Trans-Iberian

Trans-Iberian

Covering everything from the major news of the week and burning social issues, to expat living and la vida local, EL PAÍS’ team of English-language bloggers offers its opinions, observations and analysis on Spain and beyond.

Madrid's Golden Cinema

Por: | 11 de febrero de 2014

Cine Doré 2
On a back street in Madrid, flanked on either side by covered markets, sits a hundred-year-old icon of the city. The Cine Doré’s peach and white art deco facade clashes with the graffiti-daubed shutters of the surrounding shop fronts; a cinephile’s elegant haven in a sea of gritty hustle and bustle at the northern point of Lavapiés. 

One of Madrid’s very first cinemas, the Cine Doré opened at Calle Santa Isabel 3 in December 1912. It showcased the relatively newfangled invention of cinema, still in its infancy during the early twentieth century. On entering the cinema, or ‘salon’ in 1912, visitors would have marveled at the spacious screening room; there was enough space for an audience of 1,250.

As cinema captured the nation’s imagination the Cine Doré was renovated by acclaimed architect Crispulo Moro Cabeza and reopened, as it looks today, in 1923. The modernist style was in keeping with the Madrid architecture of the time and typical of the cinemas of this period.

During the 1920s the cinema experienced a resurgence, a golden age of popularity that saw business boom and Madrileños flock through the Art Deco columns to discover a whole new world that lay beyond on the silver screen.

Old Cine DoréThe Cine Doré in 1928. Photo: druidabruxux

Silent films were accompanied by an orchestra in the pit under the screen. Some of the Cine Doré’s most successful films of the period include Rafael Salvador’s 1925 documentary Gloria que mata (Glory that kills), about the death of legendary bull fighter Manuel Granero. The story of Granero, gored by a bull only three years previously, in 1922, was fresh in the minds of Madrileños, who flocked to watch the story retold on the big screen. 

Another successful premiere at the Doré was Arturo Carballo’s Frivolinas in 1926. Carballo, the owner of the Cine Doré, filmed the most famous musical revues of the city and the film is the only still in existence that shows the revues typical of the era.

 

Arturo Carballo's 'Frivolinas', which premiered at the Cine Doré in 1926

Despite the rip-roaring success of the 1920s, premieres began to dwindle and before long the Doré’s trade was in reruns, shown twice a day to locals who had a habit of chewing seeds while watching the film. Christened ‘El Palacio de las pipas’ or The Palace of the Seeds, the cinema became a favourite hangout of the barrio.

Contrary to popular belief and the title of this article, the Cine Doré does not derive its name from Doré, the French word for golden. Nor was it named after French artist Gustave Doré as commonly thought. According to the writer Sanchez Dragó, the cinema’s original name was Cine DO-RE, most probably alluding to the first four musical notes. It was during its most recent restoration that the dash was dropped and the elegant French accent was added.

During the Spanish Civil War, films at the Cine Doré offered Madrileños a brief respite from the horrors awaiting them outside. That is until one day those horrors landed right in front of the screen, when a shell whizzed into the theatre. Amazingly, no one was hurt. Almost thirty years later, in 1963 the Doré’s doors closed and would not reopen for another twenty years. 

In 1982, Madrid’s municipal council decided to take over the building as one of environmental and architectural interest. The Cine Doré had its second grand reopening of the century in 1989, after extensive restoration under architect Javier Feduchi. Since 1989 the Doré has been home to the Filmoteca Española, an official institution of the Spanish Ministry of Culture. It restores, researches and conserves the film heritage of Spain; including putting on frequent public screenings at the Cine Doré.

According the the current manager of the Cine Doré, Antonio Santamarina, the enduring appeal of the cinema is due to, “...its audience, who have ensured the Doré, as the permanent screening room of the Filmoteca Española, is not a cold museum of cinema, but a cinema that preserves its soul and is more alive than ever”.

The cinema is championed by Madrid’s adopted son, the giant of modern Spanish cinema, Pedro Almodóvar. Not only does the cinema feature in his 2002 film Hable con ella (Talk to Her), but he was the very first director to submit his six chosen films for the ‘Presented by...’ series, upon the Doré’s grand reopening in 1989. 

Cine Doré girl

By the time the two small ticket booth windows open at quarter past four in the afternoon, a queue stretches down the street. Old, young, Spanish and foreign, you can’t pigeon-hole the typical audience member at the Cine Doré. For such a grand and imposing building the cinema has a diminutive ticket price; for €2.50 you can spend a couple of hours transfixed, surrounded by a hundred years of cinematic history. You can discover anything from films of the Silent era of Alfred Hitchcock, to a retrospective of the films of Zhang Yimou, the director of Hero and The House of Flying Daggers (just two of the retrospectives on this month). There are four screenings per day and in summer, you can enjoy outdoor screenings under the Madrid night sky. 

Inside, the cinema feels more like a theatre; the original box seats remain, and the red velvet seats of the stalls are overlooked by the dress circle, high above. These days the Cine Doré retains its grandeur and history while enjoying over 2,000 Twitter followers, embracing social media to entice the next generation of cinema goers.

Cinedoretoday

For manager, Antonio Santamarina, the Cine Doré of 2014, “... maintains the spirit of yesterday and at the same time opens its doors to the cinema of today. It’s a unique space, where we project films of every kind from 16mm and 35mm to blu-ray, in every kind of format and sound”.

During the last hundred years, the Cine Doré has weathered many storms: from the shelling of the Spanish Civil War to its closure in the 1960s. It has emerged the other side a legend of Spanish cinema. As Santamarina says, “...the Filmoteca at the Cine Doré is in a unique position... to pass on the knowledge of the history of cinema to new generations and maintain and preserve its memory.” Here’s to the next hundred years of Madrid's golden cinema. 

Hay 1 Comentarios

thanks for posting

Publicar un comentario

Si tienes una cuenta en TypePad o TypeKey, por favor Inicia sesión.

Authors (Bloggers)

Chris Finnigan is a freelance journalist based in Barcelona. He writes for Barcelona Metropolitan and is a book reviewer and reader for The Barcelona Review. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. You can find him on twitter @chrisjfinnigan

Ben Cardew is a freelance journalist, translator and teacher, now resident in Barcelona after growing up gracefully in Scotland via Norwich. He writes for The Guardian, the NME and The Quietus, among others, on everything from music to digital media. You can find him on Twitter @bencardew

Fiona Flores Watson is a freelance journalist, guide and translator who has lived in Seville since 2003, and has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years. She writes for the Guardian, Telegraph and Sunday Times Travel Magazine. Originally from Essex, Fiona is also Consulting Editor of Andalucia.com and has her own blog, Scribbler in Seville. She has been contributing to Trans-Iberian since 2014 and tweets at @Seville_Writer

Jeff Brodsky is a freelance writer. He arrived in Barcelona in 2013 via an admittedly indirect route, living in Chicago, Arizona, Seville, Amsterdam, North Carolina and Madrid. Despite not having stepped foot in Seville for over five years, he still speaks Spanish with an Andalusian accent. Jeff’s writing has been published in newspapers and magazines in America and Europe.

Koren Helbig is an Australian freelance journalist and blogger enjoying a life of near-eternal sunshine in Alicante. She writes for publications in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, focusing on stories exploring smart and positive approaches to social issues. She hangs out on Twitter at @KorenHelbig and keeps a selection of her favourite stories at korenhelbig.com.

Julie Pybus lives in a small off-grid house on a hillside in Catalunya. She usually focuses on helping charities and social enterprises with their publications and websites, but has also written for The Guardian, Country Living and The Observer. Julie launched and runs a hyperlocal website which endeavors to increase understanding between the different nationalities in her area perelloplus.com. @JuliePybus

Paul Louis Archer is a freelance photographer, multimedia storyteller and artist educator. A cross-disciplinary worker, who endeavors to encompass the mediums of photography, audio design and writing. Born in Hertfordshire of an English father and Spanish mother. Based in the United Kingdom. @PaulLouisArcher

Vicki McLeod is a freelance writer and photographer. She has lived in Mallorca since 2004. Vicki writes about her beloved island for The Majorca Daily Bulletin, the only daily English language paper in Spain; produces regular columns for the Euro Weekly News, and articles for Spain-Holiday.com. Vicki runs PR strategies for several businesses in Mallorca and London as well as working on her own blogs and projects. She and her husband, Oliver Neilson, supply photo and text content for private clients via @phoenixmediamlr. She tweets at @mcleod_vicki.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne and based in Barcelona, Alx Phillips writes about contemporary art, dance and theatre in a way that human beings can understand. For more previews, reviews, interviews and extras, check: www.lookingfordrama.com.

El País

EDICIONES EL PAIS, S.L. - Miguel Yuste 40 – 28037 – Madrid [España] | Aviso Legal