Who wouldn’t want to be a Bright Young Thing? We all know the connotations; clever, curious and devoted to cocktails. And after all, in a London where the weather is bleak and the laughably high price of everything even bleaker – where you’re lost amongst the thousands of people pounding the pavements and the tourists who torture us with their inexplicably slow street-walking – it’s certainly appealing to feel oneself part of a sophisticated set. A club. A throng who have taste.
The Bright Young Things is a film club set up by two women as bubbly as the drinks on offer. Bridget Arsenault is a Canadian journalist in London who spent over half a decade at Conde Naste and Fatima Martinez-Moxon works for luxury Mexican jewellery brand, Tane. For around £15 a screening you can strap yourself in and having a roaring good time. Bridget and Fatima are sponsored by a number of brands including Ciroc Vodka, Metcalfe’s Popcorn, Itsu and Green & Blacks to ensure you are spoilt rotten with complimentary confections. Surrounded by the sort of people who must be just like you (discerning, of course) you have plenty of time to meet new friends whilst you snack in the ante-lounge. As you go through to the screening room, you’ll find melt into leather armchairs, and yet more popcorn. Live Q&A with some of the top cats from the movie in question follows the film; the guests could be an actor / director / writer from the project. They’re there to speak to you. As will the films.
Bridget and Fatima started Bright Young Things in a bid to give brilliant but more modestly budgeted films a platform and allow indie film-makers to bask in some of that glorious golden spotlight Hollywood red carpet events get. With the film club hosted at The May Fair Hotel there is a glitziness to the setting. Better still is the genuine love of cinema so palpably obvious in both Bridget and Fatima. Their enthusiasm brims over and lights up these evenings. Their carefully curated programmes and unerring diversity of theme is a sign of research, dedication and a sincere desire to give tribute to talented film-makers.
Now I have to warn you, from here on, things get serious. The facts stand as such: the next screening is on 3rd of June. There is, as yet, chance of a ticket. The film being screened is Remainder, a film adaptation by Omer Fast of the cult novel by Tom McCarthy.
Let me tell you a little more about the film; as though you weren’t already pressing the purchase button just because of Bright Young Things. Remainder is a psychological drama that follows a Londoner who loses his memory in an accident that he receives a huge cash settlement for. Disorientated and disconcerted, he attempts to reconstruct the past from the only snippets he can recall. The cast is made up of exciting, rising, young British actors; including Tom Sturridge (Far from the Madding Crowd / Vanity Fair), Ed Speelers (Downton Abbey), Cush Jumbo (The Good Wife) and Arsher Ali. Oh and by the way, this is an exclusive preview – the film isn’t out in cinemas yet.
As interesting as the story of the film, is the unusual trajectory of the novel it’s based off. Rejected by all UK Publishers, Tom McCarthy published with Metronome Press in 2005, a Parisian art publisher, and distributed books through galleries and museum shops. Apparently only 750 copies were first printed, but the novel gained momentum, gathered reviews from major papers and Zadie Smith called it “one of the great English novels of the last 10 years”. It has since been translated into 14 languages, and when those UK publishers came crawling back, Tom McCarthy refused all their offers, commenting acerbically; “it’s the same book as it was 2 years ago.”
I cannot help but fall desperately in love with Tom McCarthy. He sounds sassy. He sounds gutsy. And he once worked as a nude model in Prague. Best of all, he’s held the title of General Secretary of a “semi-fictitious organisation” called the International Necronautical Society (INS). What there are really all about beats me… though they did once say the society would be “devoted to mind-bending projects that would do for death what the Surrealists had done for sex”. From what I understand they are mostly up to mischief; in 2003 the INS hacked the BBC website and inserted propaganda into its source code.
In maths, a remainder is the number leftover from a calculation. Something that seems superfluous after the completed sum. In many ways the Bright Young Things Film Club is a sort of remainder itself, but in no way a mathematical one. It stands out alone amid other film clubs and mainstream cinema; having stoically remained to wave the flag for expertly executed events, innovative international cinema and the chance to mingle with a crowd you can’t help but want to be part of.