Twenty years ago, a group of students opened a film club inside a former print shop in Monti, transforming the snobbish scene of Rome’s independent cinemas for good.
Their art-house cinema was punk –unlike any other independent cinema in Rome- and offered a wide range of cultural experiences besides the screenings.
Despite the fact that I lived just around the corner for a few years, this is my first time at Cinema Detour, the independent cinema in Monti that is currently hosting the 5th film festival “On the Road”.
The location itself is lovely: with its multiple couches, tables and cushions it looks more like your own living room than a cinema. Usually, the movie is screened both inside the cosy theatre and in the foyer, which was my favourite spot as it’s very homey and intimate.
Goosebumps rise on my arms as I enter the former VEB Spezialmaschinenfabrik factory for the last time. I do the same tour I’ve taken many times a day for the last ten days: entering from Club Desolat’s collaborative passageway, carrying on straight towards Miezwars’ sculptures, then back on my footsteps and up on the staircase dotted with Taina’s cute monsters.
Except, this is the last time I’m having The Tour.
Despite the fact that 100+ artists are painting, building, welding and creating non-stop since one week, the former VEB Spezialmaschinenfabrik is so huge that for the whole time there has been plenty of empty corners waiting to be claimed. Therefore, the artists have had the opportunity to experiment, collaborate and go beyond their usual work, since once the ‘main piece’ was done –and consequentially the performance anxiety was gone- this huge empty space appeared to them as full of possibilities.
Even if I arrived only two days ago, the abandoned factory VEB Spezialmaschinenfabrik has already changed a lot.
I remember the first-day feeling of walking on glass debris while venturing into the empty belly of the whale and through its dark bowels.
When the afternoon light entering from the broken panes and cutting diagonally the air was the most tangible thing in a room.