The film begins and you’re surrounded by people. So far, it’s like any other movie-going experience. But then you look up and realise that this one is different, because the stars on screen are far outnumbered by those sparkling in the firmament above this outdoor cinema.
When summer rolls around, many public and private institutions organise outdoor film sessions, and every year the turnout is more impressive. One of the best known in Barcelona is held at the old military fort of Montjuïc, where people of all ages come together around a huge screen. Some pack a picnic and enjoy a light supper spread out on blankets and tablecloths as the sun goes down. The prelude is a live concert, and the main event is a film that can be watched sitting up or lying down in a magical setting.
In Valencia, “fresh-air cinema”, as they call it, is an excuse to give a historic neighbourhood the revitalising boost it deserves; and in Mallorca the stalls are a park, the Parc de la Mar. Any movie shown here had better be interesting, because the beautifully lit Cathedral of Palma visible behind the screen is a tempting distraction. You might also be tempted to sneak a sideways glance at your fellow passenger as you sit in the car at the Autocine, a drive-in cinema for nostalgia-lovers and free spirits surrounded by nature in Gijón (northern Spain).
And if you like crowds, check out the Madrid nightlife to experience Open Star, which proudly lives up to its reputation as the world’s largest film event. Enjoy an intense group experience as you take in any of the movies on the bill… shown on a screen larger than a tennis court (325 m2)! And while you’re there, enjoy the concerts, DJ sessions, bars and restaurants, but don’t worry if you can’t make it this time: Open Star is also held in the parks of Zurich, Dusseldorf, Lisbon, Sidney, Rio de Janeiro and other cities.
A Globetrotting Initiative
Outdoor cinema pops up where you least expect it. Are you going to be in New York before 20 August? Swing by the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival and experience the singular sensation of watching great classics surrounded by skyscrapers. London’s unpredictable weather can’t put a damper on the success of the Rooftop Film Club, which takes over the rooftops of two buildings in Shoreditch and Kensington. Enjoy some cult films over dinner and a beer. And if it’s a bit chilly? Grab a jacket or a blanket and don’t let anything spoil your fun.
Australia, Germany, China… Outdoor cinema is spreading like wildfire. It’s even reached Lapland in northern Finland, where the Sami people organise a big-screen film festival every January in sub-zero temperatures. There are even some who create their own open-air movie theatres: all they need is a blanket and a projector on the front porch. And you? What’s the most amazing film experience you’ve ever had in the great outdoors?