Great news for cinephiles: a couple of weeks ago, film theatres De Filmhallen and LAB111 opened their doors! Writer’s Block editor Isabel visited the cinemas and reported on the airy former tram storage and the eerie former pathological institute now both turned into a film fanatic’s paradise.
Located in a former tram storage in the Oud-West neighbourhood of Amsterdam, De Filmhallen’s high ceilings and large seats bring about a different feel than most other cinemas in town do. It is located in a space that has a very modern and metropolitan atmosphere and reminds one of bustling places such as Borough Market in London. This probably has to do with the fact that besides De Filmhallen, the area also houses a branch of the public library, several art galleries, and will soon contain restaurants and a food court as well. You do not have to be afraid of crowds though. De Filmhallen provides a peaceful escape from the busy Kinkerstraat around the corner with its lofty bar and the cinematic getaways it offers. Its assortment of films consists of quality Hollywood movies, Europe’s finest films, and the best of contemporary world cinema. What’s more, the theatre has the comfiest seats my buttocks have ever encountered and because of the smaller size of the viewing halls, one gets a perfect view of the screen. Although De Filmhallen does not have the dusty cinematic vibe of its sister company The Movies yet, I strongly believe this cinema is prone to become one of Amsterdam’s finest, once it has been worn-in by the many visitors it deserves to receive.
LAB111, a hidden gem in the Helmersbuurt (the beautiful neighbourhood near the Vondelpark), has a completely different vibe. The recently reopened film theatre is located in a building that used to be a medical anatomy lab, which gives the place’s roomy corridors quite a spooky ambiance. The building’s decoration, however, is very sleek and modern and the convivial chatter coming from LAB111’s restaurant soon dispels the spookiness. Next to doubling as an art gallery and restaurant (with a very promising and not that expensive menu that I sadly have not had the chance to test yet), the film theatre hosts an Italian Film Club showing recent Italian releases and houses several film-related companies. LAB111’s diverse programming centres on the latest children’s films, surprising new releases, and old classics. It’s now playing A Film About Coffee (2014), of which the title alone is simply irresistible, and Studio Ghibli’s latest film The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013).
Hannie Dankbaarpassage 12
T 020 – 8208122
Arie Biemondstraat 111
T 020 – 6169994