Posts Tagged cinema

The Invisible Circus

In 2008, at one of the lowest points in my life, I had one of the most amazing experiences when a dear friend convinced me to go on an adventure with her to an event called Carny Ville in Bristol.

I had little idea what to expect, except that my love of steampunkery would be more than catered for, so we got dressed up an off we went to Bridewell Island.

The moment I stepped into the courtyard I was blown away, I felt as if I had been transported to my idea of heaven. There were flaming Victorian streetlights, a lovely gender-blending paper boy, a flaming moving piano, a punk barn dance collective called Cut a Shine (who to this day I try to see as often as possible!), amazing punky aerial displays above ridiculously small crash mats, the Glitzy Bag Hags who scrambled my brain with a song about doing naughty things with David Hasslehoff, hoopers and a gentleman charlaton trying to hypnotise us. It was incredible.

Now three years later in London, I heard that there was a film being screened about The Invisible Circus, the collective who had put on this amazing event, so with just a few hours notice I found myself turning up at the Channel 4 building after work.

The film is called Invisible Circus: No Dress Rehearsal and follows the story of the fabulously talented, creative and hardworking group, from squats to private buildings and all of the events leading up to that amazing night at Carny Ville.

I urge everyone to see this film, to see how hard people will work, and to what lengths they will go when they are driven by an all consuming passion to create something magical. Watching the film brought the back the feelings of awe and excitement I had felt that night; I hope that someday I will feel that again.

Whenever and wherever The Invisible Circus next appears I will be there to play and cheer them on.

Fabulous.

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Show Film First

Finally after many years of being unable to coordinate my social life to fit around last minute film suprises I managed to get hold of a couple of tickets for the Show Film First preview screening at the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square.

We’d all guessed that one of the films may almost definitely turn out to be Tron, but when the announcement was made a thunderous roll of aproval rippled across the audience.

But more was to come.

The first film to be shown was The Next Three Days, an interesting though somewhat contrived caper. Sadly I felt that it was around twenty-minutes too long, and now having found it is a remake of a French film called Pour Elle (For Her) I am considering getting my subtitle reading brain out of storage to see if the original is better.

By now most people who were going to have seen it will have seen Tron. Its shiny, and as our showing had the producer in situ the four projectors and the sound system were tweaked to perfection over a couple of hours and cranked to the max.

And I liked it.
I liked it enough to see it again at the IMAX.

Yeah it could have been better, yes Jeff Bridges 2.0 has a weird dead eye thing going on (but seriously how close are they getting to “real”?),

But most of all I was happy with the eye-popping-candy brain-chewing-gum fun of watching grown adults running around in shiny skin tight onesies. Haha!

As for the event as a whole, I enjoyed it very much. As an internet-junkie and a lover of films and the art of performance it was good to find out about the people behind the Usernames we see on the screen advising us or deterring us from films taking part in debate and question and answer sessions interdispersed between trailers for the next year.

So my tips for this year:

The Kings Speech
Black Swan
Morning Glory

Oh and See Film First & Show Film First…. More Please!

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Secret Cinema September 2010

Secret Cinema has been on my radar for years, however due to unforeseen circumstances I had never had the opportunity to attend one of their mysterious events, that was until this weekend.

Excuse me whilst I pick my not-so-easily-awestruck chin off of the tarmac and try to explain what happened:

A couple of months back tickets for a Secret Cinema event went on sale, previous reviews of Secret Cinema have been almost evangelical, so we snapped them up and the anticipation began to build.

What was it to be, where was it to be?

There was talk of tribes and many people, given the increasingly blatant clues cottoned onto what the main attraction was going to be, you couldn’t help feeling sorry for those who had avoided all rumours and guessed we were to see Life of Brian.

I, not being on top form and not comfortable dressing as a Bedouin and walking through North London, went for what I thought would be a subtle jeans and jumper combo.

Boy did I look out of place.

Arriving at Alexandra Palace station, in their hundreds, was what must have looked like the largest nativity play in the world. En masse we set off across the railway bridge following rags of material tied to the fence.

And so it began.

To the uninitiated Secret Cinema is mind-blowing event, for attendees, and possibly one of the most confusing sights for bystanders, if you go by the semi-hysterical but smiling faces of the picnicking party at Alexandra Park who were suddenly surrounded by around 400 people dressed in “tribal” outfits being herded by mounted tribesmen:

Yes there were tribesmen on horses in the park, in full regalia, with rallying high pitched shreiks. Oh, and there were real goats and sheep being walked by peasants, and there were camels and donkeys and the very British army circa WW1 keeping the rabble in order.

We were at Alexandra Palace to see Lawrence of Arabia!

In we went, walking past the British Army offices where frightfully important business is being carried out in frightfully proper surroundings. Now and then they attempt to recruit a Brit they have seen in the crowd. Grabbing drinks at the bar we expresse our genuine chuffedness that they have gone to such effort; little do we know what lays behind the mirrored doorways.

A souk

As crazy as this may sound, there was a souk right there smack-bang in the middle of Alexandra Palace:

Its full of stalls of curiosities and clothing and food and an en suite mini-desert for those wishing to get the full arrgh-I-have-sand-in-my-socks experience.

By this point we are wondering can this get any better? As a day when apparently anything is possible, and in order to find out it seems prudent to follow the signs to The Palace.

And lo, there is a belly dancer, with a snake unintentionally, but quite determinedly caught up in her hair, dancing in front of a full band. Oh, and there, another three ladies dancing for our entertainment.

This.Is.Awesome

The final leg is to step through the huge doors to the main hall.

Initiate jaw drop sequence alpha.

About us hang the standards of all the tribes, there is drumming and the smell of food wafts from the chilli lamb and falafel stalls as a gentleman cycles about with an icecream cart, the thousands begin to enter the hall.

Its a long wait, the floor is cold and hard and few people make new friends, but the spectacle continues as the tribesmen meet and make proclamations, as belly dancers continue to jiggle across the hall.

Much is drunk and many pillows and inflatable objects are brought forward to be sat upon, and we wait.

We wait on the floor, we wait in huge queues for food, and still the drums bang and the tribesmen and army chaps wander amongst us:

Finally it starts.

Its astounding.

Its loud. (A bit too loud, but the acoustics are a bit odd)

Its epic.

Its been an amazing day.

We leave at the intermission, tired, happy and enjoying the sight of London lit beneath us.

If you ever get the chance, go, go to a Secret Cinema and embrace the experience, go the whole hog and savour every moment. Its magical.

No it wasn’t perfect, but if the film had started sooner it would have come damn close.

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