Italy: Milan’s Anteo Palazzo del Cinema launch first VR space within a movie theater venue

Milan: Milan’s Anteo Palazzo del Cinema is set to become Italy’s first moviegoing venue to program VR cinema on a year-round basis.

The Anteo, a 10-screen cityplex considered a temple of quality cinema in the northern Italian city, is launching the VR space, as it celebrates its 44th year of activity. The launch is being made in tandem with RAI Cinema, the film arm of Italian state broadcaster RAI that is providing the first batch of VR titles.

Anteo now has a space with 20 VR chair platforms, each with a Pico G2 4K VR headset, where for a low €5 ($5.4) ticket price viewers can watch a selection of titles. These currently include: “Lockdown 2020 – Invisible Italy,” a doc by Omar Rashid taking viewers on a tour of the beauty and desolation of Italian cities such as Venice, Florence and Rome during the pandemic; “The Divine Comedy VR – Inferno”; and “Volcano – The Life That’s Sleeping,” an immersive experience showing the spectacular 2021 eruption in Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall volcano that came after a slumber that lasted hundreds of years.

Anteo chief Lionello Cerri told Variety he is looking to expand the VR space programming, possibly by showcasing titles launched from the Venice Film Festival which is at the forefront of the VR space, though Anteo currently has no agreement with Venice in place. Since 2017 the Lido has been launching VR films that have gone on to grab top awards and promoting emerging filmmakers in this cutting-edge medium. But until now Italy lagged behind in terms of VR venues.

“We want to explore all the novelties and changes in the world of cinema,” said Cerri, who pointed out that besides feature films and docs Anteo, and other arthouse cinemas in Italy, also program event TV shows such as Marco Bellocchio’s limited series “Exterior Night” about the abduction and assassination of former Italian premier Aldo Moro by Red Brigades terrorists that launched from Cannes last year.