With locations across London, Curzon cinemas show a broad range of art-house and independent films and shorts in plush, comfortable surroundings. The Soho branch has three well equipped screens and boasts a great café. This is how cinema should be enjoyed, and the punters know it. You’d be hard pressed to hear a crinkled sweet packet or a beeping phone in one of these screens.
The quirkily named Horse Hospital (so-called because, you guessed it, it used to be a glue factory… just kidding) is a space devoted to showcasing underground and avant garde media. This is the spot to find rare films as well as music and art. It also has a mind blowing fashion collection. Saddle up and get down there.
The ICA is the place to go for more off-the-wall films and art. It’s serious about moving images, and hosts exhibitions, film seasons, lectures and seminars as well as performances of all kinds. The experimental visual art, performance and film is presented across galleries, a theatre and two cinemas. Does exactly what it says on the tin.
This Shoreditch arts and media centre is housed in a huge former garment factory, and displays independent films from around the world. With a three-screen cinema; exhibition and event spaces, café and a broadcasting centre for BBC London, it’s a cultural hub and a very reasonably priced destination for international and independent film.
Rio Cinema looks almost absurdly grand on Dalston’s otherwise ragtag and colourful Kingsland High Street. The Grade II listed Art Deco building with its 1930s auditorium is a sight to behold even before the projector is switched on. Sink into plush velvet seats and admire the sweeping curves and vintage details of the room as you wait – often serenaded by a classic jazz soundtrack – for the thick red curtain to sweep back to reveal its cinematic delights. A single-screen cinema, which shows a mixture of mainstream and independent films, the Rio never disappoints in its broad variety and sometimes daring and offbeat choices.
BFI Southbank is another heavy hitter in the UK film industry. Showing the widest range of films anywhere in the UK, you can expect to see international films, as well as independent, historical, art-house and experimental film. With film festivals throughout the year, it’s well worth getting a membership to get generous discounts. Mecca for all film lovers.