Features Patrick Gamble

Special Feature: Genesis Cinema launches Studio 5

Earlier this month, the Genesis Cinema opened their brand new luxury screen, Studio 5, and CineVue were lucky enough to be invited to have a sneak peak at this much loved East London cinema’s latest addition. Situated on the run-down Mile End Road in Whitechapel, the Genesis Cinema has a long tradition of providing an alternative and varied programme which includes an eclectic mix of high-end mainstream movies and independent arthouse films – a prime example being their current ‘Auteur Native’ season which includes screenings of such classics as Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972), Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000) and Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca (1942).

Originally opened as a music hall back in 1848, the venue first functioned as a cinema in 1912 and was known as the Mile End Empire – making the Genesis the oldest cinema in East London. Since then the cinema has undergone numerous developments and more recently has been under family ownership for the last 12 years.

The refurbishment of Studio 5 is intended to add a little more glamour to the cinema’s multiplex façade. Containing 40 seats in the form of comfy sofas and armchairs (complete with blankets and Ottoman foot-stalls), this beautifully decorated screen also boasts table service from its in-screen bar which serves a selection of drinks and snacks. As well as screening a mixture of special events and the cinema’s regular programming the screen will also be available for private bookings –the perfect size for a relaxed and intimate viewing experience.

Studio 5’s luxury setting at first seems a little out of place with the cinema’s dated multiplex concessions stall and neon lighting however, once you’ve burrowed your way towards the back of the complex this intimate screen feels like a snug hideaway from the hordes of popcorn munching patrons there to see the latest blockbuster. Despite the cinema’s small screen, the cosy atmosphere makes for a rewarding viewing experience thanks to a mixture of soft lighting and warm interiors.

The renovations have been carried out as part of an ongoing plan to restore the cinema to the glamorous décor it previously sported as a bustling music hall, a hint perhaps that the cinema intends to enhance its bustling reputation as a purveyor of high quality independent film. Using a similar blueprint to the Everyman Cinema chain, it’ll be interesting to see how this high-end service will coexist with the cinema’s current design, however in creating an alternative to the norm the Genesis Cinema should be commended for rewarding its dedicated patrons.

For more info on the Genesis Cinema, visit genesiscinema.co.uk.

Patrick Gamble