Cine Doré

Madrid, Spain | C.1912

Photo Credit: Teresa Freitas

Between hams hanging from ceiling hooks and hurried motorbikes buzzing by on cobblestone, an evening stroll along Calle de Santa Isabel promises its fair share of wonder. But hit a particular fork in the road, and you’ll be left with no choice but to stop and stare: Madrid’s famed Cine Doré, sure to hook you with its bright beaming brick-orange facade, then reel you in with its story of renaissance, resistance, and rebirth.

The Doré first opened in 1912 behind the backing of a Catalan-born businessman, but it wasn’t until 1923 that the building took on its signature orange facade. Through the years, the neighborhood of Antón Martín changed all around it, yet the theater remained, a reliable cornerstone of a community in transition.

By the 1980s, the theater was a relic of the past, and like many old things, its fate was decided: tear it down in the name of progress. The grand plan for what would replace this historic monument? That’s right… an office block.

Fortunately, local Spaniards were just as astonished by this plan as you may be. Journalists and artists took to the streets, organizing huge protests that eventually secured its survival. With a heroic move, the Ministry of Culture rescued the Doré, putting it into the trustworthy hands of the Filmoteca Nacional Espanole.

Today, the theater screens a mix of productions, from 1920s classics to international independent films. And, true to Madrid tradition, you can even spot the Dore as one of the countless rooftop parties that light up the city every evening. Catch an evening screening in Sala 3, the open air theater with communal tables and complete bar service — just be sure to pick up enough jamón to share.

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