Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Wednesday 1 February 2012

A weekend in Amsterdam (2)

A trip to Amsterdam isn't complete without a visit to the Tuschinski Cinema.

Its domes dominate an otherwise unremarkable small street, and inside the decor is... well, unique. I suppose one could summarise the style as Ballets Russes meets Scandinavian Gothic. Or possibly not.

It is possible to take a guided tour of the architecture and the restored decor, but it is an experience in itself just going to a film in the ordinary way, especially in the main auditorium, or even just to have a coffee in the foyer, watching the ceiling lights cast changing colours over the already over-the-top painted patterns on the ceiling.

Nor is the uniqueness of the experience confined to the decor. For one thing, I have known the main evening performance to include an interval halfway through the film at what seemed to be a somewhat randomly chosen moment. For another, there's the stereophonic experience of watching an English-language film in a city where so many people are virtually bilingual - half of them getting the joke as it's delivered on screen, the other half catching up as they read the subtitles.

Neither of these quite applied on this occasion. The film was an early showing in one of the smaller modern rooms, and it was (largely) silent. It seemed only appropriate to the spirit of the building to see that hommage to the Hollywood of the 1920s, The Artist.

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