The View from Here, by Tilda Swinton

The View from Here is a poem and ode to the “wild wide screen” which Swinton wrote especially for our April 2020 issue. In it she expresses her belief in cinema’s longevity, her faith in film’s transcendence of national boundaries and her hope that the “mighty streaming services” will be “galvanised to restore, support or build great big screens”.

The View from Here – a poem by Tilda SwintonTilda Swinton

Cinema is limitless.
And she isn’t going anywhere

These things we know

We have over a century’s worth of bounty from all corners of this globe to savour and learn from, fresh as the dayThere’s no such thing as a foreign film 
There’s no such thing as an old film 
The idea of any national cinema is missing the point

And the wide, wide screen can hold every possible thing we throw at it

We have filmmakers everywhere – of every possible description – with films in their heads and hearts and fingers
All on their way
Some of them are producers’ PAs or cine-passionate stand-by props boys or even film students
Some of them just sold us our coffee or bus ticket or insurance
They have cameras in their back pockets, every one
They have a wide-eyed intergalactic audience open to and eager for new fellowships and new horizons

Hooray for the multiplex and the spandex zam-fests and whoosh- athons, the gargantuan one-stop big-top bunker-cathedrals, the cardboard nosebag of unspeakably toxic phosphorescent worms and the quadruple-flavoured American ice cream 

We leave our world and gallivant, ricochet’d with mythic abandon in the deafening surround-sound pinball playpen

We love it
From time to time.



We love other stuff too, stuff of all shapes and sizes, stuff of the planet and all of us on it
We want to see ourselves and others and recognise how magnificently, mind-glowingly similar/different we are
We want to travel, through time and space and into other people’s shoes and behind their eyes
And we like not knowing what’s going to happen

And so

We would love more screens to see all this on: big rickety ones currently in great old ramshackle cine-palaces now furniture showrooms, dinky ones in niche rooms with comfy seats, inflatable ones in parks, sheets tied to two broomsticks in village halls

We would love all the above and more 

We want to watch film together in the dark
We want to watch things we’ve never heard of in languages we cannot understand 
We want new faces, new places, new shapes, new sizes, new stories, new rhythms

We want to get lost

We want long immersions
We have the stamina
We have the lust
Trained up by the box-set: imagine the
binge cinema three-day plunge… 

We love all this, too


Some time, imagine this:

We get to know a film at the end of our bed – even in our hand, even on our wrist on the Tube – and when it comes to town, we LOVE to see it live large
Like knowing an album inside out and just craving the band’s live gig


And so

We would very much love the mighty streaming services to feel galvanised to restore, support or build great big screens from the beginning to the end of the territory their reach touches: to make good their stated commitment to filmmakers interested in making films for the wild, wide screen, the experience of communal exhibition and the honest diversity of the canon of cinema history.

Wouldn’t that be grand?

WON’T that be grand and right?


We would love to stop squabbling over the idea that cinema cannot be more than one thing

Because then we can also stop whispering and mouthing about cinema as if she is a fragile invalid that needs quiet, vacant and sterile surroundings lest she break, an endangered and diminishing ice floe that has any limits whatsoever

When, in fact, she simply doesn’t. End of

Cinema rocks and rolls

And bounces and stretches

We love cinema for her elasticity, her inventiveness, her resilience, her limber and undauntable roots and her eternally supersonic evolution 

As it says on the bottom of the studio credit roll: throughout the universe in perpetuity

Vive la différence

Film Forever