Prague indie cinema Kino Atlas has screened its last film

The cinema announced the sad news on social media ahead of the holiday weekend, revealing that the building owner did not extend the cinema's lease.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 26.12.2022 09:53:00 (updated on 26.12.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Many of Prague's smaller arthouse cinemas are closed through the holiday weekend, but one of them won't be reopening as we head into 2023: popular Prague 8 venue Kino Atlas screened its last film on December 23, the cinema announced on social media.

The Karlín cinema as well as its upstairs café have both closed for good. Cinema director Ondřej Trantina told that the cinema and the owner of its building could not agree on an extension of its lease contract from 2023.

"Dear viewers, film fans, and supporters of the Atlas cinema, at the end of the year, after nine years of activity, Kino Atlas will close, as will the Atlas Café," Kino Atlas wrote on social media last week ahead of the Christmas holidays.

"The beautiful First Republic location where we met, experienced movie premieres and a number of shows and festivals, saw quality films, drank delicious coffee and wine, is unfortunately closing. We look forward to seeing you in the new year at our sister cinema Kino Evald in the very center of Prague at Národní třída 28."

"We did not find a common ground with the owner of the building," Trantina told last week.

"It is due to factors that affect everything in our lives. The costs of heating and lighting are increasing. It is also one of the reasons why we did not find common ground. We're finishing, but it's not our decision.”

Trantina added that the company is currently looking for a replacement location to reopen the cinema elsewhere in Prague, but he wasn't holding out much hope.

"We will definitely try to find something, but it's not exactly easy with cinema spaces these days. So we are curious if we will discover anything at all," he stated.

While the current iteration of Kino Atlas had been in operation for only nine years, the cinema has a long history at its location by the Florenc metro in Prague.

The functionalist building that houses the cinema was designed by František Josef Stalmach and Jan Hanuš Svoboda, student of Cubist architect Josef Gočár, in the mid-1930s as a commercial building to house a bank, cinema, bar, and dance hall. Today, both the exterior and interior of the building are protected by the National Institute of Monuments.

From 1948-2000, the building housed Kino Sokolovo, named after the nearby street in Karlín. It was leased to a new operator in 2002, but the basement cinema was immediately devastated by the August floods in Prague.

After a complete reconstruction that included new projection and sound equipment, Kino Atlas reopened in 2005, with current operators taking over the premises shortly after. Over the past decade, the cinema has hosted numerous film festivals including Prague's One World documentary film festival.

Combining a historic location with state-of-the-art technology, it immediately became a popular destination for local film fans; in 2012, we ranked Kino Atlas as the second-best cinema in Prague.

For film fans in Karlín, the news is especially sad: Kino Atlas was the only cinema in the Prague 8 neighborhood. It has yet to be announced if another company will take over cinema operations, but the building's owner is reportedly looking for a replacement.

"We deeply respect the architectural significance of the building and the space known as Kino Atlas and Atlas Café is not going away," Daniel Hagan, a spokesperson for the company that owns the building, said in a released statement.

"Currently, we are already actively working to obtain a new tenant who will once again open this important cultural site in the center of Prague to the public."

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