Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Cinemas Complex History

I just saw a very good movie called "The wind that shakes the barley" (Ο άνεμος χορεύει το κριθάρι). I do not want to talk about the movie but about the response by the people of Patras. This is the winner movie of the Cannes Festival of 2006 but it was not on the screens of our beatiful multiplex cinemas. Here, in Patras, in older glorious days you could find more than 30 cinemas, summer ones included. Now you have an astounding number of 5, two of which belong to the multinational chains Village and Ster cinemas and contain 10 rooms in total. Apart from these you have ONLY ONE independent cinema, Ideal, which survived only to the initiatives of some people that care about the history of this city. Ideal is one of the oldest cinemas in Greece and facing its decay the municipality turned it into a cafeteria in the ground floor and a room in the upper floor. It is now used for various indepedent acts like the one that is on every monday under the coordination of the Friends of Cinema of Patras. The winning movie of Cannes Festival was not shown by any other of the big cinemas. Why? More than 500 people were squeezed in a mere 50 s.m. corridor and along some minstel-like stairs to watch the movie in 2 screen times. Many of them unfortunately did not manage to see the movie due to shortage of the seats. At the beginning I got angry with the organisers of the event. After the end of the movie I realised that I should be happy that there is an audience in this small city that prefers good cinema and not the likes of Mel Gibson blood therapy or the mainsteram greek comedies that Village and Ster play. I also realised that I should be sad because the most educated and intellectually developed people of this city could form a cultural hub that unfortunately is scarcely met . This is the news from the Western South of Greece. Tell me your experiences from the megacities or the villages where you live.


Marijn said...


Wow! I could have imagined that you would endorse the Internet as a discussion forum. Seems like you are doing a great job so far! The independent cinema question is surel of relevance at the time of writing.

Now, to give you my two cents. I think that independent cinema will always remain and should remain in a small scale. Things that get big, get both more complex in organisation and eventually create a higher commerecial value. The former indirectly results in marketing and thus unavoidably also in commodification (i.e. loss of spirit and meaning). The latter speaks for itself I imagine.

In other words I think we should celebrate the fact that independent cinema is small scale and organisational weak. Both rather form the charm than the handicap of the question.

Finally, I believe that Chinese independent cinema is definitely not as flourishing as Greek cinema.

Your good friend,


Ps. sorry for the typo's, no English spelling check on Chinese PCs!

baspal said...

Not to talk about the price of the ticket...7,50 Euros...In GB it was from normally 4 p (6,50 Euros)to 1,50 p in special discount circumstances, if you go on Wednesday night and send a message to Orange for example. Completely different markets....