I never really had much of a cinema experience when I was younger. Like many kids in Malawi, I grew up watching Video Tapes and then Nickelodeon. When I moved to Milan, one of the things I enjoyed was going to a cinema for a good movie. Despite having an expanding watch list on Netflix and Amazon Prime, watching a movie on a big screen in a room full of other people was always a wonderful experience for me and a great date night option. Over the years, the draw of cinemas around the world has lessened. Fewer people have been going out to the movies as a result of the availability of home entertainment. Streaming services and subscription-based platforms such as Netflix and HBO have become game-changers in the Movie and TV world. And now, with the current covid-19 pandemic, Cinemas have further been negatively impacted. Most have remained shut since lockdowns began. Some might never reopen.
I first wrote this article in 2018 before the pandemic started. At this time, the future of Cinema was already bleak. German-born photographer Stephan Zaubitzer’s documented Cinemas around the world with his lens as a tribute. The pictures he took will serve as a basis for Cinema’s revival, or they will serve as artefacts, reminders of the long-gone glory days of Cinema. Stephan began developing his project “Grand Ecrans” (“Big Screens”) in 2003 when his flight was delayed in Burkina Faso. The sudden extra time he had led him into the city to explore and photograph its movie theatres. Since then, he has been taking pictures of cinemas in city centres around the world, fascinated by their dark interiors and outlandish architecture that always stand out from their urban surroundings.
See more pictures from the series here