The charming cinemas of Warsaw

Anna Kowalska | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Have you ever thought about visiting a cinema while travelling in a foreign country? That might be an interesting idea for a cultural experience. Fortunately, unlike on the TV, in Polish cinemas, movies are usually screened in the original language, which makes them accessible for international audiences. If you are interested in Polish cinematography, you should be able to see some of the newest hits subbed in English. Unlike many other cities in Poland, Warsaw is lucky to have several independent cinemas that offer ambitious programs with great movies. In this story, I want to show you three charming cinemas that have unique repertoires and cosy atmospheres.

Iluzjon - cinema with tradition

© Pixabay/Araicon

Iluzjon screens movies since 1956, but is located in this iconic building only since 1997. The characteristic modernist rotunda was built just after the Second World War for another cinema called 'Stolica'. Recently, the edifice went through renovation works and we can admire it in its full glory. When you get there, pay attention to the beautiful architectonic details in the interior, charming textiles covering the walls and a neon shining above the entrance that gives it the spirit of old Warsaw. Iluzjon specializes in archival movies, but you will also be able to see there the newest releases. If you check the program in advance you might be able to join the night of screening the classics of Polish and international cinematography. Some of them are still projected from the original 35mm films, which adds extra charm to the evening. Personally, I love it for black and white films that can be enjoyed in this atmosphere of an old cinema. Iluzjon also has a cafe with a (summer) terrace to enjoy something to eat and drink before the movie.

Muranów Cinema

© iStock/Bernard Białorucki

Located a bit closer to the centre, Muranów Cinema is a great place to enjoy the newest films of alternative cinema. Similarly to Iluzjon, it was built just after the war during the rebuilding of Warsaw. Muranów has two rooms and offers a very rich program, filled with thematic blocks and festivals. Among them, you will find events like the cycle of the worst films ever, Asian Movie Festival or the Review of the Argentinian Cinema. They also organize blocks for children and have very affordable prices. In Muranów, next to a cozy atmosphere, you will also find a cafe.

Cinema in the Palace

© iStock/tupungato

Like many other cultural spots on the map of Warsaw, Kinoteka is located in the Palace of Culture and Science. Its big space (8 screening rooms) makes for almost entire southern wall of the building. As the whole Palace of Culture, it has unique interior decoration in the style of socialist realism, that merges with the new elements, like the giant models of Oscars statues standing by the walls. All of it makes for a great experience. Kinoteka has a good offer of alternative, artistic movies, but also screens the blockbusters, so you can choose depending on your mood. From all the mentioned places, Kinoteka is probably the best prospering cinema when it comes to the festivals. It is one of two venues for the popular Warsaw Film Festival that takes place every autumn and compiles of many various smaller events.

All of these places have their own websites that will give you specific information about screenings, together with the details about the language and subtitles. If you feel like having a slow, but interesting evening in Warsaw, discover some of its charming cinemas.

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