If your after-work or weekend agenda includes going to the movies, Singapore has you covered. There's a multitude of venues in every corner of the city showcasing the biggest and latest blockbusters straight out of Hollywood. But if you're in the mood to see a black-and-white, a cult classic, an arthouse flick or the new indie release on the big screen, then pass the foreboding multiplex for the city's coolest alternative cinemas.
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Tap into the world of Asian cinema with screenings by the Asian Film Archive at the new Oldham Theatre. Housed in the restored National Archives of Singapore building, the wheelchair accessible, 134-seater theatre has 4K digital and 35mm film format projections for all your viewing pleasure. But don’t expect the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Instead, settle in for a curated mix of acclaimed classic and contemporary Asian films.
Propped on the ninth floor of Capital Tower, Salt Media & Entertainment’s latest venture amps up the cinematic experience of avid film buffs. With a keen eye to innovate and explore new frontiers, the film company sets its foot down to unlock the fun side of what is usually a very corporate part of town. Salt Media @ Capital Tower has a seating capacity of 227, a nine-metre widescreen, 4K laser projector and Dolby 7.1 sound. Expect Salt Media's very own films, brand new releases and other titles that have yet to be released theatrically in Singapore.
Occupying the former site of the historic Golden Theatre is The Projector, a refurbished cinema that’s home to an eclectic selection of films (it also selectively screens mainstream ones), as well as Intermission Bar which hosts unique events and dishes out tasty bites. Get cosy in a seat – or a bean bag – and be spoilt for choice with an array of films that run the gamut. Besides indie titles and arthouse flicks, The Projector also shows local and cult classics such as Rocky Horror Show and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It also hosts themed nights, so prepare to dress the part.
Get all your indie fix at this independent cinema. Filmgarde showcases an eclectic range of local and international blockbusters as well as independent films, including exclusive releases by local and Asian filmmakers. Believe it or not, it's the first cineplex in Asia to be fully fitted with cutting-edge immersive sound system, the AuroMax by Auro Technologies and Barco, to further elevate the movie screening experience.
Swap your usual mall movie theatre for something different. Sat atop the shophouses in Ann Siang Rd, The Screening Room opens doors for guests to order meals while sinking into the super comfy lounge seats at this intimate rooftop space. There's usually a movie going on but watch out for special seasonal flicks. Expect rom-coms of Valentine's Day, horror films on Halloween and Christmas feel-goods in December.
This filmmaking and photography hub sees a huge following of enthusiasts wanting to further their knowledge in either craft. Besides holding regular courses and workshops, it also screens local and regional productions, including short films, centred around various themes and concern. It's also home to its annual Watch Local and Women in Film series, which includes photography exhibitions and screenings accompanied with post-screening dialogues.
Currently located in The Arts House, the Screening Room is a 75-seater film theatre that presents a regular mix of films both local and international. In addition to the regular film programmes, the museum collaborates with film and media organisations to present works of quality that probe and provoke. Fully supportive of independent filmmakers, the Screening Room provides a platform for them by organising film premieres and festivals at this venue.
Besides language classes and art exhibitions, Alliance Française offers a selection of (mostly contemporary French) films for Francophiles, cinephiles and everyone in between – and it’s called Ciné Club, with fresh titles added every month. From March 11 to 30, partake the Francophone Festival which screens eight premiere movies including Nos Batailles, Girl, L'oeil Du Cyclone and more.
Lest we forget, far more films are churned out of Bollywood than Tinseltown. They’re not readily available on the big screen here, but Carnival Cinemas makes it easier for the Shah Rukh Khan faithful. The cinema camps out at the charmingly old-school Shaw Towers, previously housing Jade Cinemas and Bombay Talkies, and showcases Tamil and Hindi films from India and across the region. Nonetheless, Hindi movies – be warned: they can run up to 3 hours – are the lifeblood of this cinema.
Embrace foreign film in new territory: Rex Cinemas is home to a selection of the latest Tamil and Hindi titles, each set with English subtitles. It screens both digital 2D and 3D with VIP options if you're looking to take your date to the movies. As part of Carnival Cinemas, it’s the only other cinema dedicated to Bollywood, so take in a picture here to boost your film cred.
The stunning lotus-shaped building is known to bring art, science, culture and technology together through immersive exhibitions. But did you know that it also screens films on the fourth floor? ArtScience on Screen showcases a range of art-science-focused films produced by filmmakers and artists from Singapore and beyond. And if you're downright serious about the world of moving images, dialogue sessions and masterclasses with acclaimed filmmakers and artists are also held here.