ARTA Cinema celebrates 109 years of existence

21 November, 2022

Inaugurated in 1913, ARTA Cinema in Cluj-Napoca marks its 109th anniversary on November 22, 2022. Throughout its history, the movie theater operated under different names: University Cinema (Egyetem Mozgó), Select Cinema, Maxim Gorki Cinema, Youth Cinema, but in 1969, it took the name it bears today, ARTA Cinema.

The theater went through a restoration process from 2012 until 2019, when it reopened as an independent venue hosting film screenings and cultural events, as well as a café in its foyer, ARTA Café.

Its screening program includes art films, documentaries, local productions and curated film sections. The theater also organizes special events such as talks, exhibitions, concerts and cine-concerts, guided tours, workshops, book launches, educational programs (CineKids), online screenings (ARTA-Acasă), events in collaboration with various festivals, etc.

On November 22, at 6 pm, ARTA Cinema invites the public to the opening of the exhibition “ARTA Story”, which presents archive materials collected throughout the theater’s history.

The musical accompaniment for the evening comes from Ákos aka wax on fridays, who will warm up the atmosphere with a unique and diverse vinyl set, ranging from jazz to soulful house.

The event will conclude with the screening of La Grande Bellezza (dir. Paolo Sorrentino), which kicks off the program Curated by ARTA, “an invitation to better know the ARTA team, through an eclectic series of films selected by its members.”

On the occasion of the 109th anniversary of the movie theater, we invited Monica Sebestyen, the manager of ARTA Cinema, to answer a few questions:

How has ARTA Cinema evolved since its reopening in 2019?

The theater was only partially furnished when it reopened in 2019, the fitting out was finalized last fall. It was a difficult time given the restrictions and uncertainties due to the pandemic, it was complicated to make plans.

It’s only this autumn that we’ve finally started to operate on a more predictable level, to reach greater stability in terms of team and programming. At the same time, we started to become more visible and attract a loyal audience that continues to grow.

How do you see the role of ARTA Cinema in the local film industry?

We aim to support local production and screen Romanian films, even if, unfortunately, most of them do not attract many viewers. However, that is not what we base our programming on; we include both local and European art films, which we know will not attract a large audience, but which we consider valuable.

There are so few art cinemas in Romania. I would like to see closer collaboration between us, as well as between ARTA Cinema and European film distributors.

What projects do you have coming up in the near future?

Currently, we have several projects in development, such as the curated series of classic films and the research on the theater’s history, as well as the educational programs for schools and screening more documentary films on various topics.

Photographer and editor, she co-founded Dissolved Magazine. For Films in Frame she brings the news from the film world, in the Monday News column. She likes stories, Monty Python and going to the seaside.