I went to this a few months ago but only now get round to blogging about it. Even so late in the day, I felt it needed shouting about as, for me at least, it’s up there amongst the most exciting arts events in London right now.
Secret Cinema is shrouded in mystery. Once registered, all you discover is a location, a date and time, a password and a dress code. You can expect to see a film, but unless the dress code is enough to give the game away, you’ve no idea which. You must tell no one.
As if all the mystery wasn’t enough to pique my interest, I was sold the moment I saw the style guide. The look allowed me to completely indulge my fashion fantasies! I wore:
Dress- Topshop, Coat and Stole- My mother’s, Wide belt- charity shop
Make up look:
Foundation- Chanel Pro Lumiere (discontined, sob) Lipstick and Liquid Liner- Rimmel Nails- Rimmel
On arrival my boyfriend and I are ordered to stand against a wall in an alleyway leading to the abandoned Warehouse near Barbican we’re sent to. After being barked at and seemingly interrogated in Russian by a guard, a Frenchman subtly wheedles the password from us and we’re led inside. The warehouse is dressed with an immaculately authentic post-cold war set. In-character actors and perplexed punters are almost indistinguishable as we explore the seemingly endless rooms and discover that the various narratives, scenes and interactions we encounter are interpretations of the film plot we are about to experience.
A recent addition to the Secret Cinema package is a Restaurant add-on. My lovely boyfriend had booked us into the Secret Restaurant as part of our experience, so we spent an hour of our evening on the top floor of the warehouse. The room was filled with beautifully dressed round tables, pieces of art on the bare-brick walls, an upright piano and an array of dim candles. We were served a superbly executed, if a little meagre, three-course meal by St John, finished with the most delicious whisky I’ve ever tasted. Scenes continued throughout our meal, with characters joining the pianist for impromptu songs and a glamourous hostess welcoming us like old friends.
After more exploring the building, some black market trading with secret handshakes and a purchase of drinks from the bar (which could only be bought with enormous shilling notes obtained from the exchange cashier), we were led to one of five specially created cinema rooms. Ours was a large mock-up of a hospital booth, surrounded with a white curtain and large enough to seat around forty cinema-goers. The film screened was classic film-noir The Third Man, starring Orson Welles.
Read this fantastic piece on the event by Design Week here.
I can’t recommend the Secret Cinema experience enough. I’m definitely going again and hoping next time perhaps for a film from my youth. Whatever it may be, I know it won’t disappoint. Visit the Secret Cinema website to register http://www.secretcinema.org/