Cinematheque brings culture, cuts cost

"Hukkle," 2002, directed by György Pálfi. Still courtesy Mokép

Paislee Winkler
Contributing Writer

The VCUarts department of cinema’s new film series, Cinematheque (pronounced ‘si-nə-mə-ˈtek’) held its first screening at the Grace Street Theater Tuesday, Sept. 6 – the first of 10 world and independent art films to be shown this semester, free of charge.

Coming into the screening, an announcer suggested that no one talk about the movie while it was in progress in anticipation of an open discussion afterward.

The films are projected in 35 mm in a brand-new state of the art projector, a German Kinoton FP 30D, and sound channels into the theater from a 5.1 Dolby Stereo Surround System.

“The sound is set up like a movie theater,” first-year cinema major Adam Bellotto said.  “The sound is all around you in every seat.”

Director of the series, VCU cinema professor Robert Tregenza, said that “Cinematheque will uniquely serve the Richmond and university community with world and indie cinema that, since the closing of the Biograph Theatre, has been totally lacking.”

(The Biograph Theatre was an independent repertory cinema which, from 1972-87, inhabited 814 W. Grace St., most recently the home of Xcape Lounge.)

He added that all the screenings are in 35mm from motion picture prints, “so we can all enjoy the art in the format that was intended.”

The first film showing presented “The Island (Ostrov)” by Pavel Lungin, which is a 2006 Nika Award winner for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. (Nika awards are similar to the Oscars in Russia, where “The Island (Ostrov)” was also a top-grossing film.)

“I will most likely attend again; it was very riveting, eye-opening and different,” VCU cinema student Mishaal Abbasi said.

The next screening will be “The Window (La Ventana)”  by Carlos Sorin on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m., free and open to the public. The Grace Street Theater is located at 934 W. Grace St. Its 250 seats are available for Cinematheque screenings on a first-come, first-served basis.

For the Fall 2011 schedule, click here.


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