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New Cinematheque Passion operators write ‘love letter to the cinema’

Jenny Ip Chao Mui, operations manager of Cinematheque•Passion, says that her new team consists of young people full of passion and aspirations, adding that the team wants to pay tribute to their love of cinematic art, therefore they entitled September’s reopening theme as “A Love Letter to the Cinema”.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:47 am

Jenny Ip Chao Mui, operations manager of Cinematheque•Passion, says that her new team consists of young people full of passion and aspirations, adding that the team wants to pay tribute to their love of cinematic art, therefore they entitled September’s reopening theme as “A Love Letter to the Cinema”.

Ip made the remarks during an interview with the Macau Post Daily last week at the newly renovated Cinematheque•Passion in Travessa da Paixão.

New energy

The cinema has been temporarily closed since July for renovations and maintenance. When asked what kind of physical changes the general public would see, Ip said that the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) has been carrying out the heritage conservation work, pointing out that there will be newly painted walls and fixed facilities. She underlined that the new operators brought in more books and a new projector for the cinema. The team also revamped the website, she added.

This year, Cinematheque•Passion’s contract was won by Companhia de Produção de Entretenimento e Cultura, a company still little known among local film buffs, in an open tender. According to Ip, the new team comprises mostly young people who “share the same passion”.

The Macau Post Daily asked Ip if the new team felt pressured when being compared to the previous operator. She replied: “I would be lying if I say we don’t feel pressure.” However, she added that “the pressure is the team’s biggest motivation to get better”.

Ip confessed that the team encountered a lot of difficulties, especially as they have only had a few months to prepare for the reopening.

“But I am very confident with my new team. [The members] are very persistent. I guess this is one of the strengths of my new team,” Ip said smiling through her facemask. She added that her team has been hearing a lot of feedback from the general public regarding the new operation system.

“I think it is very good to receive feedback. [The team] is willing to listen and make instant changes. We change for the better,” Ip said when the Macau Post Daily asked her about the feedback circulating online.

When asked whether the new team would change the ambience, Ip said that the previous operator had built a successful, strong and solid ambience for the cinema and her team wanted to continue the same atmosphere.

Films about films

Singing in the Rain is the first film that will be shown tomorrow. Ip said that the team “unanimously agreed” to use this classic film to kickstart the cinema.

“This film represents the historical movement from silent films to sound films. Therefore, it can represent a positive attitude when facing challenges,” Ip said. She added that the team wants to “use a light-hearted film to cheer up people who are experiencing challenges during [the novel coronavirus pandemic]”.

Ip said that during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the cinematic business has been severely impacted, adding that it has altered the film-watching culture. Therefore, her team entitled September’s theme as “A Love Letter to the Cinema” to pay tribute to their beloved cinematic art.

When talking about their film selections, Ip said the films have been chosen because they could “evoke people’s indescribable love for cinematic art”.

She highlighted a few of her favourite films, including 8 1/2, Purple Rose of Cairo and Cinema Paradiso. She said she wanted to “use these films to invite audiences from one film world to another in the mind of the directors”, adding that the main idea behind the movies is “films about films”.

Ip said that the tickets sales for all the films were doing “better than expected”, adding that a lot of her favourite films were “almost sold out”.

Because of COVID-19 prevention measures, each screening will only allow 27 spectators, or half the maximum seating.

Cinematic passion

Ip said that her team’s short-term goal was to have a “really good” programme for audiences since the general public had high expectations. For on-going goals, she said that her team wants to contribute to the Macao film industry. She also said that she is keen to cooperate with neighbouring territories and have local films air in different regions.

Ip underlined that her team has plans to bring directors from different regions to Macao, but the plan has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ip pointed out that in the past decade, Macao has relied on Hong Kong as a source of films. “My team and I want to break through this way of operation. Our biggest goal is to have the film source before Hong Kong,” she said.

Ip said that recently her team was invited to Beijing for a premiere and was able to have the film source before Hong Kong. “Baby steps. We will slowly achieve our goal,” she said.

When talking about the genre of films the cinematheque would be showing, Ip said three types of film would be shown: art house films, independent films, and local productions.

“Through those films, we want the concept of ‘cinematic passion’ to be known by the world,” Ip said with a sparkle in her eyes.

(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
PHOTO © Exmoo

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:47 am

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