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Travel to Rio de Janeiro


Cine Joia, Rio De Janeiro

1 May 2014

Neha Kale meets the people running historic independent movie theatres

On Rio’s Copacabana beach, where an endless expanse of white sand has given way to faceless hotel chains and a rainbow of sun-worshippers, tourism risks eroding the precinct’s status as hub for the city’s cultural life. Luckily, Cine Joia, a rebellious picturehouse intent on celebrating the city’s film culture, has made it its business to keep the beachfront’s creative energy alive. 

Although Raphael Aguinaga, the filmmaker and entrepreneur responsible for restoring the colourful 1960s cinema in 2011, is passionate about screening Brazilian and international independent films, opening the 87-seat theatre up to other kinds of performances is also part of his mission.

“As the oldest operating street theatre in Rio, we are known for the high quality of our programming, but we also believe in hosting other forms of artistic expression such as poetry, music and drama in our space,” he says. 

This means that a typical week at Cine Joia could include a free screening of the De Niro classic Taxi Driver, the premiere of Brazilian documentary Trampolin du Fort or a night of slam poetry. The theatre also champions Rio’s cultural events – in 2013, it aired a series of films exploring inner-city graffiti culture to coincide with the city’s annual Urban Art Fair, and it plans to acquaint Brazilian audiences with the work of eight Middle Eastern filmmakers by hosting the Arab Film Festival this year. 

Cine Joia, which involves its audiences in a bi-monthly fanzine that celebrates local film culture, is equally intent on shaping the next generation of film enthusiasts. “Education is a really big issue in Brazil. We believe that movie theatres can also serve as classrooms, and we often screen documentaries to student groups in the morning,” Aguinaga says. “We’re a small theatre with big ambitions.”




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