Moviegoing Memories is a series of short interviews with filmmakers about going to the movies. Asif Kapadia's Diego Maradona is MUBI GO's Film of the Week of June 14, 2019.
NOTEBOOK: How would you describe your movie in the least amount of words?
ASIF KAPADIA: Diego v. Maradona
NOTEBOOK: Where and what is your favorite movie theatre?
KAPADIA: The Curzon Soho in London.
NOTEBOOK: Why is it your favorite?
KAPADIA: This is the cinema I went to most often while a student at the Royal College of Art—this is when I was trying to make the leap from short films to feature film maker. My girlfriend Victoria—now wife—and I would go every Friday. We’d see the greatest films of world cinema week in week out. This was the cinema I wanted my features to be shown in. This is where I was for the opening night of my debut The Warrior and my first documentary, Senna. I’ve also interviewed some of my heroes at the cinema, including the legendary Nic Roeg (as we walked onto the stage, he turned to me and said, “Let’s not talk about the old films” ), as well as Doreen Lawrence and lawyer Imran Khan. Over the years I became friends with the people who ran the cinema and the programmers; I’m still in contact with them. It was and remains a key part of my life as a cinephile.
NOTEBOOK: What is the most memorable movie screening of your life?
KAPADIA: Tough one. But I have to say it would be difficult to beat the world premiere of Amy at the Grand Theatre Lumière at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. Before the screening we had a party in the casino next door which had been converted into a jazz club, Gregory Porter and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) amongst others performed. I had to be dragged out to attend my own premiere! It was a midnight screening, which started at about 1am. The standing ovation seemed to go on forever, it was incredibly intense and emotional, everyone was in tears by the end. We all walked out at 3am onto the Croisette in an absolute daze.
NOTEBOOK: If you could choose one classic film to watch on the big screen, what would it be?
KAPADIA: The Godfather. An incredible film which created the rules of the modern gangster film genre. Gordon Willis’ cinematography has to seen at the cinema to be believed.