plenty of other screenings around the country so please try and catch one if you get the chance.

Blinded by the Light

Ian Henry

I am not a film critic; I don’t go the cinema very often.But courtesy of Badlands I have just seen Blinded by the Light, with the unexpected bonus of director Gurinder Chadha talking to us before the screening – she was in the same hotel about to have a massage and spoke to us in her bathrobe!

The film is astonishing, partly because of the humanity with which it depicts Javed’s (or rather Sarfraz Manzoor’s) conflicted relationship with his father (which is resolved at the end), but especially because of how it captures the spirit, and often the nasty spirit, of the UK, specifically England, in 1987.

The recreation of a National Front march through Luton, beneath a remarkably apt poster of Margaret Thatcher, claiming to be “uniting Britain” (who else claims to be doing that now?) is all too graphically filmed; having marched against the National Front myself in the early ‘80s, I found myself slightly embarrassed that I didn’t remember the NF marching again in 1987.And, with a remarkable sense of timing, we saw the reaction of Javed’s family, especially his father, when he lost his job at Vauxhall (something which today’s Vauxhall workers will probably experience in the not too distant future) Car plants shedding jobs is nothing new:Bruce’s father lost his job in Ford plant, long since closed.So did Javed’s father and with the closure of a Vauxhall plant in the north-west of England on the horizon, this was a reminder that, for some people, nothing much has changed since 1987.

The way in which Gurinder Chadha has woven Bruce’s lyrics into the narrative is a veritable tour de force.The message which Javed took from Bruce’s words, to get out while he was still young, to follow his dream, his runaway-from-Luton dream, infused the film as Javed got his girl, got to go to Asbury Park and then was reunited with his father at the end.

As a Springsteen obsessive, I did spot one continuity error but I won’t tell you what that was; it doesn’t detract one bit from a brilliant film.And, I think I might well go and see it again. And again.

One final thought: when talking about the film, Gurinder mentioned how she could always find a Bruce song or album for her mood.Too true.I have always said there is a Bruce song for every important moment in life.And that is especially true at the end, as the credits roll; we get to hear “I’ll Stand By You Always” officially.Bruce’s lyrics have stood by or with me ever since I first heard Born To Run, back in 1975.Thanks Bruce. Thanks Sarfraz for writing your story and thanks Gurinder for making such a superb film. And of course, thanks to Phil and all the people at Badlands for arranging the screening.

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