There is something not quite right with the idea of an open air cinema in London. The temperamental manner of British weather, where it can go from sunny climates to thundering rain and wind in a matter of minutes, make the thought of an outdoor screening somewhat distressing. Yet, over the break from university I found myself agreeing to attend a showing of The Wolf of Wall Street in Dulwich Park by The Luna Cinema company.
Although I had been anxiously checking the BBC weather page from days in advance and questioning the sufficiency of my standard umbrella, this alternative cinema experience turned out to be surprisingly pleasant. With the weather remaining dry, it was wonderful having the space to watch a great film underneath a twinkling starry sky rather than cooped up in a dark room knee to knee with strangers. However, with this summer coming to an abrupt end and the evenings being unseasonably chilly, dressing warm and bringing a blanket was a must. Though it’s not exactly like being snuggled on your sofa at home with a DVD, once I was settled I found it almost as cosy. Despite being in the open outdoors, the quality of sound and visuals were also fantastic- I was towards the back of the crowd yet character Jordan Belfort’s debauchery was still shockingly clear and I had no trouble hearing every profanity screamed from the trading floor of Stratton Oakmont brokerage firm.
My ticket cost £13.50, and although you’re paying a considerable amount more than your average cinema goer, it’s most definitely worth it as Luna are excellent hosts. From having attendants to welcome you to the venue, to selling comfort essentials like food and blankets on site at reasonable prices, to do this unusual night out with friends overall feels pretty effortless. There’s no need to travel far for this experience either, with there being an abundant selection of screenings at London’s most dazzling but central spots such as Regent’s Park theatre or the top of the One New Change centre in St Paul’s.
The setting isn’t the only bonus of attending an open air movie showing. Being such a unique and rare way to appreciate cinema, it’s also clear that the Luna showings attract audiences that are passionate about film, and the event becomes an amazing way to share your love of scenes, soundtracks and actors with others in a relaxed environment. Whilst I opted to go watch one of the many contemporary films Luna has made available to see, there is also the opportunity to watch classics or nostalgic childhood favourites with films such as Grease, Back to the Future and The Goonies also on offer.
I once thought of open air cinemas as a cliché of old-school American films, where college kids would watch a movie from inside their open top cars as the sun sets. But outdoor screenings are happening right here in our city, just a tube ride away at some of London’s most scenic venues. Luna Cinema is holding these events until 28 September - don’t miss out.