Most of us have seen ‘Casablanca’, with Humphrey Bogart’s famous portrayal of nightclub owner Rick Blaine, set amidst the backdrop of occupied Africa during the early days of WWII. But few of us will have truly experienced it. Until now, that is.
Following the recent success of the live recreation of Frank Darabont’s life-affirming ‘Shawshank Redemption’ at a disused East London location, Future Cinema has recreated, not only the grandeur and glamour of Michael Curtiz’s masterpiece ‘Casablanca’, but the drama, passion and every flavour that it has to offer, engaging every one of the senses and helping to suspend disbelief for the entirety of a magical evening.
From the moment the audience arrives the experience begins. Uptight and seemingly nervous French police frisk splendidly dressed men and women before being whisking them quickly through the back door and dimly lit corridors of East London’s aptly chosen Troxy Theatre. It’s then that the experience hits home. Glamorous women and shady characters hustle passers by before they are even able to reach the entrance to the event’s Pièce de résistance: the Troxy’s grand art-deco theatre. It is truly a sight, flaunting everything that this wonderful, grade II listed building has to offer.
The scale to which organisers have re-imagined this fine part of film history takes film fans and partygoers alike truly by surprise, and it’s an impact that is nothing short of breathtaking. Live jazz musicians perform on the stage, flanked by beautiful Hollywood starlet-like women and tables full of people sipping champagne, whilst dressed to the nines in the attire of the day. The room is full of such character, with everybody at their own beautifully presented tables, dressed equally as striking as one another, whilst the famous north African flavours of Casablanca's famous ‘Blue Parrot’ restaurant are served up, all in keeping with the film’s identity and location. The experience is immediately breathtaking and utterly consuming.
Secretive French Resistance meetings are arranged and held; shootings trigger surprise and even cause an entertaining sense of unease, whilst the mass chorus of songs taken from the film makes the experience wholly immersive, and by the time the cinema screens finally drop down over the stage, the scene is set; the audience grab their drinks, pick up food from the ‘Blue Parrot’ and take their seats, whooping and cheering at the film’s timeless lines and most memorable moments.
The consecutive success of the ‘Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘Casablanca’ events is testament to the growing popularity of this cinematic movement. In an age ruled by the multiplex, Future Cinema and its sister organisation, ‘Secret Cinema’ offer film fans and those with a thirst for something different, a chance to immerse themselves in the magical moments of cinematic history that for some are as life-changing as they are entertaining.
With new events being thought-up all the time and wonderfully recreated again and again by this truly innovative company, cinema once again has a promising future - and one that isn’t just the remit of film buffs and cineastes.
Words: Russell Cook
For more Future Cinema events, go to:
www.facebook.com/futurecinema or follow on Twitter at @futurecinema
To get involved with the cloak and dagger, and equally exciting Secret Cinema movement, go to:
www.facebook.com/secretcinema or follow on Twitter at @secretcinema