Inbound Ambassador

Arthouse Cinema + Social Equity

Arthouse cinemas like museums help open our minds to new possibilities and perspectives. Sustainable communities benefit from having independent theatres as an asset.

Many of us are craving some cinematic escapism but don’t want to be in crowds during these social distancing times. While a lot is now available online, some of us miss the full impact of a film on a small screen.

If you have a small, independent theatre in your community it’s worth supporting them. If you do choose to go out this month, make sure to follow the guidelines of safe travel during the COVID19 crisis, and make every effort to avoid crowded places.

In the near future, I hope we will see art museums, libraries, and galleries reopen with new safety protocols in place once easier access to testing gives us a better understanding of how to avoid the risks. The coronavirus crisis is set to last for at least a year, so we have to find a way soon to live without spreading the disease.

There are independent arthouse theatres across Japan worth seeking out which allow you to open your mind to new ideas without sitting amongst crowds. In Hiroshima, the Yokogawa cinema is a good independently run venue which is usually only filled by a handful of people in the audience at each screening.

In March 2020, Yokogawa cinema is showing Bauhaus film festival documentary films starting at 13:00 each day. Bauhaus is such an inspiring movement that started in 1919 as an art school in Germany and grew into an international movement. The films document and celebrate key parts of the 100 years of design, art, and projects. The movie series covering a range of projects from urban design of buildings and facilities to art and education projects.

One hurdle for me is that I don’t understand German which will likely be the main language of the film. I do love watching the footage of all the design and art projects by the Bauhaus designers and artists and hopefully can piece some of the information together and follow up the viewing with online research later.

The influential Bauhaus creative thinkers have helped build social equity around the world by creating designs that are comfortable, functional, innovative and yes beautiful too. Bauhaus has inspired so many artists, architects, students and communities with their modern designs. Most films shown in the Bauhaus film series will be showing in the original German (sometimes English) with Japanese subtitles.

It’s a bonus to be able to watch films about art and design at Yokogawa cinema as it is also a great example of creative sustainability in business. The facility is a classic old theatre that has been restored and remodeled. It is keeping the heritage of this classic movie theatre alive as well as introducing various ideas, perspectives, and art to the public.

Having independent, arthouse cinemas like Yokogawa Cinema can enhance social equity, or aspect of high-quality of daily life, in communities. The building itself is a colorful tribute to artistic expression featuring the murals by graffiti artist SUIKO on its outside walls.

Most movie theatres only show films from Hollywood and major production companies at multiplexes in cookie-cutter facilities which are the same worldwide. These multiplexes are struggling to compete with home movie systems now and the lack of a unique atmosphere may be contributing to their decline.

On the other hand, having an arthouse, independent cinema is as important as having museums, parks, libraries and performance arenas- places where our minds can be opened to new ideas and creative thinking we would have never come across in our daily lives.

Like many arthouse theatres, at Yokogawa cinema, you won’t find hot-popcorn or hotdogs here. The cinema is very basic with vending machines in the lobby and plush but old classic cinema chairs inside. I find that ‘basicness’ refreshing myself and feel more like I’ve had an experience than just watched a movie. See more about past movies and renovations at Yokogawa Cinema on GetHiroshima

Hiroshima’s Salon Cinemas is another example of a boutique theatre chain which promotes a unique, cultural experience to movie-lovers. Salon cinemas are newer and more comfortable and show a balance of arthouse cinema, classics, and Academy award-winning blockbusters as well. People in Hiroshima are lucky to have more than one arthouse theatre to choose from.