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

International Edition No. 178 - year 16 - 22 March 2021

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Dear Readers,

Elisabetta Brunella the story of Morris Donini, manager of the Cinema Mandrioli in Ca' de' Fabbri, province of Bologna, who, rather than shutting down his screen, decided to project a film just for himself every day, might be taken as a symbol of the sector's will to react to closures and give audiences a sign of vitality and stamina. It is in this spirit that today's issue again presents initiatives dreamed up by exhibitors to maintain their relations with their audiences and face the crisis head-on. This time the emphasis is on the possibility of renting a theatre for private screenings and on outdoor film programming. This subject i salso seen through the eyes of our special correspondent/spectator, who takes us to Tuscany.

Happy reading,
Elisabetta Brunella
Secretary General of MEDIA Salles

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)


by Angelica Riva

The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the cinema industry more than it ever has been: since spring 2020 we have gone through general lockdowns to gradual re-openings with distancing, only to return to new - more localised - restrictions to protect public health. One of the first reactions to the impossibility of indoor screenings was to bring back drive ins. And suppose that, in the future of the cinema, there might be a prospect for bringing back to life some of the atmosphere that made the spectators of “Grease” dream, bringing the American style of the ‘Fifties up to date and offering it to present-day and future generations?
As regards Italy, this John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John tradition has never really been absent from the country, as emerges from the analysis carried out by MEDIA Salles.

This overview cannot help but start by paying homage to the pioneer of drive ins in Italy: the Metro Drive in of Casal Palocco in Rome. designed by the architect Eugenio Galdieri, a pupil of Pier Luigi Nervi, it was inaugurated in 1957 and remained operational up until the ‘Eighties, though in 2015 a special screening was still organised there

Structures offering programming with some continuity are to be found in Campania: the Garden Movie of Caserta and the Pozzuoli Drive in, which seem to have held out even against the second wave of closures, guaranteeing programming with reduced time slots that respect the curfew.
Since summer 2020, necessity has led Italians to appreciate the trend towards a comeback by the legendary drive in. In these structures screenings have concerned mostly films that have made cinema history, whilst waiting for new productions to abandon streaming platforms on the small screen and be released in movie theatres. The top screen of all - famous all over Europe for having the biggest, permanent maxi-screen (250 square metres) - is the Drive in cinema Paolo Ferrari at Ostia Lido. But there are also the Starlight Drive in in Pontedera, Province of Pisa, and, for Roman audiences, the Sunset Drive in in the Cinecittà studios and the Drive in in Cassia.

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by Elisabetta Galeffi

At Castiglion Fiorentino, a small municipality in the province of Arezzo, there is a fortress at the top of the village. A soaring tower surveys the valley, dating back to medieval times, when you had to to be able to see as far as possible into the distance if you wanted to defend yourself. A steep climb up a mule path leads to the top of the hill overlooking Castiglioni, which is the short name for the village. You are rewarded by the view: below is the endless, flat stretch of countryside of the Val di Chiana, once a swamp.

The fortress rises in the middle of a stretch of grass with a museum to one side of it and the ancient Romanesque chapel in another corner. The Head of Castiglioni’s Department of Culture looks for as many ways as possible to take advantage of the most beautiful place in the village. Not even the Year of Covid stopped him from encouraging the population to stretch their legs and climb up to the fortress to get a breath of fresh air on the days when this was allowed, with the intention of not letting the magic of the big screen be forgotten.

Seats are distanced but there is no lack of space on the big lawn. The event sees the young people belonging to the local association “L’Ulcera del Sig. Wilson” / “Mr Wilson’s Ulcer” in the frontline, acting as hosts and working as volunteers. They have chosen films with Italian stories, recovered from wherever possible.

Old films, as well as local productions or documentaries, projected on the lawn’s silver screen and perhaps a little out of focus but, in these times of more or less non-existent film distribution and with the rights for the new films sold to all-powerful platforms like Netflix or Sky, the effort can definitely be considered worthy of merit.

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A cinema all to yourself (or almost) to watch a film or play games on the big screen
by Angelica Riva

That periods of crisis generate creativity is not a new discovery. In the world of the cinema innovative ideas, perhaps not yet widespread, have been developed precisely during the the pandemic to adapt exhibitors’ strategies to the new situation, combining them with the demands of the general public.

We have, for example, observed the blossoming of opportunities for renting a whole auditorium all to yourself and your family, to watch a film selected from a wide choice of titles. This has proved to be an initiative that has allowed several cinemas - large and small - to react to the lockdown and to the halt in movie production worldwide, guaranteeing keen cinema-goers the experience of watching a film on the big screen.

Amongst the examples presented by Celluloid Junkie, which has drawn up a broad international overview, that of Svenska Bio stands out. In order to respect limits on numbers and tackle the lack of new releases, on its social media and official website the Swedish chain has offered its auditoriums for rent, so that customers may enjoy great Oscar-winning films (like “Parasite” and “1917”), magical animated films (like “Onwards” and “Frozen 2”), as well as Swedish productions. The cost is 95 euro for 8 people. The theatres can also be rented for gaming, for a minimum two-hour slot. Spectators and players may even enjoy food and drink provided by the cinema itself.

Again in Sweden, more precisely in the capital, Stockholm, the Bio Capitol has also offered the possibility to dine during the screening of a film in adequately sanitised and aired auditoriums.


(To read more, click here)

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)

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MEDIA Salles
Piazza Luigi di Savoia, 24 - 20124 Milano - Italy
Tel.: +39.02.6739781 - Fax: +39.02.67397860
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