Cinematic Ghosts

GlobalPost’s Nick Miroff brings us this nice audio slideshow of Havana’s old cinemas — gorgeous Art Deco and Streamline Moderne relics that were once, as he reports, living rooms for the entire city. Some have been converted to other uses, but many still show movies, albeit in a kind of quiet decrepitude, with ticket prices frozen at the same rate as decades past.

“In Cuba, the creative destruction of capitalism isn’t there, so the past never really goes away, it just remains in the present, like the city’s old American automobiles. Cuban socialist aspirations have always been haunted by reminders of a more prosperous time.”

Hong Kong is a city where the creativity of capitalism has been given free reign (unlike creativity of other kinds, which have traditionally been looked down upon). Nearly all of the city’s free-standing theatres and cinemas have been destroyed, though the Yaumatei Theatre, a hybrid neoclassical/Art Deco building that is Hong Kong’s only surviving prewar cinema, is now being restored.

The Lee Theatre wasn’t so lucky. After 64 years of showing films and hosting Cantopop concerts, it was razed in the early 1990s and replaced by the Lee Theatre Plaza, a 22-storey shopping and office complex. Below is a new then-and-now compilation by Lee Chi-man that depicts the old Lee Theatre and what has become of it.

Lee Theatre then and now

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Friday December 18 2009at 04:12 am , filed under Architecture, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, Latin America and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Response to “Cinematic Ghosts”