Bye, bye Palafox Cinema


It’s a law of nature. Big movie houses, once upon a time symbols of awe and splendor, are vanishing into the realm of memory lane. The times they’re a changin’ and so be it. Can’t fight it. Where years ago there stood temples of fascination, now you can find low-cost department stores, fast food franchises or apartment buildings. And so it’s happening with one of Madrid’s most emblematic cinemas: the Palafox. One more down, a few more to go. I remember, from my childhood cinephile days, waiting in great anticipation for the release of such masterpieces as Lawrence of Arabia, 55 Days in Pekin, Beckett and so many others. As a young man, I took pride in inviting to the movies my entire family on Sundays when my first had earned salary allowed me to. Going to the Palafox was a luxury of sorts. It was quite a social event. You had to dress up for it. Once inside, the ushers led you to your numbered seat, thanked you gracefully for a generous tip and everyone waited in expectation for the lights to go out and the seventh art ceremony to begin. Those were the days.
Now you can download the latest Hollywood blockbuster on you mobile device, gobble it up and delete it in a speck of time. Or you can line up at the nearest multiplex cinema and take your pick from a wide range of products, a routine lacking in enchantment and a sense of the extraordinary. Can’t complain about progress and the change of habits which has become the “new normal” in the movie experience but at least we can indulge in a moment of true “nostalgia” and bid farewell respectfully to the Palafox, truly a special venue and a slice of our lives. This week, everyone is invited.

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