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A FINE STATE OF AFFAIRS

Remember the days when a trip to the cinema was somewhat marred by horrible carpet and the sickly aroma of burnt popcorn? It was a lot to endure, even when the reward was the guilty pleasure of knocking off a choc top ice-cream during the trailers. But those days are happily gone! Since its 1913 beginnings, North Hobart’s refurbished State Cinema has been reborn as the cinema of cinemas! Screening a diverse program of local and international films, this Tasmanian icon has seven permanent theatres ranging in capacity from 20 to 120. The littlest is a subterranean hideaway with leather two-seaters ideal for curling up, while the grand dame Cinema 1 still features its original pressed-metal ceilings, lovingly restored. And what’s that way up high? A tres chic rooftop cinema with full bar, deck chairs, faux grass and stunning views across the city, the Derwent River and Mount Wellington. Back inside, the cafe and front bar serve coffee, fine food and liquor at tables or for cosy cinema consumption. The extended cultural scene includes live music, art exhibitions and a handsome bookstore. The only things missing are the billiard saloon and boxing arena that took over from the cinema during hard times in the 1920s. Art-house films are the big drawcard, and the bill also includes such events as â˜Quickie at the State’, a competition showcasing Tasmania’s best films under three minutes. There’s also a pavement star out front and birthday screenings in June every year to celebrate hometown icon Errol Flynn. All up, it’s a fine state of affairs – and yes, you can still wolf down a choc top ice-cream before the movie starts.

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