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Updated: Jun 19, 2022

Zurich is a great city! The smallest big city in the world! Just "Little Big City"! Despite its manageable size, it is internationally competitive in many respects. This now also applies to the category "open-air cinemas".

Until yesterday, if you wanted as a swiss resident to visit a great open-air cinema, you needed two tickets. One for the cinema admission and one for the flight:

Travel-loving cineastes might know the open-air cinema in New York's Brooklyn Bridge Park, where you can enjoy Woody Allen's "Manhattan" (1979) in front of the skyline of the same name. If you haven't been there yet, you must put it on "The Bucket List" (2007).

The London "Hot Tub Cinema" is another place where you can just dive in and enjoy movies. It must be a special experience to sit in the warm hot tub and watch Leonardo diCaprio in "Titanic" (1997) sink into the cold Atlantic Ocean to melodramatic flute music. The best thing about it: in the pool - unlike the raft - there is room for more than just one person.

Our big brother Berlin also has something to offer in terms of open-air cinema; the "Freiluftkino Friedrichshain". The perfect setting for this? Wim Wender's "Der Himmel über Berlin" (1987) on the screen and "Berliner Luft" in the glass. This is the moment when the true Berliner sighs softly: "Janz Berlin is eene Wolke".

In contrast to Ricola, the Swiss have not invented the open-air cinema, but with the Hofkino Zurich, the city presents its cineastes with a delicious spectacle that - at the latest after this article - will be the talk of the town and should be very tasty for visitors from Germany and abroad.

The venue "Landesmuseum" is Zurich's "Casterly Rock" and summer residence of the Hofkino makers Daniel Frischknecht Knörr and Rico Fanchini. Embedded in a beautiful city park (Platzspitz) where 30 years ago dramatic scenes took place and "Platzspitz Baby" (2020) as well as "Christiane F." (1981) saw life pass by, today film enthusiasts can recharge their batteries in an environment steeped in history.

The medieval-looking castle complex of the Landesmuseum was completed in 1898 and is hosting the Hofkino for the first time this summer. The thick castle walls shield visitors from everyday life and allow them to relax and immerse themselves in the fantastic world of films and culinary delights.

Unfortunately, I missed the two big events (moon landing and fall of the Berlin Wall) of the last 40 years. Either I was too young (at that time one was with twelve years still no activist) or - that excuses my absence - not yet born. But I didn't want to miss the opening of the Hofkino and today I can proudly say: I was there! Or in the words of a Hofkino sponsor: Been there, done that!

It was a great moment and a great feeling! You may remember Giuseppe Torantore's "Cinema Paradiso" (1988)? When I stood wide-eyed in front of the big entrance gate of the Landesmuseum and the smell of sweet popcorn hit my nose, it was as if I was perceiving that moment through a Super8 film camera. But the admired one was not called Elena, but Hofkino. No film title could better describe the aura of Hofkino than Pan Nalin's "Die Liebe zum Kino" (2022).

Cinema, like a good magazine, tells stories, it amuses, it touches, and it stimulates thought. Cinema is a magical place that becomes a dream factory in the dark. A place where we can escape from everyday life and dive into another world. Of course, it is also possible to achieve such states of consciousness through yoga, but when your 18th birthday is already 22 years ago, you are happy about every day when your fingertips still reach your shoelaces. So, yoga is out! At least for me.

My escape from everyday life is called the cinema - where I can sit and have drinks, food, and friends to help me escape. Cinema is a great experience that we missed during Corona, and sadly, lost a bit of. Netflix on the sofa at home in honor, but it's summer and as a resident of Zurich I - we - simply owe it to Hofkino and their brave and creative makers to get as many people as possible excited about it, because Hofkino does not simply mean cinema. The event also offers off-screen "Fuochi d'artificio" (1997).

In addition to a varied film program and exciting theme nights, the Hofkino convinces with an innovative gastronomic concept: a combination of all-day and event catering open to the public, which in its diversity covers the range from "Cocktail" (1988) to "Ratatouille" (2007) and "Chocolat" (2000).

For reasons of sustainability, the responsible cinema organizers have decided to dispense entirely with meat and to rely on regional suppliers for their purchases. The vegetarian and or plant-based dishes will be prepared by hip gastronomic establishments of the city. This "Eat Pray Love" (2010) sustainability concept sets a new benchmark in Zurich's event gastronomy and therefore deserves a big compliment!

Even on days when "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) doesn't show up and the weather forecast predicts "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" (2009), the Hofkino offers a covered area for gourmets and cineastes. So don't worry: You won't need an umbrella for either "Rain Man" (1988) or "Singin' in the Rain" (1952), and you still won't be left out to dry thanks to the “Red” (2010) Campari Bar.

One thing should have become clear to all of us: The New York Times bestseller "1000 Places to See Before You Die" is incomplete! Just as "1001 Arabian Nights" (1959) is, the book's title should correctly be "1001 Places to See Before You Die", because you haven't lived if you haven't been to the Hofkino!

Oh, dear Hofkino, you are so much more than just an open-air cinema. You are a place that pampers people, inspires them, and makes them happy.... Paraphrasing Rhetts words from "Gone with the wind" (1939), I would like to reveal my love for you: "I love you as I have never loved any other open-air cinema, and I have waited longer for you than for any other open-air cinema."

The Hofkino project began a year ago with the brainchild of two brave cinema and gastronomy experts and yesterday, after a year of planning, it opened its doors and won over its guests all along the line. It was an unforgettable and great evening. Like in a movie!

Thank you, Daniel! Thank you, Rico, for giving Zurich this open-air cinema! I will personally lobby our city president to have you chiseled in stone on the forecourt of the Landesmuseum, even if I must carry the marble barefoot on my back to Zurich. The back-friendly alternative would be a "Hofkino-Street". In whatever form, this project, and the people behind it deserve an appreciation that goes beyond a mention in our magazine. I am open to suggestions and a good "Negotiator" (1998).

Corinne, these two more than deserve it. Go see it for yourself!

Hofkino runs until July 10 at the Zurich National Museum. @hofkino

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