TGIM! Secret Cinema returns
Pop-up cinemas are now as commonplace in London as pigeons (and, if we’re honest, they’re often nearly as scruffy), so it’s easy to forget that not so long ago your film-watching location possibilities were limited to a) the cinema, b) your house or c) …actually, that’s it. But with the success of Secret Cinema, the most high-profile of all the homeless picture houses, everything has changed. No more are worthy cinephiles forced to troop into cavernous, reeking multiplexes to watch films with people who think stonewashed denim is acceptable for public use; for not a day longer must the film fans of tomorrow grow up with hearts weighted down with the knowledge that they may never go to a film screening at which a camel will be present. Secret Cinema is the immersive cinema event you’ve always wanted, and this week it’s BACK.
The principle behind Secret Cinema is simple – that classic films deserve to be presented in surroundings more reminiscent of their stories, themes and aesthetics than an anodyne cinema or home TV. With that in mind, a carefully-selected programme of iconic, instantly recognisable (and, of course, secret) feature films are lined up each year for the delectation of Secret Cinema’s growing armies of fans. The tag-line on every advert runs ‘Tell No-One’, but someone must be ignoring it – attendance rises at every event, despite corresponding ticket hikes. You can’t be too bitter, though – £35 might get you three Odeon tickets (just), but you’re not really paying for the film.
Our resident SC buff Tash has attended screenings of films as diverse as Lawrence of Arabia (remember those camels?), The Red Shoes and Bugsy Malone, whilst other recent-ish events have been themed around Blade Runner and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. And we’re using ‘event’ advisedly, by the way – Secret Cinema really is so much more than just a film screening. From the moment you arrive at the warehouse, park or other convenient space where SC has set up shop (the location’s kept quiet until a few days beforehand), the outside world is left behind and the fantasy takes over. Legions of perfectly dressed actors, stunningly decorated sets and sundry quirky touches combine with the costumes which audience members are asked to make and wear to create a genuinely immersive experience – for Lawrence of Arabia the boys in the back room created an Arab souk in the typically non-Middle Eastern surroundings of Alexandra Park, and hastily converted teatowels were flaunted upon every head.
But as much as Secret Cinema loves to glory in times past, what we’re really interested in is the next event – a month-long series of screenings which begin on Friday. Twitter has, as usual, been alive with speculation as to the identity of SC’s mysterious new ‘partner’ Brave New Ventures, a shadowy company which is recruiting audience members, ordering them to training sessions like the one pictured above and, in what we believe is a Secret Cinema first, offering to sell them uniforms in line with their various positions (these include Ore Surveyor, Matter Analyst and Guidelink). You can still make your own togs, of course, but we suspect people will buy in in their droves for the sake of fully embracing the experience. We’d hate to be the people to spoil the party, but with Prometheus due to be released on the same day as the launch of Brave New Ventures’ ‘mission’ we have a sneaking suspicion that SC will be looking back to Ridley Scott’s first encounter with a spaceship – the Nostromo…