The old abandoned cinema
The old abandoned cinema

The old abandoned cinema

The old abandoned cinema

Code Name: Cinema Paradiso

Montréal (Quebec), Canada

No, this movie theatre does not bear that name, but you will allow me this nod to Giuseppe Tornatore's film that chronicles the history of cinema from its beginnings to today. Since the place has not suffered the wrath of vandalism and because there is no graffiti, I will not mention its real name and its location in order to preserve it. However, this does not prevent me to tell you its story.

By the way, let me point out that while it is usually rather easy to search the Internet and find some facts related to the abandoned sites I visit, information that I then only have to validate, it was a whole other story for Cinema Paradiso. I was only able to find bits and pieces of information. I therefore had to contact a few of my former film professors to obtain more info about this very peculiar theatre.

The history of cinema Paradiso begins at a time when television did not exist and cinema was living its golden age. It starts on March 28th, 1948 and for this theatre's inauguration on Easter day we have a presentation of "The Marriage of Ramuntcho", first color full feature film from France. The story? Well, it is about George's adventures, a charming and famous Parisian painter, who came to the Basque Country to seek inspiration. Sensitive to the charms of a young country girl named Maritchu, he will do everything in his power to keep her away from Ramuntcho, her fiancé.

On its opening day, the movie theatre only had one screen, but later, the theatre was split in two and a screen was added upstairs. This explains why there is a huge concrete structure that gives the impression that a spaceship from Star Wars has been embedded into the theatre. In total, the two screens had more than 1,409 seats.

On March 28th 1987, 49 years after its opening, the last projection takes place in front of more than 850 children. Program: Le jeune Musicien from the Contes pour Tous productions. The day after the closing, it was written in the newspaper that the cinema should be transformed into a film set.

Unfortunately, as was the case for several other movie theatres in Montreal, it will then be occupied by a religious group for few years. It will finally be abandoned in 2004.

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