At one and a half metres from the nachos with cheese sauce

Film in the Time of Corona: part 5


It doesn’t look like the cinemas will be reopening their doors any time soon, albeit that market leader Pathé has been working on a plan for ‘one-and-a-half-metre cinemas’. NRC published an article on the subject: only one quarter of the seats will be sold (online), employees will wear ‘attendance vests’ and the cinemas will be fitted with coughing screens, walking routes and disinfecting pillars. The plan has led to unrest in the Dutch film world: the small film theatres – where the proposed measures are neither financially nor practically implementable – fear that they will suffer. In addition, the question is how much fun would a visit to the cinema be in this way, although I do also see advantages: that one-and-a-half-metre distance from other visitors seems like a blessing to me in cinemas where they also sell nachos with cheese sauce.

So, let’s wait and see whether Pathé Maastricht will reopen in the near future, but in anticipation of further news on the subject, we thought it would be a good thing to take a closer look at the Video On Demand (VOD) on offer by Pathé Thuis.

What is Pathé Thuis? 

Pathé Thuis offers a selection of films that have recently been in the cinema. Het beste uit de bioscoop als eerste thuis, (the first to have the cinema’s best at home) is therefore their slogan. Ideal if you have missed a film in the cinema and don’t want to wait for its release on DVD or Blu-ray.

How does it work?

There is no subscription model; you pay per film. The price (which makes the film available for 48 hours) ranges between 2.99 and 7.99 euro. You can also buy the film, after which you can watch the film without any restrictions online. Those prices are, however, very high and the price difference with the Blu-ray version is often very small. So, not an attractive option.

What have they got on offer?

That is in line with what the Pathé cinemas have on offer: a mix of commercial genres, including action, comedy, horror, crime, war, romance and thriller, topped up with some arthouse and documentaries. If you look beyond the Top 20 and the latest titles on the opening page, you will find a large selection of slightly older titles and a handful of modern classics.

Judgement of Solomon

There is nothing wrong with the selection of films offered by Pathé Thuis and it is a lot more diverse than you would think based on the one-sided programming in the Pathé cinemas.

Top 3 best films on Pathé Thuis (April 2020)

1. The Truman Show – Peter Weir (1998) 

Intelligent satire on the phenomenon of reality TV. Jim Carrey portrays Truman, a man who has lived his whole life in a small town that is completely covered by cameras. Unbeknown to Truman, his life is controlled from a direction room. The programme’s slogan is How’s it going to end? A question that we now ask ourselves daily.

2. Room – Lenny Abrahamson (2015)

Are you stuck at home with your children or your younger brother or sister? Know that it can always be worse. Jack and his mother are locked inside a tiny room. It is their whole world; Jack was born there and it became a jail for his mother five years ago after she was abducted. A touching drama about the resilience of the human mind in isolation.

3. The Breakfast Club – John Hughes (1985)

Not quite so socially acceptable anymore in the #MeToo era, but the editors of Observant were insistent that this week – when the new Roman Polanski film premieres online –there should at least be one unsuitable film in the top 3. This nineteen-eighties’ classic follows five teenagers who don’t know each other but who have to spend Saturday afternoon in detention at school. At the end of the afternoon, they have no secrets left from each other. A lesson for our present time: don’t be a peeping tom to your neighbours, but talk to each other and maybe we will all come out of the crisis being better people. 

Mark Vluggen

At one and a half metres from the nachos with cheese sauce