Tuesday 17 May 2011

Secret Cinema Goes To War

I went along to Secret Cinema again recently over Easter, this time staged at the Old Vic Tunnels under Waterloo station. On arrival at The Embassy we presented our pre-prepared French identity cards at the military style checkpoint and avoided the steely gazes of the guards who were detaining people at their leisure. We made it passed the checkpoint into a dark and atmospheric recreation of North African backstreets, mosques, food markets, cafe's and embassies all populated by arabic speaking folk and policed by temperamental French military, who could also be found dishing out a bit of torture in one of the antechambers. I got the impression it wasn't going to be a showing of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, as one punter suggested, and soon twigged it was the classic sixties insurgent film The Battle Of Algiers. For the screening itself we were bundled through hidden passages into a makeshift cinema to watch the powerful film which is still as relevant as ever in it's brutal depiction of the Algerian struggle for independence from French colonial rule. It was more of an appropriately solemn affair for such a challenging film but great to see this classic transformed into an inspired experience.

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