This is Awesome: Photos of the Secret Cinema Club Underneath Paris
This is awesome. During my routine perusal of links from the social networks, I came across an Imgur of a screenshot from a Tumblr post that has since become an infamous meme. Back in 2011 when it was first posted, this photo of a secret underground cinema in Paris went viral prompting frantic investigations into its existence. Since then a number of major geek outlets, including Gizmodo and Wired, have since thrown open the doors to the cinema club run by "les UX", a French underground organization which improves hidden corners of Paris. Nonetheless, since I just stumbled across this I thought it worth featuring anyway.
As a die-hard fan of the incomparable cinematic experience above all else, I love these kind of underground, off-the-beaten-path events that push watching movies to the next level. The whole "underground cinema club" idea reminds me of Alamo Drafthouse's Rolling Roadshow and Secret Cinema, but with its own Fight Club-esque quirks. "Do not try to find us." Well, someone did find them and now we know their story.
Here's a much better photo included in the 2012 Wired article about UX and their underground operations:
And here was the original post from Tumblr (since removed) which has been turned into an internet meme:
The original text: "In September 2004, French police discovered a hidden chamber in the catacombs under Paris. It contained a full-sized movie screen, projection equipment, a bar, a pressure cooker for making couscous, a professionally installed electricity system, and at least three phone lines. Movies ranged from 1950s noir classics to recent thrillers." This was part of a larger operation orchestrated by the secret group les UX (which stands for Urban eXperiment) around Paris. They're responsible for restoring the Pantheon clock, medieval crypts, and staging plays in monuments at night as well as art shows with stolen paintings.
The full story of UX and the underground cinema is documented by The Guardian, Gizmodo and Wired. I love this quote from the Wired piece: "On a typical festival evening, they screen at least two films that they feel share a nonobvious yet provocative connection... They chose a room beneath the Palais de Chaillot they'd long known of and enjoyed unlimited access to. The building was then home to Paris’ famous Cinémathèque Française, making it doubly appropriate. They set up a bar, a dining room, a series of salons, and a small screening room that accommodated 20 viewers, and they held festivals there every summer for years. 'Every neighborhood cinema should look like that,' Kunstmann says." Now that would be unique.