Tag Archives: Valhalla Cinema

Micro & niche cinema and the future of movie going in Melbourne


The news that Melbourne’s Astor Cinema will cease operations in its current form in early 2015 has, understandably, prompted a lot of discussion about the future of cinema and the cinema going experience in Melbourne.

A similar wave of concern took place following the closure of the Greater Union Cinema on Russell Street in Melbourne’s CBD, something I wrote about here. In addition to the Astor and the death of the Greater Union, in late 2013, the owner of St Kilda’s George Revival Cinema announced it would close its doors.

I don’t feel sufficiently informed to comment about the machinations of the dispute which has led to the current situation or claims by the landlord Ralph Taranto that the iconic art deco cinema will continue to operate as a single screen cinema.

The only observations I would make is that whatever the Astor’s future, it is important to note the establishment is obviously more than just a place where movies are shown. The cinema itself is an important heritage site. It is the only single screen cinema in Australia to screen 70mm prints of classic and cult films. It also has a much broader link to cinematic culture in Melbourne, including hosting the St Kilda Film Festival. The Astor may continue as a cinema, but will it do so in its current form and with the deep and varied connection it has to Melbourne’s broader screen culture?… Read more