Like staging a land war on Asia, you mess with the British weather at your peril. Whilst open air cinemas thrive in many European cities such as Barcelona, Locarno, Bologna and many others, in London, it is always a bit of a gamble on how the weather will turn out. The Luna Cinema is going around many different locations in the city, from Hampton Court to Wandsworth Park to Kensington Palace, showing a mixture of films released in the past couple of years such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as well as stone cold classics such as Casablanca and The Graduate.
A friend and myself went to the screening of La La Land at Kenwood House. It’s a beautiful setting for an outdoor cinema to be in. The abundance of greenery and the presence of the historic building make it a very serene atmosphere in which to watch a film. Added to this are the presence of classy food and drink stalls to provide enough sustenance to make it through the film, although you are welcome to bring your own supplies. There are also competitions held with one lucky winner and their group able to watch the film from the comfort of a hotel bed.
The film started and it was shaping up to be a very pleasant evening. A few drops of rain started falling as the film got under way but my friend and I were able to take advantage of the free plastic ponchos distributed by the volunteers. A little while later, the rain subsided and we were able to come out from underneath our plastic protection.
Then the flashes of lightning started appearing in the sky. They looked a little far off and there appeared to be little to worry about. Then they started getting a little closer and the crowd seemed to be nervously agitating in their seats and looking to where they might escape to in the event of a deluge.
Their research paid off as flashes of lightning gave way to not just a thunderstorm but a deluge of water. Some hardy souls doggedly stuck it out underneath an umbrella but the rest of the audience scrambled to an awning of Kenwood House. It was still possible to view the film from this position although a little hard to follow the dialogue.
After the rain finished, those who had stayed and not been picked up by the fleet of Uber cars, were able to come back and finish watching. It was a very enjoyable experience despite the downpour with the volunteers providing a lot of support to overcome the conditions. There are screenings going all over London this summer and if you do attend one, I hope that you get lucky with the mercurial English summer weather.