Cinemas are a public treasure – a vital site for film magic and discovery and invaluable places of economic exchange, social communion, and personal escape and solace.
With the lockdown of so many cinemas in the UK, Europe and around the world, we face a crisis that is undermining the business of public film exhibition and threatens to shutter countless cinemas for good. That’s why we are launching an editorial campaign to celebrate, cherish and defend these spaces for the future.
#MyDreamPalace will be a communal celebration of the magic of moviegoing. Over the next winter months, and until cinema curtains roll up and the lights go down, we’ll be asking filmmakers from across the world to reflect on their favourite and formative cinemas in the time of Covid.
We’ll also be spotlighting the people who make cinemas work, from projectionists to ushers to programmers. And we’ll explore what kind of cinema ecosystem we want to emerge from this crisis.
We ask you our readers to join in: tell us about your favourite dream palace and what makes it so special. Join us on social media in posting pictures and videos of treasured cinemas, stories about memorable experiences you’ve had in the audience and observations about what makes film-going an irreplaceable rite. Tag your posts #MyDreamPalace and we’ll share as much as we can. And if you want to drop us any private pitches or suggestions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we wait to again be – to paraphrase Susan Sontag – kidnapped by movies, sitting in the dark alongside anonymous strangers, overwhelmed by the physical presence of the image in front of us, here’s remembering what Tilda Swinton hymned as the “wild wide screen”.
Edgar Wright launches our campaign
My dream palaces: Edgar Wright revels in a life at the movies
Launching our My Dream Palaces celebration of our cinemas, British writer-director Edgar Wright pens an ode to cinemas great and small – from his childhood watching blockbusters in Bournemouth to the socially-distanced screenings of 2020.
By Edgar Wright
Mark Cousins takes his torch to the Edinburgh Filmhouse
Filmmakers’ Dream Palaces
Kleber Mendonça Filho on Recife’s Cinema São Luiz, his hometown picture palace
By Kleber Mendonça Filho
“Cinema is my happy place”: Francis Lee celebrates cinemas as community spaces
By Francis Lee
Christian Petzold on discovering The Deer Hunter one wintry night in Berlin
By Christian Petzold
Cate Shortland on escaping suburbia in Australia’s arthouse cinemas
By Cate Shortland
Małgorzata Szumowska on American movies and communist Krakow
By Malgorzata Szumowska
Viggo Mortensen on watching widescreen epics in 1960s Buenos Aires
By Viggo Mortensen
John Akomfrah on why the Rio in Dalston is more than a cinema
By John Akomfrah
Guy Maddin recalls his anarchic teen years at the Gimli Theatre, Manitoba
By Guy Maddin
Ritesh Batra on the New Roshan Talkies, a cinema frozen in time from old Mumbai
By Ritesh Batra
Zhu Shengze on watching movies in Wuhan and the oasis that is Missouri’s Ragtag cinema
By Zhu Shengze
Wanuri Kahiu pays tribute to Nairobi’s Fox drive-in cinema
By Wanuri Kahiu
Richard Stanley hymns London’s Scala cinema
By Richard Stanley
Céline Sciamma on the Cinema Utopia, the cinema of her teens
By Céline Sciamma
Peter Strickland on the Husets Biograf, Copenhagen’s cinematic cabinet of curiosities
By Peter Strickland
Mark Cousins on Sarajevo’s Obala cinema and watching films in a war zone
By Mark Cousins
Rian Johnson on the distinct charm of the New Beverly Cinema
By Rian Johnson
Cinemas and the coronavirus
“We’re on a war footing”: independent cinemas stand their ground against the pandemic
By Charles Gant
How the coronavirus hit cinemaHow the coronavirus hit cinema
The numbers: the coronavirus effect on the UK box office
By Charles Gant
Lockdown lessons: 13 UK film industry leaders on coping with Covid
By Isabel Stevens
Lockdown lessons: BFI CEO Ben Roberts on UK film and the Covid crisis
By Isabel Stevens
Lockdown lessons: Sheffield Doc/Fest director Cíntia Gil on defending the collective experience of cinema
By Trevor Johnston
Turkish cinephilia in the time of Covid-19: quarantined but not forgottenTurkish cinephilia in the time of Covid-19: quarantined but not forgotten
More celebrations of cinema from our archive
The View from Here, by Tilda Swinton
By Tilda Swinton
Gallery: five new London cinemasGallery: five new London cinemas
Building a small cinema in Liverpool
By Anthony Killick
Celluloid haven: Close Up CinemaCelluloid haven: Close Up Cinema
Deptford Cinema: one for all!Deptford Cinema: one for all!
Expanding your world: Bertha DocHouse in the Curzon BloomsburyExpanding your world: Bertha DocHouse in the Curzon Bloomsbury
London’s Cinema Museum is keeping cinephilia alive. Can it be saved?London’s Cinema Museum is keeping cinephilia alive. Can it be saved?
Cinephilia down the ages: a Museum of the Everyday
By Pamela Hutchinson
Lang may yer lum reek: Glasgow at the movies
By Emma Jackson
Revenge of the fleshpit!Revenge of the fleshpit!
Welcome to the Overnight: 48 hours at a cinephile retreat
By Charlie Shackleton
The three o’clock rite: Ingmar Bergman’s home cinemaThe three o’clock rite: Ingmar Bergman’s home cinema
The Cinema Travellers – first-look review
By Ben Nicholson
An open letter in defence of Moscow’s Museum of Cinema and its professional staffAn open letter in defence of Moscow’s Museum of Cinema and its professional staff
The smouldering screen: Kevin Brownlow on the lustre of nitrateThe smouldering screen: Kevin Brownlow on the lustre of nitrate
Tug of love: a cinema pilgrimage with Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins
By Nick James