The Soho Hotel is massively trendy, possibly more trendy than any hotel I've ever been into, ever; it also has its own private cinema, which was the scene for the first showing of Andrew Steggall's short film, The Door. Guests flocked to the two screenings. The film was produced by actress Daisy Lewis; in attendance were actress Olivia Grant, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett from Misfits, writer Ivo Stourton, director Luke Rodgers and his girlfriend painter Phoebe Dickinson, as well as hordes of others.
The film itself was beautifully shot, acted and paced. Based on a short story by H G Wells ("The Door in the Wall"), it concerned a man's obsession with a childhood event that changed his life. Charles Dance played the hero, who tells of his memories: As a boy (played with great sensitivity by an angelic Thomas Hardiman), he saw a green door in a wall (which looked very much like Thistle Grove to me); through it he finds a strange world inhabited by angels, mad clockwork kings, and mysterious, mobled women. Is it a place of imagination, or a real other world? A sterling cast, and an atmospheric soundtrack provided enchantment and strangeness, making us question what we were seeing as they wandered through a world that might be ours, or might not.
In Steggall's reading, the other world seemed like a preparation for death, with the young boy seeing himself held in the arms of a winged man (an angel? a swan?). Everything was tinged with elegant light, with a sense of mystery and foreboding; an excellent score and sumptuous costumes added to the elegiac feel. It was a charmed experience, a window indeed into another world. And next time I go down Thistle Grove, I shall certainly look to see if the door is still there.