Secret Cinema London does Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel

In-character screening offers Anderson groupies first chance to see new film

There's a substantial contingent within London's hipster population who live most of their lives dressed as if inhabiting a Wes Anderson film.

The American director's latest offering was perhaps, then, a natural choice for Secret Cinema's latest immersive movie-going extravaganza. And so it was that a band of vintage-clad, kitch-laden punters (some of who were not even wearing their usual clothes) last night checked themselves in to The Grand Budapest Hotel.

For the next month, Anderson's fictional establishment has relocated from the imaginary state of Zubrowka to central London (I'm not supposed to tell you exactly where). Hotel guests, paying £53.50 a pop for their four hour stay, will be met each night at a designated meeting point by purple-suited bell boys and escorted into Anderson's Alpine world for an evening of participatory theatre, cocktails and schnitzel followed by a screening.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Review

The film itself, which recounts the story of The Grand Budapest Hotel, its legendary concierge Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) and his lobby boy sidekick Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) is not on general release in the UK until March 7. For those Anderson groupies with tickets to the first week or so of Secret Cinema shows, this is - if nothing else - an expensive way to see a much-anticipated movie ASAP. Ralph Fiennes in ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Those fans won't be disappointed. Funny, camp, exquisitely shot and featuring cameos from several Anderson staples (think Bill Murray, Owen Wilson...), The Grand Budapest Hotel is a 100-minute romp through an inter-war world of European romance, intrigue and glamour.

But as ever with Secret Cinema, there is more to it than that. For around two hours before the film begins, guests are free to explore the corridors of The Grand Budapest, brought to life with wonderful attention to detail from original 1930s costumes to pastel-pink macaroon boxes. Hungary for more: Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan in ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ Hungary for more: Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan in ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

Ticket holders rub shoulders with - or are taken off for questioning by - actors interpreting characters from the film, offering advance glimpses of the movie's narrative but more importantly recreating its mood.

Coupled with Secret Cinema's frankly excellent policy of banning mobile phones, the whole thing successfully took me out of London 2014 in a way that made me - someone who has been annoyed as well as entertained by previous Anderson films - yet more receptive to what would anyway have been one of his best works.

It was a shame, in some senses, that the whole theatrical experience took place before, rather than after, the screening. It is another big coup for Secret Cinema, which often bases it's shows on older classics, to be putting on their version of The Grand Budapest Hotel even before it's official release.

At the risk of spoiling the narrative (never really the point of an Anderson anyway), I'd advise anyone heading to SC's The Grand Budapest Hotel to check out at least something about the film before they check in. If I hadn't watched the trailer and read the plot of the film, plenty of SC's cleverly-realised details - like those macaroon boxes - would have been lost on me, which would have been a shame.

Secret Cinema presents The Grand Budapest Hotel runs until March 30

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor