With Pathé Utrecht Leidsche Rijn, formerly Cinemec, and Kinepolis in the Utrechtse Beurskwartier, the dom city is now at the forefront of ultramodern and large cinema complexes. Totally state of the art, but you can get lost with your drink and popcorn XXL. Of a completely different category are the atmospheric and sometimes intimate, special film screenings that you’ll find here and there in and around Utrecht. We’ll bring a few of them to your attention in this article.
It goes without saying that, in addition to the ‘big boys’ above, Utrecht has had a number of smaller and more intimate film houses for some time now, such as Springhaver on the Springweg, Louis Hartlooper Complex on the Ledig Erf and Utrecht City on the Voorstraat. Great places for an evening of cinema and also outside the Domstad you can visit Filmhuis Figi in Zeist and CineLounge Houten, for example. But truly ultimate film experiences in Utrecht and surroundings are more likely to come from initiatives such as Pluk de Nacht, Opgedoekt, Brommerbios, Hoogt on Tour and Cinema Soestdijk, to our taste. Why you should go? Read below..
With the recent heat wave still fresh in our memory, we can say that summer has already begun. Hopefully that means many beautiful and sunny days, but also the most beautiful films under the stars from a lovely beach chair in Utrecht or Amsterdam at Pluk de Nacht. In Utrecht this year at the Vrijhaven on the Bijverheidsweg from 31 July to 4 August. There you will see the best films that have not yet been released in the Dutch cinema. The festival is freely accessible and is made possible by a large group of enthusiastic volunteers. You support Pluk by buying a beer at the bar or by reserving a beach chair in exchange for a voluntary donation. For more information about the festival and its programming, check www.plukdenacht.nl, follow Pluk de Nacht on Facebook or subscribe to the newsletter.
Another film screening under the stars was recently inaugurated at Vechtclub XL during the Midsummer Festival in Merwede. As a perfect start to the summer, Filmhuis Onder de Sterren held a beautiful evening with films by talented tenants from the building as the new outdoor cinema. On the recently opened new city beach in the outdoor area of Vechtclub XL, the Filmhuis shows a variety of films after sunset. As a spectator, you can enjoy a surprising programme of short films and docu’s from your beach chair. On the city beach you will also find a ping-pong table and a bowling alley. The screen of Filmhuis under the Stars is also used for gaming competitions, presentations and for the programming of Off the Beaten Track. No public screenings are planned (for the time being), but you can stay informed via the website or socials of Vechtclub XL.
We are not sure if there will be a new edition after the last edition in 2018, because on the website of Opgedoekt there is (yet) no news about it. We just assume! Opgedoekt is a travelling cinema in Utrecht, each time at a new unconventional location which is transformed into a temporary cinema. You see films that deserve to be seen and gems that didn’t make it to the big screen of regular film houses. The unique location is always the source of inspiration for the programming of the film. The film title remains unknown and the location will only be announced on the day of the screening. A fixed prick at Opgedoekt is the peripheral programming: a live soundtrack under the pre-film by a musician or band from Utrecht, an introduction by an explicator to the main film and, last but not least, popcorn in special flavours by Maïstro. Information about how, what and where can be found on www.opgedoekt.nl.
The Moped Cinema (Brommerbios) is the ultimate, mobile outdoor cinema in Utrecht, built on a Zundapp moped from the 70s. Programmer Lotte Walrave and spatial designer Maarten Slot invented the Moped Bios in 2014 and have since parked it in almost all of Utrecht’s parks and gardens. Hundreds of visitors have spread their plaids in front of the screen and seen films by up-and-coming and established filmmakers, including at Molen de Ster, Vechtclub XL and during the Dutch Film Festival. Over the next three months the Moped Bios will be running at RAUM in Leidsche Rijn Centrum, the promising new cultural hotspot and now owner of the Moped Bios. RAUM organises six special film evenings, including dinner in the open air, compiled by programmer Roos Stelling (Louis Hartlooper Complex & Springhaver). The films have been selected in part on the basis of the world cities in which they take place and will be introduced in an appropriate manner. As a cultural city lab, RAUM specialises in (future) city life and urban issues through exhibitions and events. Check for the programme raumutrecht.nl.
Although Filmtheater ’t Hoogt has said goodbye to its beautiful location in the city centre, with ‘Hoogt on Tour’ the film company is on tour this year with film screenings at various locations in the city. For specific target groups, ’t Hoogt selects and programmes unique films, documentaries and classics. On Tour locations include ZIMIHC Stefanus, Metaal Kathedraal, Parel van Zuilen, De Nijverheid and Molen de Ster, and the intention is to screen films in the open air at heritage locations this summer. In addition, ’t Hoogt will remain active with the educational programmes for children, young people and adults. More information about the surprising program will be announced on the special website, where you can also buy your tickets, and via social media.
For a special film experience you have to be at the Dutch Film Festival (NFF) this year. This summer, the NFF and Cinema Soestdijk will screen five beautiful Dutch films against the magical backdrop of Paleis Soestdijk. Visitors to Cinema Soestdijk will be immersed in the best and newest of Dutch film culture. At the end of August and beginning of September, the palace garden at the back of the palace will be transformed into an open-air cinema. You are welcome with your own picnic basket and plaid or beach chair and, if you wish, you can reserve a film ticket with a seat in advance. Cinema Soestdijk will start on Thursday 29 August with the screening of Dirty God, the impressive and emotional English-language feature film director’s debut by Sacha Polak. Tickets are already available on the website of Paleis Soestdijk, where you can also find the rest of the program.
1. Header and photo 1 – Pluk de Nacht
3. Paleis Soestdijk