The Orlando Cinemas chain will be opening a new movie theater in Jerusalem, in the auditorium at the Beit Shmuel guesthouse and cultural complex at Shama Street, just off King David Street.
This new theater, which will open officially in the middle of September, will show critically acclaimed, high-quality movies from all over the world, like those that are shown at Orlando Cinemas’ other theaters, in Tel Aviv at the ZOA House and in the Eretz Yisrael Museum in Ramat Aviv. For Jerusalemites who are weary of the formulaic fare at the city’s multiplexes, this is very good news.
“I love Jerusalem and feel we need to have a home in Jerusalem,” said Oded Horowitz, the general manager of Orlando Films. “Beit Shmuel has a wonderful auditorium that seats over 400, and because of the way it’s built, it never feels crowded.”
But the new theater will just be the beginning of what the Orlando Cinemas company is planning.
“We’d like it to be more than just a movie theater, we’d like it be a whole evening experience,” said Horowitz. “It’s a cultural center, not a megaplex.”
To that end, Horowitz is hoping to expand the café there into a full-fledged restaurant, so theater patrons can enjoy dinner and a movie in one spot.
Asked whether it will be open on Fridays and Saturdays, Horowitz said it would definitely be. This decision has engendered some grumbling on the part of Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox residents, and but secular moviegoers will be pleased. As Horowitz points out, Sabbath movie-going is nothing new in the capital: the Jerusalem Cinematheque, Lev Smadar and the Rav Chen theater are open seven days a week.
The opening film at the new cinema will be Party Girl, directed by Marie Amachoukeli- Barsacq, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis, which won the Camera d’Or Prize last spring at the Cannes Film Festival. It tells the story of an aging nightclub hostess who tries to settle down.
“This is the kind of enjoyable international film that we want to show,” said Horowitz.