For those who don’t want to sit in a dark cinema, the summer doesn’t mean taking a break from films. Moscow has plenty of open-air cinemas showing new releases, festival hits and classics. Here’s our pick of the best.
Cafe and cinema all in one
Feeling Good in Fili Park is more than just
a movie theater: It’s also a cafe and English
club. In the daytime, Russians and other
non-native speakers can drop by to practice
their English, and in the evening the cafe
is transformed into a movie theater. However,
besides films, Feeling Good also screens
sports events. On June 10 the cinema will
show a series of short films shot in the Caucasus
by French filmmaker Vincent Moon.
Blockbusters under the open skies
Pioner in Gorky Park was the first of the new
generation of summer theaters that sprang
up during the renovation of Moscow’s parks.
Its wooden steps have already become iconic.
There are usually two screenings every
evening, around 10 p.m. and at midnight.
The tickets don’t have seats assigned, so the
earlier you come, the better. Pioner in Gorky
Park mostly shows current blockbusters: This
week it’s “The Mummy” and “Wonder Woman.”
While the sun is still out, you can attend
public lectures, including talks on journalism
by the Higher School of Economics.
Beanbags and headphones
One of Moscow’s most beloved parks isn’t
missing out on the action, and movie fans
can enjoy evening film screenings all summer
in the intimate surroundings of the
Hermitage Garden, bang in the middle of
downtown Moscow. Sit down right on the
lawn and enjoy new and recent films, as
well as festival hits, shorts and animations,
all projected onto a large inflatable screen.
The Art group CoolConnections (who also
organize film festivals like Amfest and
the British Film Festival) has also come up
with a great way of enjoying the movies in
comfort without disturbing other people
in the garden. When you buy a ticket for
a screening, you’ll also be given a beanbag
and a pair of headphones. You’ll need to
leave a deposit of 1,000 rubles ($18) or your
passport. A ticket costs 350 rubles, 250
rubles for students.
Festival films, music and art-house movies
The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
has built an open-air stage right in front of
the museum in Gorky Park for its summer
film program entitled “Garage Screen.” Just
a couple of hundred meters away from the
Pioner stage, the films here are quite different.
Some of the screenings are organized in
collaboration with Moscow’s major festivals
and institutions, like the Beat Film Festival,
whose program was shown at the launch.
Right now you can watch music videos of
contemporary Congolese musicians and
bands, as well as a retrospective of French
New Wave director Eric Rohmer. All the films
at Garage Screen will be shown in the original
language with Russian subtitles.
Movies on a 1920s stage
The movie theater at the Bauman Garden
(Baumansky Sad) between the Krasniye Vorota
and Kurskaya metro stations has more of
a neighborhood feel. The 1920s concert stage,
in the shape of a shell, is one of the park’s
highlights. Screenings are on Friday nights
at 9 p.m and are free. In June, four comedies
from the age of silent movies, all made from
1921 to 1928 will be screened: Charlie Chaplin’s
“Gold Fever,” “The Cameraman” with
Buster Keaton, Max Linder’s “Seven Years Bad
Luck” and “Safety Last!” with Harold Lloyd.
Cinema in one of Moscow’s biggest parks
Like its sister cinema in Gorky Park, Pioner
in Sokolniki offers seating on tiers of wooden
steps, and just like its city-center namesake,
it offers two screenings daily, at 9:45 p.m. and
12:30 a.m. It’s not exactly in the center of town,
but you’re likely to have more space here. This
weekend, Alexander Zvyagintsev’s new movie
“Loveless” is being screened n June 9 in the
early seance, and on June 10 in the late seance.
Catch Russian-Armenian director Karen Shakhnazarov’s
new version of “Anna Karenina” in
the other respective slot on the same dates.
Open-air screenings under a roof
The open-air movie theater at Muzeon is
different from all the others in the city in
one key respect: It has a roof, meaning you
don’t need to bring an umbrella and there’s
no chance of screenings being canceled.
Alongside film festivals (it was one of the key
venues for the recent Beat Film Festival) and
other screenings, Muzeon’s open-air movie
theater also hosts meetings with directors
and actors. The cinema seats 300 and screenings
take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. every
day of the week.