Cinememories at the Phoenix

There are many films about dementia. Most of them are documentaries but there are also more or less  accurate and enlightening feature films with famous actors. 

I came across an inspiring project in London: the use of films to entertain and relieve isolation of people with dementia. 

The Phoenix Cinema (East Finchley) organises with the help of the Alzheimer’s Society twice a month ‘dementia friendly’ screenings. They have shown  mainly musicals : My Fair Lady, Pal Joey, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, 42nd Street. 

In the interval a facilitator who runs Singing for the Brain sessions for the Alzheimer’s Society leads the singing over refreshments. 

These screenings attract a bigger audience than many other ‘special screenings’ at the Phoenix. It is true that the Phoenix is a registered charity but our local independent cinemas who see themselves as serving the community do not even bother to provide facilities for the hard of hearing. 

About rinaross

Born in 1935. MA in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster 1998. Studying the representation of older women in film since then.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Rina have sent the news about cinema to friend whose husband has dementia
    Still following your blogs with much interest from sunny Somerset

    Much love

  2. Rita Ferris-Taylor says:

    That sounds an excellent way of including people with dementia.
    In fact, there is an organisation called Dimensions UK which disseminates info about cinema and play showings that have been made more friendly for people with autism and learning disabilities and some of these are also advertised as being suitable for people with dementia. You can get on their emailing list and then they will email you regular details of screenings.

    I agree there is much more that could be done also to support people with hearing loss and sight issues/blindness to be able to use any cinema easily and pleasurably.
    There are lost of examples of things that could be done but just 2 from my recent experience:

    1. If here is a q and a or talk then the house lights should be turned on, to enable people to see faces/ lipread.
    2. A personal bugbear of mine is that when there are subtitles – either for language translation or hearing impairment, the film distributors/subtitlers need to be aware that if there is not enough colour contract between the lettering and the background, then many people, myself included, cannot read them. It was easier in the times when subtitling used a block background strip but these seems to have gone out of fashion ( maybe people feel it occludes the film a bit?)

    All good wishes
    Rita Ferris-Taylor

    • rinaross says:

      Thanks for this Rita. I have now set up the system so that I am alerted when there is a comment. So please do carry on commenting….

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