Flickers of life . . .

The Phantom tickles the ivories.
The Phantom tickles the ivories.

THE southside film festival continued to grow from strength to strength with a screening of horror classic, The Phantom of the Opera.

Cinema-goers were treated to traditional moviegoing fayre with an old-fashioned popcorn machine manned by a couple in candy-striped uniforms.

The event was in conjunction with the wider Glasgow festival.

More than 200 people attended the festival’s first-ever, sell-out event in the atmospheric Pollokshaws Burgh Hall, to see Lon Chaney as the infamous ghost who haunts the Paris Opera House in the 1920s silent classic.

Although downloading films may be easier than visiting the cinema these days, people made the trip to the southside from far and wide.

Westender Tawny Kerr said: “This film is an important part of cinematic history. I like to spend my money on a different film experience, I’d rather come and watch a classic than something that will end up on TV anyway”.

The showing featured live accompaniment by a Wurlitzer Organ, the last of its kind in Scotland.

Organist David Gray even threw in some much appreciated references from “My Funny Valentine” and “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” interspersed throughout the classic Phantom score.

Although the crowd were a refreshing mix of ages, a common passion for film united them.

“The music really was outstanding and it was just such a nice experience to share the scary bits and the humour with people that are passionate about classic films”, said Greenock resident Jennifer McGhee, “it becomes so much more than just sitting watching something on your own”.

Founder Karen O’Hare believes this is part of “a move back to community events and the encouragement of distinctive, grassroots talent.

“Is it any wonder that this event was so successful on the night that an offbeat, silent film swept the Oscars board for the first time since its launch in 1929?”

Southsiders with a taste for unique, distinctive and even more traditional films rather than the latest blockbuster, will again be in their element in May when the festival proper kicks off once again.