Cine São Luiz

Recife, Brazil | C.1951

Photo Credit: Yuri Seródio

Sitting atop the foundation of a 19th-century chapel, the Cine São Luiz street theater holds deep reverence to the art of screening films. Built in 1951, the Cine once had the capacity to hold 1,340 people and has since been renovated into a smaller, more intimate venue.

As the oldest capital city in Brazil, Recife brims with nearly 500 years of history since its emergence as a city during the 16th century. Established during the European colonization of Brazil, Recife evolved into a modern metropolis and became home to many religious traditions along the way. Within its streets one can find churches, temples, cathedrals, basilicas, and ruins of former religious sites.

Among these is the Capela Anglicana do Recife, or Holy Trinity Church. Built in 1838 on Rua da Aurora street in Recife, the Church was the second Anglican chapel built in Brazil. The Church operated for over 100 years until it was demolished in 1946. The reason for its removal was to expand the Avenida Conde da Boa Vista street and construct the Duarte Coelho Building, home to the Cine.

During the early 20th century, Recife experienced a cultural upheaval and the city entered a period of modernization, with the expansion of streets and new buildings. French author Albert Camus visited the city in 1949, mentioning Recife in his book Diário de Viagem as the “Florence of the Tropics”. Two years later, construction on the Cine began.

Designed in the Art Deco style, the Cine features magnificent details including ceiling tapestries, murals, and two stained-glass windows on either side of its screen. After its renovation in 2008, the Cine received a 4K digital projector to screen 3D films. Although now smaller in size, the Cine remains one of the largest street theaters in the world with a capacity for 800 seats.

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