ATHENS – ATHENS, GreeceThey're like enchanted pleasure gardens concealed in the depths of the city that open their gates for a few months every year.
And like so much else, Greece's open-air cinemas — where you can enjoy a movie in the flower-scented moonlight with a drink, a snack and even a smoke — have been hard-hit by lockdown measures.
Under the country's partial reopening, open-air cinemas started operating on June 1, a month late and with considerable restrictions: Far fewer seats and no interval, both of which are bad for revenues.
Business so far has been slow, due to these establishments' main operational hazard even in sunny Greece — rain.
“It's been raining for three days,” said projector operator Pavlos Lepeniotis, mopping hard as an afternoon downpour soaked the spaced-out seats and sent cats disdainfully stalking off into cover.
“We had about two people at each show,” he said. “They enjoyed the film, though, and thanked us afterwards. ... We don't ever close all summer and we like that, we have a good time here.”
Lepeniotis works at the Zephyros cinema in Athens' central Petralona district, built in 1933. It's festooned with posters for its specialty, 1950s, ‘60s and ’70s arthouse films.
Health restrictions forced operators to roughly halve seating, with 120 of Zephyros' usual 250 seats laid out — many accompanied by a round metal table for cinema-goers to rest their drinks.