Thursday, 17 June 2010

72 Hours in Amsterdam

The Dutch have a theory about why they are good at cooperating. "It's the dam concept" said Raymond Walvarens, head of the prestigious Rialto cinema, over a plate of couscous. "If thirteen farmers have to build a dam, they all need to agree on it, cause if one doesn't participate, the dam won't work." On that simple concept, all the major cities of the Netherlands were built, turning a hostile enviroment into a powerful and rich nation.
Amsterdam, (the dam on the Amstel river) is home to 13 individual arthouse cinemas, all distinct and unique in their own quirky way. I visited five of them. They're all part of a network called CINEVILLE, which has an unlimited card that people can subscribe to, and is designed to fight Pathe's dominance of the exhibition sector.
Set up a year ago by four twentysomething film enthusiasts, Cineville is hugely succesful and is helping little independent cinemas thrive in a difficult market.
I spent some time over the last few days looking at this network and some of the cinemas, and was happy to find a diverse bunch of 'theatres' showing everything from SEX AND THE CITY 2 (made me feel a little better about us doing it) to MAO'S LAST DANCER.

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