Secret Cinema: ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

Secret Cinema in partnership with Windows Phone and Mind, the mental health charity, presented Milos Forman’s classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) at The Princess Louise Hospital in North Kensington, London this November, and CineVue were once again kindly invited to review the event.

Clearly, much had been learned from September’s three gargantuan screenings of David Lean’s cinematic epic Lawrence of Arabia (1962) at Alexandra Palace. 6000 attendees were now staggered over ten sessions (rather than the 3000 strong turnouts for each of the LoA events) allowing for a more controlled, personalised atmosphere.

There was, however, a strong sense of all control being pulled from under your feet as you entered the abandoned Princess Louise Hospital, kitted out in your most cherished dressing gown/slipper combination. The entire complex has been completely reworked into the Oregon State Hospital, complete with roaming patients, watchful doctors and bored cleaners.

The event’s improvised theatrics once again stole the show, with some fantastically over-the-top conversations and scenarios seemingly waiting around every corner (the highlight being an eerily impromptu rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” by the entire hospital, doctors, patients and guests alike).

So, yet another incredible cinematic experience courtesy of the Secret Cinema team. Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has been given the highest (deserved) compliment through its faithful, physical realisation in North London this November, and the walk home was dominated by talk of which film they could “honour” next ( Danny Boyle’s frenetic horror 28 Days Later (2002) anyone?).

Daniel Green