If you are heading to Amsterdam in August, be prepared for a) plenty of festivals and b) limited co-operation from the weather.
So on a dry, warmish night, you might want to head to one of the more unique fests known as Pluk de Nacht (loosely translated as "Seize the Night"). It's an open-air film festival that appears just a stone's throw from Centraal Station, arising somewhat magically from a patch of unremarkable grass called the Stenen Hoofd. Nobody knows this name and online maps don't provide much help, so it's best to walk or bike west of Centraal along the water and you'll see it within minutes.
It's the kind of low-frills, high-fun that Amsterdam seems to do very well. You're in for loads of people who are all in a good mood - because if you are all there it means it isn't raining - with home-brought food and beverages (a selection of food and drinks is for sale too). Oh, and you'll see some critically acclaimed international movies in English (or subtitled). The view over the water isn't too shabby either.
Arriving 45 minutes before nightfall last year (about 10:15pm is when it became dark), the crowds were massive and we were shoehorned in to a less-than-optimal spot though. So if you're feeling Plukky, arrive extra early, snag a beach chair close to the screen or spread a blanket out under the stars.
This year's version runs from August 22 - September 1
* Jeff is our Been there local for Amsterdam. You can read his profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/amsterdam-local-jeff-funnekotter.jsp and follow his tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/jefffunnekotter
The Secret Cinema is one of the most innovative projects in London. The crew rent a discreet venue in the city and construct an interactive version of the film that they show at the end of the evening. The audience are expected to dress up and immerse themselves in the environment, heightening the eventual experience of the film itself.
The location varies, but details of upcoming events can be found at www.secretcinema.org
As soon as the warm weather hits, Torontonians love spending time outside, attending one of the many artistic and cultural festivals the city has to offer. One such event is the Open Roof Festival, which hosts weekly outdoor events every Thursday until August 23, 2012.
Each week, the festival offers a film screening, live music and great food on the roof of Amsterdam Brewery, located downtown. The event features independent films and local bands, with all profits supporting the Toronto indie film community. In case of rain, the films will be moved indoors. In just three short years, the festival has become a seasonal favorite and attendance regularly hits to about 400 per screening.
Check out the website for a full schedule and additional information. Tickets for each night cost $15 and can also be purchased on the website. Drinks and food cost extra.
On the day of the event, the on-site box office opens at 7:30pm for cash only ticket sales;
musical guest performs at 8:00pm and the film screens around 9:00pm.
How to get there: Take the Bathurst streetcar southbound.
Amsterdam Brewery, 21 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Canada
Google map: bit.ly/PGK2qZ
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One of the largest film collections in Europe, complete with library, archives, three theatres and six or seven screenings daily. No wonder the man responsible for all that, Nicola Mazzanti, is uneasy.
“It’s better to be the last than the first”, he says, referring to the new and unknown challenges of digital film preservation; “and in Belgium, we’re at the avant garde of problems!” Of the 70,000 individual titles, some are holding up well, but some are in dire need of conservation, and staff can only restore about 100 of those a year. Amongst these titles can be found most, if not all, of Belgian film history and elements of US and international film history that are unique, spanning the period from 1896 to the present.
It falls to Nicola to ensure that the vast collection is accessible to the public, and in Cinematek’s bewildering offering contemporary, experimental and classics are all catered for. This Summer you can catch popular French cinema from the 1960s, lesser known Danish cinema and a scattering of films starring Jean-Paul Belmondo. Silent films have featured ever since Cinematek was founded in 1938; and these are always accompanied by a live pianist. There are also plans to screen films to orchestral accompaniment. Be warned that films are always shown in the original language with subtitles in French and Dutch! In between all of these screenings, researchers and enthusiasts can visit the reference library to seek out some obscure title, book or poster – consult the online
catalogue or email the staff in advance so they can check they have it and can extract it for you.
As for me, watching puzzling films in the Cinematek will be all the more appealing now I know about the mysterious strip-lit bunker, where miles upon miles of films are coiled up waiting in drums. 140,000 of them is something like the correct figure, including feature films each around 3000 metres long. “It’s a resource management problem”, sighs Nicola. Films are unstable and need to be stored somewhere cold and dry; “which is not easy, because cold is usually not dry.”
Baron Hortastraat 9, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
+32(0)2 551 19 19
Google map: bit.ly/IPAVkZ
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This is an open air cinema screening recent releases, on the side of Monaco Prison, on top of a large rock on the edge of Monaco harbour. Wonderful to experience in the warm summer air with all the smells and sounds of summer evenings to accompany your film choice. Popcorn available too!
Le Rocher de Monaco, Terrasses Parking des Pêcheurs
+377 93 25 86 80
Love going to the movies, but hate the gross concession stand? The new Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn serves dinner and a movie at the same time. There are even specials in different theaters related to whatever movie's being shown. General admission is $11 and food and drinks (yes, they serve alcohol, too!) are extra. Arrive about a half-hour early, so you can find a seat and table and order your meal.
136 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249, United States
+1 (718) 384 3980
Google map: bit.ly/ow9NVU
* Amanda is our Been there local for New York. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/new-york-local-amanda-green.jsp and her own NYC blog here: www.noisiestpassenger.com/
The Barbican Cinema, hidden away in the depths of the Barbican complex, is/was a leading cinema exhibition centre with an international programme full of past classics, screen talks with film giants, lively film discussions, and contemporary festivals. While for years the Barbican art gallery and the concert hall have been lauded for providing world class artistic entertainment the cinema has remained largely underappreciated by those not in the know, despite the fact that it was the only cinema rivalling the BFI for high quality imaginative programming. With cuts afoot this cinema looks likely to lose what had make it special so I urge you to visit it soon while its programme still resembles what it once did and while it still has a claim to call itself ‘London’s most diverse cinema’.
Silk Street, City of London, Greater London EC2Y 8DS
+44(0)20 7638 4141
Google map: bit.ly/rszbGi
* Sophie is our Been there local for London. You can view her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/london-local-sophie-mitchell-intro.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/SophieMItchell
This year is the XXI Riga International Film Festival "Arsenals" is happening from 10th – 18th of September, Every time the selection of Arsenals films highlights some period in the history of cinematography, and offer audience an opportunity to get to know a particular world region and its culture - this year focusing on the cinema of Southeastern Asia: the programme will offer films from Thailand, the Philippines,
Malaysia, „disguising, wrapping and winding the Oriental essence, applying codes and masks as the sign of the festival this year”.
Arsenals is an event that takes over Riga in autumn since 1986 showing the most vivid
international cinema events and the latest and most interesting Baltic films. Several cinema-related events and works of art are also coming out to the streets and screenings of classical silent films accompanied by live music performed by professional musicians is a great tradition of this festival.
Since 1998 Baltic Film Competition is a special section of Arsenals and screens
films produced in the Baltic region in the last two years. Tihs is the film festival
which demonstrates and rewards the latest and best Baltic feature films, short films,
documentaries and animated films.
Blaumaņa street 31/15, LV 1011, Riga, Latvia
Cinema ‘Kino Citadele’ and cinema ‘KSuns’
A subscription ticket for five films - 12Ls; 10 films - 20 lats.
Google map: bit.ly/nrThMG
The perfect safe haven in the hot summer months or rainy winter weekends (yes it does rain!!). The cinema is old-style, with good choice of refreshments and pop corn and several screens. All films are in their original versions with subtitles in Spanish.
Avenida Marques de Paradas, 16
+34 954 29 30 25
Google map: bit.ly/rov2jh
* BecomingSevillana is our Been there local for Seville. You can read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/seville-local-kim.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/BecomingSevillana.jsp
She also has her own blog: becomingsevillana.blogspot.com/
A lovely pub on the Gallic Choumert Road with a 'Back Room' cinema club and a long menu offering organic roasts for Sunday lunch
The fish is fresh and comes from sustainable sources & British seas. The supplier is F.C Sopers fishmongers in Nunhead (www.fcsoper.com), a local institution since 1898.
The meat is free-range and organic. The chicken, pork & lamb comes from a small farm, Gillwing, in Sussex (www.gillwing.co.uk/farm) and is delivered by Andrew, the farmer, who makes the sausages all by hand.
The opening times seem to vary, the staff are exceptionally friendly and continued to pour the beverages long after midnight on a Thursday, as everyone was still having a good time and reluctant to leave!
43 Choumert Road, London SE15 4AR
+44 207 635 9483
Open Mon-Thur & Sun 12.00-23.00, Fri-Sat 12.00-01.00
Overground to Peckham Rye, buses 12, 171, 197
Google map: bit.ly/p4e0OB
Lucy is our Been there local for London. You can read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/london-local-lucy-mallows.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/LucyRM.jsp
The Kinema is a traditional 1920s cinema showing all the latest films. It is a fantastic place with intermissions, old-fashioned paper cinema tickets, a compton organ (that plays during the interval!) and a fantastic sweetie counter.
An outdoor cinema (most films are in Spanish though). The hot days are here, and nothing beats being outside in the evenings when the temperatures have dropped. The film list is quite complete with some of the biggies in this year's Oscars. Entry is €3, and there is a bar with cheap drinks and snacks (bottle of beer €1, and big bag of crisps €1).
This superb Belle Epoque building with painted frescoes in the heart of Les Lilas, a little village North-East of Paris (métro Mairie des Lilas), is also an art house cinema. Parisians in the know flock to Les Lilas to see films, in style.
181 bis, rue de Paris, Les Lilas 93260
+33(0)1 43 60 41 89
A book exchange in a tiny alley by the Royal Palace. Enjoy perusing the shelves filled with books that have travelled as much as those looking for a new read. After selling your used and buying your new, retire to the bean bags in the upstairs snug cinema where you can lounge with the Laotian teen staff while supping on chai and chips. A welcome retreat from the weeks of rice based meals.
Ban Xieng Mouane Old Town, opposite the eastern wing of the Royal Palace.
Google map: bit.ly/aVM3Lh
Independent cinema/bar on the Parks Highway just out west of fairbanks on the the way to Ester. Get your food and drink from the bar and eat at a table in the cinema. Pretty cool.
The Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds is the second oldest continually operating cinema in the country, one of the oldest surviving cinemas from the silent era and with many of its original features still intact. To be found on the corner of a terraced street you come upon it almost by surprise. Not only has it shown film, it has also featured in film, notably Wetherby in 1985. What makes it so appealing is its intimate feel - indeed it was advertised in 1914 as “the cosiest picture house in Leeds”. It hasn’t changed much since then. Among its most well known features is its gas “modesty lighting”, which could be dimmed by the projectionist to a level that would preserve decency during a show! To be found on the corner of a terraced street you come upon it almost by surprise. Today it serves the local community well, showing a mixture of selected mainstream cinema, classic cinema, arthouse films, Hindi films and is about to host the Leeds Young People’s film festival. It even welcomes babies to its Saturday morning screenings.
Cine Cafe is a small, quirky cinema in the beautiful village of Akaroa. Like everything else in the town the cinema pays tribute to Akaroa's historical French roots, not only by the films it shows but also the food and drinks served.
The cinema offers a unique, luxurious experience and if you close your eyes you could almost be in Paris in the 1920's. There is one screen with around 24 seats, all of which are extremely comfortable and spacious. They all come with a table where you can place your drinks upon, be it a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate (served in a mug) or a glass of wine or beer.
The cinema offers cheap deals which include a hot meal, drink and film. Well worth it! I would recommend this to anyone who happens to be in Akaroa. A truly enjoyable experience!
As a teenager I passed the Renoir on the way home from a night out in central London. It was part of the exciting, interesting London I knew little of then, having grown up in the eastern suburbs. Years later I worked nearby and was a regular visitor. Descend into its subterranean world and you will find a friendly place showing films that are a bit different. It is part of the re-vamped Brunswick centre, which has now realised its architect's dream of a modern village with restaurants ideal for a pre-film meal. Afterwards have a drink in Dean's Bar in the Waverley House Hotel, which has appeared in several films and has been the location of many nights out for me.
The Curzon Cinema in Clevedon, North Somerset, first opened in 1912 just after the Titanic disaster and has been showing films ever since. Many original Art Deco features still remain and there's a vibrant exterior sunburst decoration to greet you - as well as a friendly welcome from the volunteer staff. You can settle down in comfort to see a range of films, including the latest releases, which are shown using modern digital technology. Arrive a bit early to enjoy a regular treat of an exuberant performance on the rare Compton organ. There's a Film Club and special parent and baby shows, too. A local gem, and also a treasure of our national cinematic history.
More of a cinematic experience than just a cinema, the Broadway not only shows mainstream and independent films, it also hosts a wide variety of film-related events and courses. It has a great bar where you can eat good food before watching your chosen film. You can also take your drink into the screen rooms (in a plastic glass) so there is no need to rush your pint. A great cinema to visit.
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