New Christchurch cinema opens

Egyptian revival style cinema to open

Last updated 05:00 17/09/2012
Daniel Tobin

The Press has a look inside the new boutique cinema that is due to open in Alice in Videoland

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Arthouse movies will return to central Christchurch this week with the opening of the first cinema in the city since the February 2011 earthquake.

Alice in Videoland in Tuam St in the central city will open a 38-seat cinema at the back of its DVD store on Thursday. The ornate cinema is designed in the Egyptian revival style popular in the 1920s, complete with hieroglyphics, Tutankhamun masks and a carving of the goddess Isis above the screen.

Christchurch lost 21 cinema screens in the February quake, with the Metro Gold and Regent on Worcester near Cathedral Square destroyed, the Academy and Cloisters cinemas in the Arts Centre closed and the Rialto and Hoyts in Moorhouse Ave out of action.

Alice's has reopened in a new space at the back of its undamaged building, and C1 Coffee is refurbishing the ground floor, with plans to open late next month.

Alice's director Jeremy Stewart said movie lovers were ready to return to the city. "A lot of people have shied away from malls, but this building has come through the quakes with flying colours. This is a safe haven."

Building owner and Alice's founder Paul Stewart said the cinema would be popular.

"I think we will be oversubscribed. We lost 21 screens in Christchurch in February. This is only a toe in the water. We need another cinema complex in town to bring us up to speed," he said.

The digital cinema will show an eclectic mix of arthouse movies. The cinema will open with screenings for Body Festival: Virtuosi and Bernie, starring Jack Black and popular at the New Zealand International Film Festival this year.

Alice's maven, Nick Paris, will help with the cinema programme. Paris, who has been involved with the film festival for 10 years, said the programme would be a mix of mainstream films such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and more arthouse fare such as Holy Motors.

Coming attractions include Ken Loach's latest, The Angel's Share, and German war drama Wunder Kinder.

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- The Press

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