Blue Balcony Cinema
247 E. 2nd Street,
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Located in Manhattan’s East Village, the Blue Balcony Cinema is New York’s latest art house cinema which opened in early-2013. It is a cine-sculpture built in the Petit Versailles Community Garden by an artist consortium named Et. al.
Guests are invited to enter during nightly film screenings and weekend matinees. The sculpture’s interior references the Atmospheric style movie palaces of the 1920’s, possessing a vaulted ceiling constellated with specks of light and walls doubling as facade scenery. The effect gives the impression of being in the open air of an unearthly place.
Ambient colored cove lighting is left on during the feature film, as was the practice in the Atmospheric style cinemas, and changes correspondingly with the tenor of the film. The three tiers of seats accommodate an audience of 14, who face two large panes of glass, and which look out onto the rippling leaves in the community garden below.
Thematically the balcony is decorated with allusions to Maurice Maeterlinck’s symbolist fairytale “The Blue Bird”, as well as to the no longer extant labyrinth of Louis XIV’s Gardens of Versailles, and the 1924 silent cubist film “L'Inhumaine”. Featuring Georgette Leblanc as a vampish chanteuse at home in the geometric set, designed by the modernist architect Robert Mallet-Stevens.
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