Secret Cinema: the Relocation of Cinema

In today’s world, digital technology and the internet are likely to redefine the concept of the movie theater. John Belton used the term ‘relocation’ to refer to the process by which the experience of a medium is reactivated and reproposed elsewhere than the place in which it was formed, with alternate devices and in new environments (Cassetti, 2015, 18). The Secret Cinema can be understood as a result of the relocation of cinema because it provides the audience an opportunity to engage into film physically and psychologically.

The development of technologies makes it possible to provide cinematic experience anytime and anywhere. Viewers are able to choose different devices to watch films wherever and whenever they want. However, instead of asking the audience to sit in the fixed position and keep silence during the screening. Secret Cinema encourages its participators to be a particular character of the film and immerse into the story. During such an ‘in-film’ screening process, participators are likely to not only enjoy to be one of the characters in the film but also feel pleasure to communicate with other ‘characters’. By this reason, in Secret Cinema, the screening becomes an adventure platform and a social event, which is not able to be achieved at home or through media devices.

In addition to this, Secret Cinema concentrates on social media so as to strengthen the sense of engagement before the screening. Sarah Atkinson describes Secret Cinema as an organization which delivers tailored and alternative viewing experiences of a film, and what have been referred to as an ‘anti-multiplex experiences’ (Atkinson, 2014, 46). Take Secret Cinema as an example, the idea of ‘relocation’ can be understood not only the change of devices or screening places but also the rethink of screening experience and spectatorship.


Taojiazi Hu


Francesco Cassetti (2015), “Relocation” in The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come, New York: Columbia University Press

Sarah Atkinson (2014) Beyond the Screen: Emerging Cinema and Engaging Audiences, Bloomsbury Publishing USA



One thought on “Secret Cinema: the Relocation of Cinema

  1. Some thoughts from Katie:
    In terms of the concept of ‘space’ in cinema experience, speaking from the perspective of the spectator( or the participant), can we say that Secret Cinema adds a dimension to cinema experience (from 3D to 4D)?
    There are body engagements other than watching and hearing when no live performance is involved in cinema experience. So, to what extent can we say that Secret Cinema transforms audience from a spectator to a participant?


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