You may have heard of Secret Cinema, a film event where you don’t know what you’ll see or where you’ll see it until you get there. It’s a bit like a rave for people who don’t take drugs or like dance music. When I was invited to review a Secret Cinema event I was excited, wondering what I would see and where I would see it. Therefore, I was a little disappointed when I discovered that this time it would only be the film which was a secret. The venue was the Duke of Yorks cinema, which may be the nicest cinema in Brighton, but hardly an exciting surprise since I just went there last week!
However, the film itself was not a disappointment at all. In fact, quite the opposite: out of all the films we could have been presented with, it turned out to be one I already wanted to see! When we arrived, the foyer was decorated with flags and scoreboards, and a man was interviewing people in a non-specific foreign accent (which we later found out was meant to be Dutch). It soon became clear that the theme was Eurovision, and I immediately guessed which film we would be seeing.
We entered the cinema to the sounds of 90s Euro-hits such as Barbie Girl and 5,6,7,8. Then, the night’s entertainment began, with a singing contest between a Brighton boy stuck in the 90s and a drag queen from Germany. Eventually, after a random Faithless video, we got to see the main feature. As I had predicted, it was Sounds Like Teen Spirit, a documentary about Junior Eurovision which has recently been released to independent cinemas around the UK.
The audience may have been unsure about seeing a film they’d never heard of before, but they were quickly won over by this warm, light-hearted look at Eurovision’s younger sibling. The film follows four of the contestants from 2007, before, during and after the main event. The attention-grabbing outfits and infectiously catchy songs of grown-up Eurovision are present, but what made the film most enjoyable was its many amusing moments. Some were thanks to clever editing, others to the fact kids really do say the funniest things.
So, my first experience of Secret Cinema was a very positive one, but whether I’ll be so lucky again to see a film I already wanted to see, seems quite unlikely. Still, the fact that the whole crowd seemed to love the film, despite it being one they’d probably not go to see normally, proves the point of Secret Cinema. If you’re open-minded, you may discover a great new film that you’d never have seen otherwise.