News / The Network


The Network - 05/05/2009


Europa Cinemas theatres, hubs of activity at the heart of European towns


Although the Network’s theatres have a crucial part to play in determining the extent to which European cinema is disseminated, their role is not confined to film programming alone. They occupy a strategic position within the social scene of the towns in which they are located.

As philosopher Gilles Lipovetsky declared at the Network’s last Annual Conference, these theatres are focal points for a public that appreciates images and likes to share them. His observation is clear: the number of small screens is on the increase, encouraging the hyper-individualised consumption of images. This reclusive attitude, however, soon creates a need – linked to human nature – to enjoy experiences as part of a community. After all, cinemas offer even to lovers of high-speed and small-format images a chance to see a genuine spectacle, uninterrupted, on the big screen and to share this viewing experience with others.
What the Network’s theatres also offer are opportunities to talk about films, with directors, critics and representatives of public life, with the films forming the focus of an artistic appraisal, but also of a social debate. In recent years we have seen an increase in demand for these types of activity. And the exhibitors who organise them know that, for the most part, they can look forward to a full house. To achieve this, incidentally, they won’t have overlooked the possibilities the Internet offers them to seek out their public on these individuals’ own small screens.
What we will illustrate with the following examples is the unique path that certain network exhibitors are taking to devise activities of this kind that are in keeping with their audiences and the nature of their programming. We will focus in particular on the UK’s "media centres", at a time when theatres are switching over to digital technology.