Firstly – a small cinema and big dreams, secondly – three women, and in the background the sound of sea waves. This is what I have before my eyes when I think about the cinema in Jastarnia. Only one thing is missing in this frame – warm neon light. I talk to Patrycja Blindow, co-owner of the cinema, about how it can change soon and thanks to you.
Does appetite come with eating?
We did not dare to collect the money to restore the large neon right away. So we started by encouraging people to support the creation of a small one inside. But our whip-round immediately met with great favour, gathered pace and … in four days we had the full amount of 6,000,000 PLN. The goal was achieved, and we still had more than three weeks of fundraising, so supported by a lot of warm words and at the urging supporters, we decided to collect the money for the big neon that could hang on the front of the building – 14 000 PLN.
To what extent is the new neon supposed to refer to the original? Is it more of a reconstruction or an inspiration?
The new neon will only be slightly smaller than the previous one. As big as the original one, it simply wouldn’t fit, because we now have an awning above the door. But it will still be larger than the currently hanging cassette and will be the most accurate representation of its predecessor.
And when did the old neon disappear?
When my family took over The Sailor cinema in 1991, the neon was still there, although it was not working. Only a sheet of metal remained. Dagusia, my mother was looking for a magician to fix it for a really long time. Eventually, she did not find him, because it was a time when everybody got choked with modernity and nobody paid much attention to old neon signs. In the end, the Sailor’s neon disappeared, probably in the scrapyard, sometime around the turn of the centuries, when the cinema was undergoing renovation of the hall and facade.
Why the neon became an important feature of creating the cinema’s identity today?
Maybe if this was a new cinema, we wouldn’t want to create a new neon. But neon lights are a symbol of a certain era and we got through with our complexes. The cinema is old and that’s it. And neon fits perfectly into this retro atmosphere.
The atmosphere is primarily built by people. When I think about The Sailor, I see three strong women. Neon is probably the icing on the cake for you. What do you have to deal with every day when running a cinema?
We laugh that neon is the icing on a cake, which is a large cake of needs! – as that’s how it goes when you have to deal with a pre-war building. The Sailor is a seasonal cinema, and summer is not assumed to be the best time to hold such activity. People do not want to shut themselves up on warm evenings in four walls, especially when there are two beaches and a port right next to it. Moreover, we have competitors to whom we lose in terms of equipment. But we have the atmosphere and we can also play films with 35mm tape, which nobody produces anymore [laughs]. It’s not a business. I think running this place is somewhere on the verge of madness.
However, the wide response to your whip-round shows that there is a method in the madness. If it works out, when do you want to light the neon up?
As soon as possible! I wish it was July 7th. Nice date. And I can see it already. We are counting down, the DJ is playing, sparklers are burning.
There is still little over PLN 3,000 to be raised. With such interest, you will surely succeed.
We believe in it. And we are deeply affected not only by people’s commitment by donating money. Many people share their memories of cinema with us in the comments, emphasizing that it is an important or even legendary place for them. Some people even write that if it is successful with neon, they are ready to support us in the collection for the floor or armchairs. Can you believe it?
Talked: Anna Brzezińska-Czerska