Here’s an article (translated below) by Globo from September, 2012.
“If the experience of seeing a movie in the theater is very different from watching it on the couch at home or on the computer screen, watching the same film in a theater like São Luiz, in Recife, can bring an even more pleasurable experience. Inaugurated on September 6, 1952 by the Severiano Ribeiro group, the theater that borders the Rio Capibaribe celebrates 60 years on Thursday (the 6th), and is considered a historical monument since 2008, when it was declared as such by the Artistic Heritage Foundation of Pernambuco (FUNDARPE). With its stained glass lights, its velvet curtain, the details that go from floor to ceiling and the Lula Cardoso Ayres panel at the entrance, the São Luiz is the greatest movie reference in a city that, in the early twentieth century, has had hundreds of neighborhood cinemas.
With many years of operation, this Aurora Street theater is present in the cinematic memory of many people of Recife. Among them, the journalist and researcher Alexander Figueirôa, who remembers how the theater was known for its big releases: “A debut that I’ll never forget is that of ‘The Wall’, by Pink Floyd and directed by Alan Parker. For me, art cinema was the Coliseu, while the São Luiz was for the great movies, where they showed the most important releases.”
Another cinematic name of Pernambuco, journalist and filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho says he’s part of the group of people that began to experience the ‘seventh art’ in one of the armchairs of São Luiz. “The great cliché is that, in fact, was the first theater which I was taken to. But it really was, my mother always said, I think it was a marathon of ‘Tom and Jerry’. And São Luiz is part of my training, even though my favorite theater was actually the Veneza which was a little smaller and where I felt more comfortable,” said Kleber.
For the current programmer of the São Luiz, Geraldo Pine, who has also spent time in the Parque and Apolo Cinemas, the architecture of the theater is more impressing than the films that were shown, when he first started coming to the place. “The first time I went was in 1961, the theater was to celebrate its first 10 years and I watched ‘La Violetera’ with Sarita Montiel. Today the theater will turn 60 and I, 62. I aged, I’ve got white hair and he (the São Luiz) is still there, stately, beautiful. It is an exhibition house that dignifies what we call cinema. And that’s what always struck me, because I was born in Santos (SP), attended a theater in the periphery, and when I came to Recife, I was taken there and that’s when I saw the city’s downtown area for the first time, the bridges, the river, and theater…It made such an impact that I never forgot it,” he says.
Pine says that, from then on, the relationship of admiration with theater was born: “I had never seen such a thing of beauty. It went on attracting me, not only for movies, but for what it is, the beauty that you continue to discover daily in the details. It was a turning point, even today I consider it the most beautiful theater I’ve ever been to. Some people think that to make a theater all one needs is a screen and darkness, but no.”
Cinema São Luiz
Rua da Aurora, 175, Boa Vista – Recife-PE