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28th February 2024

An evening with CULTPLEX

This weekend I paid a visit to CULTPLEX, a small cult cinema hidden above a restaurant on Manchester’s Red Bank, and this is why you should go too
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An evening with CULTPLEX
Photo: Dominic Hayes @ The Mancunion

I spent my Sunday afternoon on the Red Bank at CULTPLEX, a cult cinema that opened in late 2020 and shows a variety of older films, curating their programme using different themes throughout the year. The screening I went to was the last one of their Valentine’s season, but next month CULTPLEX are presenting their ‘Class of 2014’ season, where they are screening some of the best films of 2014, including Gone Girl and Interstellar, along with many others. General admission is just over £7, which is an absolute bargain considering the quality of the films that CULTPLEX show.

As well as screening films, CULTPLEX is a “house full of comedy, cabaret, music, video games, quizzes, podcasts and so much more.” They do live comedy shows, host the Manchester Amateur Gaming League, and run a monthly Quiz Show, which is essentially a film-themed pub quiz, where the prize for the winning team is free tickets to CULTPLEX screenings for a whole month.

My visit to CULTPLEX was to see the latest iteration of their Movie Church series: a screening of Richard Linklater’s 1995 classic romance Before Sunrise. CULTPLEX describe Movie Church as “a celebration of the very best sermons to be committed to film,” and has used this theme numerous times before for films such as Drive, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lady Bird. The practice of Movie Church was coined by Greta Gerwig, where during the production of Barbie, she and the cast would get together every Sunday to watch the films that had a direct influence on her vision for the film. In keeping with that, the films selected by CULTPLEX for their Movie Church screenings have had a significant influence on both audiences and the film industry as a whole.

When I arrived at the door I was greeted with a raffle ticket, the prize being a pick from a selection of Blu-Rays that were displayed on the stage beneath the screen. It seemed like they had a good variety, with some of the winners picking Dune (2021), The Thing (1982) and The Killer (1989). I, sadly, did not draw one of the lucky numbers, but I thought the raffle created a nice feeling of camaraderie among everyone at the screening. I was happy for the people who won, and their choices of Blu-Ray told me a lot about them, mainly that they all had impeccable taste. Seating is also unreserved, incentivising you to arrive promptly so you can get the best seat possible.

After this atmosphere was established, I was even more tuned into Before Sunrise than I would have been if this were a normal screening, which is saying a lot as Before Sunset is one of my favourite films of all time. I think the combination of the Movie Church screening feeling so unique and the context behind the name makes you more inclined to look deeper into why these films have been so formative. Ultimately, I found Movie Church to be a fun twist on a film screening without detracting at all from the screening itself, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested. While CULTPLEX itself was a perfect venue, with its small size creating a real sense of community between everyone present.

The next edition of Movie Church is on March 24, and in line with the Class of 2014 season for the month, it will centre around Damian Chazelle’s film Whiplash, which as far as 2014 films go, I cannot think of much more deserving of a sermon than this. Between now and then, there is plenty on at CULTPLEX including getting stuck into their Class of 2014 season, a Sopranos-themed Quiz Show, and much more.

CULTPLEX can be found @CPXMCR on X and Instagram.

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