London’s secret outdoor cinemas

Strange coincidence – I went to two outdoor cinemas last week – back-to-back, in a busy mid-week double header.

Picture of Outdoor cinema at half light in Dulwich Park

Wolf of Wall Street against the moonlight of Dulwich Park

Not deliberate and wouldn’t repeat  it –  *tiring* – but it gave me a unique chance to compare London’s offering for this strange outdoor pastime.

The Luna Cinema was first and my favourite for its simplicity – watching the Wolf of Wall Street under cover of moonlight in a deserted Dulwich Park felt vaguely illicit. We had wrapped up warm so being cozy outside in the fading summer was fun, rather than freezing.

Second was Secret Cinema’s much anticipated Back to the Future. Set in the depths of East London (a rare journey for me on its own), it was  more about the stage-craft and theater, than the film.

Picture of film goers arriving in fancy dress

Peabody’s farm, just shy of Stratford

Other film-goers stood out on the tube – dressed up in sophisticated vintage outfits that immediately made me question my own vague attempt. On arrival our phones were taken. Feeling naked, we filtered through into a Disney land for the children of 1985. There was a whole town to explore, if you are up for make-believe, but we stuck to the fairground and queuing for chips.

View from the top of the Ferris wheel

A secret photo from a forgotten camera in my bag…

There was a brilliant parade. And when the film finally aired it was full of impressive special effects – although watching it again in  high definition, at the edge of the city, it didn’t need them.

It was enjoyable to re-trace a forgotten film to a forgotten childhood, and connect the dots of an unexplained love of pretty boys to an early crush on Marty McFly.

We got cold and fearing our long journeys and early starts, left.

But I’m planning a Back to the Future marathon one weekend, when its warm inside and cold outside, sometime really soon.



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