A site created and maintained by Geoff Lealand, Screen and Media Studies, University of Waikato, New Zealand. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To begin with a short quote and a long quote:
Clive James on cinema-going, The thrill that began with a shaft of light in the dark will still go on.
(The Atlantic, June 2011, 97)
There’s only one problem with home cinema: it doesn’t exist. The very phrase is an oxymoron. As you pause your film to answer the door or fetch a Coke, the experience ceases to be cinema. [In the cinema] we are strangers in communion and, once that pact of the intimate and populous is snapped, the charm is gone. Anthony Lane ‘Home Movies’, The New Yorker, November 7, 2011, p. 91
Grand words indeed, but such sentiments are the motivation for this venture. Some might say it is a little ironic to be setting up a website celebrating the pleasures of going to the cinema–and going to the cinema in New Zealand, in particular–at a time when we are all supposedly sitting at home watching films on DVD, or on our computer (legally or illegally acquired), or even on the tiny screens of our mobile phones.
But the evidence is otherwise, for very large numbers of us (New Zealanders included) continue to step out on the journey to the local cinema (or theatre or movie palace or multiplex or whatever you call it). For example, one website (www.nationmaster.com) claims New Zealanders rated number three in 2010, in terms of cinema attendance per capita (behind Iceland and the USA). Certainly we don’t go to films like we used to years ago, when there were far fewer entertainment choices and ‘going to the pictures’ (any picture!) was the most popular social outing in New Zealand.
Statistics New Zealand have recently produced an interesting little report, on how things used to be. View Report. Nevertheless, changes in technology (the production, distribution and exhibition of film) are creating new opportunities for the survival, arrival and revival of independent cinemas. This is all to do with the inevitable shift to digital technology and you can see some of the ramifications for Australian and New Zealand independent cinemas in an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) 7.30 Report from March 2011 on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HOQoPThGag
But for many, many New Zealanders, irrespective of the screening method, film-going remains a very important social activity and a vital part of cultural life–not just at the time of film festivals, but throughout the year.
This site is in celebration of this ritual, as it continues to be played in the small South Pacific nation of New Zealand. But it is also about a particular kind of movie-going; it not about the generic multiplex experience, where going to see blockbusters like Transformers 3 or the latest Harry Potter movie is pretty much the same wherever you go .
It is about a different kind of movie-going experience: the independent or ‘art house’ film experience, at venues such as:
1. Crooked Mile Talking Pictures, Hokitika (interior, 2010) CLOSED April 2012
2. The Civic, Queen Street, Auckland (foyer, 2009)
3. Mayfair Community Theatre, Kaikoura (2011)