Derek Malcolm (1932-2023)

Date: 19 July 2023Category: News
Cinema For All was very sad to learn that our honorary president, the esteemed film critic Derek Malcolm, passed away last Saturday. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends and feel immense gratitude for his commitment to the film society and community cinema movement. Derek was The Guardian’s longest-serving film critic, between 1971 and 1997, followed by several years at the London Evening Standard until his retirement in 2015. He was an indefatigable champion for world cinema, and was also the honorary president of FIPRESCI. Derek remembered: ‘Derek was a wonderful man and a great example to every other critic, in that he took cinema and criticism seriously, but he never took himself too seriously. I shall miss him very much.’ Peter Bradshaw, Film Critic, via The Guardian ‘Despite being at the centre of Britain’s film culture for 50 years, and playing important roles in international critics’ associations, Derek remained exceptionally approachable, modest and enthusiastic.’ Ian Christie, via The Guardian ‘Derek was an inspiration to volunteers with his enthusiasm for and knowledge of world cinema.’ Brian Clay, Vice President, Cinema For All 'I am extremely saddened to hear that Derek Malcolm, our President, has passed away. It was a delight to finally meet Derek for the first time, after reading his film reviews for many years, at the Film Society of the Year Awards over ten years ago and it did not disappoint. His commitment to the film society and community cinema movement was clear. Always supportive, always funny: his anecdotes about the film stars and directors of cinema’s glorious past could not be beaten. He will be sorely missed.’ Deborah Parker, Chief Executive, Cinema For All ‘I first met Derek Malcolm in 2008, at the Film Society of the Year Awards (my first!) in Sheffield. Being president of the British Federation of Film Societies (as Cinema For All was then known), he made the trip to co-present the awards every year - to celebrate and reward the work of volunteer-led cinemas, and to regale us all with his magical stories of a life immersed in film. I was immediately taken with this gentleman from another world - who told tales of Godard and Truffaut, and could command an entire room with his immaculate timing and wit. He knew just the moment to drop the name of a filmmaker most of us could only dream of meeting, but always in the most mundane of settings - an elevator, a hotel lobby, or most memorably to those who heard this tale at the awards in 2011 - Federico Fellini at the next urinal in Cannes.’ Jaq Chell, Head of Programme and Business Development, Cinema For All ‘Derek always did his best to attend the film Society of the Year Awards - always imploring community cinemas to screen more, watch more and share more. He saw the movement change much during his tenure as president, as the number of film societies grew and grew, and many younger faces climbed on stage to receive an award. He loved it - and was always taken aback by the strength and passion of the groups he met.’ Abi Standish, Sector Development Officer 'I knew Derek for some 50 years and he never seemed to change either in appearance, he looked the same as ever at the 90th Birthday event held at the BFI South Bank, or did he lose the 'common touch', the waspish humour or the view to appreciate and support a whole range of world cinema. It was the latter which made him an ideal person for the role of President of an organisation such as ours. The majority of people will have probably only seen him on the occasions when he came to the Film Society of the Year Award. Indeed in later years I myself only met up with him in Sheffield where we would have breakfast together at the hotel. Often we would talk about classical music which he also appreciated and I always asked after Bruno who was a lovely black Labrador. Derek's professional life is well documented through his time as film critic of The Guardian and Evening Standard and he travelled to film festivals around the world where he would champion a range of films and their makers, some well known, other in need to support.' Peter Cargin, Cinema For All Vice President If you would like to add your own memories of Derek, please do so as we would love to hear them. You can submit them here using our webform, and we will add them to our tribute page:
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