The second cinema reviewed in this month’s issue of beijingkids is the Broadway Cinematheque 当代MOMA百老汇电影中心. Previously, we reviewed the China Science and Technology Museum, a 4D cinema located in the Olympic Village that boosts an almost 30m wide and 22m high screen. The Broadway Cinematheque does not have the same screen size but has its own alluring attributes. Let’s explore!
Film buffs will feel at home at Broadway Cinematheque, which specializes in indie and art house films. Opened in December 2009, Broadway bills itself as the first art house cinema in mainland China. We reviewed the original location at MOMA (abbreviated as “bc MOMA”), but two branches have since opened at China World Trade Center and Oriental Plaza.
The cinema is located at the heart of the MOMA complex (the one with the interlinked sky bridges). Set on an island in the compound’s artificial pond, bc MOMA looks as though it is floating on water. There are three floors: a lobby on the first, a cafe and a lending library on the second, and the screening rooms on the third. Visitors have access to escalators and a lift, so families with strollers or young children need not worry. The decor has a contemporary European feel, with a soft lime-and-white color palette. Framed movie posters adorn the walls.
There are three screening rooms with a total capacity of 400 people. The screening rooms are on par with what you would find in other cinemas. They tend to get drafty, but Broadway actually lends blankets to customers. All you have to do is pay a RMB 100 deposit, which is refundable upon the blanket’s return.
Director’s Choice Award (Best)
Broadway has carved itself a niche with indie and art house offerings, which tend to be more suitable for teens and adults. The venue also hosts various country-specific film festivals, such as the Brazilian Film Festival and German Film Festival. Hollywood movies occasionally make it onto the list, but they’re not usually high-grossing films and are only shown for a limited time. All English-language movies have Chinese subtitles and all foreign films have English subtitles.
In addition, bc MOMA has a film library with a large selection of DVDs and film soundtracks, over 40 film magazines, and more than 100 English film books that are free to borrow for members. There is a mini screening room in the library in which members can screen their own works or watch movies with others. The library also hosts frequent seminars and workshops. A regular membership costs RMB 100 per year.
The screening times vary from five times a day to twice a day depending on release dates; the latest films play more often, usually five times a day. Movies that are part of a film festival have special screening times to coincide with other activities such as director Q&As and special panels. Tickets prices range from RMB 40 to RMB 80 depending on movie times.
The staff at bc MOMA was friendly and spoke English. I tried using Chinese, which they were very patient and polite about. (Bonus: No one follows you around when you browse the bookstore.) Their bathrooms at the cinema were clean and western-style. Broadway has a bilingual English and Chinese website with movie times and ticketing information. You cannot buy tickets online, but there is a reservation hotline.
The Wooden Spoon Award (Worst)
The only drawback was the cinema’s snack selection. They had the standard caramelized popcorn and some cookies, but nothing special. Drink options were limited to Coke, bottled coffee, Snapple, and water.
There are few dining options within the MOMA complex, though there is a cafe called Kubrick just around the corner if you are fixing for a cup of joe. The compound is located in a rather isolated part of Dongzhimen. It takes about 15 minutes to walk to Dongzhimen Waidajie (东直门外大街). The popular Xingfucun Zhonglu (幸福村中路) area is a stone’s throw away from the latter, with cafes, bars and restaurants like Great Leap Brewery, Big Smoke Bistro, O’Steak, Pho La La, Comptoirs de France, Zap Urban Eatery, Jingzun Duck Restaurant, and more.
How to Get There
Bus: Lines 18, 614; get off at Xiangheyuan station.
Subway: Lines 2 and 13, Dongzhimen station. Take the northeast exit and head north along Second Ring Road to Xiangheyuan Lu.
Daily 10am-10pm. T4, MOMA, 1 Xiangheyuan Lu, Dongcheng District (8438 8202/8258) www.bc-cinema.cn 东城区东直门香河园路1号当代MOMA北区T4
The next review will be the Daguanlou Cinema.
Photos by Ken
This article originally appeared on p66-67 of the beijingkids November 2013 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com