Where to experience classic films in Madrid

Turismo Madrid


As a long time film buff, I’ve always cherished watching modern and classic films in their original language with subtitles. I was brought up that way in Chile, my country of birth. When I arrived in Madrid, it was customary to exhibit films in their dubbed version, a practice established by the Franco regime, purportedly in order to alter content and adapt it to the requirements of the official censorship. There were exceptions harbored by so called “film clubs” but the iron rule was dubbing. Come democracy, films in original version with Spanish subtitles began to flourish but dubbed movies remained the main option for filmgoers. It is said that this is one of the main hindrances of Spanish citizens’ s attempts to master a  second language. Be it as it may, the times have changed, and new outlets for consumption of audiovisual contents have emerged strongly in the digital world. Commercial films in their original versions can still be found in several Madrid cinemas. When it comes down to experience classic films in the format they were meant to be appreciated, it’s another story. However, there are a few sanctuaries left throughout the city and they are much valued by film buffs like myself. One of them is the historical Doré Cinema which hosts the Spanish National Cinematheque. Its programme is varied and comprehensive as it encompasses a wide range of offerings at an unbeatable price. Another option is the Cinestudio of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid’s architectonic jewel. The Círculo is an Arts Center which organizes all types of cultural events throughout the year. It is well worth visiting in order to enjoy its exhibits, conferences and amazing rooftop views of the Madrid skyline. Another option is the Matadero’s Cineteca. The Matadero, formerly a slaughterhouse, is one of Madrid’s City Hall several Contemporary Arts Center. All the aforementioned are lively examples of the city’s buoyant cultural environment. They all share a warm sense of atmosphere designed to be “user friendly” for visitors and locals alike. Last but not least, there is Artistic Metropol, a private initiative located in the Embajadores District of Old Madrid. They combine classics, non commercial modern films and Spanish avant-garde movies. All these places are alternatives to the standard mainstream star vehicles and redundant franchises to be found everywhere. When the lights go out and the big screen comes alive with the cinematic artistry of yesteryear or the contemporary multicultural poignancy of international cinema, one feels relieved and part of a community. Not a bad  feeling at all.

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