Here in Geneva they rue how few independent cinemas there are these days. Australian film lovers would, however, be envious of how many there are. This list shows only Pathe as commercial chain cinemas. The rest are all independent and they number 12 establishments, some with more than one screen. We’re a bit excited as Nord-Sud is our local and it’s about to open after 18 months of renovation. They are starting out with a week of some of the best movies on during their closure at 5CHF a ticket…at which price we are thinking of rewatching Cold War.
The independents all club together to provide a discount card. It costs 30CHF (about $45AUD) and that reduces the price/ticket from 16CHF to 10CHF. It doesn’t take long, in other words, to get the investment back.
Star amongst them is The Grutli, an arthouse complex of two theatres and two cinemas. It does a lot of retrospectives and indeed, it was one last summer that set me on the road of immersing myself in Australian cinema. The retrospective was of Cassavetes, but it was so easy to see his impact on Australian film makers, that the segue was irresistible.
In news just to hand, I repeat a story google translated from a local newspaper:
Plaza cinema will not be destroyed
The Wilsdorf Foundation has bought the building housing the old dark room. It will be again devoted to the seventh art. This is a dramatic twist: the Plaza Cinema, destined to be destroyed to give way to offices and parking, was saved after many years of fighting. The website tdg.ch reveals Wednesday that the Wilsdorf Foundation, owner of Rolex, has bought the building located in the district of Chantepoulet. The price of the transaction was not disclosed, but according to the Geneva site, a sum of around 100 million francs had been articulated by the defenders of cinema four years ago.
The building will be donated to a daughter foundation in Wilsdorf.This, chaired by Jean-Pierre Greff, director of the High School of Art and Design (HEAD) will revive the seventh art in the room once the building has been renovated.
Good news for us since it is a two minute walk from our apartment. But to show how things are, there are two empty independent cinemas within five minutes’ walk. The Broadway closed down in 2010 and Cinema Central in 2012. One has been empty for at least 10 years, the other for 9. One of the strange things about living in Geneva is how desperately hard it is to find places to live, and yet how many buildings are empty, often for years. One might think a people as sensible as the Swiss would do something about this.
The Plaza cinema apparently seated over 700 people and was abandoned in 2013. That surprises me since I try to keep abreast of cinema here and missed this one on my doorstep? Anyway, greatly looking forward to its reopening, but things move so slowly in Switzerland, I’m not holding my breath.