Upholstery velvet gold chairs with vintage armrests in glossy black; dark Venetian mirrors of sophisticated ornate borders hanging elegantly at a backdrop of mysterious black; dark brass frame ceiling lights of polished details; Nostalgic fabric shade lamps with rare retro flair; a contemporary Manhattan-feel Prosecco Brown Brothers bar serving premium wine, beer, barista coffee and an interesting selection of pastries and muffins; a decadently furnished foyer with extravagant ambience, and delicately framed movie posters on easels displayed at all corners.
You might have thought that you have mistakenly stepped into a cloistered private jazz club of mid-century. But no, this is a cinema of a unique concept that compels us to redefine the meaning of an ordinary movie theatre. Glamorously dressed in its chic and classic surroundings, the Palace Cinema Como is not our usual weekend hangout venue with latest Hollywood blockbusters, youngster entertainments, salted caramel popcorn and upsized diet coke.
Palace Cinema Como is an art-house cinema targeting the older and mature clientele. We will have to resort to the modern multiplexes in the city or inner suburbs to catch up with the latest sensational Batman versus Superman, and the thrilling Huntsman. A quick browse through of the screening sessions will give you a rough idea of the genres of film offered by this non-conventional cinema: quality foreign language films, serious or meaningful mainstream movies, thought-provoking and educational documentaries (such as the Wide Open Sky), and artistic ballet and opera productions.
A cinema with a lavish atmosphere, baroque-style decorations, subdued noise level, and limited choices of films might not be the cup of tea of most frequent cinemagoers. In fact, during my last few visits, the number of patrons was so unbelievably low that the experience itself felt almost surreal.
The Palace Cinema Como is definitely one of my favourite places (other than the centrally located Hoyts cinema), especially when I am in the mood to enjoy some excellent and inspiring non-mainstream movies.
Toorak Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141
The cinema is located 200 metres from South Yarra Train Station. Alternatively, take the Route 8 tram to Stop 31, at the corner of Toorak Road and Chapel Street.