Cinemas have always served as a delightful escape from the sitcom of everyday life. Yet cinematic culture in Budapest is not just about it”s movies. The history of renowned art house cinemas in Budapest have survived hundreds of years transcending different owners, names and even wars. Historically, cinema houses have even been a haven for those coming together to debate social and political reforms doing so in a place where artists already celebrate the reflection of life through art.
Particular cinemas even preserved the showcasing of so called anti-soviet movies during war time while others have had to change names to keep abreast with the then tumultuous times. What’s most prized in small art house cinemas is a playground for independent cinematographers outside of tinseltown and the lack of substance that a blockbuster film can warrant. The stylistic approach of art house cinemas generates an unique, beloved culture of not only the movie itself but the process of a coffee before, a beer after, local art, the dialogue of artistic reflection and the sheer enjoyment of artisan moments that aren’t rushed.
Opened in 1908, Bem Mozi no longer plays movies but it still is an artistic relic that serves as a saucey spot to mellow and sip among artsy individuals. They choose to use their space now for concerts and in this way, the showcasing of art continues in this establishment and the environment of supporting art thrives.
Address: Margit Avenue 5/b., district II. Facebook
Odeon Lloyd Cinema
Even though Odeon’s roots go back until 1937, the cinema closed it’s doors last year because of financial reasons. The artsy interior of its cafe is a groovy backdrop for those who enjoy blending into art. The theater itself has a genuine cinematic pride that you can feel while sitting in its red regal seats and enjoying a film in this space is a treat without even chewing.
Address: 7. Hollán Ernő Street, district XIII. (closed) Web
Kino is no longer showing films but it still has served as an intrinsic theater in Budapestian cinematic culture. Kino began as a cultural institution whose purpose served in preserving missing documents. This cinema also served as an unofficial underground club where supposed ‘anti-soviet’ artists could perform. Today it still hosts patrons at it’s coffee shop where one can sit, marinate and meditate on a theater that has been integral in cinematic culture in Budapest.
Address: 16. Szent István Avenue , district XIII. Web
This is Europe’s smallest cinema and the pleasure of viewing a movie in such a small theater is fantastically unique. It’s intimacy guarantees more so than larger theater spaces, an exclusive showing that encapsulates the audience suspending their belief more swiftly and sweetly.
Address: 15-17. Balassi Bálint Street, district V. Web
This space is over a hundred years old and has passed through many owners and names.Sadly, the cinema is closed nowdays, but serves as a reminder of how cinematic culture started in Hungary.
Address: 82. Rákóczi Street, district VII. (closed)
Uránia National Film Theatre
1088 Budapest, Rákóczi út 21.
The ticket office opens 30 minutes before the first screening and closes 15 minutes after the last one.
Constructed initially to be a dance and music hall, Urania opened as a cabaret in 1890. In 1945, the first movie screening after the war was held here and it served as prestigious place for events and screenings. This cinema presents itself as an exclusive Euro-centric art film house and hosts international film festivals along with cultural events. It’s cafe is also known to book presentations, art exhibits and performance art events. Its Venetian Gothic and Eastern Moorish architecture make this cinema’s presence exquisitely treasured and worth your patronage.
In 1957 this cinema became recognized as the museum of old movie film cinema. Having undergone many names, Örökmozgó’s role in cinematic history was vital and luckily it – among other influential art cinemas in Budapest – survived the war. It continues its contribution to history by screening old movies and silent films preserving the telling of cinematic culture.
Address: 39. Erzsébet Avenue, district VII. Facebook
Toldi is a very popular among young people and is somewhat of a hipster cinema. It’s a triple threat as it also serves as a concert venue and a dance hall. Its films stay true to showcasing independent filmmakers as well as selling cinematic newspapers like Prizma, Metropolis and Filmvilág. Toldi is a true prize among prized Budapestian art house cinemas because it continues to give way to the culture of cinematography as well as cultivating the current generation’s celebration of life in art and art in life.
Address: 36-38. Bajcsi-Zsilinszky Street, district V. Web
1066 Budapest, Teréz körút 30.
Closed until 1st of September due to reconstruction.
A fantastic example of art decorating an art house that already houses the decoration of cinematic art. Művesz hosts an array of films while keeping an cafe available to all who long to linger and gaze at the artistic installations. Currently supporting Ludwig Museum’s The Naked Man exhibition, Művesz is all about supplying artists with a playhouse in which to play. This is truly an art house cinema that’ll make a favorable impression on the way you experience a movie outside of tacky theaters in malls. Here, you will come to appreciate the intimate and groovy setting of cinema art houses in Budapest.