There are many kinds of us snobs living in this world. One variety that Thackeray, being a man of his time, could not foresee were film snobs. The people who prefer to see films that are not exactly run-of-the-mill commercial blockbusters, and preferably presented in a manner intended by their respective auteurs.
Angleterre Cinema Lounge fills that gaping hole. Its film selection is generally slanted to the art-house side, and the films are shown in the original language, with subtitles, – much to the relief of those, like myself, who get annoyed by the overdubbed movies which dominate St Petersburg’s cinemas. Some film festivals use Angleterre as a venue.
The cinema occupies a conference hall at the Angleterre – a four-star hotel which has history stretching back to the 19th century, and infamous as the place where poet Sergei Yesenin committed suicide in 1925.
There are certain peculiarities stemming from the dual-purpose nature of Angleterre. The tickets are issued or bought at the check-in desk, and cinema-goers are queueing alongside hotel guests. This may take a few minutes, and I think it once cost us the first few minutes of Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 (then again, we were a bit late ourselves). Secondly, no seat numbers are allocated, so it’s a first-come first-served world. The seats are rather basic but they do the trick.
So, you enter through a luxury hotel entrance; walk past an expensive lounge bar; you turn right and enter a world much richer – the world of imagination.