We inaugurated the Thematic Rolé Carioca presenting the old downtown theaters! Most of the buildings in this tour no longer operates as their original function as an exhibition hall. However, this set of buildings represents the memory of the beginnings of the "Seventh Art" in the city. Not by chance, on the way between Tiradentes Square and Cinelândia, there were dozens of cinemas until the middle of the twentieth century!
At the turn of the twentieth century, downtown Rio was a stronghold of urban novelties, most of them brought from France and the USA. Naturally, it was here that the first cinema session took place in the country, in 1896. The first permanent room, destined, although not exclusively, to the cinema was inaugurated in 1897, in Rua do Ouvidor, an enterprise linked to the Italian Paschoal Segreto. Alongside automatic dolls, slot machines, numerous varieties and scientific entertainment gadgets, the Paris Novelty Room in Rio also featured a Lumière Cinematograph. Public interest in the exhibitions led Segreto to invest in the production of films - which at that time were scenes shot without sequence, actors or previous script.
Regular distribution of electricity in the city was essential for the establishment of these leisure spaces. Since 1907, more than 20 cinematographers were installed in the area of the newly opened Central Avenue (present-day Rio Branco). Around the 1920s and 1930s, the region became a cinematic redoubt thanks largely to the Spanish Francisco Serrador, who saw a 'city of cinemas' as a cultural attraction, surrounded by the sophisticated buildings of the Municipal Theater and the National School of Fine Arts. Two Rio companies, Cinédia (1930) and Atlântida (1941) studios, consolidated the national production and developed a film genre capable of attracting more viewers: the chanchada. Since then, theaters have gone through many transitions, but remain a rich panorama for understanding Rio's public space.
Image: Arquivo Geral da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro/Divulgação