Tilda Swinton: The UK needs more small cinemas ‘outside the multiplex’

By Tom Horton, PA

Tilda Swinton has said the UK needs more small cinemas to enable the film industry to make a broader range of movies that can be shown “outside of the multiplex”.

Speaking before a dinner where she was presented with British Film Institute’s most prestigious accolade, the BFI Fellowship, the actress said there is a “limit” to how much people are willing to see the types of films shown in large, multi-screen cinemas.

She told the PA news agency: “We need a lot of cinemas. Little cinemas, refurbished old cinemas that have been turned into Tescos and can be turned back into cinemas.

“We need blow up cinemas in the park. We need spaces to show a range of films outside of the multiplex.”

(Ian West/PA)

The Oscar-winner added: “We all love going to the multiplex but there is a limit to how many times you can see something that you only see there.

“The more cinemas we have the more we’re going to remember that however much we like watching something on the end of our bed, we really love going to the pictures and we love sitting in the dark with a bunch of strangers.”

Swinton added that despite the rise of streaming, cinemas will remain relevant to film fans.

She said: “I’m a great believer in the moment that I do believe is coming.

“We all buy a CD and we get to know that music really well and if that band comes to town we’ll go and see them live.

“I think that will start to happen with cinema.

“We will get to know something really well because we’ve watched it on Netflix and then when it comes to a big screen near us, we will still go and see it live.”

Swinton was chosen for the award in recognition of her “daringly eclectic and striking talents as a performer and film-maker” and for her “great contribution to film culture, independent film exhibition and philanthropy”, according to the BFI.

She said it was a “little embarrassing” to be given the accolade, adding: “I’m just super honoured and don’t really know what to say about it. I’m just very happy.”

Ben Roberts, chief executive of the BFI, said the accolade was given to Swinton because she is at a high point in her career.

He told PA: “It’s not a lifetime achievement award. We want to make it for someone at the peak of their powers. We think Tilda Swinton is absolutely that person.

“She is a performer of unrivalled range. She is one of our greatest actresses.”

Swinton follows in the footsteps of the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Hugh Grant, Al Pacino, Tim Burton, Cate Blanchett, Martin Scorsese and Vanessa Redgrave in receiving the honour.

Olivia Colman was the recipient last year.