In downtown Newburyport, MA, there's a little single-screen movie theatre called The Screening Room. It shows the latest indie films, and despite having worked in Newburyport, and currently living only 20 minutes away from it, I'd never seen a film there. Part of the reason is that I had the impression that it was only for private screenings or film connoisseurs. I imagined eight folding chairs occupied by very distinguished people scratching their chins in deep critical analysis -- ah yes, film.
I found out my biases were way off, of course, when Rachel invited me and Aisha to see the new Spike Lee movie, The Blackkklansman, on Sunday. She had some free passes. A free movie? Hell yeah, I'm in! After struggling to find parking in Newburyport (hint: there's a mysterious little lot behind the theatre!), we arrived just on time for the 2pm showing. We might've missed one preview.
The Screening Room is a charming theatre with more than eight seats (it looks like it could hold maybe 50?). There's a little lobby with snacks and friendly staff. In the theatre, when the lights are off, the lights are off, which was a little disorienting at first. The sound is incredible! I can only liken it to surround-sound -- some audio in the movie sounded like it was coming from behind us, or beside us. Pretty cool.
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, the crowd was majority white-haired elderly white folks, which made this filmgoing experience of seeing The Blackkklansman feel especially odd. While the movie had moments of (uncomfortable) humor, there are many disturbing and upsetting scenes (I mean, it's about the KKK), especially the ending, which left the room silent and struck at the lights came back on. I should've known what I was getting into seeing a Spike Lee film, but honestly, I wasn't prepared for that to be my Sunday afternoon. Phew.
Before the movie, there was a preview for a movie about a woman who does competitive jigsaw puzzles. That sounds a bit lighter, right? Overall, I'll definitely be back to the Screening Room, now that I know what it's all about!