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Secret Cinema’s next big event will turn its audience into activists

The immersive movie company’s next screening will attempt to blend art with activism

Written by
Katie McCabe

Secret Cinema’s enormous, immersive productions aren’t something you’d normally associate with activism. Usually the focus is on escapism through familiar Hollywood movies that lend themselves to flashy set designs (its most recent real-life events were recreations of ‘Romeo + Juliet’ and ‘Casino Royale’). But its new post-lockdown plan, LOST, is one the company is describing as ‘a socially-driven project exploring radical new ways to make and release art’ that will coincide with ‘specific social campaigns’ to tie in with the themes of the film. 

The first ‘action’ is an outdoor screening of ‘Les Misérables’. If you’re picturing Russell Crowe in his little Pan Am outfit and singing off-key, you’ve got the wrong film. This ‘Les Misérables’ is the directorial debut of Ladj Ly, a story of police corruption and brutality set in the Parisian suburb of Montfermeil. After its Cannes Film Festival release in 2019, our reviewer called it ‘a spiritual heir to ‘La Haine’’. Tickets for the screening will be £11 for 15-18 year olds (the full price for adults is £30.25) to help develop a youth audience for the film.  

The screenings will start from August 25 ahead of the film’s official UK release, and will be held in collaboration with choreographer Joseph Toonga, who created theatre show ‘Born to Protest. Also involved is Black-led youth organisation Tribe Named Athari, which will be receiving the profits of the ticket sales. You can find out more about the group’s work here

Speaking about the LOST project, Ladj Ly, director of ‘Les Misérables’, said: ‘More than 150 years have passed since Victor Hugo’s time, but poverty and social misery remain in Montfermeil. This film is for the youth in my community. It's for young people everywhere. And the LOST campaign is giving young people in this country a chance to do something that will enrich their lives and start a conversation around the conditions in which they live.’

The London location is under wraps, as are the details of what the event will involve beyond a film screening, but as it’s ‘Secret Cinema’, some live-show elements are inevitable. 

Want in on the ‘action’? Sign up here.

Curious about London’s new spate of drive-in cinemas? We went along to find out if it’s worth the petrol

What else to watch in August? Check out our pick of the best movies for the month ahead.

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