Secret Cinema – have you heard all about it? Whilst some of us may have, there is probably a narrow percentage of those who actually know what it is! I’ve witnessed the crowds marching previously through Wapping to the now abandoned Tobacco Dock, and not even twitter came to the rescue to explain exactly what was going on (“Sshhh. It’s Secret Cinema time.”) But the premise; buy your tickets online for a specific date and time (around the £35 mark), turn up at a London location that isn’t disclosed to you until a couple of weeks before the event, and dress accordingly to the cryptic emails received periodically.
Even up until we were whisked away from Barbican station through a deserted Smithfield’s market, via a Russian checkpoint upon entry, and finally into the underground planked walkways of the abandoned Farmiloe & Sons glass merchant building in Clerkenwell, we had no idea what to expect. Once we were released into a post-WW2 Vienna and we were able to explore the cafes, bars, music, food stalls and interesting characters. We were kidnapped a couple more times by some Gestapo-like actors in character from the film. I’ll mention at this point that nobody still had definitive knowledge of what film we would be watching. It created a unique buzz, as it made each one of us detectives to try and deduct from each hint around the setting what the chosen film was.
The lights went down, air raid sirens rang and the room filled lightly with smoke. Then a silhouette appeared of a man carrying balloons. He marched off down the alley and was inhaled by the smoke. We all followed. When we reached the other side we were seated in one of the warehouses. Then the opening titles rolled of Carol Reed’s The Third Man.