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Death in Venice


Cinema in Venice is dead. The city that has been home for the last 53 years to the International Film Festival has just lost its last remaining cinema, the Rossini: on 2 January, a handful of filmgoers gathered to see the last screening, The Legend of Al, John & Jack [+see also:
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. 2003 got off to an inauspicious start for Venetian filmgoers when the Accademia cinema closed its doors for the last time after 74 years of honorary service on New Year’s eve.
To add insult to injury: Venice 64,000 inhabitants are amongst Italy’s most assiduous film fans; one of their favourite theatres was the old Giorgione Cinema. After the municipal authorities transformed it into a two-screen in 1999 specialised in arthouse movies, annual attendance was close to 90,000.
The Astra situated on the Lido, reopened for business last December and a record 8,000 tickets were sold in its first month. In 2002, Venetian cinema had a total of 176,000 customers: an average of three visits per year for each citizen, and way above the national average of 1.8.
Venice has been dying a slow death since the Great Flood of 1966. People have moved out of the water-logged city centre, with the consequent closure of shops and businesses and their moving to nearby landlocked Mestre. After turning the city’s cinemas variously into supermarkets, pubs and art galleries, from now on, Venetians will be forced to take the waterbus and stand in line outside Mestre’s eight cinemas, four of which are multi.screens.

(Translated from Italian)

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