Hidden London: Secret Cinemas
There are more secret cinemas than ever popping up in the capital, but the daddy is still the first, whose motto is ‘Tell No-One’. One now-legendary screening transported punters from Canary Wharf tube station by bus, curtains closed and attended by air hostesses from “Utopia Airways”.
A set of Blade Runner’s Chinatown, Los Angeles, November 2019 featured a bikini-clad woman with an albino python around her shoulders, neon signs, dancers, Blade Runner police subjecting audience members to surreal questions to provoke emotional responses, and for the climactic scene in which Harrison Ford’s Deckard confronts Rutger Hauer’s replicant on a palazzo roof, two actors dangling from the warehouse ceiling.
When Lawrence Of Arabia was shown, the audience at Alexandra Palace turned up in bedouin outfits. Sometimes you’re required to learn words beforehand.
Elsewhere, Banksy premiered his film ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’ in a tunnel behind Lambeth Palace, Portobello offers a microplex with a pay-what-you-like policy and last summer the Cineroleum took over an empty petrol station in Farringdon, transforming it into a cinema. Meanwhile, over in Bloomsbury, Neil and David run soundtrack DJ nights at the bowling alley, and Speakeasy Cinema runs monthlies from the London Film School in Covent Garden.
This summer, more companies are gearing up to do the same, and that’s in addition to the official outdoor screenings at places like Somerset House.