Apparently Frank now has a complete interest in the Kino and may be on the lookout for a new managing partner. Gee, I'd love to if I had the money. I've made no secret that the Kino is my favourite cinema in Melbourne for the following reasons:
- I love the auditorium-style layout of the two main cinemas
- The staff are the friendliest and most sociable I've experienced
- It is the least congested 'art house' cinema during peak times like Saturday evenings (I have an aversion to the big crowds at the Nova and Como)
- They've kept prices considerably lower than the competition
- Their member services are more generous than the competition, especially the 5-for-4 offer (attend 4 films within 3 months and the 5th one is free)
- Free on-site parking for two hours, and only $2/hr after that, which for the CBD is excellent
By the way, my partner wanted to see it last night, but it only had two screenings: 10.15am and 2.30pm. I don't know how a film can succeed with screening times like that, especially on a Saturday. I believe that control of the Kino's screening times will be independent as of this week, so hopefully this situation will improve before the film's season ends. In fact, I'm hoping that the Kino's becoming fully independent once again means an improvement in programming. By improvement, I mean I'd like to see more independent art house films, edgier programming with a bit of risk. There is no-one taking risk any more and I believe there's a real hunger for it. Strangely though, audiences seem to stay in the bunker and not support true diversity when they get the chance (like Paranoid Park and Transylvania). I don't know what's going on. Maybe I'm in denial, but I can't accept Lynden Barber's predictions of the death of cinema (at least, as we know it).
There once was a time when I could go to the Kino and blind see a film, knowing nothing about it. Maybe one in five was a fairly middle-of-the-road French comedy that one could give or take, while the others would be at least time well spent. It was at the Kino that I saw both Lost Highway and Three Colours: Blue, my nos. 1 & 2 favourite films of all time. Films that I went to 'blind' and was pleasantly surprised include Like Blood and Wine (Bob Rafelson, 1996 - this film wasn't even advertised), The Crossing Guard (Sean Penn, 1995) and Savior (Predrag Antonijevic, 1998).
I keep a record of the films I see and when I started recording this info, I began by pulling out my movie stubs. Unfortunately through the 90's, the Kino's tickets were generic and didn't detail the film screened. So there's many films I saw during this period that I haven't recorded. I think Kino tickets printed the relevant film only from 2001. Looking at the last few years, the number of films I've seen there (as a total of all films seen in a year) are as follows:
The number of films I've seen at the Kino in the last five years has been relatively stable, even as the number of films I've seen overall has increased significantly. This can be at least partially attributed to the limited number of films the Kino can exhibit on only four screens. Pretty much if the Kino is screening something, I'd rather see it there than anywhere else. As an AFCA member, I can get free entry there, but I actually pay my own way without showing my AFCA card unless I'm going to review a film. That's how much I support the place. I want it to succeed.
2008, however, hasn't been a good year for me at the Kino. I've seen only 4 so far this year, and two of those were in the last two weeks. The programming has been quite dull. Here's hoping it will pick up, even though I've heard rumours that it's going to experiment with some mainstream stuff like Sex and the City
I'm interested to hear of other's perceptions or experiences at the Kino. Anyone want to join a consortium to propose an interest in the Kino? Maybe I'm just dreaming, but I'd love to revive true art house cinema in Melbourne. Think Lumiere Cinema, but with amenity and service.