SAVE THE ASTOR!
There are a lot of great cinemas and theatres in Australia. Lots. So when I tell you that The Astor Theatre in Melbourne is the best of them all, you should know it's beating out a lot of stiff competition.
As a shorthand for AICN readers, The Astor is the Alamo Drafthouse. It's a beautiful art deco building, and plays classic films the way they were meant to be seen (I've seen both LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY in 70mm there many times) and new films using the best technology available (their 4K digital projection system is incredible). Last year they had a John Waters retrospective and a Sergio Leone festival. They're currently playing a run of Marx Bros films. They're one of the few cinemas in Australia that secured CABIN IN THE WOODS after the narrowly-avoided-straight-to-video debacle that I won't go into here.
It's also one of the most important film preservation groups in Melbourne, offering free storage of 35mm and 70mm simply to stop them being destroyed by distributors. (Are you aware that many distributors have a policy of destroying prints? It's frightening stuff.)
Last year, The Astor celebrated its 75th birthday with a screening of 1933's KING KONG. It was an incredible night, and an important reminder of how essential this place is.
And now it's in danger of being shut down.
I don't go into all the details now. What I will direct you to is the following:
What can you do?
Well, if you're in Melbourne this Saturday, you're going to want to go along to the Protect The Astor rally. There's going to be free popcorn, celebrity guests, jaffa rolling (an Australian cinema tradition) and a free screening of LABYRINTH (which looks incredible on the Astor's screen).
When: 12pm to 3pm, Saturday 16 June
Where: The Astor Theatre - 1 Chapel Street, St Kilda (cnr Dandenong Road)
If you're a Melbourne film geek worth your salt, there is no more important thing you will do this year.