People ride on a gondola before a movie begins at a float-in cinema.(REUTERS)
People ride on a gondola before a movie begins at a float-in cinema.(REUTERS)

Movie goers opt for taste of Venice in Philippines with float-in cinema. See pics

Gondola moviegoers may sit two to a boat, with up to 10 guests per screening and boats kept metres apart.
By Reuters | Posted By: Trisha Sengupta | Manila
UPDATED ON DEC 19, 2020 08:42 PM IST

Some moviegoers in the Philippine capital, tired of lengthy COVID-19 restrictions, are opting for a taste of Venice, bobbing in front of the big screen in socially distanced gondolas.

Gondoliers in striped uniforms steer and position each boat in an outdoor canal to watch full-length films, a rare chance to visit the cinema after nine months of lockdowns.

“Riding a boat made it a unique experience,” patron Violet Gatchalian told Reuters at the Venice Grand Canal-themed shopping mall in Manila. “It’s also one of the first cinemas to reopen so we wanted to try it.”

People on gondolas watch a movie while observing social distancing. (REUTERS)
People on gondolas watch a movie while observing social distancing. (REUTERS)

Philippine cinemas have been closed since mid-March, when President Rodrigo Duterte imposed one of the world’s toughest and longest lockdowns. With more than 456,000 coronavirus infections and 8,875 COVID-19 deaths, the Philippines is Southeast Asia’s hardest-hit country after Indonesia.

The government started gradually reopening the economy in June, but most non-essential businesses remain shut - in Manila, the gondola cinema and a drive-through theatre are the only movie venues.

People on a gondola watch a movie in Venice Grand Canal Mall, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. (REUTERS)
People on a gondola watch a movie in Venice Grand Canal Mall, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. (REUTERS)

Gondola moviegoers may sit two to a boat, with up to 10 guests per screening and boats kept metres apart. Admission is 500 pesos ($10), roughly the minimum daily wage in the capital.

The float-in cinema aims to lift the spirits of guests and help film industry workers, said Graham Coates, head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls.

People on gondolas watch a movie. (REUTERS)
People on gondolas watch a movie. (REUTERS)

Guests bring their own earphones and listen to audio broadcast at a radio frequency available only to those aboard the gondolas.

Guests bring their own earphones and listen to audio broadcast at a particular radio frequency. (REUTERS)
Guests bring their own earphones and listen to audio broadcast at a particular radio frequency. (REUTERS)

Open-air cinemas are seeing a revival in many parts of the world as the leisure industry figures out how to deal with the constraints of the pandemic.

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