Saturday Night at the Movies: Independent Cinemas

Life//Film / TV


There was a time when people did as The Drifters sang in 'Saturday Night at the Movies', and on a Saturday night they picked up 'their bay' and took them to a 'picture show' and they had a ball just like they always did. Now of course people have the internet, making streaming a movie much easier than actually going to the cinema.

Granted, the prospect of watching a movie at a mainstream cinema can seem far less appealing than being curled up on your sofa at home. However, what if you could go to the cinema and it was an experience beyond just watching a movie, what if you could still be sat in your armchair or cuddled up under a blanket with your 'baby'? Well, thanks to some fantastic independent cinemas these are all very real possibilities. We bring you a selection of the best independent cinemas out there.

The Electric (London)

What started as one cinema, in Notting Hill, has now become two with the addition of what was The Aubin, with both offering the same fantastic independent cinema experience. The original Electric though is in Notting Hill and dates back to 1911 and, having survived a bombing and stayed open during the Blitz, is something of an institution on Portobello Road. Known for its luxurious interior you can book a sofa for two here to watch anything from mainstream movies all the way through to art house films. Not happy with just a sofa? Well don't worry they also have leather armchairs, footstools and tables for food and drink. This really is like watching a movie in your lounge, just with a proper sized screen.

For more information, including a full listing of what's on click here.

The Cornerhouse (Manchester)

In their own words The Cornerhouse is 'Manchester’s international centre for contemporary visual arts and independent film'. However, it is much more than just a cinema, with three art galleries, three cinema screens, a cafe and a bookshop it is as much a cultural centre as it is a cinema and boasts the likes of Helen Mirren and Damien Hirst amongst its patrons. Given the breadth of films they show here it may come as no surprise to you that for certain showings they offer a post-screening discussion, so come prepared to share your views on whatever it is you decide to watch.

For more information, including a full listing of what's on click here.

The Phoenix Cinema (London)

Should you ever want to know what it was like to go to the movies in a time gone by then this is the place to be. The Phoenix is one of the UK's oldest purpose-built, continuously running cinemas dating back to 1910, and furthermore it still has the same magnificent vaulted ceiling that gives the place its charm and sense of self. In an ever-evolving world a lot of places can be swallowed up by the advance of modernisation, but over the last hundred years The Phoenix, which is 'a cinema of the community, run by a charitable trust for the community', has evolved with the times.

From the first silent films, that were played with live music, through to today's high definition digital productions this place has seen it all, and everything in between. If you do decide to head to this single screen cinema be sure to book early, get there early to enjoy the art-deco cafe, and finally don't expect to see many Hollywood blockbusters on the line-up here.

For more information, including a full listing of what's on click here.

The Cameo (Edinburgh)

Part of the Picture House Group of the Cameo is more akin to an old opera house than a cinema, giving the feeling of grandeur to your night out at the movies. Having been restored to it's original 1914s style you can enjoy a pre-movie drink on the leather sofas of the bar before picking any number of interesting showings to watch. From ­cinematic history and vintage classics through to foreign-language films, documentaries, arts movies and current hits there will be something for everyone here.

For more information, including a full listing of what's on click here.

The Prince Charles Cinema (London)

For those who loves movies there have probably been times where you have wished a cinema would show all three Lord of the Rings movies back-to-back, or maybe a Back to the Future marathon. Well look no further, the Prince Charles Cinema is like no other in that it doesn't just show films, it shows films in all the ways you think possible; sing-alongs, quote-alongs, movie marathons, old classics and even a showing of movies so bad they are actually good. What's even better is that it won't break the bank to go there - most tickets can be bought for under £10 - which when you think every other cinema in the Leicester Square area will cost you a small fortune is superb vale for money.

For more information, including a full listing of what's on click here.

Chapter (Cardiff)

One of the first art centres in the UK Chapter isn't just a cinema, it is 'a multi-artform venue that presents, produces and promotes international art, live performance and film alongside a dynamic social space'. As is the case with many leading independent cinemas these days you won't find anything mainstream on show here, but you will be able to get your fix of classic movies, nouveau cinema and the occasional 'bad movie club' night as well.

For more information, including a full listing of what's on click here.

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