Review: Backyard Cinema in London


On Saturday, Something You Said headed to London to check out Backyard Cinema, an institution born after its founder endured an underwhelming trip to your generic, everyday, soulless cineplex. Popping up in a variety of comfortable and sometimes unusual locations both in and outdoors around the country’s capital, Backyard Cinema has an independent, alternative feel and provides a great selection of films, booze and high quality food.

Along with a pretty setup at Camden Markets, Backyard Cinema also hosts events at London Fields Brewery, which is where we headed to watch John Hughes’ classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as part of the Weekend Movie Festival. Alighting the tube at Bethnal Green, we hopped from underneath one shop awning to the next in order to avoid the London rain and eventually found the location in the backstreets of Hackney, under two large railway arches, with an outdoor courtyard and terrace area. Scents from the Britalian Job pizza stall wafted alluringly through the grey London air (themed pizzas were given london fields brewerynames like “The Ron Burgendy”) as punters supped on local ales (including the magnificent Shoreditch Triangle – which packed a punch at a dangerous-for-mid-afternoon-consumption 6%).

An eclectic mix of silver-screen enthusiasts gathered in the courtyard before making their way into the large luxury cinema room, which boasted a 12ft screen and seating made up of an array of bean bags, deck chairs, floor cushions and sun loungers. There was popcorn for those who wanted it and popping out to the bar during the screening wasn’t frowned upon but encouraged. This was certainly a laid-back, social cinema experience.

As for the film, well, we’ve all seen it a gazillion times before, of course, but there is something special about watching classics like this on a big screen alongside other people. The jokes seemed even funnier when shared with a few dozen likeminded folk and, as the credits rolled, everybody filtered back out to the courtyard for a chinwag about the movie. Favourite scenes were discussed, as was how young and hot the now haggered mess Charlie Sheen looked in his small role.

As newcomers arrived on site to watch Ryan Gosling being a sexy ruffian in The Place Beyond The Pines, the rest of us sunk a few more jars and chomped on a Ron Burgendy.

Judging by our experience at the weekend, this independent project is clearly pieced together by people with a love of film and a desire to deliver fun, social cinematic events. They’ll be putting on plenty more over the next few months, so keep up to date by following them on Facebook or by visiting their website.

bobby townsend


Review by Bobby Townsend.