When we came to Mallorca to settle we, by choice, had no TV set. We could not watch any movies in Palma’s cinemas either because they did not offer any non-dubbed movies at that time. We were desperate to watch a decent non-blockbuster foreign film either from Britain, France, Germany, Japan or wherever, in its original version but, tough luck. No such thing here on the island. A friend of ours even thought of going into the movie theatre business himself in order to be able to watch the films he would have liked to have seen in their original version, and by extension, us, his friends. The nearest place where we could watch such films, mostly of the independent genre, was Barcelona, a long way for just a night at the opera, sorry, movie house.
Then, some time in the late Eighties, Cines Renoir started up in Palma at the s’Escorxador complex. We were delighted. Some of the better foreign films we had heard about, now came to Palma as well in their original version (V.O.S.E.) with Spanish subtitles, sometimes even before they were shown in Britain. Over the years we have been able to watch films from India, China, Japan, Korea, Britain, USA, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Iran, Israel, Egypt, Palestina, Argentina, Mexico; you name it, we saw it.
Sadly, today will be the last day of such pleasures here on the island. Cines Renoir Palma is closing down for good. It seems as though the enterprise has proved to be a loss-maker for the last seven or eight years but, even worse, the movie industry insists on a digitalisation of the movie theatres’ film presentation. Such equipment is said to cost in the neighbourhood of 100,000 Euros per screen. Cines Renoir Palma inaugurated a fourth Sala only three years ago; thus, the total investment would have been near enough 400,000 Euros. If I had that sort of money lying around and spare, I might even chip in. I am sad to see Renoir go. We shall have to buy a TV set now; only joking, we bought one when the children were old enough.
The cinema business in Spain – or anywhere else for that matter – is not in a very good shape these days. I suppose computers, the Internet, pirating, streaming and other contemporary digital contraptions are to be blamed. In Palma alone, two large Multiscreen cinema complexes closed down in the last few years, first Multicines Chaplin and more recently, Multicines Metropolitan. After Renoir‘s closing, only two independent cinema theatres will remain in Palma, Salas Augusta and Multicines Rivoli. The other remaining Multiscreen complexes are internationally owned and under the tight influence of the Hollywood industry moguls. No chance for any V.O.S.Es. I am afraid, whatever Multicines Porti Pi might say. I will believe their promises when I see them.
The photos (top two) were taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 7th, 2012. The time was 15:38:15 and 17:50:19, respectively. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es.