You’ve probably walked past it so many times that you’ve now lost count. It’s on Brunswick Square, not far from Russell Square station and once, even I walked by it not understanding what this building actually was. It was Christmas and wonder was in the air, fairy lights and large birds made entirely of bulbs adorned the square like jewellery. They almost distracted me from the foreign movie posters. What were there these new films displayed on the glass? They definitely weren’t typical of UK cinemas. They were movies I’d have loved to watch on the big screen, movies I’d watched people debate about on twitter but had no idea how to access. I’d seen the poster of a beautiful black woman on Spike Lee’s ‘ChiRaq’ in the window, the chilling darkness of James Franco’s locks in ‘The Disaster Artist’ amongst other colourful movies like ‘The Florida Project’ that seemed to me, as stirring as a blurb on a new book I was dying to read.
I decided to go one evening with a friend, entering in a nosy way as you would a new museum, crouching slightly. I was impressed immediately. Inside Curzon cinema, you’ll find an artistic interior at the reception. Lots of browns and beiges– bare colours on the walls. The architecture is elegant creating a sense of classy urbanism one would only find in the student area of Brunswick. This simplicity and inner-city vibe becomes key when faced with the bar. The food river is the opposite of simple. It’s crowded with items and prices and the place where you’ll buy your tickets, cake and drinks from the friendly and welcoming vendors.
You can just tell this place has had film premiere’s here and that celebrities have walked these corridors. It’s something about the thick richness of the carpet, the names on the doors of screens like Renoir and Plaza, the dull glare of the doors shading where dressing room names may have gone. Even the toilets were giving me that whole, this could be a scene from an American high school toilet scene vibe. There’s a seating area in the reception too, perfect for a quick nibble and catch up with friends or your date, while jazz music plays and maybe you discuss what movie you’d like to see today? Maybe you’ve bought your ticket online, sure of why a certain movie will become notable. You’re excited because it’s different and that’s the beauty of Curzon. Maybe you want to watch a different type of movie and lose yourself in another school, one of thought.
On your way upstairs, you may notice that the building is layered like right angles that have been instructed to make a cheerleader pyramid shape, and ordered not to move. The walls look like they’ve been washed with egg wash and painted over with a matte shade, the lighting catching the guest’s shadows, and eating it as they walk up and down the staircase. What will stop you in your tracks is the huge movie adverts, standing up by itself in corners of the stairwells. Arabic movies, Jewish movies, French movies, all as magnetic as Star Wars or Harry Potter. You’ll see booking information, quotes and stars describing the exhilaration, the chill and claustrophobia maybe. The words Curzon Home Cinema may prop up too. Yes, you can rent and watch movies that Curzon hold online. I know, where has it been all your life right?
Only dedicated movie goers have permitted Curzon cinemas to end up in the excellent place it is today. Once inside, after choosing a Syrian movie called Insyriated (2017) about a Syrian mothers last attempt to keep her family safe in her apartment during the war, I noticed the luxurious seating as you will, I’m sure. You have to, because the extravagance will reach your eyes. In the Plaza there were couches only which surprised me. But they were grey, loving smooth couches with no tables, cup holders – nothing. People held glasses in their hands like they were in the arms of their living rooms and shoes were off, coats slung behind or on laps, lovers cuddled. I came back again to watch a subtitled French film Happy End (2017) and was seated in the larger Renoir screen, an even more vintage style screen with private viewing cubicles making you feel as if you were at the Opera, holding binoculars and wearing long silk gloves. It was very Great Gatsby.
The trailers too are tremendous because they are different. They advertise foreign films coming soon, Curzon Home Cinema and show a different sort of advert you would not see in the regular pictures. The films themselves have not failed to impress me and I always leave feeling as though I must write about them in a tweet, a song or blog post. I always want to Lana Del Rey the hell out of them, because they all seem to ‘rock me like Motley’, as does Curzon in its blue moon kind of way.
After that experience, your class is around the corner, life is in full bloom and view. You are changed, and still Curzon cinema is there for you during the rough times. A friend, growing with ideas, and themes and stories. Treat it well and visit often.