A cinephile for as long as he can remember, Paulo Cunha moves through cinema in Porto (and across the country) like a fish in the water. His “curriculum” just confirms what becomes clear in a few minutes of conversation: many of his life paths lead to the Seventh Art.
His journey through cinema is so extensive that it would make a feature film, with several sequels. He holds a PhD in Contemporary Studies from the University of Coimbra and he is the Vice-President of the Department of Arts at the University of Beira Interior (where he teaches Cinema and Media Arts), he is a programmer at the Cineclube de Guimarães, at Batalha Centro de Cinema and at the Curtas Vila do Conde Festival, he was part of the juries of festivals such as Indie Lisboa or CineEco and in artistic and scientific competitions, such as the Calouste de Gulbenkian Foundation. And it doesn't end there.
But what really matters is that he managed to make two of his passions the focus of his work: History and Cinema. The first allows you to “know the present through the past” and the second “imagine the future through the present”. And when we ask him the classic question “which film would you take to a desert island”, he rolls his eyes (as if the answer were impossible “Only one?”) and throws out some unavoidable titles for himself: “Os Verdes Anos” (Paulo Rocha), “Cinema Paradiso” (Giuseppe Tornatore), “The Mutants” (Teresa Villaverde) and “Elo” (Alexandra Ramires). For someone who wants to get to know a diverse Portugal, outside the large metropolitan areas, there is no doubt that “Our Beloved Month of August” (Miguel Gomes) and “Lobo e Cão” (Cláudia Varejão) are mandatory works.
But he's life is not only about Cinema, as he loves to combine a good movie with some delicious Portuguese gastronomy ("Papas de Sarrabulho", "Tripas" or "Lapas") and traveling is something he's passionate about, and when he does it he doesn't resist including the most emblematic movie theaters in his tourist itinerary. With a unique cinematographic landscape and the birthplace of countless internationally recognized filmmakers, Invicta is also an excellent destination for any cinephile. Whether you prefer independent cinema, experimental cinema, animation or blockbusters, there are a lot of places to see cinema in Porto. Paulo Cunha suggests some. Follow All About Portugal and let yourself be carried away by the magic of cinema.
Batalha Centro de Cinema
It is, since the end of 2022, the new cultural hotspot of cinema in Porto and a place of pilgrimage, not only for Cinema lovers, but also for Architecture and Painting lovers. Built in the 1940s, designed by the architect Artur Andrade, with paintings by Júlio Pomar and a high relief on the façade by Américo Braga. But in 2000 it proved incapable of facing the competition of the large commercial areas. In 2012 it was classified as a Monument of Public Interest, which safeguards its integrity as an architectural work. Today, its programming includes the presentation of retrospectives, thematic cycles, focuses on contemporary practices and links between cinema and other arts.
It is the perfect place to enjoy the best of both worlds: Cinema and Music. With a recent history strongly linked to Porto's nightlife, here the atmosphere is intimate and the programming – both musical and cinematic – eclectic and alternative. Its history begins in 1971, when it opened as a cinema in Porto, part of the Coliseu do Porto. In 2004, it gained a new life: it was adapted as a concert hall, bar and disco. In the cinematographic field, it focuses mainly on partnerships with independent festivals and exhibitions, being an alternative choice, in Porto, with regard to the Seventh Art.
Located in the middle of “portuense movida”, in 2017 this historic cinema in downtown Porto was reborn from the ashes! With two movie theaters, about 350 seats and several daily sessions, the best of the Seventh Art is celebrated here, and covers an eclectic range, ranging from the most alternative cinema to Oscar-winning films. Its history begins in 1913 – as “Salão Jardim da Trindade” – as a cinema, ballroom and café with billiards. Only in 1957 did it change its name to “Cinema Trindade”, after remodeling by the architects Viana de Lima and Agostinho Ricca, who transformed it into a cinema auditorium.
Casa da Animação
In a year in which Portuguese animation is on everybody's lips – with the nomination of «Ice Merchants», by João Gonzalez, for the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film – a visit to Casa da Animação is almost mandatory, for true movie lovers. As a non-profit cultural association, its activity includes curatorship in the area of exhibitions, training, conferences, meetings and masterclasses specially designed for professionals and students in the area. But its importance goes beyond the borders of cinema in Porto, as it annually assumes the international curatorship of a unique event worldwide: the Animation World Festival.
Laboratório de Cinema da Torre
See and develop film in Porto? Check! Installed in a medieval tower from the 13th century, in the heart of the historic center of Ribeira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Torre Cinema Laboratory is a unique cultural project, which focuses its attention on analogue media, namely Super-8 format film, 16mm and 35mm. Creating, experimenting and forming a critical mass are the starting points of this pioneering laboratory in the city of Porto, open to the public, directors and film lovers.