Belgrade is an artistic city, so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of cinemas dotted around the Serbian capital, ranging from big money chains to proud independents. Linguiphobes need not worry either – films are generally shown in whatever language they were made in, with Serbian subtitles running underneath.
Cinema, History Museum, Art Museum
It might not have the jam-packed schedule of yesteryear, but there is still something special about Kinoteka. Home of the Film Archives of the Former Yugoslavia, this city centre cinema still shows a couple of classic films every day, in a setting guaranteed to evoke feelings of nostalgia in all who visit, whether you remember old cinemas or not. Kinoteka has the most varied cinema program in the city too, and everything from Russian avant-garde to Hollywood comedies find their way onto the big screen.
One of the most popular cinemas in the city, Tuckwood is located in the city centre and shows a wide range of films for all audiences. It is situated in an old auditorium, adding an element of charm that accentuates the joy of visiting the cinema. Even the worst films can be saved by charming surroundings.
For years, this old cinema was better known as a roundabout in New Belgrade than a house of cinematic culture. Fontana was brought back from the dead in 2012, and has gone from strength to strength ever since. A major venue during the many film festivals that fill the Belgrade calendar, Fontana is a great spot for anyone looking for a quiet movie through the rest of the year.
Sticking with cinemas that were neglected for a long time before being resurrected, nowhere fits that description better than Zvezda in the city centre. It fell into the hands of a disinterested businessman in 2007, sitting silently until an extremely interested group of locals decided to take action and occupy it. Calling themselves the Movement for the Occupation of Cinemas, the group cleaned up the cinema and breathed new life into it. The story is positive enough, but Zvezda’s focus is firmly on the future.
Despite the abundance of cinemas in Belgrade, it is difficult to deny that going to the movies is falling somewhat out of fashion. What better way to increase audiences than by making it illegal? Not against the law per se, but Sunday evenings at Magacin (Serbian for ‘warehouse’) are for difficult to find films that touch on contentious subjects. Anyone can recommend a film, but you have to lead a discussion about the movie at its conclusion.
Entry is 100% free, and the whole thing is a unique experience in the Serbian capital. Keep an eye on its Facebook page for the full schedule.
The glory days of Dom Sindikata may be well and truly in the past, but efforts have been made in recent years to keep this famous cultural centre breathing. The cinema schedule has been energised as a result, and the theatre offers a modern cinematic touch in a truly historic building. You can always head up to the excellent jazz bar on the top floor following the film as well, for a bit of live music and a lot of alcohol.
Not to be confused with the children’s cultural centre on Takovska (although they do a lot of excellent work as well), Dvorana Kulturnog centra Beograd is the cinematic wing of the capital’s cultural drive, and as such showcases a fine selection of movies on a frequent basis. One of the most consistent cinemas in the city centre.
Modern big bucks cinemas tend to be fairly soulless affairs, but the combination of an excellent price in a location in need of distraction makes the commercial cinema in Ušće a fine enough option on an empty afternoon. The VIP area offers premium comfort at a fraction of the price you’d expect, too. If you’re in search of the latest cynical comic book cash grab, this is the best option.
Belgrade’s famous Sava Centar faces an uncertain future, so visitors should take the opportunity to visit the iconic building before it’s too late. The monolithic main theatre shows a variety of films across a busy enough schedule, but waiting in the vintage bar is just as enjoyable an experience. The Sava Centar might not have much time left, but it is a great cinema in which to make some Belgrade memories.
Belgrade’s premier youth centre is known more for its live music than its cinematic schedule, but it is definitely worth keeping an eye on its social media pages ahead of future showings. There is an air of class to the experience, a consummate aura that harks back to a time when cinema was the luxury of the upper-classes and a major ingredient of escapism for everyone else.