Cinema at the Cinema – Reminder of the Beauty of Watching a Film on the Big Screen

One of the specialties of this year’s ZFF is the off-program Cinema at the Cinema, aiming to remind the audience of the unique experience of watching films on the big screen in the darkness of the a movie theatre. ZFF draws attention to the importance of cinemas for the development of collective imagination, but also reminds of the growingly uncertain destiny of this type of entertainment in the world of new distribution forms.

Islands of Forgotten Cinemas, a documentary film by Ivan Ramljak, is a poetic piece about the culture of going to the movies in small towns on Croatian islands in the second half of the 20th century. The film follows six people who recollect their favourite films, memories about them and the rituals preceding them. Islands of Forgotten Cinemas won the best documentary film award at the goEast festival of Eastern and Central European films in Wiesbaden.

Director Mamadou Dia in his film Samedi Cinema focuses on two boys, passionate film lovers. The plot thickens when they desire to see a film at the local cinema before the doors close forever. The film portrays the struggle of young people in an attempt to pay respect to the cinema by frequenting it, if they can’t change its destiny and save it from closure.

Goodbye, Dragon Inn is at the same time an ode to the film Dragon Inn (1967) and the cinema in Taipei where the story is set. A bunch of people arrive for the final farewell to the cinema and the last screening before it closes its door. Watching the film, we notice the empty auditorium, a director’s was of drawing our attention to how an empty cinema thinks about us. The film won the FIPRESCI Award in Venice.

Wim Wenders thrilled the audience with his film Kings of the Road. A story about a chance meeting of a travelling film projector repairman and a psychologist who set out on a trip across German country roads. The film is a dedication to Fritz Lang, and it abounds in magnificent landscapes thanks to DoP Robby Müller. This piece is unique also by the fact that it didn’t have an actual script. Apart from the initial scene of the protagonists’ meeting, the rest of the film is improvised.

A documentary film about the oldest cinema in UK was directed by Thomas Lawes. The Last Projectionist is dedicated to projectionists and their training, which diminishes by the year. When the first cinema opened its doors in 1909, training took five days, and 100 years later it only takes an hour. The subject of the film is the history of independent cinemas in United Kingdom, with a special accent on Electric cinema in Birmingham, renovated by the director himself.

Last but not least, Paul Anton Smith’s Have You Seen My Movie? Composed out of excerpts from a thousand different films, this film with the strongest cast ever is a dedication to cinema as such. What connects these scenes are shots of common movie watching in the darkness of a theatre. The screening of this film on Friday at 11pm, Muller Hall, will be a unique entertaining experience: the Walk in Cinema concept will make it possible for visitors to walk in and out of the screening with drinks and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this film treat.