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Cinemas At the movies

Going to the movies is still a beloved pastime in Switzerland, which has more than 270 cinemas. A new book, “Rex, Roxy, Royal”, takes us inside a few of them.

Sandra Walti, one of the book's publishers, has long worked behind the scenes at an independent cinema in the town of Aarau. The idea of creating a photo book featuring movie theatre interiors came to her over the years, while cleaning her cinema after a screening or creating the programme for the following month. The project finally came into being about a year ago, with her co-publisher Tina Schmid.

Ten collaborators from across Switzerland scoured archives and conducted historic research for the book. Photographer Olivier Lang travelled throughout Switzerland and documented cinemas in big cities and small towns, from mini-to-multiplexes. 

The resulting bookexternal link takes readers across the country and brings them closer to the history of the cinemas, at a time of declining ticket sales. The switch from analog to digital is an added challenge for small theatres, and some have had to close their doors forever as a result.

Still, sitting in the dark surrounded by strangers, and entering another world through a giant screen, continues to be an attractive experience. Walti says she was surprised to discover how many theatres across Switzerland have opened or re-opened, often a result of efforts by a community that doesn't want to lose its local cinema.

(Photos: Oliver Lang; Text: Thomas Kern, swissinfo.ch)

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