Some things just feel better in analogue.
For example, half past six looks better on a clock-face. Hands down.
And sometimes the true magic of film can only be captured on, well, film – at least that’s what the endearing duo behind Ciné Real believe, who screen movies from the original 16mm film reels.
It all began when Liam Saint-Pierre came across an old Super 8 projector in a Hackney dumpster. Remembering an esoteric local shop crammed to the rafters with film reels, he took the machine in for a little TLC from the shop’s owner, Ümit Mesut – a former projectionist and devoted film enthusiast. The two got chatting, bonded over celluloid, and Liam went off with his fully repaired projector to host a film screening night.
It didn’t go well.
Though the audience were still keen and understanding, working with film threw up all sorts of setbacks. After battling with spliced footage and warped soundtracks, he went back to Ümit and begged for his help. And though he was unsure at first, being back in the projectionist’s seat brought back thrills, and the pair have staged regular screening nights together ever since.
Finding reels can be tricky, since the quality can vary dramatically and availability’s limited – but that’s what makes Ciné Real events so special. It’s taken real dedication to hunt down each film, and Ümit will stand up before each screening to tell you a little about the movie, its creative team and some of the technicalities of working with the physical film. You’ll then settle in to watch a feature as it would have originally been enjoyed, with all the idiosyncrasies and distinctive colours of celluloid.
Screenings usually take place in the Castle Cinema; a Hackney picture house that was recently restored to its original 1913 glory with plush armchair seating and elegant gilded plasterwork. There’s a beautiful bar here, too, with low, arched ceilings, studded Chesterfield booths and an excellent cocktail list.
It’s the kind of date night you only see in the movies.
NOTE: Ciné Real host regular screenings in Hackney. You can keep an eye on their upcoming film nights, and buy tickets, HERE.
Ciné Real | The Castle Cinema, First Floor, 64-66 Brooksby’s Walk, London E9 6DA
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