Cinequa-no more

Montreal’s free summertime movie night says cut after one last show

On Friday, September 9, Cinequanon will once again help to redefine the notion of ‘a night at the movies.’ The brainchild of Tim Kelly and Pablo Toledo Gouin, Cinequanon is a free art house cinema, run out of their backyard, showing a different film every Friday throughout the summer months.

While movie goers aren’t able to bring booze to the festivities, there will be free popcorn in order to satisfy any serious cases of the munchies. And, while the movie is free, the organizers are raising money for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), and hope to reach their goal of $1000. This weeks screening will be of John Water’s “Pink Flamingos,” a film that Kelly described in a message to The Daily as “disgusting, offensive, and hilarious. Perfect for Cinequanon.”

That being said, the evening may be tinged with a little sadness because, after three years of summer movie screenings, Cinequanon will be taking down their silver screen for good.

“It’s come to an end because three years is a long long time to do something for free every week, every summer,” wrote Kelly.Indeed, three years is a long time, and this experiment’s long period of growth and development is awe-inspiring. Looking back, Kelly recalled that Cinequanon’s current home “was the first apartment [he] ever moved into in Montreal.” Soon thereafter, Kelly realized he had a unique space at his disposal. “It had this huge back yard, a rarity here obviously. Pablo and I felt it necessary for us to do something with the space,” he continued, noting that he found the answer in his own far-flung roots. “Coming from Australia I actually thought it was funny there were no outdoor screenings in summer here.”

The first ever Cinequanon screening was El Topo and, as Kelly said, when seventy people showed up, “the monster was born.” Since that modest beginning, there have been many moments that Kelly seems to look back on with a certain fondness. “Cops shining flash lights into the yard during the police brutality scene in La Haine,” Kelly recalled as a distinct, and rather ironic, memory. He also recalls many additional encounters with the police, mostly involving noise complaints–a seemingly unavoidable side effect of attempting to do something creative–—and therefore loud—in a typically domestic space.

While Cinequanon’s ability to keep the cops busy is impressive, perhaps the most outstanding thing about the cinema was its surprising staying power. “We ran a free cinema for three years. Neither of us have any money. I have no idea how this went for so long,” Kelly said. While Kelly insists that he is stepping aside, he does hope that the creative spirit of Cinequanon will live on. “Hopefully when it ends someone else will do another thing weekly in the Plateau.”

This remains to be seen but, luckily, the magic of this outdoor cinema can be experienced at least one more time–It’s sure to be a night to remember; as Kelly said, “I might light the screen on fire.”

“Pink Flamingos” will be screened at 4562 Ste. Dominique on Friday, September 9 at 8:00 p.m.