This is Awesome: Photos of the Secret Cinema Club Underneath Paris
by Alex Billington
July 14, 2013
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.
Ive been in the Paris catacomes , the air quality is discusting and hazadous to your health, no way would i sit in there for hours.
Happy camper on Jul 14, 2013
your spelling is atrocious
Seth Maurice Smith on Jul 14, 2013
"Your spelling is atrocious." Your punctuation is atrocious.
Twit box on Jul 16, 2013
"I've been in the Paris catacombs, the air quality is disgusting and hazardous to your health. No way would I sit in there for hours."
ali3000 on Jul 15, 2013
This does not look very comfortable or even practical. It has a very pretentious and hipster-y feel to it. Just watch the movie comfortably you dummies, you are going to be immersed in a different world for the next 2 hours. No need for any of this.
Broseph Brosullini on Jul 14, 2013
Pressure cooker for making couscous... -_-*
DAVIDPD on Jul 14, 2013
"'I see dead people...' No, really. There is a dead dude right there!"
DAVIDPD on Jul 14, 2013
Slow sunday huh
rolyjimenez on Jul 14, 2013
Although there may be plenty news in SD, this years lineup will be weak compared to previous years. Jim
Jim Franklin on Jul 16, 2013
"As a die-hard fan of the incomparable cinematic experience above all else..." As cool as this hidden room would be for, say, a poetry or comedy club or even a museum of some sort, I can't imagine it provides a very good experience for viewing movies. Forget how uncomfortable those seats look to be, or how substandard the air quality must be, let's just focus on the detriments to the movie. Specifically, imagine how incredibly terrible the acoustics must be. Ever shouted your name or yodeled in a mine shaft or cave? Now imagine watching an entire movie with each bit of dialogue or explosion or train whistle or lion roar echoing around the room for a veritable eternity. Also look at how unbearably bright that room is, with the lights of the screen and projector reflecting off the walls and ground. I prefer to watch my movies in at least relative darkness so the screen is bright and crisp and pronounced. That room, though, is aglow like a Christmas tree, with a disco light on top, on fire, dropping acid. Seriously, my pupils constrict just thinking about watching a movie in there. It seems to me that, cool as this place is, it's about as conducive to watching a movie as a subway car is to listening to a symphony. There's a reason movie theaters don't have clowns doing tricks or cheerleaders doing cheers or neon advertisements on the walls or a roller coaster in the middle: ambiance for the sake of experience is counterproductive. A comfy butt, well-adjusted eyes, and decent sound control for my ears, these are the only imperatives for a successful moviegoing experience. Other gimmicks may or may not be 'cool', but they almost always detract from the thing we're really there for: the movie.
Wafffles on Jul 15, 2013
You're a bummer.
Kento on Jul 16, 2013
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