"In three journeys between 2010 and 2013 we have photographed movie theatres from the ‘Thirties to the ‘Seventies in South India. The photos of these buildings give eloquent testimony to the rich cinematic culture of those times. We are particularly interested in the culturally influenced reinterpretation of modern building style apparent in the architectural style, which displays an unusual mixture of Modernism, local architectural elements, a strong use of colour and, in the case of some older cinema halls, of Art Deco. The facades often seem like mock-ups affixed to the building, thus emphasizing the architecture’s distinctly theatrical, stage-like character. In this way, the function of setting, of central importance to the cinema film and to the process of immersion, which plays an important role in film presentations, are integrated into the architecture itself. This interesting intensification of the building’s function is continued in the interior of the cinema. Here, too, one occasionally finds extravagant sculptural forms and ornaments that place the visitors in a stage-like atmosphere, thus priming them for the coming cinematic experience. Many movie theatres in South India are left in their original state. Nonetheless, remodelling into multiplex cinemas is already underway, in particular in major cities, and will result in these buildings’ disappearance as witnesses to their times. The photographs document a part of cinema culture that has already largely vanished in Europe and the USA, and is increasingly being supplanted by commercial interests and technical developments in India, as well."
Sabine Haubitz, born in Nördlingen, studied at Academy of Fine Arts Berlin and Munich. She won the Kodak Prize for Young Photographers and was assistant teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich. She died 2014 at Piz Kesch, Switzerland.
Stefanie Zoche, born in Munich, studied at École des Beaux Arts de Perpignan and at Middlesex Polytechnic. She was Artist in Residence at Künstlerateliers Duende, Rotterdam and is lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.
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