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The convivial Popcorn Project, a cinema social club in Paris that screens a different movie each month accompanied by drinks and music, is a quirky way to meet locals while learning the differences between Film Noir and New Wave.

The founders Samuel Mottet and Alexandre Paquot set up the scheme so that Parisians could watch and talk about great films, both old and new, rather than view a movie in the dark and scurry off the moment it ends. And since France has such a strong cinema history, it may be no surprise that the project has been such a success.

Held at Le Club de L’Etoile, a prestigious private cinema just around the corner from the iconic Champs Elysées, the mostly young, professional guests meet and mingle over a glass of champagne and some popcorn. Before the screening, a guest speaker from the movie world  – usually a film journalist, critic or writer – introduces the film, which is chosen by the keen Popcorn Project cinemagoers (affectionately called the “popcorners”). Drinks and canapés provided by a different Parisian restaurant for each event are served after the film to the soundtrack of a DJ set, while people discuss the screening.

This season, which runs until 14 April, is focussed on the history of cinema and cach month’s film has a different artistic, geographical or stylistic theme. January’s event, for example, was on “1980s big productions” and showed Brian de Palma’s 1986 film The Untouchables, followed by food provided by contemporary tearoom DS Café and music from electro DJ, La Comtesse.

The next event will take place on 17 February and has Hong Kong cinema as its theme. Suggestions for films – think New Wave directors such as John Woo, Tsui Hark or Wong Jing – can be submitted via Popcorn Project’s website and voting will start once a shortlist of six has been made.

Practicalities
Tickets, which can be purchased online, cost 30 euros for a single session, 99 euros for four sessions or 139 euros for the whole season. The next season will commence in September.

Films are always screened in their original language, with French subtitles.

Kim Laidlaw Adrey is the Paris Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes www.unlockparis.com.

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