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Xtra Diary: Soho's Society Film Club is a box office smash

Babette and Robert Pereno

Published: 24 June 2011
by JOSH LOEB

LIKE all the best concepts, the Soho-based Society Film Club started off simple, but six months on, it’s full to bursting every week. 

This is particularly surprising as its co-founder, Babette Pereno, 44, has by her own admission “not really promoted it”. 

She attributes its success – the club now has 250 paid-up members – to word of mouth.

It’s a throwback to bohemian salons of bygone days, meeting every Monday at the Sanctum Soho Hotel, Warwick Street, for screenings of little-known gems such as A Lost Weekend directed by Billy Wilder. 

“There isn’t another film club in Soho,” explained Babette. “I assumed there would have been. Our club is homely, that’s what makes it different.”

Babette and her partner Robert Pereno, 54, will soon be opening a specialist bookshop which will also stock everything a Soho dandy needs. 

Items will include snuff, moustache wax, bowler hat-shaped bike helmets and an exclusive range of organic dog food. 

“Everything’s gone off to the lawyers,” said Robert. “We’re really looking forward to it. It will have knitting workshops in the back, film showings, books, cakes – it will be brilliant.”

Babette has lived in Soho for 15 years, after moving to Broadwick Street in 1996. Robert grew up in India until he was 14, before being sent to an English boarding school. He then became an actor, followed by a stint as a successful promoter. 

The Society Film Club organises screenings every Monday at the Sanctum Soho Hotel. Ticket prices range from £5 to £15 and the membership cost is £25.

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