The Jerusalem Cinematheque unveiled its newly renovated Auditorium 1, its main auditorium, at a festive screening Monday night of the film Les Miserables, a French crime drama by Ladj Ly.Cinematheque lovers in the capital will be pleased to learn that the screening room has been renovated to provide maximum comfort for the audience, which is great news since many of us virtually live there during the Jerusalem Film Festival, as well as at other times of the year. The renovation was carried out with a grant from the Leir Foundation, as well as the Jerusalem Municipality and the cinematheque’s own budget.The Leir Foundation – not to be confused with the Van Leer Foundation, which was created by Wim van Leer, the husband of the late Jerusalem Cinematheque founder, Lia van Leer – also contributed funds to install the outdoor elevator from Derech Hebron to the cinematheque entrance a couple of years ago, which has been incredibly helpful to Jerusalem cinephiles who have trouble walking stairs. The seats in the newly redone auditorium have been replaced with plush chairs, most of which recline. The auditorium has been pruned from 368 to 348 seats, so that each seat is wider and has more legroom, which will be particularly appreciated by audiences for longer films. The final three rows, which had been all on one level, are now raked, which will greatly improve the view in these rows, especially for subtitled films – often, Hebrew titles are not on the screen but are projected on a strip beneath the screen. The screen has also been replaced and many aspects of the stage area have been upgraded. There is now a 4K projector that adds higher definition to newer films that have been made to be shown in this format.Another innovation is that rows just two seats long have been added along the right side of the auditorium, which gives audiences the option of sitting with a special companion with some privacy. It also creates a bank of new aisle seats which will be appreciated by the longer-legged viewers, as well as those impatient sorts who like to make a quick getaway if the movie isn’t up to snuff. These new seats are the most immediately obvious change in the auditorium layout, but according to the cinematheque management, they are a big hit with audiences and they are generally the first seats to sell out. Lia van Leer’s favorite seat – seat 11, row 8 – which has been graced with a plaque for several years, since her death in 2015, will soon be joined by other seats that will be named by contributors. The details of this plan will be announced soon, but it’s likely that for about NIS 1,500, you can name a chair for a loved one for seven years. This money will go toward renovations for Cinematheque 3, which has been open now for over 10 years, and although it a lovely auditorium with great views from almost every seat, could still use some refurbishment. One final note: The beautiful ceiling in Cinematheque 1, which has lights that look like a starry sky, twinkles on, untouched. Some things should never change.