There’s some good news for Berlin’s cinema fans. Moviemento, Germany’s oldest cinema, has been saved and will continue to be run by its current operators Iris Praefke and Wulf Sörgel.
Founded in 1907, Moviemento is famed for its celebration of arthouse cinema, political films and sophisticated documentaries, as opposed to the mainstream franchises that tend to dominate box offices. However, all this seemed at risk when the powerful real estate group Deutsche Wohnen acquired the building in which the cinema rooms are located and wanted to sell up, initially by the end of 2019.
Unusually, this is one situation in which Covid seems to have had a positive effect. It was during the start of the pandemic that the movement to save Moviemento began to gain traction. At a time when numerous arts institutions felt under threat, expressions of solidarity rang in from far and wide, and the owners of Moviemento set up a crowdfunding campaign. Thanks to this support and following lengthy negotiations, an agreement was finally reached last week.
To celebrate the fact that Moviemento has been saved from redevelopment, there will be a symbolic handover of keys on January 8th, followed by a screening of The Boy and the Heron, the new film by Hayao Miyazaki from the famous Studio Ghibli.