The Secret Life of Icelanders: Guilty Pleasures at Bíó Paradís

I don’t know about you but I have this ability to watch certain movies over and over again and never get bored. I’m not as bad as the princess, who basically chose 10 movies somewhere along the way and suggests all of them and only them whenever we decide to have a movie night, but I’m maybe a little less obsessive adult version of that.

Sidenote: We have to find a new nickname for the princess. It was cute when she was 8, she even spent some time on designing her own costume that she was going to wear whenever she’d join us on a tour, but it just doesn’t fit the emo teenager that rolls out of bed last minute every morning because she stayed up way past her bedtime watching YouTube and reading Harry Potter fan fiction. Some of it is saucy, people.

As it happens, I’m not the only one. A few months ago flocks of Reykjavík women made their way to Bíó Paradís, a downtown Reykjavík arthouse cinema, to spend an evening with Cher and Dionne and all their Bronson Alcott High School friends. Some had dressed up, in a plaid two-piece mini of course, while other quoted the movies’ best-known phrases while they waited to get served at the bar. Yes, Bíó Paradís is a movie theater with a bar. And a happy hour! 

Once the movie started the whole room was in stitches. Actually, it was multiple rooms because the biggest screen sold our early and the demand for tickets was high. Scenes that you had never before given any thought suddenly became the most hilarious thing you had ever seen and you weren’t even annoyed at the lady sitting next to you that was reciting every word because you were doing the same in your head.

In case you hadn’t picked up on it – the movie we were watching was Clueless. A 90s cult classic that everyone should see at least once in their life. For those more cultured (but not cultured enough to have seen this masterpiece) it’s loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma.

When you looked around the room you saw smiling faces everywhere. Moms. Daughters. Grandmas. Girlfriends. And a few men too.

Later, in December, I attended a screening of Love Actually. That one was so popular that it filled every room of the theater, twice in the same day, and they even had to offer a second date with more shows. I went with my childhood friends, we had some beers and a jolly good time and laughed at the first lobster in the nativity play – probably for the thousandth time.

Friday Party Screenings at Bíó Paradís

The screenings I mentioned above were a part of a program at Bíó Paradís that they’ve decided to call Friday Party Screenings. They are usually at 8 pm on Fridays (thank you, Captain Obvious) and they tend to show classics like Clueless, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Goonies, Pulp Fiction and the likes. For some of the screenings, people are encouraged to dress up (Rocky Horror) while others are sing-a-longs (Mamma Mia).  The timing of the screenings, and the fact that Bíó Paradís has a bar, makes this a perfect pre-game activity before you hit the town.

I can’t promise that every screening will be as full as Clueless and Love Actually but you’ll probably be outnumbered by locals – a rare occurrence in downtown Reykjavík these days.

So if you want to get the non-obvious taste of the local life here in Reykjavík: Bíó Paradís on Friday nights is where it’s at!

Since you’re already at Bíó paradís…

On Saturdays this summer Bíó Paradís will also offer late night screenings (10 pm – late night for old people maybe) where they’ll show movies like Scream, Jaws and the Gremlins to name a few. Not to mention their Cool Cuts program where you can watch recent Icelandic movies. like the beautiful Hjartasteinn (Heartstone) with English subtitles every day. You’ll probably not be outnumbered by locals there though.

If you want to get some food before you hit the movies you should check out the very popular (and all vegan) Kaffi Vínyll which is only a few blocks away. For something a little fancier – Austur-Indíafjelagið is also next door.

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2 thoughts on “The Secret Life of Icelanders: Guilty Pleasures at Bíó Paradís”

  1. matthew Paluch says:

    Wow, you just need Romy and Micheles High School Reunion and the holy trinity would be complete!

    1. mm Auður says:

      I actually think they did show Romy and Michelle last winter 🙂

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