Desperate for cinema, Europe's cities project films onto walls

Watching movies from apartment buildings is the new trend in countries like Germany and France

Photo: AFP A family in Berlin watches the movie "Loving Vincent" projected on the wall of a neighbouring building from their balcony.

With cinemas closed in large parts of the planet, people around the world have resorted to drive-ins and Netflix parties for watching TV shows at the same time as friends in efforts to keep the shared screen lit up despite social distancing.

As the evenings get warmer across Europe, meanwhile, people are once again being offered the chance to watch films on the big screen, albeit from their own window or balcony.

Italians have taken to social media with the slogan #CinemaDaCasa to to show how they're projecting films onto city facades, while a shuttered Paris cinema has begun projecting "en plein air" instead. One man in the Irish city of Cork has been projecting old films onto the side of a house so his neighbours can watch from their front gardens.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, the so-called Window Flicks project has been busy turning large courtyard walls into cinemas at dusk. The idea came from an architecture and art office, which also deals with lighting projects with an interdisciplinary team. The team even coordinated with a popcorn seller to hand out movie snacks to viewers in their apartments. 

"We wanted people to stay at home. And that's where we can bring culture into the courtyards with our projectors," says Meta Grey's managing director Olaf Karkhoff.

Allowing people to watch films from their homes while observing the rules of distance, the project is also supporting a fundraising campaign for the city's arthouse cinemas hit hard during the lockdown.

In Berlin, tenants or homeowners can register for their courtyard to become the next cinema.

"A lot of people are applying," says Karkhoff. "We are really overwhelmed by the response." They would like to expand the project with the help of partners - and show concerts, for example.

The restriction of public life during the pandemic is causing problems for cinemas throughout Europe and cinema associations have demanded more financial support and a plan for box offices to reopen.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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