28 May 2010

'Memocine Tijuana' | Paula Damasceno and Tijuana's forgotten cinemas

Hiding under all the clutter and graffiti that makes central Tijuana so impressively random are countless historical landmarks, including several 1940s and '50s movie palaces.

Cine Bujazaan. Cine Variedades. Cine Latino. Cine Piojito. Cine Libertad. Cine Roble.

In her documentary "Memocine Tijuana," Brazilian filmmaker Paula Damasceno, who's currently partaking in an artist residency at The Tunnel House, catches them all on film. She tours each cinema -- spaces that even local under-30somethings have never seen -- and interviews their caretakers.

All have since burned down, fallen into ruin or been converted into retail space or porno shacks. Historical preservation seems to be the last thing on everyone's mind in a border town, where the concept of building, nurturing and bettering one's community is, generally speaking, trumped by a constant obsession with how to get to the other side. That, or how to make a profit from living in the shadow of the richest country in the world. But with movies-on-demand now becoming a commonplace luxury outside the First World, the act of leaving home to see films doesn't seem long for this world either.

The 15-minute doc screens at Cine Latino, at Fifth Street and Ni├▒os Heroes, at 7 p.m. Monday, May 31.

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