Geek Ink Thinks: The end of an era. Goodbye Cinema Nouveau Cavendish.

For all my foreign readers who don’t know what Cinema Nouveau is, it’s a part of the Ster-Kinekor movie group that brings art house films into South Africa, and is almost the only place to go to watch alternative movies. I went to watch “The Perks of being a Wallflower” the other day at the Cavendish branch of Cinema Nouveau when a friend of mine bumped into a friend of his. We heard from this fellow that the Cavendish branch was closing up shop! I couldn’t believe it. I’d been going to this cinema for as long as I’ve lived in Cape Town!

It turns out this story is true, but not for the reasons I expected. In my mind I thought that their justification would be that the cinema just wasn’t pulling in enough people to continue it’s existence (those greedy bastards), so it was quite a shock when I read an article on News24 describing the actual reason why Cinema Nouveau was closing down, and the truth about their attendance ratings.

Cape Town – Ster-Kinekor confirmed on Friday that it will close its Cinema Nouveau movie theatres in Cavendish Square, Cape Town.

The last trading date at the Cavendish art house cinema will be 17 January.

The company assured movie fans that its commercial theatre complex at Cavendish Square and Nouveau cinema at the V&A Waterfront will trade as normal and are unaffected by the business decision.

“It is with regret that we have to share this news with our valued cinema audiences who have been so supportive of Cavendish Nouveau over the years,” said Fiaz Mahomed, CEO of Ster-Kinekor.

“The closure of the theatre complex was a decision made by the mall owners who have decided to allocate the space used currently by Cinema Nouveau to an alternative retailer instead. The Cinema Nouveau at Cavendish has enjoyed strong trade and has enjoyed double digit audience growth over the past year.”

Cinema Nouveau commenced trading at Cavendish Square as Cavendish Nouveau on 1 September 1992 and has grown to become one of the few cinemas in Cape Town for discerning film fans to watch the latest independent, foreign, alternative and art film releases.

“Ster-Kinekor is committed to ensuring that our patrons will be as thrillingly entertained and enthralled by the offering at V&A Nouveau at the V&A Waterfront,” said Mahomed.

– Channel24

So the cinema is closing down because another retailer (from what I’ve heard it’s Pick n Pay) bought out the space. What the hell is Pick n Pay going to do with a lobby and eight cinemas?

I have only one this to say in response to this decision and it is: “Fuck you Cavendish Mall management!”

There’s two reasons why I’m upset about this:

  1. I now have to go to the Waterfront branch which isn’t as nicely set up as the Cavendish branch.
  2. The Waterfront is about 20 minutes drive, vs a 15 minute walk to Cavendish (guess who doesn’t have a car). This means I’ll have to catch a lift with a friend, or take a train and a bus which totals an hour in travel time (one way). If I decide to use public transport, I can only go during the day because it really isn’t safe at night. The other option would be to make make better use of my decent internet connection and The Piratebay because I am not buying a DVD which will cost me the same price as 3 movie tickets.

I know, I know. First world problems. Still, I’m allowed to be annoyed. I love movies and I love that cinema, and as a movie fan it’s hard to see it go. The best case scenario is that Cinema Nouveau find another location not too far away and open a new branch, since they do actually have a dedicated audience here in the southern suburbs. I guess only time will tell. Until then…


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