20 rue Cujas, Paris, France
01 46 33 86 86
Cinema Accattone Paris Reviews
Art house theater experience Jul 16, 2008
I was in the mood for something different and unique in Paris one day and thought to myself, why not see a film. Mind you, I didn't want to see just any film or the latest release, but something I could take in as an experience in culture. I found just the place at Cinema Accattone. Now, if you don't mind sticky floors, small theaters, and rough film print quality, then read on. This is totally different than the American movie theaters I go to in the USA. And this is exactly what I wanted - something unique.
A bit of background: Accattone features European art films and classics. It is one of many state sponsored theaters in France that receive funding to stay in business. I suppose this is a good thing because such places would not exist otherwise. This is the way it should be to keep the culture alive. It could not survive competitively otherwise. The building is a former cabaret in the Latin Quarter, the "Gipsy Cabaret", where artists such as Edith Piaf performed. In 1957, it was converted into a cinema, Studio Cujas, and offered American films for a few years before becoming a French film art house. Under new management, it was refurbished and renamed Accattone in 1983, in honor of the 1961 Pasolini film of the same name. There are 110 seats in the theatre, each named for a noted personality in cinema, something with a nice touch.
I went to check out the place in the morning. I saw the Italian film 'La Strada' was playing. Perfect - I remember my college days in Boston and going to the Harvard Square Theatre on Church Street. It was an art house of sorts then and I first saw 'La Strada' there with English subtitles. I was looking forward to later in the day to see a classic film, somewhat to see something different in Paris, but now to reminisce too. Turns out the film had French subtitles, but it was ok - I knew the story anyway. It's such a beautiful film and you could understand it even without sound or subtitles.
Well, this review is sort of personal for me, and I guess it shows here. I was moved by the experience, not just because it reminded me of days gone by in Boston, but because I was in Paris seeing something that goes on here everyday, which I had thought didn't exist anymore. Truly remarkable. The audience didn't get up to leave with the credits, but watched them and then there was discussion afterward. I didn't understand it, as they spoke in French, but imagined I did I suppose. It's a universal film: "La Strada" - The Road.
I have the impression that this theater probably owns a few dozen prints of various films and shows them in a rotation schedule, but you can bet any of them are worth seeing. I base this assumption from my experience hanging out at the Church Street Theater in Boston where the film quality of a particular movie got worse over time. The print of "La Strada" I saw was in bad shape. This, in my opinion, sometimes adds a flavor, like a scratchy old album that has a sound different than a CD. It's not nostalgia so much, but the feeling of the familiar maybe, or something worn that shows its correct age.
Well, I feel this has been maybe more reminiscence and philosophical reflection than a review, but that is my life experience to share. Films are visions of light, and the good ones are meant to be enjoyed in the time they were made, and for generations to come. It was a real pleasure for me to take the opportunity to experience an art house theater in Paris. I recommend Accattone. It's a gem, one of many if you can find them scattered about Paris. If you have the opportunity, take in a film and just enjoy the experience. It's not something you will find just anywhere, and Paris has a way of reminding you of that.
I have not been able to find an official web site for the theatre, but the following link at allocine.fr shows some list of current films and times:
UPDATE (1/1/2014): Seems the name of this place has changed. It is now "Studio Luxembourg - Accatone" with allocine.fr link:
Part of the City of Light (1999, 2008) travel blog
Part of the list Special Interest: Review List
Part of the list France: Review List
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