Who can be trusted? What are you capable of? Be prepared to be caught off guard at World Movies Secret Cinema.
Barret and I were standing at the end of a line of umbrellas outside Central Station. Earlier that morning we had received a text with instructions for a Secret Cinema rendezvous. We had no idea if Central Station would be the final destination or the transfer point; the only thing we could assume was that the movie would be screening inside an ‘untouched Sydney venue.’
Just after 7pm the crowd was corralled into the station and towards the staircase for the Eastern Suburbs line. Halfway down the stairs a ‘Russian guard’ directed us through a nondescript white door. I didn’t know this at the time, but we had entered platform 26/27. Instead of the buzz of commuters, the echo of a sledge hammer filled the concrete hall. Abandoned in the 1960s, the platform was incomplete and never received any passengers from its intended destination in Maroubra.
The hammer was wielded by a rough-looking sword juggler who stood where the railway line should have been. In the shadows of the platform waited a hula-hooping contortionist in an ice blue leotard and tan stockings that looped around her big toe.
Despite the heat that had accumulated underground, there were small clumps of snow around the pillars in the middle of the platform. It glittered in the low light and held the shape of a slushy footprint.
On the opposite track was a photo booth with a steel grey winter background. Barret and I walked down the steps and the photographer impatiently rushed us to a white line. A fan blew my bangs off my forehead and the photo was snapped. “Can we take one more?”
An assistant handed over a wet ink jet print. Two tomato cheeks were emblazoned on my cyan skin.
“Wow, my cheeks are red.”
“Are you Russian?” The photographer asked.
“Well,” he chortled, “you’ll be rushin’ up those steps!”
The movie choice itself was also a complete surprise. A short message from the director played before the film and we discovered we were going to watch a thriller called Transsiberian. It starred a stereotypically guileless American couple in Russia. The Aussie audience chuckled every time Woody Harrelson naively exclaimed, “but, I’m American!”
The real thrill though was when a woman almost collapsed in the row across from Barret and I. While a couple of medics attended to her, another guy quietly walked down the aisle with a meter attached to a slim plastic tube.
“Do you think their checking the carbon dioxide levels?” I asked Barret.
The Secret Cinema was scheduled to run four more days, but it was cancelled after the Thursday night opening. Be prepared to be caught off guard at World Movies Secret Cinema. The organizers should have followed their own advice.
About: World Movies Secret Cinema