With the reopening today of cafés and bars across Croatia, another much-missed option for getting out of the house will shortly return to the country's capital, Zagreb. This weekend, the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum will host a drive-in spectacle with movies and a music programme. From Friday to Sunday, film fans will have the opportunity to recapture the iconic feel of the 1950's by watching movies from their cars.
The programme kicks off on Friday with 'Zagreb Equinox' by Svebor Mihael Jelić, a hit from last year's Pula Film Festival about Zagreb's alternative. This will be followed by a performance by local band Ljetno Kino. On Saturday, the main event is Nebojša Slijepčević's 'Gangster Of Love' (2013) about a matchmaker from Imotski. Finally, on Sunday, 2013's 'Vis-à-Vis' by Nevio Marasović, a story about the relationship between the director and an actor on the set of Marasović's 2018 movie 'Comic Sans'.
Alongside the main titles, in true old-school fashion, each evening will also screen a short, opening film. These are comprised of selected works from young directors of the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art. Drive-in cinema programmes have recently returned to Germany and are an inventive response to social distancing directives.
Although the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum programme is due to last only for the weekend, there are separate plans to hold another drive-in experience in a car park on Zagreb's Radnička street. This proposed 'Drive-IN Fest' would take up an area of about 3500 m2 and operate 7-days a week for an initial period of one month. Nightly movie screenings are planned, bolstered by a music menu on weekends.
It has been 30 years since the last drive-in cinema operated regularly in Zagreb (although student organisers have each spring held a series of drive-in events near the Cvijetno student dormitories). The outdoor theatres first started to appear in America just over one hundred years ago and reached their popularity peak from the mid-1950s to the late-1960s, when improvements in home entertainment prompted their decline. In 1958, there were 4,000 drive-ins across the United States. The theatres experienced a revival, born of nostalgia, from the late-1990s and by 2006 around 500 drive-in theatres were back in operation in the States, the highest number since the 1970s.
Since this article was published, Croatia's largest cinema chain, CineStar, have announced they will also be running a pop-up drive-in cinema. Theirs is located in Arena Park by Arena Centar, to the west of Zagreb city centre, with films being shown from 21.30 on Thursdays to Sundays between May 21 and June 14.