Cinema Arta

Str. Universitatii, nr. 3,

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Cinema Arta (Official)

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Functions: Cultural Center, Movies

Styles: Art Deco

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Cinema Arta

Cluj-Napoca, the second most populous city in Romania, is the seat of Cluj County in the north western part of the country. The city is considered to be the unofficial capital of the historical province of Transylvania.

Cinema Arta opened in the autumn of 1913. It is located on the ground floor of a building that had been constructed and owned by David Sebestyen, an important person in the construction industry at the beginning of the last century and the great-grandfather of the present owner, Monica Sebestyen.

In 1948 the cinema was nationalised by the Communist regime, becoming state property. Even so, it continued to function as a cinema. Eventually, after a property restitution trial started after the 1989 revolution, the Cinema Arta was returned to the Sebestyen family.

The interior is still adorned with original Art Deco style decoration, and it is reputed to be the oldest working cinema in Romania.

However, full-time film shows ended in February 2012. For the time being it is open only during festivals and special events, because some equipment for regular functioning is still lacking. Also, some improvements are needed in order to meet present day demands. Monica Sebestyen is confident the cinema can be re-opened, full-time, and become a lively cultural space.

In 2016 Monica Sebestyen began a full refurbishment that aimed to preserve the best of the historic elements but bring the cinema fully up to date. While work was underway, a programme of non-film activities enabled the building to be reactivated and to reconnect with the community. Exhibitions were held - and even some film screenings in the foyer. In 2019 digital projection and a new sound system were installed and a few ‘test’ screenings were presented. That year, the Cinema Arta became a member of the Trans Europe Halles network, which brings cultural centres together across Europe.

Having endured an enforced closure during the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2021 Cine Arta finally reopened to the public with a full film programme and other cultural activities.

Contributed by David Simpson
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