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66KINOS. A journey through German cinema-scape.

A documentary by Philipp Hartmann. Germany 2016, 98 Min., HD

Philipp Hartmann made a film, toured the German cinema scene with it and made that into a film too: an overview of an eclectic mix of cinemas all run by cinephiles. Shared love entails shared suffering: every Kino is under threat.

Can something be a hobby if it’s your job? Can something be work if you love it so much? These are the questions a cinema owner asks himself out loud in this documentary. In 66 Kinos, enthusiastic staff members at a range of cinemas answer these rhetorical questions affirmatively. We pass popcorn machines and projection rooms on our way to the screen.
There is a downside. Turnover from food and drinks is crucial for earnings. Should one switch from ‚real‘ 35mm to digital? Should some of the cinema’s halls be reserved for Hollywood blockbusters? And even then, this might not be enough. Will going to the cinema be the same in a decade’s time? Or does its structure need to be fundamentally redefined? It’s a conundrum, but the small entrepreneur’s hope prevails. (International Filmfestival Rotterdam 2017)


Unofficial „trailer“ (excerpt of the film) (find the official trailer without subtitles here)


66k_still050

This film could have simply offered the recount of an elderly director’s amusing and narcissistic journey as he shows his latest film in 66 German movie theaters; however, it ends up being a remarkable and kind essay on a practice at risk of extinction (or in an out-and-out mutation process). It is not incidental that 66 KINOS opens in an old, stripped- down abbey turned into a movie theatre and closes with the words of an art curator on the relation between cinema and art installations – while cinema has captured time, time also captured cinema and transformed its very nature. At each cinema and in each city visited by Hartmann, he gathers evidence of it. In face of the advent of an overbearing digital ontology, Hartmann witnesses the last traces of an era without prophesizing the apocalypse – after all, he records in HD – but also without stopping to ask questions about the future of cinema as a collective sensory experience. (Roger Koza)


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