During summer in Melbourne, we’re lucky enough to have a number of outdoor cinema-going options – including one screen unexpectedly perched on a city rooftop.
Rooftop Cinema is hoisted up six flights of stairs at the top of Curtin House and the faux lawn, stripey deckchairs and twinkling city lights create an unforgettable movie going experience. If you’re in Melbourne during summer and like films, Rooftop Cinema is a must-do.
The program shows mainly old favourites with the occasional new release, and thanks to Rooftop Cinema we scored some free tickets to The Last Picture Show, the award-winning 1971 film based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Larry McMurtry.
The black and white movie is an allegory of America, and particularly small-town America, coming of age in the 50s and as a result losing its glowing innocence. In dusty Anarene, Texas, Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and Duane (Jeff Bridges) are friends in their last year of high school. Jacy (Cybill Shepherd) is Duane’s girlfriend – a beautiful and wilful girl from a wealthy family who likes to twist people around her little finger.
The story revolves around the love, loneliness and jealousy of this three-way triangle. While the teenage actors are fantastic, there are also great nuanced performances from Jacy’s lonely and loose mother (Ellen Burstyn) and the depressed wife of Sonny’s basketball coach who becomes Sonny’s lover (Ruth Popper).
The backdrop of the film is the sad dying town, epitomised by a run-down pool hall and nearly empty picture house. The title of the film comes from the closing of the cinema, and represents the closing of a chapter in the everyone”s lives, particularly as Duane is moved off to Korea as part of the army, Jacy goes to college in Texas and Billy, Sonny’s friend, is killed.
While I quite liked the film, I didn’t love it. For film auteurs it’s a highly influential film for its cinematography and in 1998 it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress. It won Oscars for best supporting actor and actress, while it was nominated for the other biggies – best actor, actress, cinematography director, film and adapted screenplay. It was also used as direct inspiration for a storyline in Dawson’s Creek.