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Arrête ton cinéma

11/09/2008 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

I think I've already mentioned the theory that the cinema is no longer a place for adults. When DVD came along, older viewers realised they could stay at home and watch movies on their flat-screen TVs rather than face the popcorn-munching masses. That's why Hollywood blockbusters aimed at kids get the widest distribution in cinemas.
But there are other problems with cinema, even if you like Hollywood blockbusters, as I do. A while ago, people like Steven Spielberg predicted state-of-the-art cinemas with digital projectors and high-definition images. But that hasn't happened – at least, not in my neighbourhood.
Let's take UGC Les Halles. The other day I was standing in the queue for Screen One. The line stretches down a long, narrow corridor. The walls were painted red a long time ago; with black exposed piping that was trendy back then. The stained carpet has not been replaced since the era of Charlie Chaplin. This cramped space gets increasingly hot and sweaty as people pack into it. Oh, and it's next to the toilet. I'm not even going to describe the toilet. If you've ever seen the film Trainspotting, you'll get the idea. In short, the line for Screen One at UGC Les Halles resembles the gates of hell. And it's by no means the scruffiest cinema in Paris.
Watching a movie on a big screen can be a magical experience. But if they are to compete with sophisticated home media, cinemas themselves need to be drastically improved.

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