An event that RIFF has become known for is its Swim-In Cinema. Basically, it’s drive-in theater with the cars and parking lot swapped out for swimwear and a pool.

This year, at the newly renovated Laugardalslaug, they opted to show Robert Zemeckis‘ seminal 1985 classic, Back to the Future. Why show the blockbuster adventure movie at a festival that highlights the art house and unconventional? Simple, it’s one of the festival’s employee’s favorite movies (or at least that’s what he said).

A band played the most memorable tunes from the film

The event itself had it’s highs and lows. The pool was decorated in the theme of the film’s climactic ‘Enchantment Under The Sea’ dance, complete with balloons, green party lights and a band playing the most recognizable music from the film. Of course, Back to the Future is an endlessly re-watchable film and immense fun. Seeing it in a pool doesn’t change this.

The event was packed, with families bringing their kids (of which there were maybe a tad too many as some of them became quite restless), but the pool slowly started to empty as the water was a couple of degrees too cold. Many chose  to simply sit on the edge wrapped in towels or try to squeeze into the chock full hot tub.

The film was screened from a commercial Blu-Ray that the staff had some trouble getting started and was projected on to a screen that was marred with back-lighting from the outside pool. Moving the screen or brokering a deal to have the lights turned off would’ve remedied things, but instead the latter part of the  film, which takes part almost exclusively at night, became almost unwatchable due to a heavily darkened image.

Despite the technical niggles and less than optimal temperature it was still great fun, a unique experience and a new way to watch a film you might have seen countless times*.

People packed Laugardalslaug for the screening on Back to the Future

Keep up with our RIFF coverage here.

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*Certain people might have made me quite self aware that I spoke lines of dialog as the film played and sang along in hushed tones with the film’s music.
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