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September 20, 2011

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Sipping coffee with cinema

ART-HOUSE films and cinema classics are screened in a range of trendy and cozy cafes. Chen Ye reports where to catch cafe flicks.

Next time when you feel like watching a movie, forget the crowded cinemas with the latest Hollywood blockbuster releases and check out one of a handful of intriguing and comfortable cinema cafes. They include some of the smallest, quaintest cafes in town.

There are nightly, weekly and occasional showings of art-house, classic and vintage films.

Though nowadays everyone can rent a DVD and stay at home, these cafes and film nights offer opportunities to see unusual films and meet like-minded people.

For example, in the Old Film Cafe in a quaint old house, you get a feel for old Shanghai; old black-and-whites are continuously shown on a large-screen TV. The Art Deco cafe is filled with photos, posters and film memorabilia. Here are a few trendy spots.

Chabrol Cafe

Named after the late, great New Wave director Claude Chabrol, the cafe inside Jing'an Villa is a popular place to watch French classics by Chabrol and others.

Off Nanjing Road W., it's small and cozy, with comfortable sofas, vintage furniture, movie posters and shelves full of cinema and other books. The cafe is highly atmospheric and there's hand-ground fresh coffee on offer.

On several nights a week, out comes the projector and down comes the screen. From classics to contemporary, foreign to domestic, there's a wide range of films on offer.

Space is limited, only eight to nine people can be hosted. Almost all movies are screened with English subtitles.

Hours: 12:30-11:30pm or later

Address: Bldg 93, Jing'an Villa, 1025 Nanjing Rd W.

How to get there: Nanjing Rd W. Station of Metro Line 2

Tel: 6253-1906


Shang Loft

This is a well-known Southeast Asian restaurant and bar, a former industrial space decorated with crystal chandeliers and gauze curtains that contrast with the factory concrete and beams.

An aroma of curry, spices and espresso fills the air. Wine is available.

It has professional projection equipment, audio system and a 200-inch screen. Movies are screened nightly, and on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays there's a professional projectionist. It can be rented for various gatherings.

Shang Loft organizes movie weeks. Past events included those devoted to Leslie Cheung, Stephen Chow and French classics.

Hours: 10am-1am (screening nightly at 7-9pm)

Address: 739A Dingxi Rd, near Fahuazhen Rd

Tel: 5230-7757

How to get there: 10 minutes walk from Yan'an Rd W. Station of Metro Line 3 or 4

Check for more.

Old Film Cafe

The 1930s in old Shanghai was China's golden era of cinema, and visitors can get a taste of the period in the Old Film Cafe that screens black-and-whites in a vintage setting.

"Lonely Planet" ranks a visit to this quaint old house as 197 of 577 things to do in Shanghai.

It's situated in a three-story villa on historic Duolun Road, a 550-meter-long pedestrian road known as the city's culture street in Hongkou District. Artists, writers and celebrities once lived on this leafy street, including writers Lu Xun, Guo Moruo and Mao Dun. Outside is a life-size bronze statue of Charlie Chaplin. There are tables outdoors.

The interior is dark wood, complete with fireplaces, Tiffany lamps and red velour curtains on French windows. The furnishings include Art Deco period pieces, lamps and fixtures, a gramophone and other antiques.

There are eye-catching posters of classic Shanghai actresses and walls covered with historic photographs.

A big-screen TV plays classic black-and-white movies all day long and visitors can watch from comfortable sofas. Coffee and a wide range of teas are available; alcohol is served.

Hours: 10am-1am

Address: 123 Duolun Rd, near Sichuan Rd N.

Tel: 5696-4763

How to get there: Dongbaoxing Rd Station, Metro Line 3


"Meet me HERE" is becoming a hit greeting these days, as many young people gather after work at HERE cafe for coffee, chatting and playing cards.

The place in a courtyard off Nanhui Road has a homey feel. Shelves are lined with books and there are lots of Shanghai photographs and interesting decorative pieces.

Usually on Wednesdays and Saturdays, classic movies are screened.

Hours: 12-10pm (closed on Mondays)

Address: 22 Nanhui Rd, near Nanjing Rd W.

Tel: 6217-2717

How to get there: Nanjing Rd W. Station of Metro Line 2

Humble Room

Tucked away in the former French concession, Loushi (Humble Room) Design & Coffee Bar at first glance looks like a store full of antiques and vintage items, down to old brass doorknobs. But the Art Deco retro cafe serves great coffee and screens classic movies on Wednesdays.

The multifunctional cafe offers a range of coffee, tea, snacks and pastry, plus collectibles and old Shanghai furnishings. It also offers modern, environmentally friendly furniture and interior design service.

It occupies an old house and the top floor is under the peaked roof, so the space is roughly triangular, with natural light streaming in through the windows. For those who like reading, it's a nice place to settle on a sofa with a book.

The interior is finished with environmentally friendly materials; it sells interior decoration items made with ecological materials and processing.

Hours: 10am-12am

Address: 145B Nanchang Rd, near Maoming Rd S.

Tel: 1356-4380-384


Vienna Café

This is another small coffee house in the former French concession on quiet Shaoxing Road where you can read a book, drink tea or coffee and eat freshly baked Austrian cakes and sweets. There's also heartier Austrian fare, as well as Sunday brunch.

It has a courtyard where you can get some sun. The interior has a European-style darkwood decor; the tables are topped with marble.

It shows a range of different language films, from European indie and art-house films to Oscar nominees.

Hours: 8am-10pm (weekly screening at 7:30pm on Thursdays)

Address: 25 Shaoxing Rd

Tel: 6445-2131



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