Today is Monday, and I’ll be showing ‘Denial’ up at the Club this evening. It’s been out on DVD for a couple of weeks now, and I’m pretty sure my Movie Nighters have been looking forward to it.

When Movie Night first started, just over six years ago, we made do with the flatscreen TV on the back wall of the Clubhouse, and my DVD player from home. The sound was far from surround, the seating was from a closed-down pub: hardbacked, worn, maroon cushion-bases. The roof leaked, and in the summertime, I secured the Branch’s sea-blue tablecloths over the paperthin blinds to act as blackouts.

I brought out choc ices and tiny tubs of raspberry ripple for the interval. I refused to carry a tray with suspenders and a little hat, because I don’t follow suggestions too well.

That’s what I’m doing now. Finding the interval.

As a side note, we now have an eight foot pull-down screen, a new projector in the ceiling, surround sound with all manner of effects, deep-cushioned tub chairs (it’s like sitting in a cuddle), a new roof and real black-out blinds. I still have the choc ices, but they’re now branded, rather than store’s own. Movie Night has earned its place in the life of the Club.

This is, in effect, live blogging. Naturally, I’ll want to tidy it up a bit, but I am typing this as I watch the film. Having not seen it at the cinema, I don’t fully know what I’m letting myself in for. I just know it’ll be important.

Just briefly, I’m watching this with the dogs. Aimée is at work, and I don’t think any person would put up with the clicking of the keys whilst trying to watch a film. Especially one of this calibre.

So, ‘Denial’. Based on a true story – always a good start. Straight away, this film pulls at my heart. I already know I’m going to cry. I do love Rachel Weisz, and Timothy Spall is just wonderful. I can’t think of better actors for these parts.

Damn right, get security. I think it hits home a little harder when we know that something really happened. When there’s a film of heavy subject matter, if it’s totally the creation of a writer’s mind, we can chalk it up to too much cheese before bedtime, or the consequence of sustained drug use. When the story is based on real life, there is no blaming narcotics or brie – this is the behaviour of real people who really existed. And often, the characters we meet in films are either odious examples of humanity, or they suffer. Badly, and often.

Defamation, in this country, is much more complicated than I would have assumed. To put the burden of proof on the accused, to make it their responsibility to prove that what they’ve said is true, or has been misinterpreted, seems upside down.

Between 10 and 20 million words in David Irving’s twenty year diary? Good grief. Yesterday, I read about a man who writes novels 55,000 words long, and writes about one and a half per month. He’s aiming to increase his productivity to two a month. They can’t all be good words if there are that many, surely.

Holy Lord, that’s John Sessions! I first encountered John Sessions when he was on Whose Line Is It Anyway. My word, what an intellect, and such a dialectical ability, but he was in desperate need of a lasagne in those days. A beautiful man, he’s just amazing.

Big inhalation of breath from me, I just choked on my coffee, “settle”? Really, settle? Oh, I like her enormously. And she’ll have a glass of wine with Tom Wilkinson. She’s basically perfect.

Sorry, there was a bit of gap in typing there. It’s something that doesn’t come up as much in modern films, although it did just now, when a character lights a cigarette.. I don’t think it matters if you gave up thirty years ago, there’s a little pang. A little hunger. Cursed Lady Nicotine.

For the last few minutes, I have found myself unable to type. There are no words to express the horror. This devastation of the Second World War happened and echoed when my grandmother was a young woman, when my mother was a girl. And this court case happened when I was eighteen.

I must confess to being shocked by the headlines at the time. The thought that the fact of the Holocaust was effectively on trial was horrifying. Seeing the trial played out on screen, by actors I admire, in roles I fully believe them in, is harder than I would have thought.

Holy lord, but my mouth hangs open in total disbelief. How often the oppressor sees himself as the oppressed. I suppose every one of us is the superhero in our own story but I really want to punch him now.

There is some truly astonishing photography in this film. And as much as the subject matter twists both the stomach and the heart, it is so well made, and such an important film.

Similar feelings were inspired in me by ‘Twelve Years a Slave’; it was incredible and painful, and for a time I thought I wouldn’t hold down solid food again, but I’m so pleased I saw it.

History, even relatively recent history, teaches us so much about ourselves; so much of what we are capable of, often the horrors and atrocities we don’t like to dwell on, show us so much about humanity, and the lack thereof. In a film, we are safe. In a cinema or a house. We can catch a glimpse of somebody else’s life, lose ourselves momentarily, always secure in the knowledge that we haven’t really left our lives, but when we return to reality, we may have learnt something.
In films like this, there’s no question.

Irving’s line about not being racist because he’s had “domestic staff including a Barbadian, a Punjabi, a Sri Lankan, a Pakistani, and they’ve all been very attractive girls with very nice breasts” – says so much.