NEWS

Are lights dimming on Athens nightlife?

When going out on a Saturday night in Athens, the last thing that comes to mind is the word «crisis.» People are everywhere – in the cinemas, theaters, eateries and bars. Saturday nights are most misleading when trying to gauge the strength of consumers’ wallets. Kathimerini spoke to people who work in the aforementioned establishments as well as their patrons. The financial crisis has started to bare its teeth, but this is more due to low consumer confidence. People are concerned but not enough to cut back on recreational indulgences. However, they are now more conscious of where they spend their money. Nightlife workers also know that in the next few months only the «hardiest» venues will survive. For a cinema owner in Athens, the word «crisis» is a familiar one. Leonidas Papageorgiou, the owner of two cinemas on Patission Street – the Trianon and Ilion – has seen many cinemas shut down recently. «We have been living the crisis for some time now but for us and the two cinemas we represent this has proven to be an unexpectedly good year.» This is true. The neighboring Phillip movie house has seen ticket sales rise 20 percent, and the Trianon 5 percent. «As far as I know, other cinemas with a similar orientation, such as the Danaos and Asty, are also showing some increase in sales. Specific programs for movie buffs have gone well this year.» Papageorgiou also attributes it to pure luck. «We were quite lucky with some movies that did much better than expected. Last year’s Palme d’Or winner, ‘Entre les murs,’ was one. The cinema owner believes that movie houses that cater to movie buffs will better endure the crisis. «Our audience is more loyal. The theater owner spends a great deal of his time in the cinema, communicating with people. Often customers forge a bond with us, which is what social life should be.»