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Cinema Walk 3rd Yokohama Cinemarin, Isezakicho, Yokohama

キネマ散歩 第3回横浜市伊勢佐木町「横浜シネマリン」

``Everyone who watches this movie becomes Mirai Moriyama.Regardless of age or gender, everyone empathizes with him and their heart tightens.''
Atsuko Yawata, the manager of Yokohama Cinemarin, told me about the movie poster that caught my attention. It's not a movie that was interesting or one that resonated with the main character's feelings, but one that made you become Mirai Moriyama. At the same time, my interest in the work was aroused, and at the same time, I could clearly feel Mr. Hachiman's love and passion for movies.

When I looked around Isezaki-cho after a long hiatus, I saw that some of the familiar stores had been replaced by new ones. Despite all this, the atmosphere remains unchanged, and there remains a corner that looks like it was taken straight out of the Showa era. Lured by movie posters and retro signboards, you will find ``Yokohama Cinemarin'' as you descend the stairs to the basement.

The interior of the newly renovated building is bright and clean, with white as the main color. There is a reception desk right in front of you as you enter, and movie posters and colorful related goods are displayed surrounding the reception desk. When I walked a little further and turned around, I saw a movie trailer playing on a projector on a part of the wall that jutted out from the ceiling. It's an exciting device that makes you feel like you've found a hidden truck.

This cinema has one screen with 102 seats and uses a screening system that combines digital and film screening. One of its major attractions is that it has high-quality sound.

Cinemarin's history dates back to 1954, over 60 years ago. The theater was founded by Yoshimoto Kogyo as Kagetsu Movie Theater during the heyday of movies and plays, when nearly 40 movie theaters were lined up from Isezaki Mall to Bashamichi. In 1963, ``Kagetsu Movie Theater'' closed, but the following year it changed its name to ``Isezaki Cinema'' and reopened under a new manager. In 1986, the manager's son took over the theater, and in 1989, the theater name was changed to the current Yokohama Cinemarin, although the parent company remained unchanged. For a while, the main screenings were Nikkatsu's Roman Porno and All Night, but around this time they began showing mainly Shochiku-related works.

Yokohama Cinemarin, which had survived many changes and continued to remain in the movie town, faced its next challenge in 2014 with the wave of digitalization. The theater was scheduled to continue showing movies using a projector, but no film productions were made at all, and the theater was in danger of closing.

At that time, the current manager, Mr. Hachiman, received a phone call.
"Hachiman-san, didn't you say you wanted to open a movie theater? Actually, a certain movie theater is about to close, so would you like to take over?"

When the person in charge of maintaining Cinemarin's projectors thought about how they could somehow keep the place afloat, he remembered Mr. Yahata, who was active in a movie club. Mr. Yawata had no experience in running a company, but when he was told that he had to respond immediately because he had kept the building's owner and previous manager waiting, he said, ``Then I have no choice but to do it.'' It seems like he stood up and made a big decision!

When running a film club, it would take time to raise large sums of money, so Mr. Hachiman decided to run the business on his own. It was a challenge that would have consumed all of their assets, but all the brothers agreed, saying, ``Isn't it okay to contribute to culture?'' and in 2014, the president of the new Yokohama Cinemalin took on the challenge. was born. The development is so dramatic that a movie could be made just from this alone.

When I first became a director, I left negotiations with distribution companies regarding major films to experienced staff members, but I wanted to have a face-to-face relationship with people at film distribution companies, so I decided to become a manager myself. Apparently, he negotiated with them to get the works. At first, I had zero experience and relationships, so I wasn't able to get as many movies as I wanted, and there were often holes in the screening schedule. Apparently, they filled in the blanks by organizing special screenings.
``During that year, there were an unusually large number of special features. I tried doing a special feature on Seijun Suzuki, a special feature on Ren Osugi, etc.,'' said Hachiman, looking back on those days with a laugh. This strategy was successful, and people started telling us that ``Cinemaline seems to be good at showing special features,'' and the number of films they were able to screen gradually increased.

As you can see, special screenings and events are Cinemarin's strength. When I asked him about the war special he does every summer, he gave me the following answer.
``We've been doing peace movies in the summer even before we took over the movie theater, so we've been doing it in our movie club.We also want to give people an opportunity to take a closer look at the wars that took place in the past. I think that's the role of movie theaters.We do this every year because we want people to learn about history from movies.We plan to continue doing this every year.''

Cinemarin is a place where you can not only enjoy movies, but also learn through movies and make new discoveries. It also provides an opportunity to experience the place called Isezaki Town.

Mr. Yawata says, ``I want to hold more community-based events,'' and he is already collaborating with local shops in various ways. When there is a special feature on Taiwanese movies, there will be a regular discount campaign for ticket stubs at nearby Taiwanese restaurants, and for the upcoming special feature on jazz movies, they are planning a collaboration with a jazz bar. He said that these events and collaborations are possible because Isezaki Town is a good ``town for common people.''

``Isezaki Town is a town for ordinary people.The stores that were originally there are long-established clothing stores that are disappearing...It used to be a kimono town.It's a bit lonely, though.But for the people who come, It's not Yokohama Station, it's not Minato Mirai, it's not Motomachi, it's Isezakicho.I think it's easy to come here.People who come from other places like this because there's a shopping street like this in a place like this. There were quite a few people walking around, and I was wondering where all these people had come from. That made me really happy."

On the way home, I looked over the posters of the movies scheduled to be screened, and when I asked him what he kept in mind when choosing a movie, he answered, ``I didn't intentionally choose movies that reflected the social nature of the time, but in the end I chose the movies.'' Many of them reflect the social nature of the time."
This made me realize once again that the movie experience at Yokohama Cinemarin is entertainment, learning, discovery, and encounter. We hope you will be able to temporarily disconnect from reality in this underground space down the stairs and experience a dream moment that can only be found at ``Cinemaline''.


Click here for Cinema Walk #1 “Cinema Jack & Betty”
Click here for the 2nd Cinema Walk “Cinema Novecento”

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