Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood’s arthouse, genre, and independent cinema, is to become the first cinema in Los Angeles to re-open on Friday, June 19, 2020 with special engagements of classic BAFTA and Independent Spirit Award winner The Unbearable Lightness of Being and the 2020 festival winner Babyteeth starring Ben Mendelsohn. Ushering in what maybe a new normal in cinema attendance for sometime to come. With many cinema’s having remained closed worldwide since March. However, the Cinelounge reopening shines a ray of light on industry learning to adapt to COVID 19. One that we will watch with interest as UK cinemas also begin planning their reopening in late July.
The Arena Cinelounge is re-opening having taken onboard all public health protocols in the US, including a new air purification system, seat disinfecting between screenings, socially distanced seating and concessions specially packaged for contactless delivery. Providing a testing ground for audience reactions and attendance in the coming weeks.
Owner Christian Meoli founded Arena Cinelounge in 2012, when he saw the need for an art house cinema devoted to new indie films in Hollywood. Beginning by exhibiting films in a 99-seat theatre located next to The Egyptian Theatre, previously the former iconic Egyptian Theatre 2 & 3 that closed in 1992. Through sheer determination and a love of new filmmakers, Arena Cinelounge quickly became Hollywood’s premiere arthouse film destination for new, truly independent cinema. Now housed in a built out, state-of-the-art new concept cinema at 6464 Sunset Blvd, Arena Cinelounge is an Academy Award qualifying theatre that has shown over 2000 new titles with 1-2 premieres a weekend for new titles.
Marking its grand re-opening, Arena Cinelounge has two special engagements to welcome audiences back:
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Romance. Beautiful 4K restoration of this cinema classic. Directed by Philip Kaufman. Written by Kaufman and Jean-Claude Carriere. Based on the novel by Milan Kundera. Produced by Saul Zaentz. From Orion Pictures. (Color, 1988, USA, 171 minutes, rated R) Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin, Erland Josephson, Derek De Lint, Pavel Landovsky. Tomas is a doctor and a lady-killer in 1960s Czechoslovakia, an apolitical man who is struck with love for the bookish country girl Tereza; his more sophisticated sometime lover Sabina eventually accepts their relationship and the two women form an electric friendship. The three are caught up in the events of the Prague Spring; Pingyao (1968), until the Soviet tanks crush the non-violent rebels; their illusions are shattered and their lives change forever. “Richly satisfying…. Absolutely enchanting.” (Variety). Winner of the Film Independent Spirit Award; BAFTA Award; Boston Society of Film Critics Awards; National Society of Film Critics Awards; National Board of Review Award.
- Babyteeth. Comedy/Drama. Directed by Shannon Murphy. Written by Rita Kalnejais. Produced by Alex White. From IFC Films. (Color, 2020, Australia, 118 minutes, not rated) Starring Eliza Scanlen, Ben Mendelsohn, Toby Wallace, Essie Davis, Andrea Demetriades, Emily Barclay. When seriously ill teenager Milla falls madly in love with smalltime drug dealer Moses, it’s her parents’ worst nightmare. But as Milla’s first brush with love brings her a new lust for life, things get messy and traditional morals go out the window. Milla soon shows everyone in her orbit – her parents, Moses, a sensitive music teacher, a budding child violinist, and a disarmingly honest pregnant neighbour – how to live like you have nothing to lose. What might have been a disaster for the Finlay family instead leads to letting go and finding grace in the glorious chaos of life. Babyteeth joyously explores how good it is not to be dead yet and how far we will go for love. Winner- Palm Springs International Film Festival; FEST International Film Festival; Luxembourg City Film Festival; Marrakech International Film Festival; Pingyao International Film Festival; Sao Paulo International Film Festival; Venice Film Festival; Zurich Film Festival.