Jane Giles (independent film writer) ‘A country club for criminals and lunatics and people that were high’: The inside story of the Scala cinema, 1978-1993
John Waters’ description of the Scala – AKA the ’Sodom Odeon’ – scratches the surface of why it became the most influential and notorious cinema in London. Post-punk and pre-digital, the Scala was a pirate ship on the stormy seas of Thatcher’s Britain, a repertory cinema with its tentacles in every subculture, specialising in All-Night horror, LGBT+, Kung Fu, music and the unclassifiable, alongside the usual arthouse and Hollywood classics. And in the audience were students who went on to become today’s filmmakers: Peter Strickland, Ben Wheatley, Carol Morley, Joanna Hogg, Danny Boyle, James Marsh, Joe Cornish, Martin McDonagh and Christopher Nolan, who still carries his last Scala membership card in his wallet.
Former Scala cinema programmer and award-winning film writer Jane Giles will present a guided tour behind the scenes at the ’Sodom Odeon’.
Jane Giles studied film at the Universities of Reading and Kent, and is the author of four books, includingScala Cinema 1978-1993 (FAB Press) which won the 2019 Kraszna-Krausz award for excellence. She worked in the film industry from 1988-2016, at the Scala, ICA, London Film Festival, Channel 4, Tartan Films and ran the Film Distribution and Video Publishing department of the British Film Institute.
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Image Credit: Robin Webster