Usherettes at the Rio Cinema

Usherettes at the Rio Cinema

The Rio Cinema has been the longstanding centrepiece of both Kingsland High Street and the artistic institutional landscape of Hackney for the past 100 years.

To celebrate this milestone, the cinema called on local residents and the vast array of video footage stored in the Hackney Archives to create a cinematic landscape of the borough spanning the latter half of the century.

Jemma Buckley, who played a large part in organising the show, said hopes were that the project funded by Film London would reflect the content of the entire archive while being “a source of memories and history for the public to enjoy.”

The result is a curious mix of home video and council funded footage, opening with the ominous grainy images depicting the slum clearances of the 1930s, shifting to the grandeur of Hackney Town Hall and celebrations following World War Two and the council’s somewhat self-indulgent footage of their response to the housing crisis in the form of unspoiled, characterless estates.

All this builds to a heart-warming crescendo of home movie footage, with a flurry of street parties, children’s creative exploits and community fun days.

Revealing the evolution of Hackney’s architectural and cultural landscape, through the use of public archives and personal memories the Rio manages to paint an uplifting picture of an ever-changing London borough and its community.

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