Italy is ready for VR: the first virtual reality cinema opens in Milan

In the cinema with virtual reality. Everything is ready in Milan to inaugurate Italy’s first cinema with VR. The novelty will land on 19 May at the Anteo in Piazza XXV Aprile, where “Anteo Rai Cinema Spazio Realtà Virtuale” will be opened, the first space in Italy equipped for virtual reality within a performance hall. Already ready are 20 seats, including visors and headsets, for “an immersive and extraordinary experience”, assure the cinema, where there will also be 360-degree rotating cubes.

“The first Vr content scheduled will be: Lockdown 2020 – L’Italia invisibile – a Gold production with Rai Cinema, a documentary by Omar Rashid that recounts, through the use of virtual reality and the voices of Matilde Gioli and Vinicio Marchioni, the unique journey through the beauty and desolation of Italy’s most important art cities during the Covid 19 emergency; The Divine Comedy Vr – Inferno – an Ett Gruppo Scai production in association with West 46th Films, a journey into Dante’s Inferno directed by Federico Basso and Alessandro Parrello accompanied by the narrating voice of Francesco Pannofino,” they announced from the Anteo.

Not an isolated experience

And again: “Vulcano – La vita che dorme – a Gold & Valmyn production in collaboration with Rai Cinema, an immersive experience showing the eruption of the Icelandic volcano on Mount Fagradalsfjall after 800 years of inactivity, directed by Omar Rashid and with the voice of Valentina Lodovini; Happy Birthday, a short film that is part of the transmedia project produced by One More Pictures with Rai Cinema – starring Jenny De Nucci and Fortunato Cerlino and with the participation of Achille Lauro, which tackles a delicate and complex issue such as social isolation”. On Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May the theatre will be open free of charge, with reservations required, to give the public “the chance to get to know and explore the new space and immerse themselves in the Vr experience”. From Friday, 19 May, programming will start.

milan cinema VR
milan cinema VR

After the experience at the Museum of Cinema in Turin, the Anteo Rai Cinema Spazio Realtà Virtuale is, in fact, the first cinema that incorporates films and virtual reality experiences into its programming through a VR visor and headset all year round and with a dedicated 20-seat space. “We want to explore all the novelties and changes that characterize the world of cinema and audiovisuals. This new space dedicated to the VR Experience responds to the desire to learn, confront and grow together with our spectators,” said Lionello Cerri, CEO of Anteo.

VR Cinema Milan

The specificity highlighted by the organizers is that, while being an experience that is by nature individual, if developed inside a cinema, thus involving a group of spectators, it becomes collective, emphasizing the function of the cinema as a place of “collective pleasure and emotional sharing”. “This is an important step forward in the creation of a totally immersive and innovative audiovisual experience for Italian audiences and which confirms the movie theatre as a pivotal place for the enhancement of cinema. The intention is to involve an increasingly broader and more differentiated audience, also presiding over the most innovative forms of narrative expression,” added Paolo Del Brocco, CEO of Rai Cinema.

This is very important news for Italian virtual reality fans. The VR movement has always been met with mistrust outside of the fan communities. In this way, given the big names in the field, an attempt is being made to make a more attractive technology that remains niche, despite the efforts of hi-tech bigwigs in promoting new scenarios such as the metaverse. Is Italy ready? Will the Italians know how to respond adequately? We shall see.

Antonino Caffo has been involved in journalism, particularly technology, for fifteen years. He is interested in topics related to the world of IT security but also consumer electronics. Antonino writes for the most important Italian generalist and trade publications. You can see him, sometimes, on television explaining how technology works, which is not as trivial for everyone as it seems.