A new cinema amidst the thousand and one obstacles of the pandemic
by Virginia Fanin

Conceived in 2019, in a different era, when Covid didn’t exist, the “Arcadia” brand’s new baby was inaugurated on 27 October 2021. Thanks to its avant-garde architecture and exceptional comfort, this seven-screen complex has become the carnation in the buttonhole of the new wing expanding the “Le Due Torri” shopping center in Stezzano by 8,000 sq. m.

We’re alongside the A4, the motorway running across North Italy and joining Turin and Milan to Venice and the Gulf of Trieste, more precisely at the gates of Bergamo, the city that suffered most during the pandemic.

It goes without saying that the expansion of the shopping center and the opening of the cinema are seen locally as a sign of hope. Not by chance the ceremony inaugurating the new wing, which took place in the afternoon, was attended by institutional representatives who stressed that the realisation of this project is an important step towards a return to normality.

In the evening it was the cinema that was in the limelight. Four hundred guests took part in the event, including Mario Lorini and Simone Gialdini, respectively President and Director General of the ANEC, the association of the cinema exhibitors, invited by Piero Fumagalli, the independent exhibitor considered the Italian pioneer of the new generation of multi-screen cinemas.

A tour of the complex, designed by the Architect Benjamin Feldtkeller, an expert in the leisure sector, made it possible to appreciate its innovative aspects.

Starting from the vast bar area, which welcomes spectators without obliging them to pass through a barrier of old-style cash-desks, and continues with the design of the theatres, marked by the exceptional size of the screens and by the distance between the rows of armchair seats, all of which can even be reclined and are fitted with foot rests and power sockets for recharging portable devices.

Following its release at the Venice Festival, the anteprima of “Freaks Out”, in the presence of the actor Claudio Santamaria and accompanied by videomessages from director Gabriele Mainetti and the Minister of Cultural Affairs, Dario Franceschini, allowed spectators to experience live the effects of the technologies that Piero Fumagalli has selected, in line with his now legendary passion for excellence.

And so, in Stezzano, there are series-4, 4K Christie laser projectors, with their supreme contrast, in all seven theatres.

Not to speak of the Harkness-brand screens, all vast and of truly exceptional dimensions – over 20 meters - in the two “Premium Large Format” Energia auditoriums, following in the footsteps of the Melzo theatre of the same name.

Here, we also find the immersive sound provided by Dolby Atmos - Meyer Sound. The sound system was installed by the Californian company that had already placed the biggest set-up in the world in terms of number of speakers in the Energia PLF auditorium in Melzo.

To sum up, the Stezzano complex is unique of its kind.

Another first for Piero Fumagalli, after the Arcadia in Melzo which, opened in 1997 and constantly updated with the latest, cutting-edge technology, won the “Best Theatre in Europe” award in 2017 at CineEurope in Barcelona.

The award was given by the ICTA - the International Cinema Technology Association - right after the total upgrade of the Energia PLF auditorium.