By Andrew Everest

For me, a trip to the cinema should be more than a film fix with fast food thrown in in my book, and if you’re like me then the cinema environment offered by Kino Rye is highly likely to become a movie maison of choice. In a landscape of monster-sized multiplexes and nondescript high street movie chain cinemas, Kino Rye and its sister cinema in Hawkhurst, offer the movie-goer something more than just and seat and a screen with popcorn (there’s a no popcorn rule for starters!).

Situated in Lion Street, in Rye, Kino offers a distinctly more personal and I would say community experience, with its cinema and screens built into a former church school and library, with a comfier, homelier, feel than more high volume cinema outlets. With a smart café bar with seating on two levels and inviting and open, inviting outside terrace, it offers spacious and smartly presented areas to enjoy pre and post-cinema refreshments and food, and the feel is much more of a place to hang out with friends, rather than simply a foyer to stand in while waiting for the performance. The Café bar offers a wide variety of food choices, gorgeous looking confectionaries, cakes a range of coffees and other drinks to suit most tastes.

Kino offers a pleasant and balanced mix of mainstream movies, classic, art house and special interest films, with live theatre broadcasts and other special performances punctuating a refreshing and fulfilling film schedule.

The salubrious surroundings and film and refreshment fare are a backed up by the venue’s menu of film-related events including film Q&A sessions, film quizzes, classic evenings, themed nights and a range of other ‘specials’, giving the impression of a film club/ hub, rather than simply a utilitarian venue for of viewing.

As far as watching film is concerned The Rye Kino has two digital screens, and these auditoriums offer an intimate environment for enjoying films with good views wherever you sit, and delightful armchair seats in the front row, which are not a premium offering, but simply an available fixture available to all-comers, but likely to be snapped up pretty quickly, I’d say. These seats are removable to offer wheelchair users both accessibility and a quality perspective on performances (alongside accessibility features elsewhere in the building), an important point for inclusivity.

Kino is also family friendly offering an inviting and calming atmosphere and a children’s cinema club for the first performances on Saturday and Sunday mornings where an accompanying adult goes free, with a loyalty scheme for regular attendees.

I visited the cinema to watch ‘High-Rise’, not the most comfortable of films to watch in terms of subject matter (but that was my choice), but my viewing comfort was all I could have asked for in a picture house.

I like my trips to the cinema to be a special event, in a special setting and Kino Rye delivers that in spades.

As an overall experience, I couldn’t fault Kino Rye, and this seems to have made it an attraction to cinemagoers from other nearby towns, visitors from further afield, as well as its local audience. The salubrious surroundings, vivid viewing experience and general welcome made my trip from some way outside Rye really worth the effort. Cinema Paradiso, as far as I’m concerned.

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