Derby's Metro cinema opened its doors in January 1981, and quickly established itself as a haven for those who craved the very best in world cinema. Lynch, Cronenberg, Argento, Kieslowski, Terence Davies, Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Tarkovsky, Fellini, Neil Jordan, Donald Cammell.... great names who all featured on the big screen here in a stunning mix of new and retrospective screenings which took in films from over 20 different countries each year. On Thursday 14th December 2006, Metro closed its doors for the final time in its Green Lane location in Derby city centre. I'd spent so many evenings there, enjoying a wide range of cinema that the multi's couldn't and wouldn't offer, and made many friends amongst the staff and fellow patrons. Ths small, intimate venue with its cramped seats was like a second home to me and when it closed, it was like saying goodbye to an old friend who you knew would never return; at least, not in the way you remembered them.
The cinema did re-open at a different location in January 2007, but proved geographically prohibitive if, like myself, you lived 15 miles away and had to rely on a public transport system which seemed to have been tailor-made to discourage any attempt to simply go to the movies. Now, Metro is set to rise from the ashes and become part of the brand new Quad centre in the centre of Derby which opens 26th September. This £11 million media centre will provide 2 screens, along with a multimedia centre and a bar cafe. With 3 multi screen cinemas in Derby, fans of international cinema currently find themselves bereft of a place that will screen the latest Almodovar, but all that will change again in just under one month from now. Screen 1 will see films open day and date with nationwide releases and movies will have two- week runs. Screen 2 is likely to host three-day runs of smaller films.Opening films for the month of September will include: ASHES OF TIME REDUX, the Icelandic film JAR CITY, the Brazilian crime drama ELITE SQUAD, DUCHESS (which was filmed at Kedlaston Hall, just a few miles from where I live) and local hero Shane Meadow's latest, SOMERS TOWN.
Customers are promised luxurious seating, grade-A equipment and a diverse selection of the type of fare that became synonymous with the old Metro. There will also be Q&A sessions with filmmakers, and live hookups with events from the London Film Festival. Together with Cinema De Lux, Quad will offer a complete cinema experience for the city and surrounding area. It's not yet clear whether there will be afternoon screenings, so we may yet again be faced with transport difficulties, but I'm sure we'll be able to take in a screening in the not-too distant future. Thanks to the old Metro for helping me immerse myself in the very best of world cinema. Tonight, I'll raise a glass to this exciting new venture. I wish them well.