The idea of a “Cineclub” (film club) seems a bit outdated in the era of open, unlimited access to whatever you want to watch, anywhere and everywhere. Gone are the days when piracy was the only way you could access certain hard-to-find materials, let alone considered ethically wrong. Take streaming platforms, for example. One of these services’ primary selling points are the hyper-personalized recommendations. Based on previous ratings and preferences—and filtered by a series of complicated algorithms—it more often than not provides an echo-chamber effect: if you’ve liked a genre or theme in the past, you’re much more likely to be led to similar content than to something outside your usual comfort zone.
In commercial theaters, like Village or Cinemark, prices have been on the rise, as much as AR $230 in regular screenings, even higher for 3D or 4D. Save some exceptions, like director Armando Bo’s most recent release Animal, the remaining nine movies leading the box-office are foreign, mainstream productions (Warner, Fox, Disney).
Despite this local landscape, some spaces have been offering a quiet but powerful resistance to these two ways of accessing film and television, a few as far back as the nineteen-fifties. Perhaps it’s not breaking into a network of global consumerism but it is, at least, resisting these larger, often automatized trends by establishing local communities of amateurs (fun fact: the real meaning of the term is not “aficionado,” but “lover”) of film.
It’s not only an alternative to the silent, fragmented, and solitary viewing experience, but also a flourishing revision of film’s more than one-hundred-year history. You may have noticed that contemporary film makes up a vast majority of streaming services’ offers, while paradoxically remakes and restorations of “classics” are now on-trend in mainstream media. Many of these clubs and spaces offer live presentations beforehand: the presenters put the movie into context and present an accessible breakdown of why it’s important, making for a more interesting debate after watching.
So, without further ado, here’s all you need to know about some of these clubs and cycles, from smaller to larger scale, curated by real, live people instead of robots that can code:
- Alamut Libros: This boutique library, apart from sharing its space with a winery, holds projections in a tiny room on the first floor, up a narrow staircase. The cycles are curated by the owners themselves, Daniela and Luciano, and offer a wide range of options, from lesser-known gems to classics. And you might just get a glass of wine to enhance the cinematic enjoyment.Jorge Luis Borges 1985, Palermo | Free
- La Gran Jaime: Established in 2014 and now a staple of Villa Crespo, it’s one of the most consistent options when it comes to contemporary film, as it holds screenings more than once a week. Projections tend to focus on anime film and series.
You can catch a projection of Argentine film Invisible, directed by Pablo Giorgelli; there’ll be a Q&A after.Aráoz 832, Villa Crespo | Tickets are free and given out two hours before the show, with limited seating
- Casa Brandon: In Casa Brandon, art and political activism are one and the same. This center is a “safe space” in the true sense of the word: it helps promote, host and finance artists in the LGBTQ+ community, and has done so for more than a decade. It has hosted unforgettable events such as the projection of several episodes of the first season of Transparent, bringing academics, people of the trans community, and film critics together for debate.Luis María Drago 236, Villa Crespo | Tickets for screenings range from an optional contribution to about AR $50
- Cineclub Núcleo and MALBA: In case you didn’t know, there is such a thing as the Argentine Association of Film Clubs, and Cineclub Núcleo, established in 1952, has formed part for the past two generations. If you’re into getting to movies before their official release (and don’t want to suffer through a shaky bootleg version sold on a dodgy street corner), you can do so on the second and fourth Sunday each week at the INCAA Gaumont. A “Revision Cycle,” playing older or forgotten films, takes place at the MALBA every Thursday. And, at the MALBA itself, you can find cycles of genre-film personally curated and introduced by film critic and presenter Fernando Martín Peña.Espacio INCAA Gaumont: Avenida Rivadavia 1651. Regular tickets are AR $60, and half-price for students and seniors. You can consult programming at the Cineclub on the 24-hour call-line, 4825-4102MALBA: Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415 | Tickets AR $60/$30 | Thursdays through Sundays | Programming here
- KinoPalais: Originally dependent upon the museum Palais de Glace (currently undergoing renovations for the next two years), the space for audiovisual arts is now hosted at the Casa del Bicentenario. This is the place to look for hidden gems, like the most recent cycle “(Re)descubriendo a mi familia” (Rediscovering family), an Argentine-German cinematic dialogue surrounding family dynamics. Tickets are free, so it’s wise to show up at least a half-hour before starting time.Riobamba 985 (Casa Nacional del Bicentenario), Recoleta | Free | You can check out the programming here
- Sala CINAIN/ENERC: On May 20, the “Sala CINAIN” (CINAIN stands for “Cinematheque and Archive for the National Image”) officially opened its doors, after many a false start. As well as aspiring to host foreign and art-film cycles, one of the main attractions of the programming is that it will feature newly restored material from international cinematheques and film archives. Another standout: its presenters, Alejandro Lingenti, Fernando Martín Peña, and Fernando Madedo. Past programming has included “Essentials of Mexican Cinema” and international “Sunday Classics.” Our personal recommendation? Fernando “Pino” Solana’s La Hora de los Hornos, playing every Saturday this month.Moreno 1199, Monserrat | Open Monday through Sunday | Tickets are free, with an optional previous reservation here
- Sala Lugones: Perhaps the most well-known of the bunch, it’s worth shouting out as it’s a bastion for restored copies of international films, as well as lesser-known national cinematographies, like the current screenings of contemporary Romanian film. Because it is state funded, the content at Sala Lugones—reopened just last year—is supported by a vast network of national and international foundations and enterprises, and is vital to keep this kind of cultural legacy alive and in circulation.Corrientes 1529, Montserrat | Open all week | Tickets AR $40/$20 | Programming here.
- BAMA (Buenos Aires Mon Amour): What started out as another Cine Club in San Telmo, hosted by two friends, ended up as a traditional theater where the “Arteplex Centro” used to be located. BAMA quickly became one of the referring spots for independent foreign film—you can find almost all foreign films that’ve been nominated for an Oscar or a Palm d’Or during awards season. The programming is otherwise similar to what you’ll find at ArteMultiplex in Belgrano. One standout feature: it also offers film theory classes and workshops at an accessible price. From the current screenings, we recommend “Dry Martina” by Che Sandoval, a gem from the latest BAFICI.Roque Saenz Peña Av. 1150 | Mon-Wed: AR $90 / Thur-Sun: AR $160 | Programming and info on the courses here.