Are you a film buff dreaming of puffing on cigars with the Corleones or brunching at Tiffany’s with Audrey? Well then, Underground Cinema (UGC) might be your scene. Billed as “a secret live immersive film screening”, the wildly popular themed events are held throughout the year in Melbourne and Sydney – at various locations – with films only revealed to guests upon arrival.
Correspondence begins with a curt and cryptic email from the “Ministry of Transport”. There’s also a #UGCHOPE hashtag that provides a further clue. We arrive at Batman market to throngs of people in fancy dress queuing along a wire fence while actors in paramilitary garb patrol the area with sniffer dogs, yelling instructions. It’s frighteningly convincing. Once inside it becomes clear that we’re in a dystopic refugee camp setting. Actors play out scenes and issue patrons with conspiratorial tasks. Everyone’s in character, down to the food and drink stallholders serving delicious gozleme, and whisky shots from a gruff Russian bartender.
The pay off
Darkness is falling and it’s time to settle in for the film. As some have guessed by now, it’s Children of Men. “Our designs are not always made to replicate the films we choose, but to explore the themes and potential narratives within them,” UGC creative director Tamasein Holyman says.
“We designed HOPE 2.0 to ensure that each of our guests has their own individual, participatory experience and gets the opportunity to grasp a real sense of what it truly felt like to exist in that world.”
The pain factor
If you don’t like surprises UGC might not be for you.
Who should do it?
Film lovers who’ve longed to step on set and be part of the action. Events are 18+.
It’s $55 per ticket. Bring cash to buy food
Would I do it again?
Who could resist? You never know what surprises UGC has in store and that’s half the fun. Keep an eye out for future announcements as tickets sell out fast.