Making the Most of Hyde Park

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Arts and Culture editor Tanika Lane gives you a run-down of Hyde Park’s famous cinema

Huddled in the student hubbub of Hyde Park lies our beloved Picture House – a century year old cinema that first welcomed audiences on the 7th November 1914, it remaining as the last gas lit cinema possibly in the world, and thus considered a significant site of national heritage. The cinema was initially used to broadcast newsreels during World War I when there was no other means for families for gather information about the welfare and whereabouts of the men who had enlisted. As the vibrant red coated building stands as a sentinel of culture in this city of rapid modernisation, we could perhaps say this is a fitting history for such a beauteous building.

An attractive aspect of the cinema is how it is selective about what is screened there, for whilst the Picture House may not broadcast every single one of the latest flicks on release, it certainly provides the creme de la creme of movie showcasing. From exceptional award-winners to insightful indie features, some of the Picture House’s past screenings have included Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep starrer Suffragette, alongside the more recent Gurinder Chadha’s Blinded by the Light, which concerns a young Pakistani teenage boy’s affinity for the music of Bruce Springsteen to help cope with living in a more racially turbulent England in 1987.

Here are some of the free screenings at the Picture House while you’re settling in during your first weeks at University:

Booksmart (Free Freshers Screening, Wed 2nd October at 2.30)

If you love your movie fix to be a mixture of heart, humour and wholesome feminism, then Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut Booksmart will be perfect for you. Starring fresh faces Beanie Feldstein (Ladybird) and Kaitlyn Dever (Beautiful Boy), this movie concerns the consequences of when two high-school academic overachievers suddenly decide to fill their last night before graduation with all the ‘fun’ they believe their studious habits to have sorely robbed them of. Despite sporting the premise of being a comedic coming-of-age flick, the film promises to have the potential to be able to relate to many adolescents who are anxious about relationships, sexuality and what it really means to step into maturity.

Midsommar (Free Freshers Screening, Sat 5th October at 8.30)

Ari Aster’s folk horror film sets a far darker tone and it explores the consequences of when a naive American couple attempt to save their relationship by travelling to a remote Swedish festival and watch as their bucolic visions degenerate into something torturous and sinister. Anyone considering watching the thriller should absolutely be tempted by Florence Pugh starring at the helm of the movie, as she has proven to be a formidable acting force from her history in fellow dramas Lady Macbeth and Little Drummer Girl.

Image Credit: The Gryphon