Screen checks out the new Secret Cinema project.
“Write a blog,” I’m asked, “except you can’t talk about it.” As tasks go, I’ve had easier ones.
Friday (June 1) saw the start of a new month-long Secret Cinema project – its 18th in total – taking place in a 190,000 sq foot space near Euston station. And being the intrepid explorers that we are, Screen was there to witness its maiden voyage.
Boiler suited and booted, we’re first told to meet by the statue of the Engineer at Euston, prompting bemused looks from commuters who are asked by BNV employers if they’re ready to go, when they really just strolled out for a coffee.
We’re equipped with latex gloves as tonight, we’re Matter Analysts, not journalists, because as part of this Secret Cinema, we’re all employees of Brave New Ventures. Other employees have had the chance to go on four missions prior to tonight; we’re going in completely blind and untested though.
After a quick check-in and decontamination, we’re led into BNV’s base and a mightily arresting site it is. A visual bombardment of impressive scale and detail, to describe it in full would be to rob potential employees of witnessing it first-hand, but you certainly will feel like you’re living in the film set to be screened tonight, aided by the presence of actual props from the set.
Before the movie kicks off though, we’re given time to explore the many areas and spend our money tokens – where we’re going, we don’t need cash – but it’s not all fun and games. Throughout the evening, our BNV employers give us tasks – we transport a fair amount of boxes from one place to another – and go on missions, alongside the safety procedures and scans we’re subjected to.
And after a quick trip to R&R, including a visit to a bar which just happens to have a man inside of it and fresh lilies hanging from the ceiling, it’s time for the fun to begin as we’re ushered to another location and the best kind of chaos ensues.
Men are thrown through the air to land on parked vehicles; sirens blaze on and off as the room is bathed in ominous red light; some of our employers stagger about and collapse in front of us… It’s all rather unsettling.
Eventually we’re hurried through – following one last retinal scan – to a safe area where we can finally take a seat and watch the movie, after we’ve lived through it first-hand.
D-BOX might be the fourth dimension, but this Secret Cinema is about as immersive a film experience as you can get and my inner geek loved every minute of it. Even the boiler suit.
Secret Cinema runs until July 1. To buy tickets, visit www.secretcinema.org/tickets
All photos George Torode.