The 2,000 year old cinema

By Rhys Humphreys

The Shawshank Redemption is one of the most beloved films of all time, but you may already know that. The film is celebrating its 25thanniversary this year, but you may already know that. Whether you’re watching it for the first time, or you’ve seen it 100 times, it’s unlikely you have seen it in the depths of a medieval castle. Cardiff Castle will be screening The Shawshank Redemption in the returning underground cinema.

With the Oscars around the corner, Cardiff Castle’s underground cinema will be making its return with screenings of The Iron Giant, Isle of Dogs, The Princess Bride, The Sixth Sense, and The Shawshank Redemption. In association with a local company called Darkened Rooms, the underground cinema was created five years ago, screening films in the castle’s historic undercroft.

Darkened Rooms are already known for their pop-up cinemas in obscure places, such as screening Night of the Living Dead beneath the Capitol Centre, and screening It’s a Wonderful Life within Insole Court Mansion.

Cardiff Castle is just another example, because what is more obscure than a cinema within a castle that has a story which spans 2,000 years?

Whether you’ve attended the events, or seen pictures online, the cinema confined within the arched stone walls, with lanterns illuminating the room, it is a very unusual place to see a film. The Nightmare Before Christmas and Suspiria were screened last year, dimly lit cold rooms, the perfect atmosphere for watching horror films.

Lloyd Glanville is the organiser and explains the link between the films and the unusual aesthetic of the location. The first theme chosen was horror to fit the castle’s setting. Other themes such as adventure and Christmas have been used in the past to fit the atmosphere. To fit the theme of the Oscars, critically acclaimed films have been chosen.

“These series always work better when there is a theme to the series of films,” Glanville says.

“Last Halloween was our most successful year yet, we did 24 films and sold the vast majority of them out.”

A series of films will be screened in the cinema in May, but it has not been decided what the theme will be.

Of course, if you’re not interested in Shawshank, you have other options with tickets still available for the other films. A variety of films have been selected for the event, such as The Iron Giant, picked specifically for younger audiences, and other critically acclaimed films such as M. Night Shyamalan’s finest film, The Sixth Sense.

The cinema has always been a success and always attracts various people to the castle. Glanville says: “Primarily it’s a historic site, but it’s nice to try and bring in people who may not normally visit the castle and the underground cinema is an excellent opportunity to do that.”

 

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