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An Early Look at Angelika Mosaic (Photos)

The brand new arthouse cinema complex opens in Fairfax Friday.

Angelika Mosaic in Fairfax. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

If you’ve spent any time in New York City (or Dallas, or Plano), chances are you’re familiar with the Angelika Film Center. The NYC Angelika, an East Village landmark on the corner of Houston and Mercer, has been an indie film institution since it opened in 1989, and this weekend sees the opening of Washington’s own Angelika—but on a much larger scale.

Angelika Mosaic, which opens this Friday, is a brand new eight-screen luxury theater and the cultural linchpin of Fairfax’s Mosaic development, which is projected to feature restaurants such as Matchbox and Taylor Gourmet, as well as stores including Anthropologie, Timothy Paul, and Lou Lou. We got a preview of the cinema complex, which aims to offer intelligent programming such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master alongside indie movies (Josh Radnor’s Liberal Arts) and foreign films (Jean Renoir’s 1937 La Grande Illusion).

Two of the cinema’s eight theaters seat up to 300 people, while the other six are smaller, seating around 100 people. The venue has the capacity to screen pictures both in film and in digital, and the velour seating offers more legroom than standard cinemas.

The concessions, too, have gotten an upgrade—at the downstairs cafe, Top Chef alum Lee Anne Wong has designed a menu featuring sandwiches, snacks, and more substantial options, while the concessions stand includes three twists on the humble hot dog, including a Korean version with kimchee and crispy shallots. The popcorn comes in flavors such as beer-and-cheddar and tandoori yogurt, as well as the more predictable caramel, and state-of-the-art soda machines offer five different flavors of Diet Coke alone. Prices, naturally, are a little more inflated than at some local cinemas—glasses of wine range from $10 to $14, and standard adult tickets are $13.

That said, it’s harder to find a more elegant cinema restroom than the Angelika’s marble-floored version (complete with aromatherapy hand soap and full-length mirrors), and other quirky touches—a graffiti mural painted by Maxx Moses of the DC hip-hop nonprofit Words Beats & Life, a crystal chandelier—make the building feel more theatrical than a standard cinema. The complex opens Friday, screening six movies this weekend, and has three Q&As scheduled with actress Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men, Heavenly Creatures) following Friday and Saturday viewings of Hello I Must Be Going. For more information, visit the Angelika’s website.

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