July 12, 2020
Film fans flocked online during lockdown. As restrictions ease, what’s happening to revive cinema-going and restart shoots? Our critic heads to the cinema to find out
The future of film: can cinema survive Covid-19?
It’s Saturday lunchtime and I am watching Sonic the Hedgehog in a cinema. It’s fair to say that it wouldn’t have been my first choice of film to break my four-month cinema fast (titles also showing at the Genesis in London’s Mile End included Moonlight, Parasite, Memento, Do the Right Thing and previews of a forthcoming new release, Black Water: Abyss). But the nine-year-old got to pick and he reasoned that, since I missed it when it was first released, I absolutely must want to catch up with it now.
What’s remarkable is how reassuringly ordinary the whole experience is. Online booking automatically enforces social distancing around your chosen seats. Not that that’s an issue with our screening – there are only six other people here. There’s a plexiglass screen between the box office and the punters, a roped-off one-way system, staggered start times and wall-mounted hand-sanitisers. Some staff are wearing masks. We are the only customers who choose to do so.
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