Pop-up cinemas have become a summer staple in London. Over the last few years I've been to see films on rooftops, in the grounds of stately homes and, most bizarrely of all, projected onto a mountain of fridges outside the Olympic Stadium, but a floating cinema was a new experience for me.
Strictly speaking, "floating cinema" is a bit of a misnomer; it's more of a floating screen really. The UP Projects boat travels to various sites along East London's waterways and screens a mixture of shorts, local history films and big screen hits. My friends and I went to Friday's screening of Tim Burton's Frankenweenie at Three Mills Studios, the very studios in which the film was animated.
It has to be said that there is always something a little romantic about an outdoor screening on a warm summer evening. We brought blankets and a picnic (and some booze, of course) and settled ourselves down on the grass canalside. Luckily it was a comfortably warm evening with clear skies and as the night drew in, the illuminated boat looked particularly beautiful.
Frankenweenie was a great excuse for a spot of fancy dress, although rather disappointingly, not many people had made the effort. Trust me, I had a good look around. I have eyes in the back of my head.
Being a Tim Burton film, Frankenweenie has just the right combo of light and shade in terms of both plot and characters, and made for an atmospheric choice. Although, one of the best moments of the night didn't come from the film itself but from the family of swans who casually glided past the screen around half an hour into the movie. I ask you, what other cinema provides that?
The Floating Cinema is a great way to spend a summer's evening and as an added bonus, it was also a cheap night out. Tickets had to be pre-booked but were free of charge and since you were able to bring your own food and drink, there was no danger of getting ripped off with extortionately priced bars and the like. The relaxed feel to proceedings is also a breath of fresh air compared to some chaotic outdoor screenings I've been to. London can be a wonderful place for events such as this and the Floating Cinema itself carries a message that could just as easily apply to the city itself: It could only happen here.