Central city  |  27 Jun 2019

After an eight year absence, cinema has returned to Christchurch’s historic Arts Centre.

The new two-screen Lumière cinema will officially open tonight, with the first public movie screenings set for tomorrow night.

Inside the Lumiere cinema.

Inside the Lumière cinema at the Arts Centre.

Set in an award-winning Gothic Revival heritage building overlooking the North Quad, the Lumière is the creation of Nick Paris, who has worked in Christchurch’s cinema and film industry for 40 years, and Max Hoffman, a former Hollywood screenwriter.

Mr Paris says Lumière will take filmgoers back to cinema’s “good old days”.

“Although the habits of watching moving images are constantly evolving, the social value and pleasure of watching a film in a special place such as ours remains unique and undiminished,’’ he says.

The Arts Centre was home to cinemas from 1976 until the February 2011 earthquake significantly damaged many buildings and resulted in the closure of the entire centre. A $250 million restoration programme began in 2012 with buildings being progressively restored and reopened. Two thirds of the programme is complete with 15 buildings restored and reopened to the public.

The Arts Centre programmes and partnerships manager Chris Archer says it is wonderful to have cinema return home after an eight-year absence.

“Cinema has been integral to The Arts Centre for 35 years – and counting – and the opening of Lumière marks another milestone in our restoration and rejuvenation.

“Lumière is a resplendent cinema offering unique, quality films and film festivals from across the spectrum and it fits wonderfully with The Arts Centre’s raison d'etre as a centre of the arts and a hub for creativity with rich layers of experiences,’’ Mr Archer says.

“Nick and Max should be very proud of the cinematic world they’ve created and we at The Arts Centre are thrilled to be helping them share it with the community and visitors alike.”

The first movie to be screened publicly at Lumière will be Another Day of Life (Jeszcze Dzień Życia), which is part of the NZ Polish Film Festival.

Another Day of Life will be followed by another festival screening of Nina on Saturday and then Voices of the Land: Ngā Reo o te Whenua will be showing on Sunday and Ngāti on 7 July, both as part of The Arts Centre’s Matariki 2019 celebrations.

Regular scheduling will begin Monday 1 July.

Tickets can be purchased at lumierecinemas.co.nz or, from Friday 28 June, at the box office accessed from 26 Rolleston Avenue (opposite the Botanic Gardens).