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In Paris, the Luminor cinema is threatened with closure

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“Please turn off your phone before the screening begins”. In the dark, a few dozen spectators await the start of the screening in great silence. That day, the Luminor, an art house cinema located in 4e arrondissement of Paris, plans 140 km west of paradise, a documentary about the Highlands and its people in Papua New Guinea. The session is followed by a meeting with its director, Céline Rouzet.

Between screenings, film club and debates with the public, the Luminor has given rhythm to the cultural life of Marais regulars since 1912. However, this vestige of independent neighborhood cinema, born with the silent film and which has known several lives in a hundred and ten years of existence, could soon close its doors. In a statement released on social networks september 21the establishment announced that Sofra, the company that owns the premises, “wants to expel the cinema” to install “shops or offices”. However, the management of the real estate group insists on the fact that“No project has yet been decided on for the fate of the premises. Which can be used for multiple purposes, including cultural ones”.

“It’s cultural vandalism”

Sofra manages, through its subsidiary Kléber Roussillon, more than eleven cultural sites in France, including the Luminor, formerly the Latina, acquired thirty-five years ago. The company announced that it had not renewed the lease of the establishment eighteen months ago. “Support for Luminor, through a very advantageous commercial lease, no longer falls within Sofra’s objectives”, particularly justifies the management. This decision angers film officials. ” We did not expect that, explains François Yon, producer and manager of Luminor. Sofra offers us compensation for eviction, but it will certainly not be sufficient. » Since the two parties have not found any amicable agreement, the Paris court has been seized and an expert will be appointed to set the amount of these indemnities. Its conclusions are expected in early 2023.

Each year, the Luminor registers more than 100,000 entries, a more than satisfactory result, according to the management of the establishment. “It’s cultural vandalism, continues François Yon. We have always paid our rent diligently despite the rather difficult conditions. » If the showdown between the two sides continues, the management is counting on public support to tip the scales in its favor, even if the path seems narrow for the Luminor to remain a cinema in the future. An online petition was launched Thursday, September 22 against the closure. Close to 8,000 signatures have been collected to date.

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