CCTeam presents 32LDN
LONDON We are very happy to show you the first film of the 32LDN series, an observation of The Renoir Cinema – in Bloomsbury, Borough of Camden – prior to its current refurbishment and modernisation. This elegiac video, filmed during the last days of the “old” Renoir, is the celebration of a place… with a delicate sense of nostalgia.
ABOUT THE PLACE | The Renoir Cinema
The Brunswick, Bloomsbury, BOROUGH of CAMDEN, London
The first choice for any true art-house fan, Renoir has a firm reputation as the home for films from established auteurs and new world cinema talent. Situated in the popular Brunswick centre, its underground bar and screens make it a resort for cineastes wanting to take a trip of discovery.
Overlooking the leafy Coram Fields, seconds’ walk from Russell Square tube station and part of the Brunswick Centre, this fabulously stylish two-screen cinema was taken over by Artificial Eye film company in the mid-1980s and has run as an arthouse cinema ever since. An unusual glass reception and box office area lead down a double staircase to the bijou rounded bar and then splits as you descend into the spacious foyer in front of the screens.
This dearly loved bastion of foreign-language cinema has seen many changes over its relatively short life. Originally named the Bloomsbury Cinema, this arthouse cinema was the first and only British venture of the American-based Walter Reade Organisation who aimed to capitalise on custom from local university students. Opening in January 1972 with Michael Cacoyannis’ The Trojan Women, the cinema consisted of a single screen with 490 pedastal-style seats, located in a basement in the newly-built Brunswick Square development.
Despite offering free coffee, the Bloomsbury Cinema was taken over by EMI, reopened in May 1974 as the ABC Bloomsbury and eventually renamed the EMI International Film Theatre in January 1977, with a programming policy of off-beat foreign films. After only a year, the cinema was rented to Barbara and David Stone’s Cinegate which operated the Gate Cinema in Notting Hill Gate. Renamed the Gate 2, it opened in February 1978 with Derek Jarman’s Jubilee. Shortly after, the auditorium was split down the middle to create two mirror-image screens seating 266 each, called Gate Bloomsbury 1 and 2 respectively.
After a short period of closure and a refurbishment by architects Burrell Foley Associates, it re-opened under the management of Artificial Eye, and on Friday 9 May 1986, it was renamed the Renoir Cinema. On the opening day, Agnes Varda’s Vagabond played in Screen One, whilst Peter Smith’s No Surrender filled the other. Showing first runs of Artificial Eye’s titles, the cinema became a solid success. Following the impressive development of the surrounding Brunswick Centre, a refurbishment in 2006, followed by the union with Curzon Cinemas, Renoir has been given a renewed lease of life (as we can see in this video by 32 LDN). And now, it’s changing again…
The Renoir Cinema in Bloomsbury will undergo a comprehensive revamp, moving from two large screens to a total of 6 screens, comprising one large and five boutique screens all with the latest 4k high definition-digital projectors. The project is being designed by renowned architect Takero Shimazaki, designer of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, who will be taking design cues from both historic Curzon properties and the famous Brunswick centre, where it is located. The project will commence in February and will be completed in Autumn 2014.
ABOUT THE PROJECT | 32LDN
32LDN: a celebration of life in London’s 32 boroughs