The Evolution of Cinemas in Prague from the Second Half of the Twentieth Century: A Contemporary Perspective




Cinema, Architecture, Prague, Prague cinemas, 20th-century film culture, Movie theatre evolution, Post-war movie theatres, Polyekran, Laterna magika, Czech brutalism, Prague housing estate cinemas, European cinema comparison, Cinematography and architectural development


The article approaches the situation of Prague cinemas in the second half of the 20th century from the end of the Second World War to the Velvet Revolution within the socio-historical background from the point of view of an architect and a cinephile. The entire text is arranged chronologically in four paragraphs reflecting the contemporary political and social situation. It approximates the post-war period full of ideological ideals, when the construction of a dense network of cinemas became a key element of national renewal, not only in large cities but also in the regions. The following decade brought a paradigmatic shift, when local single-screen cinemas gave way to large cultural houses with multifunctional use (film, theatre, gallery, restaurant, sports facilities, etc.). It deals with the socially relaxed sixties, reflecting the synergy of various artistic disciplines, thanks to which Czechoslovakia presented to the world new artistic disciplines based precisely on film projection – “polyekran” (polyscreen) and “laterna magika” (a combination of projection and performance with live actors). The imaginary culmination of the new wave period was the opening of the luxury cinema 64 U Hradeb, which is given more attention in the text below. Furthermore, the text outlines the situation of cinemas in large Prague housing estates and deals with Czech brutalism in the context of foreign architecture and with the only brutalist cinema still operating today – the Dlabačov cinema. The final part of this article gives a brief overview of the total number of cinemas established in this period in the territory of Prague and a comparison with other European metropolises with a similar socio-cultural background. The research has the ambition to understand and approach how to integrate valuable cinema buildings on the territory of Prague into the daily life of contemporary Prague residents through the investigation of the cinema phenomenon, and the development of cinematography and cinema architecture as such, from its inception to the present day. The general logical processing methods are historical and socio-cultural analysis, architectural and urban research including architectural drawings, photographic documentation and a study of the urban development of the appearance of individual cinemas, comparison and deduction.


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How to Cite

The Evolution of Cinemas in Prague from the Second Half of the Twentieth Century: A Contemporary Perspective. (2024). Stavební Obzor - Civil Engineering Journal, 33(1), 1-19.