The cinema in Manaus

Image_Elyeser Szturm

An overview of exhibition, production and film criticism in the capital of the state of Amazonas

the movie theaters

Manaus, in 2015, presented an interesting picture of movie theaters in Portuguese-speaking countries, since, for a population of around two million people in the city, we have five networks of theaters: Cinépolis (with a total of 26 rooms: 8 rooms at the Plaza, 8 rooms at Millenium and 10 at Shopping Ponta Negra), Cinemark (8 rooms in Studio 5 Shopping), Araújo Cinematographic (6 rooms at Shopping Via Norte), kinoplex (5 rooms at Amazonas Shopping) and PlayArt (4 rooms in Manauara Shopping), accounting for a total of 57 multiplex rooms, all in shopping malls.

The site Cinema Set, however, announced, still in 2015, 61 movie theaters in Manaus. City that had received incentive from Recine in the category Construction or implementation of new cinema exhibition complexes, for the construction of a new complex with eight more rooms, as announced in the Sumauma Park Shopping (Cinema Set, 2014), in addition to many other rooms in the announced Praça das Torres Shopping Center, both were scheduled to open in 2015. However, in the State of Amazonas, outside Manaus, also according to the website Cinema Set (Pimenta, 2014), there is only one room, the Cine Theatro Dib Barbosa, in the municipality of Itacoatiara, about 270 kilometers from Manaus, on the banks of the Rio Negro.

In the first half of the XNUMXth century, in the memory of José Gaspar, cultural animator and critic, born in Brazil, educated in Lisbon and returned to Brazil, Manaus had nine cinemas: the Guarany[I] (image 01), on Rua Getúlio Vargas; next to it, there was the Politeama[ii] (image 02); going up to Sete de Setembro, there was Cine Éden[iii] (image 03); the popular cinema[iv] (image 04), at Joaquim Nabuco; Cinema Avenida (or launch cinema), where premieres took place; on the boulevard, there was the Cine Palace[v] (image 05); there were still cinemas, Vitória cinemas[vi] (image 06) and Ideal[vii] (image 07), in addition to Ipiranga[viii] (image 08), which was the largest in Manaus.

In the “Statistical data on the Brazilian short film”, presented at the National Meeting of cinematographic documentary filmmakers, which took place in 1981, in Brasília, in a publication by the Associação Brasileira de Documentaristas – ABD, we found that, in Amazonas, in Manaus there was a total seven rooms for 388.811 inhabitants, that is, one room for every 55.544 inhabitants; and in 2014, with an approximate population of 2.020.301 inhabitants and 61 theaters in operation and/or about to be inaugurated, Manaus accounted for around 33.119 inhabitants per theater. It should be noted that, in 1981, the inhabitant/room ratio in Manaus was already higher than the numbers in Rio (94 rooms for 4.857.716 inhabitants, with 51.677 inhabitants per room) and São Paulo (134 rooms for 7.198.608 inhabitants, with 53.720 inhabitants per room).

However, regarding collection, on the other hand, it was observed that, in Brazil, in 1981, Cr$ 3.488.049.043,00 were collected; in Rio de Janeiro, Cr$ 686.172.459,00 (19,67% of the country), in São Paulo, Cr$ 1.383.561.434,00 (39,67% of the country), and in Amazonas, only Cr$ 38.615.900,00. 1,11 (5,63% in the country, 2,79% in Rio and 2015% in São Paulo), this, I repeat, even though there are more rooms per person than the main economic centers in the country. In 33.119, in Manaus, we had 175 inhabitants per classroom, while in Rio there were 6.323.037 classrooms for 36.131 inhabitants, or 282 inhabitants per classroom, and São Paulo had 11.249.369 classrooms for 39.873 inhabitants, or XNUMX inhabitants per classroom. Which, then, pointed to a greater offer of rooms per inhabitant in Manaus than in Rio and São Paulo, but these numbers are always changed.

It should be clarified that without the analysis methodologies, these data may seem random, but our intention was simply to draw up a quick portrait, a snapshot even, of the situation of cinema in a certain period, in this case, in 1981, to establish a quick comparison with the cinema situation in 2015 in Manaus. However, it is worth highlighting many other variables that could be considered: first, a piece of data that we lack, especially in past years, which is the audience ratio per film, per theater and per city; the box office of each film, Brazilian or foreign, fiction, animation or documentary, according to the cost of the film, investments in release and publicity, ticket prices, among many other elements that we are not considering in these general data.

We cannot fail to highlight the film club activity in the State of Amazonas in 2015, hence we mention, in Manaus, the Cine & Video Tarumã, a film club with free sessions at 12:30 pm, which operated at the Rio Negro Auditorium, at the Institute of Human Sciences and Literature – ICHL, at the Federal University of Amazonas – UFAM; and the Cineclub Canoa, which operated at the headquarters of Amazon Film and Video Association – ACVA[ix], at Edifício Rio Mar (image 09), room 314, at Largo São Francisco which, according to Gabriel Oliveira (2014), was “created in 2010, based on a project by the Ministry of Culture (MinC) in partnership with Brazilian Associations of Documentarians – ABD's (2014). Caio Pimenta (2014) also pointed out, outside Manaus, the Cine Alto Rio Negro, in the community of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, 852 kilometers from Manaus, only accessible by boat or plane, and the room also had the support of ACVA.

Before, however, in the growing cultural agitation of the 1960s, we must highlight the words of Márcio de Souza[X] when referring to Manaus in the 1960s: “we are talking about a Manaus that no longer exists. The city at that time was poor, but it had four newspapers, including evening and morning newspapers. She had three radios, one of them FM, the first in Brazil. It had eight bookstores. Twelve cinemas. All the films that were shown here were shown all over the world, it wasn't just American films. [He says,] I saw Polish films, during the dictatorship itself. I saw the whole cycle of Russians, post-war, French cinema, new wave I saw it all in the movies! Sometimes I missed it at Cine Avenida, because there was one movie a day, so I tried to see it at Odeon or Vitória, or at Ideal” (Souza, 11/02/2015).

And two groups were of great importance in the scenario of Manaus, the Dawn Club (see TUFIC, Jorge, Late night club: 30 years, Official Press, Manaus, 1984) and the Film Studies Group – GEC, in Manaus, which ended up creating a Cineclub, coordinated by José Gaspar, which had, in his own words, the “objective [of] showing films and giving courses, and which became the first Cineclub in Manaus” (Gaspar, 15/04/2015), where, in the words of Márcio de Souza, “the debates were very fierce. Not all debates, but there was a political polarization in 1963. This polarization flowed into the 1964 coup, which ended up bringing the end of the GEC” (Souza, 11/02/2015). Márcio de Souza participated in the film club that was inside Dom Bosco and there was also a film club in the Recreation Center for Banco do Brasil employees. Even though the film club activity in Manaus was small, it seems to us that it was important as it managed to stir up cultural life in the City.

the critical activity

It is also worth noting, in the case of Manaus, the critical activity and quoting, to start with Márcio de Souza again, “Ivens [Lima, very connected to American cinema, and who] had a radio program. By the way, there were two programs about cinema on the radio: movie time and the cinemascope on air, one on Rádio Baré and the other on Rádio Rio Mar. One was made by Joaquim Marinho and sometimes [Márcio] collaborated, and the other was Ivens Lima. [They] did the programs at the same time and it was the biggest competition [...]” (Souza, 11/02/2015)[xi]. However, still according to Márcio, the greatest film critic of Amazonian culture was Dona Iaiá (image 10), wife of the owner of Cine Avenida (idem).[xii].

It is also worth remembering the pioneer magazine Cinephile (Images 11 and 11a), from the 1960s, from the capital of Amazonas, which had four issues published and one of its main promoters was the critic José Gaspar[xiii], which already deserves a monographic study for this activity and the continuity of his career, after the end of publication, as a member of the extinct Cinematographic Studies Group - GEC, responsible for the magazine, and cultural animator of the Manauara film club. Cinéfilo [according to Gaspar] was the second magazine specialized in cinema in Brazil and the first in the northern region. The first Brazilian magazine specialized in cinema was Mute Scene (image 12), from 1921 (with the pin-up Baby Daniel[xiv] on the cover).

In criticism, there are now some initiatives beyond that of printed newspapers, with their texts emptied and restricted only to indications for an audience thirsty for films. blockbusters. In contemporary criticism from Manaus, we highlight, in addition to the critics of Cine set website (, already mentioned here, among them Ivanildo Pereira, Lucas Jardim, Diego Bauer, Caio Pimenta, Renildo Rodrigues, Caio Pimenta, Camila Henriques; and also Pablo Vilaça and Isabel Wittmann, she is responsible for the column cinema on stage (See, one of the oldest sites of cinema in Brazil. In this context, then, some sites and print newspapers and online they only inform the schedule and give news, such as openings and inaugurations of theaters and the premiere of some films in the city.

Films made in the region

With regard to achievements, some films of repercussion, both international and national, were made in the region: I quote, for example, the foreign Fitzcarraldo (1982, color, 158 minutes, with Klaus Kinski, José Lewgoy, Miguel Ángel Fuentes and Claudia Cardinale. See complete, subtitled in Spanish, in; see trailer at, and trailer subtitled in English at, by Werner Herzog, and Anaconda (1997, color, 90 minutes, with Jon Voigt, Jennifer Lopes, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson, Danny Trejo, among others – v., complete and dubbed in; and trailer subtitled in Portuguese, in, by Luis Llosa; and the Brazilian Iracema, an Amazonian fuck (1975, color, 90 minutes, with Paulo César Peréio, Edna de Cássia and Conceição Sena, among others. Full film in, by Jorge Bodansky and Orlando Sena.

At this point, of course, it is worth presenting some names of directors who have worked or are working in Manaus. Firstly, Silvino Simões Santos Silva, Silvino Santos, born in Portugal in 1886 and died in Manaus on May 14, 1970, deserves to be highlighted. Putumayo River (tributary of the Amazon River that rises from Putumayo in Colombia and, in Brazil, is named the Içá River); in 1912 he filmed Amazon, the longest river in the world; and together with Agesilau Araújo (son of Commander JG Araújo), he made the documentary In the Country of the Amazons (1921, see link; testimonial by Aurélio Michiles, director of the short film The Jungle FilmmakerOn; The Manatee Hunt in the 1920s, excerpt from the film In the country of the amazons, Taken from The Jungle FilmmakerOn; and the montage Silvino Santos the forest cameramanOn

It is important to mention contemporary Amazonian filmmakers, among them we highlight Sérgio Andrade, who directed the feature film Jonathan's Forest (2012, color, 98 minutes, with Begê Muniz, Francisco Mendes, Viktoryia Vinyarska, Chico Diaz, Ítalo Castro, Socorro Papoula, Alex Lima among others. Official trailer at Sérgio Andrade is a short filmmaker, but this film stands out because, as noted by critic César Nogueira, “it’s been a while since we’ve seen a feature film directed by an Amazonian” (2015). The northern region of Brazil, then, is contemplated by many short filmmakers, among them Anderson Mendes (director of Pistolino and the film that never ends, see tralier at, Chicão Fill (director of Amazon, the ball game, see the teaser at, Moacy Freitas (director of the film If not…, with trailer in, Antonio Carlos Jr., Zeudi Souza, Diego Nogueira, Abelly Cristyne, Iziz Negreiros, Elen Linth, Ketia Serruya, Bernardo Abinader, Emerson Medina, Rod Castro, Moacyr Massulo, Leonardo Mancini, Eliana Andrade, Marcos Tupinambá, Augustto Gomes, Dheik Praia, Allan Gomes, Aldemar Matias, Everton Macedo, Francis Madson, George Augusto, Bruno Pereira, Márcio Nascimento and Rafael Ramos, in addition to Cristiane Garcia, director of the On the Wings of the Condor (color, 20 minutes), 2007, important short film in Manaus, inspired by a short story by Milton Hatoum, awarded several times and seen by a large number of people (see treailer in

Manaus has few directors in the Brazilian cinematographic scene, because, it seems to me, it happens with the majority of Brazilian audiovisual products, since the films are poorly distributed in the big centers and without investments in releases and distribution, which results in films without publicity. . The few productions in Manaus are, for the most part, made without official support and are short films and, in general, fiction, unlike Portuguese-speaking African cinemas, which are generally made up of documentaries.

What seems encouraging to us about Manaus cinematography, in addition, of course, to the number of audiences, is the number of young filmmakers producing, I repeat, short films, mostly fiction and a few documentaries, made, for the most part, without public resources...

*Jorge Luiz Cruz is a professor at the Institute of Arts at UERJ

picture notebook

Image 01
Image 02
Image 03
Image 04
Image 05
Image 06
Image 07
Image 08
Image 09
Image 10
Image 11



CINE SET. UCI Cinemas arrives in Manaus. In, on 21/10/2014. Accessed on 19/04/2015.

COSTA, Selda Vale da; LOBO, Narciso Julio Freire. Movies in the Amazon. advanced studies, v. 19, no. 53, São Paulo, Jan/Apr. 2005.

CROSS, George. The short film or the fight for a smaller cinema. In: CRUZ, Jorge; MENDONÇA, Leandro (org's). Cinemas in Portuguese-speaking countries. 3 ed. Rio de Janeiro: LCV, 2013e, p. 97-102.

CUNHA, Paulo; SALES, Michelle (org's). Portuguese cinema: an essential guide. SP: Sesi-SP, 2013b. P. 192-214.

D24AM. UCI network will have eight movie theaters in Sumaúma Park Shopping, says website. In, on 21/10¹2014. Accessed on 19/04/2015.

NATIONAL MEETING OF CINEMATOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES. For the sake of the short film. Brasilia, DF: ABD, 1981.

GASPAR, Jose. Interview with Diego Bauer – part 1 (interviews). In, on 15/04/2015. Accessed on 07/05/2015.

ANCINE. Curta Amazônia film festival receives submissions., on 05/02/2014. Accessed on 13/05/2015.

NOGUEIRA, C. Amazonas Film Festival 2012 – Review: Jonathas Forest, by Sérgio Andrade. In, on 13/05/2015. Accessed on 13/05/2015.

OLIVEIRA, Gabriel. Cineclubs of Amazonas: Cineclube Canoa. 30/05/2014. In Accessed on 21/04/2015.

EASTER, Luciane Viana Barros. Cultural and artistic relations between Porto and Manaus through the work of Álvaro Easter in the mid-twentieth century. Porto: University of Porto, 2006. Thesis.

PEPPER, Gaius. Amazon Cineclubs: Cine Alto Rio Negro. On 30/05/2014. In Accessed on 21/04/2015.

🇧🇷 Amazonas Film Festival 2014: has anyone seen it around? In, on 16/12/2014. Accessed on 13/05/2015.

SOUZA, Marcio. Interview with Susy Freitas – part 1. In, 11/02/2015. Accessed on 21/04/2015.

——. Interview with Susy Freitas – part 2. In, 25/02/2015. Accessed on 21/04/2015.



[I] “CINE GUARANY was inaugurated as Cassino Teatro Julieta on May 21, 1907. Before being Cine Guarany, it was originally known as Cine Alcazar (with an architectural style inspired by the East) and much later called Cine Guarany. It was located at the confluence of Rua Leovegildo Coelho (today Floriano Peixoto) which continues to the current Avenida Getúlio Vargas, with Av. September 7th” (in, last accessed on 08/09/2020).

[ii] V., last access on 08/09/2020.

[iii] "Cinema Eden (1946-1973), who became Cine Venice (1974-1984), who became Cine Novo Venice (1984-1985), anyway, Cinema Theater Guarany (1989-1991)” – in, last access on 08/09/2020.

[iv] “Álvaro do Rego Barros, on January 1, 1920, inaugurated at Avenida Joaquim Nabuco, nº 157, “an amusement house for the exploration of a magnificent cinema, whose experience session was held yesterday”. According to Selda Vale, it was called movies Popular" (in, last accessed on 08/09/2020).

[v] “Cine Palace (1965-1973) – Located on the corner of Boulevard Amazonas (now Alvaro Maia) and Rua Ferreira Pena, it was inaugurated on November 18, 1965, with the film: A Queda do Império Romano. Property of the Company A. Bernardino. In December 1966 its entire roof collapsed as a result of heavy rain. It closed on May 03, 1973, after the showing of O Grande Xerife, by Mazaroppi. It was later transformed into the Casas do Oleo (CO) supermarket – 1974-2001. The building is currently closed and abandoned., last accessed on 08/09/2020).

[vi] “CINE VITÓRIA IN THE STUDENTS' NEIGHBORHOOD. Photographic record of Cine Vitória on May 1, 1973, second half of the XNUMXth century. The photographic record below is from the last days of operation of this legendary cinema in Manaus. It is located (sic) in the neighborhood of Educandos, Paris das Selvas. It lasted for two decades and was the largest movie theater in the Educandos neighborhood. When it closed, it was mischaracterized and turned into a warehouse for Moto Importadora da Amazônia”. The sources are the Jornal A Crítica and Colonel Roberto Mendonça's blog (in, last accessed on 08/09/2020).

[vii] "The ideal cinema occupied an old building located at Rua 5 de Setembro, n.º 125, on the corner of Rua Boa Vista, close to the São Raimundo stream. Information about its installation is scarce. But, in consultation with newspapers, it is noted that it begins to appear in advertisements from January 1955” (in, last accessed on 08/09/2020).

[viii] “The neighborhood of Cachoeirinha was cleared around 1892. Eduardo Ribeiro, governor, ordered the engineer Antonio Joaquim de Oliveira Campos to draw up a plan for the occupation of a huge area (over 1.500 m2), with the aim of creating a new neighborhood. It gained the name of Cachoeirinha, due to the fact that there was a small waterfall nearby [...] In terms of entertainment, Cachoeirinha was the first neighborhood to know a cinema. It happened in 1909, with the inauguration of Recreio Amazonense. And also the last one, because the Ipiranga cinema closed in the early 1980s” (in, last accessed on 08/09/2020).

[ix] It should be noted that the Association ceased to function in 2019 and posted the following note: “After the attempt to install new elections with the purpose of electing a new board for the 2019-2022 Biennium, during the General Assembly held on 23/03/ 2019, it was unanimously decided by those present and recorded in the minutes, that the association will follow the procedures of Art. 43 of the Statute of the Cinema and Video Association of Amazonas − ACVA/ABD-AM. For this reason, we inform you that within 15 consecutive days, counted from this publication published by the virtual and printed means of communication, the write-off and extinction of said entity will begin, as determined by Law 169 of the Brazilian Civil Code” (in, last accessed on 08/09/2020).

[X] Márcio Souza, novelist from Amazonas, is the author of the book “Galvez, Imperador do Acre” (in, last accessed on 08/09/2020).

[xi] About “Ivens Lima, started in cinema making the short film harmony of contrasts, in 16 mm, still in 1966, later devoted himself to film criticism (Costa, 2005 – v., last accessed on 08/09/2020) and was the creator of the radio program “Cinemascope no Ar”.

[xii] The figure of this lady is curious, because, if for Márcio, she was a film critic, in an article about the manauara researcher Ed Lincoln, she is portrayed as follows: “The strong makeup and personality of Dona Yayá are also remembered by a regular. distinguished at Cine Avenida. A member of the Manaus film club movement in the 1960s, writer Márcio Souza put cinematographic teachings into practice as a critic. The role earned him a permanent pass to Avenida. 'you were going to watch Dried lives and [Ms. Yayá] said 'my son, are you going to see this movie? It's just misery! It's terrible!', she recalls” (in, accessed on 08/09/2020).

[xiii] José Gaspar, local film critic and member of the Amazonas Film Studies Group (GEC) in the 1960s, died at the age of 83, a victim of COVID-19 in Manaus”.

[xiv] Bebe Daniels, born on January 14, 1901, in Dallas, and died in London, on March 16, 1971, was an actress, acted in more than two hundred films, singer, dancer, writer and producer, acted in Hollywood for silent films as a child actress, and later became best known for her work in UK radio and television (source:,e%20televis%C3%A3o%20no%20Reino%20Unido).

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