You hear a lot about the ‘death of cinema’ these days. It only takes a quick google to bring up countless articles proclaiming that cinema as we know it is dead, nobody goes to the movies anymore, filmmakers aren’t making movies like they used to. This isn’t the case if you ask David Stratton, Australia’s most revered film critic and tireless promoter of Australian, foreign, and arthouse films. In his introduction at the Kino Cinema’s 30th Birthday Celebration, Stratton made it clear that cinema has been proclaimed dead since the introduction of radio, VHS, high definition TVs, and streaming services, yet it still stands. In the case of the Kino, cinema thrives.
Frank Cox, co-owner of the Kino and partner with Palace Cinemas, thanked everyone for their tireless support of a cinema he founded after migrating to Melbourne from Istanbul in the 1970s. He says the Kino is still going strong, and it isn’t hard to see why.
Close to Parliament station in the ‘Paris end’ of Collins Street, the Kino cinema boasts an elegant, plentiful bar and drinking area in front of the theatres. Despite being widely known, it still feels like a secret; it’s a respite from Village and Hoyts’ mega-multiplexes. You might see a blockbuster at the Kino, but you won’t have to strain your neck peering up at the gargantuan Xtreme screens or suffer through dizzying 3D screenings.
As you’d expect at a celebration for the birthday of a cinema, the night’s main entertainment was a film screening. Director Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick couldn’t have been a better choice. Written by Emily V Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, the film also stars Nanjiani in an autobiographical story of his and Emily’s meeting and falling in love. Straightforward in summary, this meet cute story is offset by Emily’s (Zoe Kazan) illness. Induced into a coma, Kumail has the awkward job of spending hours every day with her parents (weeks after he’s broken their daughter’s heart) by Emily’s side. The Big Sick is the kind of movie you rarely see anymore. Already being touted as a return to form for the endangered romantic comedy, this Apatow-produced, superbly acted (especially by Kazan and Emily’s parents, played against type by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter in predictably fine form) throwback hits familiar beats, draws the audience in with a good sense of humour and that irresistible, Apatowian blend of realist drama and self-deprecating humour.
Kino’s birthday finished off with an array of delectable appetisers and a table full of champagne. It’s fair to say that the cinema experience still has a lot to offer its most dedicated patrons, who no doubt will keep cultural landmarks like the Kino alive for many more film-filled years.
Tom Bensley is a freelance writer in Melbourne who reviews anything he attends, watches or reads. It’s a compulsion, really. Follow him @TomAliceBensley.
45 Collins St.
Melbourne VIC 3000
The Big Sick will be released in Palace Cinemas 3 August.