You’ve heard of secret music shows? These are gigs where you don’t know who’s going to play, but you can buy a ticket anyway and hope that it’s a band suitably kick-ass enough to reward the gamble. Well, Magnus Toren, executive director of Henry Miller Library, is doing secret cinema.
The Movies Under the Stars series satiates outdoor cinephiles the rest of the summer. There’s two catches. One: which films are being screened is a secret. Two: they are all Scandinavian films.
Both of these don’t have to present obstacles. There are plenty of fine films from the Scandinavia region, which comprises Denmark, Norway, Sweden (where Toren is from), Finland and sometimes Iceland (depending on Björk’s popularity at any given time).
Some of the better known films are Ingmar Bergman’s inscrutable The Seventh Seal, creepy vampire flick Let the Right One In, and the WTF-athon of Antichrist. But as to which ones are playing on any given night, only Toren knows. He also knows the trouble with this. Maybe you’ve seen it before. Maybe you think you won’t like it. It’s a long drive to commit to a mystery.
“It’s not always about quantity of people,” Toren says about the format. “It’s rare to see films in which the people are not totally prejudiced by all they have heard or read.”
And if they’ve seen the film already?
“We don’t give ourselves the opportunity to see films more than once.”
The first film screened last week. It was Babette’s Feast – a great foodie and religious film from 1987. Toren says the crowd loved it. So there is the challenge. Stay in town or at home and cycle through options looking for a film that fits your expectations. Or roll the dice.