Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007 - Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella

Special Edition No. 215 - year 18 - 8 September 2023

Special issue on the occasion of the 80th Mostra Internazionale d'arte cinematografica
30 August - 9 September 2023, Venice

more than 15,000 subscribers

Dear readers,

Paolo Prottithe "Barbienheimer" phenomenon revolutionised the state of the exhibition market over the summer period. The result in Italy, a country that traditionally suffers a sharp drop in admissions over July and August, was exceptional: this year instead, the same period was marked by record results, in both relative and absolute terms.
Positive results too for the Cinema Revolution promotion which, despite the absence of authentic new Italian and European products, nonetheless provided nourishment and a long lease of life for many films, such as "Kidnapped", "A brighter tomorrow", "The eight mountains", "Last night of Amore" and several others.
And so the prophets of doom who spoke of the death of the movie theatre were proved wrong and instead its central and irreplaceable role has been reconfirmed.
Of course we must not rest on our laurels, depending on the fine results achieved over the past few months, but remain vigilant to keep the exhibition market alive and functional.
In Italy government action has for some time now been taking a positive turn and the promise of maintaining for the future the provisions put in place for 2022 and 2023 brings a strong injection of confidence.
The Venice Film Festival 80 is offering films that will be shown to their best advantage on the big screen and in my opinion the difference between a product that authentically targets the cinema screen and one that is meant for a series is clearly to be seen.
This does not automatically guarantee a business result but does bear witness to the vitality and creativity of authors.
A vitality which, as far as Italian cinema is concerned, has also emerged on the international market, as can be seen in the survey carried out by MEDIA Salles in Europe, whose main results are published in this issue.
Positive points only then?
Unfortunately not, since the lasting actors' strikes in the USA are destablising the competitive edge of new releases and already many international films have been postponed to 2024, despite already being ready for release.

The coming autumn months therefore promise to be weak in terms of US-made products in particular.
And this is why domestic products and distributions assume a prominent and fundamental role for animating and bringing new life to the cinema exhibition market.
This is a golden opportunity for making the most of domestic product and, particularly in Italy, regaining an audience sector that had been lost over the past few years.
Enjoy your reading and, most of all, a season of successes,

Paolo Protti
President of MEDIA Salles


Successes from the other side of the Alps
by Elisabetta Brunella

Which title might be considered Italian cinema’s ambassador to the world in 2022?
There’s more than one answer to this question: it depends - as has been said so many times - on the criteria used to define a film’s nationality.

Do we base it on the director? On the setting for the story? Or on the investment in the production? Which is of more interest: to look into the spectator´s perception or into objective factors, such as where the capital for financing the film comes from?

In 2021 the story of a notoriously Italian phenomenon - searching for truffles in Piedmont - emerged as having made the documentary “The Truffle Hunters”, of which Italy was only one of the three co-producing countries whilst the two directors were from the USA, into a full expression of the Bel Paese. In 2022 the film´s success continued further: it is one of the leading contenders for the title of the Italian film most viewed in the whole of Scandinavia, as had happened before in 2021.

In the year that has just ended, Italy’s cinematographic fame certainly benefited from the contribution by Luca Guadagnino, a director who by his own admission feels eminently Italian and brings with him the image of someone who has lived, grown up and matured in Italy. His “Bones and All”, an award-winning presentation at Venice 2022, is technically a mainly USA production, based on a novel by a New Jersey author, shot - unlike his previous films - entirely in the USA and distributed internationally by Warner Bros.

Nevertheless, “Bones and All” can be considered the answer to our original question in several European countries. According to audience numbers it is the leading Italian film in the United Kingdom, the Slovak Republic, Ireland and Luxembourg, second in Portugal, Greece, Finland, Norway, Poland, Spain and Germany and third in the Netherlands, Denmark and Austria.

Giuseppe Tornatore, too, has again played an important role in bringing prestige to Italy on the big screen. Inextricably bound to “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso”, which continues to be placed on offer again and again and which appears in the 2022 top ten Italian films in Finland, Norway, Romania and Ireland, returns to meet his public, thanks to “Ennio”.

The Morricone documentary has done the rounds of Europe, from Benelux to the Slovak Republic, winning top place in the Czech Republic, second in the United Kingdom and Ireland, third in Hungary, Romania, France and Spain, fourth in Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and Finland and sixth in Austria. In terms of ticket sales, it sold over ninety thousand in France and almost fifty thousand in Poland, bettering the results of Bones and All”.

Sergio Castellitto´s “Il materiale emotivo”, coproduced with France and the United States, is the most widely viewed film in Greece and Bulgaria, coming in fourth place in Estonia, fifth in Portugal and sixth in Denmark and Latvia.

But as well as the “great names” of Italian cinema, there is no lack of nice surprises, starting with “Le otto montagne”. This adaptation of Cognetti´s book - a coproduction with Belgium and France - began its conquest of European markets in 2022, continuing in 2023. After winning the Jury Prize at Cannes, as well as totalling over eighty thousand tickets in Belgium, the home country of the two directors Felix Van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch, and over forty thousand in France, “Le otto montagne”, filmed in Valle d’Aosta and in Nepal, reached top place in the classification of Italian films in the Netherlands and Montenegro, second place in the Slovak Republic, third in the Czech Republic, fourth in Slovenia, fifth in Austria, seventh in France, eighth in Hungary and Estonia.

More mountains and once again Nepal for “Il ragazzo e la tigre”, internationally known under the title “The Tiger’s Nest”. Brando Quilici´s film was released mainly in German-speaking countries and in the Baltic and Scandinavian areas, but also in Russia, where it is in top place in the Italian film charts. In top place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, too, it comes third in Switzerland and fourth in Germany and Austria.

In the three German-speaking countries “Rheingold”, Fatih Akin´s latest film, is top of the charts, a coproduction to which Italy also contributed.

The fact that the path of coproduction is a winner is demonstrated by other successful cases, such as “Alcarràs” or “Eo”. The drama set in Catalonia has gained almost four hundred thousand admissions in Spain and appears in the top ten in Austria, Germany, Finland, Greece and Portugal. “Eo”, a prize-winner at Cannes ex aequo with “Le otto montagne”, sold over thirty thousand tickets in Poland, the home country of director Skolimowski, and almost a hundred and forty thousand in France.

To sum up, for the different varieties of Italian cinema to travel across borders, what is essential is an international approach right from the planning phases of the project´s development.

This article was published in the Venice special issue of Cinema & Video Int'l, the MEDIA Salles media partner.



UGC Bassins à Flot: a new cinema for a new neighbourhood
by Cristina Chinetti

No. of screens
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UGC Ciné Cité Bassins à Flot

In Bordeaux, the provincial capital of Nouvelle-AquItaine, the Bacalan neighbourhood is one of those places that show - not without a few contradictions - how even a city dating back to Roman times, with a fate heavily marked by the French Revolution and made famous by a centuries-old wine-making tradition, can change its face.
Traditionally a working-class suburb, with its bassins à flot Bacalan acted as the port to the city situated on the Garonne. Once alive with fishermen, sailors, dockers and workers, at the beginning of the millennium it underwent a number of interventions of urban upgrading, which are transforming it into a multicultural, residential neighbourhood, but with an economic and recreational side, a sort of 'melting port', to use the evocative play on words suggested by the website Bordeaux Tourism&Conventions.
The conversion revolves around the Cité du Vin: since 2016 its sinuous outline has overlooked the shores of the Garonne, with its majestic glass tower which changes colour with the light.
In the background rise the soaring pilons of the futuristic, vertical-lift, mobile bridge dedicated to Jacques Chaban-Delmas, historical mayor of the city from 1947 to 1995, the bridge joining Bacalan to Bastide, another newly urbanized neighbourhood on the right bank of the river.

A walk along the two bassins means immersing oneself in witnesses to the city's maritime and commercial past, like cranes, barges, railway lines, silos and even a submarine base built by the German occupying forces during the Second World War, whilst also becoming aware of signs of a changing urban fabric. The sinister submarine bunker, for example, has been converted into an atypical cultural centre, recognized as the largest digital art centre in the world.

If international tourism is the objective of these Bassins des Lumières and of the Cité that offers an extraordinary journey through time and space in the world of wine, through images, videos, wine-tasting and sensorial experiences, the other hangars along the two wharfs have been renovated to serve the whole of Bordeaux, most of all the new buildings with their clean, geometrical lines, which house the thousands of people who live or work there.
First to come were the cafés and restaurants but there is also a brand-new cinema, the UGC Ciné Cité Bassins à Flot, opened only a couple of years ago. Whoever walks down rue Lucien Faure, along bassin no. 1, after encountering a strange piece of sculpture shaped like an UFO, will come face to face with its broad glass façade at the beginning of the second bassin.
Designed prior to the infamous 2020, it was inaugurated on 30 June 2021 during the Fête du cinéma. Its beginnings were not easy, since anti-Covid restrictions were still in force, but then audiences grew and became fond of it and now the 13 auditoriums, seating from 98 to 350 spectators, for a total of 2,332, are increasingly well attended at all hours. This is a particularly family audience, which finds it very convenient to be able to count on a new concept of cinema just "round the corner" or easily accessed by public transport like the futuristic no. 1 tramline which runs along the Garonne, or the no. 4 bus, which joins Bacalan to the centre of Bordeaux.
In view of the audience typology, the films, which include a good deal of programming for children and young people and frequent offers of previews, are mostly presented in French, though at times an original, subtitled version is offered. Thanks to screen-sharing, on the 13 screens, equipped with laser projectors, over 20 titles alternate. Three of the largest auditoriums also provide for spectacular screenings with 3D glasses. There is no lack of added content, mainly revolving around visual music. In this initial phase of its activity various musical genres have been offered with the aim of calibrating the offer to audience demand. This is how it has emerged that the classical UGC offer entitled "Viva l'opéra", which came into being based on a partnership with the Opéra National de Paris and was traditionally presented in the centre of Bordeaux at the UGC Cité Ciné Gambetta, did not find particular favour with the new cinema complex. On the contrary, pop and rap concerts found their own audience: on 28 September next, it will be the turn of the famour rapper Orelsan to be presented on the big screen at the UGC Bassins à Flot!

Everthing is highly modern in this cinema, with its spacious, naturally-lit foyer designed as a space where spectators can move around freely to buy tickets at the special totems, relax in armchairs whilst waiting for friends or enjoy a snack at the tables.
In line with the new "paperless" trend, there are no posters, flyers or tickets, whilst programming is displayed on a series of screens and in the Group's online magazine, whilst tickets arrive in digital format on cell phones.

Again in order to limit wastage, temperatures are adjusted by depending on the recirculation of air, which means that air conditioning or heating is regulated according to the number of people actually present in the auditoriums. To sum up, all this is designed to make the new neighbourhood more attractive, in synergy with the diverse offer of restaurants overlooking the bassins. Which offer the cinema's audiences a discount!


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Edito da: MEDIA Salles - Reg. Trib.
Milano n. 418 dello 02/07/2007
Direttore responsabile:
Elisabetta Brunella
Coordinamento redazionale:
Silvia Mancini
Raccolta dati ed elaborazioni statistiche: Paola Bensi, Silvia Mancini