First published on 20 Nov 2011. Updated on 22 Nov 2011.
One of Underground's organisers agreed to speak with us anonymously – and, after a brief discussion about how ‘Deep Throat’ now sounds more pornographic than political, we settle on calling her Ms. X.
Why all the secrecy, Ms. X?
It’s part rebellion. It’s part to create a sense of fun and adventure. It’s also because when you have something this cool, you can’t let everybody know about it.
So people know the theme, but not the movie?
Absolutely. We don’t let anyone know what movie they’re going to see until it’s up on the screen. They get clues, which we think is very generous of us, like the genre of the film and what to bring. For one, we told them to bring a torch. For another, we told them to bring an alibi – a clue that they were about to partake in a murder mystery.
What are some of your past events?
2011’s been a year of directors. We started off with Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys, a brilliant movie, and we brought people into the future. We invited them to come dressed as some kind of time traveller. It’s fully immersive. Once you arrive, we assume you’re part of the world.
How much organisation goes into a successful night?
There’s a huge team behind Underground. You’re looking about 90 volunteers in 13 different departments, all very passionate and very skilled. We do a six-week production process and program years in advance - and then we take summer off!
If you had a million dollars to blow on a screening, what would it be?
That’s such a good question. If anything’s possible, I’d think big. Blade Runner. It’s just awesome and its world is amazing. We’d do the whole nine yards.
You could have glass for people to run through while wearing see-through raincoats!
And the beautiful monologue about the shoulder of Orion! It makes me cry.
What about those of us who became film geeks so we could sit in the dark without dressing up?
I love that. I’m a film geek myself, and it was always my idea that you could come to Underground however you wanted. You go to the movies to escape. There’s a sort of pact you make with yourself: you’re a voyeur, not a partaker. Underground is very carefully designed so that if you turn up in regular gear no one is going to throw rocks at you. You can just walk through the world, like the 4D version of the movie. In that way it’s really cool for the film geeks.