Here's another one of those quirky individual things that you just hate to see perish. An article (A Last Bastion of Movie Magic, August 10, in English) by Jane Paulick for Deutsche Welle describes the devastating effects that the craze for the vanilla multiplex has had on independent cinemas in Berlin, which have been
crushed by soaring rents, weak demand and the onslaught of chain multiplex theaters. It's a fate shared by cinemas across the country. In Berlin alone, six cinemas were forced to shut in 2003, while a total of eleven cinemas have gone dark since 1998, replaced by anonymous multiplexes indistinguishable from others in London, Hong Kong or New Jersey. As the lights go out in one movie theater after another, Berlin looks set to lose one of its most unique arts. The demise of the independent movie theater also spells the end of the hand-painted movie poster. They may not have the polish of the new-era glossy posters, but they have old-fashioned charm in abundance -- and that's what Berlin's celluloid tradition is all about. Though a number of theaters are still supporting the time-honored tradition of the hand-painted movie poster, the art is clearly in its twilight years.Hand-painted movie posters? It's a wonderful idea, worth keeping alive.