"Backyard Cinema fans will already know that the pop-up theatre organiser creates film experiences in only the most unique of London dwellings."
Backyard Cinema fans will already know that the pop-up cinema creates film experiences in only the most unique of London dwellings. Past screenings have taken place under a blanket of twinkling fairy lights suspended over the cobbles of Camden Market, and Baz Luhrmann’s exquisite Romeo & Juliet was screened — complete with live choir — before the candle-lit pews of Marylebone’s magnificent St Mary’s Church.
Our own intimate screenings take place within the film-setworthy surroundings of the Abode apartments designed by Rosa Park and Richard Stapleton, the pair behind the achingly gorgeous magazine Cereal.
It’s a considered collaboration, where the impeccable design on-screen will seep into reality. Film viewers will arrive at the water’s edge and enter the apartments to find interiors by Conran + Partners designed in a minimal modernist style. Think polished concrete floors, blackened ash, chevron tiles and lots of glass. And the show-stopper…the terrace.
Enough to sit 20, cinema-goers will walk through to the open air to find espaliers and greenery – the kind of space most Londoners can only dream of. This is urban living at its most tranquil; a place you wouldn’t mind settling in during a balmy evening spent with friends — and the ideal backdrop to the silver screen’s most striking productions.
Some films are known for their aesthetic as much as anything else; arresting set design, gorgeous location or quirky interiors. Tom Ford’s A Single Man, was described by The Times “a thing of heart-stopping beauty”, while It’s Nice That magazine described Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel as “very pink and very, very stunning”.
Then every once in a long while, along comes a Hollywood musical that makes even the most diehard enemies of the genre consider a crash course in tap dancing. Such was the power of 2017’s La La Land, as emotionally wringing as it is visually arresting. The Emma Stone/Ryan Gosling collaboration is more than just a big love story with an audaciously twisty ending – and not just because of that Oscar mishap.
It’s a masterclass in style in which Oscar-winning Director Damien Chazelle draws inspiration from classics gone by – Singin’ in the Rain and Moulin Rouge have drawn comparisons – but the result owes as much to his inimitable eye. From the hear-a-pin-drop music sequences (picture a glum Gosling silhouetted alongside the piano beneath a beam of spotlight) to the lovers’ waltz against a poetically-beautiful Los Angeles night sky, it’s this aesthetic that makes La La Land a must-see on the Peninsula’s roster of film showings in collaboration with Backyard Cinema.
The season will include a screening of Wes Anderson’s 2014 too-many-award-wins-to-mention madcap comedy, The Grand Budapest Hotel. This modern day classic is a true work of visual art, part nostalgic love story, part murder mystery, it explores friendship, loyalty and attachment to a romanticised, bygone era, against the backdrop of a popular 1930s ski resort fallen on hard times.
Then there’s 2009’s A Single Man, the first screenplay by fashion designer Tom Ford. On the face of it, a movie about a man contemplating suicide isn’t one that would seem to ooze beauty.
But Colin Firth’s portrayal of the lead character, combined with a set you’d expect from the television series Mad Men, makes this meditation on grief often cited as one of the most beautiful films made in recent times. “To feel, rather than think” is what the middle-aged academic eventually learns, and that is what, ultimately, this poignant picture ultimately invites the audience to do.
Tickets for Backyard Cinema at Abode are £27.50 and available from www.backyardcinema.co.uk.