Are you a major cinephile? Do you enjoy films beyond standard American action flicks or (romantic) comedy movies? If so, Spain is an excellent place to be. Not only do you have access to all of the newest Hollywood blockbusters like back home, but also a wealth of European cinema or even classic American films that you may not even be aware exist. And although there are many ways to get your hands on such goodies, be it through downloads (not exactly illegal in Spain), or by renting/buying them, a wonderful way to do so is via the Filmoteca Española.
What is the Filmoteca Española?
The Filmoteca Española is a government institution that is dedicated to recovering, preserving, restoring, documenting, and cataloging Spanish films, as well as any other related items. It was created on February 13, 1953, and has been a member of the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film since 1956, an international film preservation organization founded in Paris in 1938. By the time the Filmoteca was founded, most films from the silent era had been lost completely, a situation not unique to Spain, but rather, a worldwide phenomenon. However, as more durable film formats started to be used, it became more feasible to save and store them. In fact, a royal decree in 1964 has since legally bound copies of any film which has received public funding (virtually all Spanish films) to be deposited in the archives for safekeeping. The Filmoteca’s archives have been located in the center of Madrid for years, in the Palacio del Marqués de Perales on calle Magdalena, but are also now being housed in a new building located in Ciudad de la Imagen in Pozuelo de Alarcón.
The Cine Doré
In addition to merely archiving films and related items, the Filmoteca Española also has its own cinema where some of the many titles in the archive are shown. Centrally-located on calle Santa Isabel in the Antón Martín section of the capital, the Cine Doré typically shows four films a day, Tuesday through Sunday. The films are organized topically on a monthly basis, some of the current themes this month being contemporary Swedish cinema, Basilio Martín Patino, and cinema and El Greco, among others. The Cine Doré has been used by the Filmoteca Española since 1989, the year in which its restoration was finally completed. It has three theaters: the original one, a second, more modern one, and lastly, an open-air theater used only in the summer months. The building also has a café and a bookstore, both of which are open to the public and do not require purchasing a ticket to enter. Ticket prices for the films are only 2.50€ for adults and 2€ for students, with the option of buying a pass to see ten films for 20€ or 15€, respectively.
Check it out!
Whether you haven’t made it to Madrid yet, or just merely haven’t had the chance, take some time and check out some films at the Filmoteca’s Cine Doré. The movie listings are available online, so it’s just a matter of deciding what you want to see. The box office opens at 4:15pm and closes fifteen minutes after the start of the last film of the evening. Tickets cannot be reserved and a maximum of only three tickets may be purchased by any individual, so be sure to get there early. Download this month’s listing now, because there’s nothing worse than realizing that you’ve missed exactly the film you wanted to see!