A Street Made Of Movies: Paulista Avenue, São Paulo
São Paulo’s Paulista Avenue is one of the city’s most vibrant streets, shown on many famous postcards. It is also a must-visit destination for movie lovers. On its streets there are six movie theatres for all tastes and moods. If you’re looking for a film by a great Polish director, or maybe you want get to know an up-and-coming Brazilian actress, these movie theatres are sure to keep you entertained.
Located just around the corner from Paulista Avenue, Caixa Belas Artes first opened in 1956. It has been through a fire, and several renovations and reopenings with different names, until it was closed in 2011. After a popular mobilization that included protests and petitions, it was reopened three years later as Caixa Belas Artes. Each of its six screens is named after an important Brazilian artist – composer Villa-Lobos, painter Candido Portinari, architect Oscar Niemeyer, sculptor Aleijadinho, writer Mario de Andrade and actress Carmen Miranda – and it is dedicated mainly to classic films and art movies from all over the world. The first floor offers an unparalleled panoramic view of Rua da Consolação, another central street of this global city.
Mixing foreign movies, classic films and commercial hits, Espaço Itaú de Cinema is located two blocks down from Paulista Avenue in Rua Augusta, famous for its bohemian nightlife. It includes two buildings, one on each side of the street. The main building has three screens, a café and a bookshop. Across the street you’ll find an annex with two other screens and another café. Itaú, one of Brazil’s biggest banks, has two other movie theaters in São Paulo, and more can be found in five other Brazilian cities (Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Porto Alegre, Curitiba and Salvador).
Located at the corner of Rua Augusta inside Center 3, a 4-storey shopping center in Paulista Avenue, PlayArte Bristol is the place to go to see a blockbuster. You can choose between seven screens, and there are several stores, cafés and restaurants to entertain you while you wait for the movie to begin. It’s not difficult to find a café that sells brigadeiro, a delicious traditional Brazilian treat. Every Sunday, from 10am to 10pm, Center 3 holds a clothing and crafts fair, a great place for bargains and unique goods.
Just across the street from Center 3 is Conjunto Nacional, a famous traditional São Paulo’s buildings. Inaugurated in 1958, it is now divided into an office building, a residential building and a gallery with stores, restaurants, a theater and a movie theater. Since 2010 the cinema has been run by Livraria Cultura, a bookstore chain you can find throughout Brazil. It has two screens, which focus on art and foreign films. After your movie, pay a visit to the biggest bookstore in the country, a 3,500 square meter Livraria Cultura store right next to the cinema. You’ll lose track of time while you explore its three floors.
Also in Rua Augusta, three blocks down from Paulista Avenue, you can find CineSesc – established in 1979. With only one screen, it is dedicated to Brazilian and foreign movies, classics and documentaries. It also has a busy schedule of festivals, art exhibitions, debates and classes with moviemakers and critics. There is a bar inside the exhibition room during the screenings, separated from the audience by a glass window. It has been closed for renovation since last February and is expected to reopen in April 2015. Meanwhile, other Sesc units are holding movie related activities, such as screenings and debates. Don’t forget to taste their warm chocolate and coffee bread – you don’t want to miss it.
Cine Gazeta opened its doors in 1966, changing to Reserva Cultural in 2005, and has since been dedicated to art movies and foreign titles. Located on the ground floor of an iconic building of São Paulo called Edifício Gazeta, it known for a mural on its façade with a 45-degree inclination. The movie theater has four screens and also a bookstore, a boulangerie and a bistro with a wide glass window that gives you a great view of Paulista Avenue’s buzz while you enjoy a meal.