Paris porno cinema makes lone stand against the Web
By Johnny Cotton
PARIS (Reuters) - In a shabby cinema tucked away in a backstreet of central Paris, a crowd of aging devotees are putting up quiet resistance to the might of on-line pornography.
Faced with the onslaught of the Web and its thousands of sex sites catering to every taste, "Le Beverley" bills itself as the last registered porn-only cinema in Paris still serving a diet of retro classics to a loyal clientele.
Its program of 35mm films from the 1970s, along with more modern offerings, attracts 700 customers a week, many of them regulars.
Owner Maurice Laroche has run the theater for 30 years and remembers the heyday of sex cinemas, when Paris's Grands Boulevards area was full of competitors.
But with the Internet and on-demand pornography, Laroche has seen numbers plummet with 1,000 fewer customers passing through the poster-lined hall every week than they did 15 years ago.
"There are clients that I've known since I came here, about 30 years ago. We've followed their working life, they've retired and since we're all about the same age they worry whether Le Beverley, as it's the last - barely profitable - cinema, is going to disappear or not," he said.
The City of Love's numerous sex shops are no substitute, Laroche says, for the sense of community in the cinema where many customers have built up friendships over the years.
"Those clients meet others in the cinema who they've known for some time, and who they've got along with. Quite a few meet up at midday for a little lunch before heading to Le Beverley to let the food go down," he said. Continued...