Screen checks out the latest instalment of Secret Screenings.
A voice bellows: “please remain seated until the witnesses have left the court”.
No, it’s not the end of a particularly strict editorial meeting under the new Screen regime, but rather the end of another surreally entertaining trip into the world of Secret Screenings, created by Future Cinema who are also responsible for Secret Cinema.
Having been ushered into Conway Hall Courtroom via a photo ID check and through metal detectors flanked by stern looking policemen, we take our seat to assume our role as juror for the night as a barrister appears to talk about the evidence we’re about to witness.
That evidence turns out to be Bart Layton’s excellent documentary The Imposter, in turns astonishing and thrilling, telling the story of Frédéric Bourdin who convinces a family that he is their long-lost son. Before we’re had time to absorb the evidence, the barrister calls his first witness - Layton - to the stage.
Unlike any post-screening Q&A we’ve witnessed, it takes on an interrogation feel covering areas from Bourdin’s involvement in the film - he refuses to see it, but has since taken to Twitter to decry it as, ironically, he feels it paints him as a liar - to footage not used in the film, such as the fact that both Bourdin and the missing child, Nicholas Barclay, shared a love of Michael Jackson.
For the more cynical among us, a mobile phone interruption was almost too perfectly timed but still fun, resulting in Layton jokingly accused of contempt of court during the interrogation.
Having taking in the facts, a second witness was called in the form of private detective Charlie Parker, giving a fascinating insight into his mindset and that of a private investigator; it turned out that Parker had given Bourdin a lie detector test, only to be astonished when Bourdin passed with flying colours.
And with that, the trial was over but not before the aforementioned order giving them time to set up the evening’s best touch: a mock private investigation office where the jury could look in on Parker interviewing Bourdin, albeit Bourdin from the film’s recreation scenes played by Adam O’Brian.
This scene sums up Future Cinema. While lacking in the scale of their longer events such as Secret Cinema’s successful Prometheus run, it’s hard to fault the attention to detail with other aspects of tonight including the fact that the barrister wasn’t a actor, but rather barrister Luke Ponte from 3 Raymond Buildings. Not to mention the use of the film’s phone box greeting the audience tonight outside the court, with O’Brian seen inside as he is at the start of the film’s recreations.
As live cinema events go, Future Cinema stands with the very best and with a secret London location set to be transformed into Grease’s Rydell High School from Sept 7-9, it shows no sign of stopping.
Want to know more? Go along to their website. And that’s an order.
Photos: Jackie Dewe Mathews