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Wednesday Jan 09, 2013

Cavendish Square closes final curtain on Cinema Nouveau

After three decades of art cinema, Ster-Kinekor's Cinema Nouveau at Cavendish Square will shut down on January 17, and its patrons are furious.

"It is disgusting. I'm very heartsore. I'm one of several old ladies who come to the cinema on Tuesdays. What draws me here is the quality of the movies. I've been coming for as long as (the) cinema has been here," Claremont pensioner Janice Prendergast said.

Cavendish Square had decided to allocate the space to another tenant and patrons to the theatre could in future watch movies at the Waterfront, Ster-Kinekor chief executive Fiaz Mahomed said.

"Cinema Nouveau commenced trading at Cavendish Square on September 1, 1982 and has since then built a loyal following among art movie lovers in the mother city," Mahomed said.

Prendergast said: "The rising fuel price plus parking fees will add to the costs of our weekly outing if we go the Waterfront. I'm also quite disappointed in Cavendish Square. They are letting a (art movie) culture go out of the window. There are enough stores and food outlets here. If a new tenant is paying more rent, it all boils down to pure greed by the centre."

Her friend, Anne Cosgreave of Constantia said: "I think it is just terrible. Nouveau has been here 30 years. I go every week and meet up with friends. The Waterfront means sitting in traffic going there and coming back."

Upper Wynberg resident Archie Arendse said: "It is very, very disappointing. My wife and I are regulars here especially when there are international film festivals. I normally come and see what good movie can be viewed. I have no idea why the cinema must close down, but my assumption is that big business is behind the move."

Ster-Kinekor marketing executive Doug Place said it was probing ways to soften the blow for Cinema Nouveau staff. "The process is not yet finalised," he said.

Cavendish Square communications manager Lauren Baronet said the cinema's visitor numbers had declined since 2009 while a demand for retail space prompted the decision not to renew SterKinekor's lease.

"Consumer demand for an addition to the retail offering was confirmed by independent research undertaken in May, June and July 2012. A proposal that the Cinema Nouveau be accommodated within the SterKinekor complex on the upper levels of the centre was not regarded as commercially viable by Ster-Kinekor," Baronet said in a statement.

Cinema Nouveau's closure will be weeks before February 5 when the Western Cape High Court revisits a provisional liquidation application against city art cinema The Labia.

Trustees of Schaeffer Technologies Trust, the former owners of the Kloof Street centre housing the cinema, alleged the Labia's owners, Labia Theatre, had failed to pay R1.6 million in outstanding rent.

Cape Times

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