For over a hundred years arthouse films have been shown at Willem II straat 29 in Tilburg by travelling companies and cinemas such as De Nieuwe Bioscoop (The New Cinema), Cinema Royal, Ambassade, and
– since 1983 – Cinecitta. From the start, arthouse films have been Cinecitta’s forte. We show gems from all over the world, which often outshine the regular Hollywood films. Not blockbusters, but exceptional films for people who move outside the mainstream. Because we want to keep up with the times, a major renovation of ‘our’ Rijksmonument (listed building) was started in May 2012.
Thanks to the renovation, there are now three auditoriums, a multifunctional room, a stylish conference room, a restaurant and a bar, making for a place unparalleled in Tilburg in set-up and monumental design.
What has not changed is the programming of quality films, the unique Cinecitta atmosphere, and the name Cinecitta itself, which refers, of course, to the large, legendary film studio in Rome.
The History of Cinecitta
Summarised in a beautifully designed, illustrated book
For sale at Cinecitta for 100 ‘dubbeltjes’ (10 cents)
Cinecitta’s building has a well-known history with great social and cultural significance for Tilburg. It was built in 1877 as a concert hall and coffee house for the Souvenir des Montagnards society. Later it became an important cultural spot where concerts, theatre events, exhibitions, lectures, films, and presentations of new inventions were programmed.
Many great artists performed in this hall in Willem II straat, among them the pianists Vladimir Horowitz and Stefan Askenase, the cabaret artists Wim Kan and Wim Sonneveld, and actors such as Ko van Dijk, Mary Dresselhuijs, and Louis Bouwmeester.
Over the course of time, the Souvenir des Montagnards society, having started in 1845 as a men’s choir, grew into a flourishing association with new branches for theatre, billiards, bridge, and carnival. In 1970, the society left the building, but its cultural significance remains great.
From 1916, without interruption, there has been a cinema in this historic building, variously called, in chronological order, the Nieuwe Bioscoop, the Willem II-theater, the Cinema Royal, and the Ambassade, with the later additions of Camera 1 and Camera 2. Here, from the 1960s, the public became familiar with the phenomena of arthouse films, midnight movies, and sex films. In 1982 the auditoriums of the Ambassade and the Camera were taken over by Bert Goessen and Frans van Beek, who called their cinema Cinecitta, after the famous film studios in Rome. The name was also an emblem of their ambitions: to show mainly arthouse films.
In addition they organised thematic film series and introduced the sneak preview.
In more difficult times, too, Cinecitta kept going, while one cinema after another disappeared from the Tilburg streets. Independence, vision, and perseverance have played a major role in 100 years of cinema history.