Visiting an independent cinema

A few weeks ago I intended to visit the DVD rental store I usually visit to rent some films, only to be surprised to notice that it had closed up shop. I don’t know why, but this sucks, because other places to rent DVD’s are a lot farther away from me. I’ll guess I’ll have to visit another one in Utrecht then, where I also study. Ideally we’d have something like Netflix in the Netherlands too so that it wouldn’t be a problem.

I still had a ‘Nationale Bioscoopbon’ lying around, which is a national cinema voucher you can trade for a ticket and is accepted at every cinema in the Netherlands. I had received this as a present a a few months ago and decided it was time to use it. The mainstream cinema’s had no interesting films to offer at that moment, so I decided to visit an indenpendent cinema (meaning, a cinema showing independent films, which are not mainstream films or films made in Hollywood and such), which I had never done before. Utrecht has two of them as far as I know, the Springhaver Theather and the Louis Hartlooper Complex (LHC).

Visiting the LHC was an eye opener. It’s located in a renovated building constructed in 1928 which served as a police station. The architecture is quite beatiful and triggers nostalgia, it’s interior is also beautifully decorated with a lot of attention. Far better than the functional and maybe even bland architecture and interiors of most mainstream cinema’s. I really appreciate the fact that they don’t have breaks between the first and second half of the film and they don’t sell popcorn or other annoying junk food. Other visitors eating food when the film starts playing again after a break can occasionally be annoying in mainstream cinema’s because it distracts from watching the film as you can hear other visitors grinding on their food. What surprised me most is that the personnel also gives a short introduction to the film before they start showing it, talking about the director and actors for example. It’s obvious that these people like their work, the man received an applause for his introduction.

The film I went to see was Winter’s Bone because I had read about the critical appraisal the film received. Everything was done right in producing this film. It’s a drama film which focuses heavily on narrating a good plot rather than excitement and action which is featured in the majority of Hollywood and other mainstream films. Yes, Hollywood also produces drama films, but those are still different from an independent film like this, but I should also note that not all independent films are like this. The Wikipedia article on art film can probably explain the difference better. Although Hollywood produces junk it also produces quality, so I do not dislike it completely. Let’s just say that I’m very glad cinema’s like the LHC exist, and let me tell you that you’re missing out on enjoying cinema if you’ve never seen some of these masterpieces of independent filmmaking. I’ll definitely visit the LHC (even though I made it up myself for the sake of this post it’s an annoying abbrevation because I’m confusing it with the Large Hadron Collider) again in the future when there’s an interesting film to be seen.

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