Covid-19: arthouse cinemas are not giving up in the face of the pandemic


This is not the melody of happiness, but not the Titanic either: thanks to their loyal audience, arthouse theaters, temples of cinephilia, hope to bounce back with less difficulty than multiplexes after the crisis. This is the case at Grand Action, a flagship cinema in the Latin Quarter in Paris: “confinement? I take this opportunity to expand and create a third room!“Enthuses the owner of the place, Isabelle Gibbal-Hardy.

The operator, who usually sells 60,000 tickets a year, but is depressed at the idea of ​​doing the count this year, is convinced: as soon as the green light is given to reopen, the public will find their way back to the dark rooms.

Moreover, after the first confinement, while the large networks paid for the absence of blockbusters likely to bring back the general public, arthouse theaters were full, or almost.
We have reaped the rewards of spectator attachment. They make declarations of love to us!», Isabelle Gibbal-Hardy analyzes. The event screenings, festivals, film clubs, meetings with directors have especially worked well.
And even when it is closed, the Grand Action projector does not have time to cool down: the rooms continue to be used for post-production of films, verification of plans, calibration …
It’s in full swing. All the French cinema that scrolls“, Adds Isabelle Gibbal-Hardy, convinced that the art house park in Paris,”unique in the world and which makes it the capital of cinema», Will come out unscathed.
Aware of the symbol, the mayor of Paris voted in October an exceptional aid of half a million euros to support its 36 independent theaters, some of which have been welcoming cinephiles for decades, such as the Escorial or the Studio des Ursulines.

The crisis is real and affects all cinemas.

François Aymé, president of the French Association of arthouse cinemas (Afcae)

In general, between massive government infusions, CNC aid and community actions, the operators of these small structures, often poorly endowed with cash, agree to welcome the financial effort made for their allow to pass the course.

The crisis is real and affects all cinemas“, However tempers François Aymé, president of the French Association of arthouse cinemas (Afcae). He confirms that certain art houses, for example in Paris or in large cities, are suffering “in smaller proportions than general multiplexes“.

We know the public will be there when we reopen. But still this crisis must not last too long», Cautiously confirms Claudine Cornillat, at the head of Max Linder, another legendary room in the capital with its Italian stucco balconies. The operator is in a hurry: to reopen to show the restored version of Wong Kar-Wai’s masterpiece, In the Mood for Love, on a very large screen: more than 100 m2. Aesthetic shock guaranteed.

Beyond these kinds of events, these cinemas cultivate the hope that their audience, out of loyalty and out of love for dark rooms, will yield less than others to the sirens of film taps, like Netflix.
In the meantime, keeping the link during confinement is essential, by advising films, or by taking quizzes on social networks …

Inspired by his fellow bookstores, Michel Ferry, of the Carmelite cinema in Orléans, a room “independent and militant“, Meanwhile began”click and collect“. “Ordering and picking», He corrects, with DVDs carefully chosen to feed cinema fans. “We have people passing by, others who come to buy prepayment cards“, Rejoices the operator who counts on the support of its more than 2000 subscribers …”But what we are missing is a reopening date. Without a date, we have no prospect», He concludes with, all the same, a little concern.

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