Farewell to our beloved IDEAL cinema: 25 highlights from the night the cinema died
In a monumental event of immeasurable emotion, marking an unjust end of an era for the most beloved movie theater in Athens: This is how the lights of IDEAL cinema went out in front of more than 800 spectators, with tears in their eyes, sweeping applause and the conviction of those who were there that they participated in a historic evening. Cinemagazine.gr reports what happened on Friday, December 29th , during the last screening ever held at the (now) unforgettable cinema at 46 Panepistimiou Street.
With a card that appeared on the screen saying "GOODBYE TO OUR IDEAL 1921-2023" and with the symbolic music of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" playing loudly in the movie theater amidst loud applause, the sad end credits rolled for the most historic cinema in Athens. A magnificent landmark, adored by millions of spectators, which is forced to stop its crowded screenings forever and be turned into a hotel. This is the event that culturally sealed 2023 in the most bitter way.
The photos and videos taken during that unforgettable Friday evening can in no way convey the emotional charge, the indignation and sadness of so many spectators, the electricity in the packed movie theater (with plenty of people occupying even the floors), the overwhelming farewell applause by more than 800 people who rose from their seats, the tears in the eyes of so many people who had been visiting the movie theater from early on in the afternoon bringing gifts, sweets and bottles of wine - the least they could do, as one elderly lady told us, 'for an almost sacred space to which we owe so much'.
However, the photos are all we have left on this last day of the year, having definitively lost the most important cinema in Athens, which despite its 102 years of operation did not stop attracting hundreds of spectators until its last hour.
In the following snapshots, apart from the people who blocked the pedestrian street of Panepistimiou and later filled the cinema, you will see:
Angelos Antonopoulos, designer of the imposing murals of the cinema, returning 32 years after the completion of his works and signing them for the first and last time.
-The whole "family" of IDEAL cinema on stage for a final bow.
- The Artistic Director of the Athens International Film Festival, Loukas Katsikas, introducing one by one to the audience the members of the staff who for decades offered their service with unparalleled courtesy. From Ms. Fotini in cleaning and Ms. Olga in the cafeteria to the 43 years tireless manager of the cinema, Mr. Yannis Papanikolaou, the legendary cashier Ms. Aristea Chiotis, the 90-year-old projectionist Mr. Lazaros, his worthy successor to this day, Mr. Kostas Spanos, and of course the three Spentzos brothers and their children.
The applause of more than 800 standing up spectators.
Two shots from "Pulp Fiction", a farewell screening organized by the Athens International Film Festival, concluding the sold out tribute to its favourite cinema.
The finale with the farewell card, just before the huge screen goes off forever.
IDEAL will not be forgotten. It will firmly belong to the eternal cultural monuments of the capital and our country. We are forever grateful to it.
Photo Credits: Neoklis Kastrinos