Words by Immy Smith


Hattie Lloyd 13/02/22

Close-Up Cinema


It might sound like the worst way to see the big picture.

But that’s the name of this tiny little screening room & mediatheque down a backstreet in Shoreditch; an initiative that’s all about showing audiences the big picture on screens to match the grand ideas fuelling its line-up of genre-spanning films.

Close-Up Cinema was established in 2005 as a way to bring people closer to film culture and history, through the intimate cinema room, an extensive DVD library and a critical film magazine, Vertigo. Cutting a modish shape down a quiet street just off Brick Lane, it’s clad entirely in black save for its contrasting white signage. On first appearance, it has an air of mystery and muted worldliness.

close-up cinema

Inside, the intellectual theme continues with sagging leather Chesterfields and floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with reference books, journals and, of course, film. The media library houses over 20,000 titles spanning early cinema, classics, world cinema, documentaries, experimental films and video art. And if you’re really up for exercising your inner cinephile, Close-Up also has a collection of rare films by independent filmmakers that aren’t represented by bigger distributors, so this is the only place in London you’ll be able to see them.

Close-Up’s film programme is oriented around films that have helped to shape and influence the trajectory of cinema’s history. The screenings are complemented by regular events where filmmakers are invited to discuss their work and themes around their filmmaking techniques.

close-up cinema

The cinema itself is a cosy, 40-seater theatre equipped with a surround sound system and all the state-of-the-art technology required for showing the films at their picture-perfect best.

Peckish pre or post-movie? There’s the Close-Up café and bar serving up freshly-ground coffee and baked goods. If you need something stronger after watching one of the many mind-broadening flicks, then order yourself a large glass of red wine and sink into a contemplative mood.


NOTE: Close-Up Cinema is open Mon-Sun 12pm-12am. You can find out more and book tickets to screenings HERE.

Close-Up Cinema | 97 Sclater Street, London E1 6HR

Making an evening of it? Check out the best restaurants in Shoreditch.

Close-Up Cinema

97 Sclater Street, Shoreditch, E1 6HR

020 3784 7970