Secret Cinema presented The Battle of Algiers in the Old Vic Tunnels under Waterloo Station, London, UK. April to May 2011.
For their screening of The Battle of Algiers, Secret Cinema recreated parts of 1950s Algiers in tunnels near Waterloo railway station. Actors inhabited the alleyways of the Casbah, manned checkpoints and interrogated prisoners. They re-enacted scenes from the film while interacting with the audience.
The choice of a film with serious themes has seemed to split audience opinion, however those that chose to immerse themselves in the experience have posted more favourable reviews of the event.
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I think audience reaction has been mixed because it wasn’t a typical date movie. I, like many other Secret Cinema go-ers were maybe a little suprised that it was chosen over something more obviously accessible. Did the serious subject matter sit easily with re-enactment? It was not what I was expecting.
After consideration, while watching the film inside the elaborate set, I decided that the live-theatre experience had managed to avoid pantomime. For me, the event had enhanced the movie experience.
It made for an interesting evening.
Reviewed by CR, May 2011.