Live Review: Fight Club with Popcorn Therapy

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Curious Cartel is a relatively new film experience, and on Saturday I got to see what all the fuss was about surrounding their new event Popcorn Therapy. Here’s the jist of Popcorn Therapy – a secret screening of a secret film is held somewhere in a secret location within Sydney… secretly. You know nothing of the event, just a location and time to meet and if you’re attentive, some clues along the way.

I was led down into the unassuming Domain carpark by a set of clues and was confronted face-to-face with a real life re-enactment of David Lynch’s Fight Club. I suppose I’ve already broken the first rule of fight club (that is, you do not talk about fight club) but I feel obliged to rub in your faces how much better my Saturday night was than yours.

The first hint I encountered as to what film would be showing was illustrated in a young man who wore a red leather jacket and carried a briefcase, looking hauntingly similar to Tyler. The second was a man in black leaning against a wall in agony, holding his bloodied face. A few elderly women even asked if he was okay, concerned that he was genuinely hurt.

By the time I had actually made it into the event space, it was incredibly overwhelming, but in the best way. They said that we would be immersed within scenes of the film – what a gross understatement! There was a group of makeup artists to make you look like you had attended your own fight club. Therapy sessions were conducted every half hour, reiterating that we are all slaves to consumerism. There were perfectly set out Ikea generic lounge room settings. JayJay The Balloon Guy was even in attendance,  crafting blow up balloon animals that represented our power animal (a penguin, of course). As the night progressed scenes from the infamous David Lynch film unfolded before our eyes: I saw an actual fight while I was nonchalantly sipping my cider; I caught a glimpse of Marla was strutting around the place, cigarette in hand; I even saw the narrator of the film pottering around with a permanent neurotic expression on his face. The screening itself was a real enriching experience with a perfect choice of location.

Curious Cartel have brought a much needed spark to the Sydney film scene. There are little places for us cinephiles to hide away, but if you’re brave enough, this may be your new Saturday night haven. Though you aren’t entirely certain of what film is going to be played, I still eyed multiple women who were oblivious of the film having the time of their life. I for one, am really eager to see what Popcorn Therapy will have for us next – they’ve done the carpark, so maybe the next one could be set in a five-star penthouse suite. You can dream, right?

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