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

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
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.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all