19. CINEDAYS 2020

19. CINEDAYS 2020

In the seventies of the last century, Skopje was a cinema-metropolis. With 12 cinemas and 4 outdoor cinemas, and 300,000 inhabitants, Skopje was a city-multiplex. Napredok, Butel, Vlae, Madzari, Kisela Voda, The House of culture (Kocho Racin) and the outdoor summer cinema (letno kino), Balkan and Balkan bavcha, Mladina, Karpos, Kino Park, later Vardar 1 and Vardar 2, Kultura, Bambi … None of these cinemas are working today. This is not a matter of any nostalgia for the youth of one’s generation, for some “good times”, for “Eh, going to the cinema used to be a pleasure…”. And we were sitting on old and creaky wooden chairs, we were heating ourselves with charcoal stoves, we were collecting “programmes”, we were anxiously waiting for Monday to see new movies. Films, above all, were and remain to be entertainment. But only now can we see its cultural dimension, which Skopje had then. Just a simple look back will reveal the dazzling repertoire offer, we saw films that today are considered anthological, cult, historically significant, value-confirmed and aesthetically superior.

The cinemas on the outskirts of the city were mainly oriented towards a “lighter” programme. The surge of French productions with adventurous-criminal or historical-musketeer content with the then stars Belmondo, Alain Delon, Jean Gabin, Brigitte Bardot, Mylene Demongeot… were mainly shown in Vlae, Madzari and Kisela Voda. Butel and Karposh screened American-produced westerns, Herculean, and Tarzan films. Many of them were in color. Cinema Napredok, on the other hand, drove its own repertoire agenda, intended for the erotic film lovers and Cinema Park screened spectacles on 70 mm celluloid, where the premiere screening of Kubrick’s “Space Odyssey 2001” stands out.

People have always wanted to be first in something. In terms of the film, the same “disease” remained, only “then” we had the privilege to meet Bergman, Fellini, Kurosawa, first hand, at the cinema! Freedom Square and the cinema in The House of culture “Koco Racin” were the cult location for film education. Bergman’s “Persona” was one of the first such experiences … Suddenly, a female character on the whole screen, thinking and feeling, draws us into her inner world and we are no longer in the real world, some strange illusion where Liv Ullman is silent during the whole movie … Then we have Pierre Paolo Pasolini with “Salome” and “Arabian Nights”, and the often-misunderstood Federico Fellini with “Amarcord”, “Fellini’s Casanova” and “Orchestra Rehearsal”.

That’s why CINEDAYS set out to promote and evoke a virtual retro-movie world. To refresh the memories of cinemas that no longer exist, or at least of the locations where the film once performed its cultural and social function. To bring back the spirit of the cinema, to old places, with new films.

Vlatko Galevski,
Film Critic