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7 weird but wonderful spring film screenings in London

Phil de Semlyen

From the avant-guard to the downright bonkers, there's something for everyone in this list.

The one at a station

Community cinema doesn’t get much more joyously communal than the Herne Hill Free Film Festival. There are 23 films showing in May and early June at venues in and around SE24, including Brockwell Lido and Herne Hill Velodrome. Our pick? The ace ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ at Herne Hill station on May 28.

The one with dogs

A gloriously bonkers spin-off of Sci-Fi London (May 15-22), Sci-Fido invites dog-loving science-fiction fans to enter their pooches into a cosplay competition. The winners will sashay away with a goodie bag that may or may not feature scooby snacks. It’s on May 19 at the Prince Charles Cinema and it’s in aid of charity All Dogs Matter.

The one with a cause

A monthly movie shindig with a foodie flavour, Welcome Cinema + Kitchen brings people together for a film and supper club. It’s catered by refugee chefs from Ivory Coast, Libya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Iran, and every ticket sold also provides a seat for a refugee or asylum seeker. Next up is ‘Stan & Ollie’ on April 24.

The one under a train line

The newest addition to London’s thriving cinema scene is the Archlight (after LA’s legendary ArcLight, only it’s in a railway arch, see?) next to Battersea Power Station. It’s real cosy and offers homemade snacks and cocktails. For railway architecture completists, south London’s beautiful Whirled Cinema is another arch-y delight. 

The one in a distillery

Hayman Gin’s Balham HQ is hosting another mini ‘Ginema’ season next month as the English juniper alchemists turn their gleaming distillery into a pop-up movie hall, complete with comfy beanbags and gin-based treats. Look out for ‘Mamma Mia!’ and ‘The Italian Job’ on May 11, and ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Goldfinger’ on May 12. 

The one on a farm

Waterloo’s Oasis Farm hosts two screenings of ‘Unbranded’ this month (April 25 and 28), a doc set in the widescreen surrounds of the American west. You’ll be able to enjoy it with a crackling campfire and a host of pigs, chickens and cows nearby. Our only grumble? They’re calling it Farmyard Cinema and not Moo-ving Pictures.  

The one in a Masonic temple

Love watching scary movies in suitably occulty-feeling surroundings? Meet Temple Cinema, a new series of horror classics screening in the Andaz Hotel’s fancy but bound-to-be-haunted Masonic Temple. If it’s not quite a creepy crypt, it’s definitely the next best thing. Catch ‘The Omen’ (1976) there on April 26. 

Prefer to watch movies in one of London’s picture-perfect cinemas? Here are ten aesthetically-pleasing screens in the capital.


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