From the very first, Cinema Splendid Palace its visitors delighted with the excellent film program, demonstrated in international festivals award-winning films and films that has been earned worldwide fame. Cinema Splendid Palace is a place where you can see Latvian film premieres, national and international film festivals, performances, concerts, and enjoy opera and ballet live transmissions from the world famous opera houses and festivals.
With its neo-baroque facade and neo-Rococo style interior, Splendid Palace has delighted and fascinated every visitor, because even if you don’t close your eyes, you have a feeling that you’re in dream.
Cinema Splendid Palace building is a national architectural monument.
The founders of the cinema were Vasilijs Jemeljanovs and Leonids Falsteins (JSC ARS). It was the first free-standing building in Riga intended exclusively for film screening with a hall for 824 viewers. The building was designed by architect Fridrihs Karlis Skujins (1880–1957). The decors of the Main Hall were sculpted by Rihards Maurs and Jekabs Legzdins (1894–1937). The paintings by Hermanis Grinbergs (1888–1928) are highly valuable, especially Large Hall’s plafond.
The grand opening of cinema Splendid Palace (from December 1952 – cinema “Riga”) took place on 30th December, 1923 with the film Under Two Flags (USA, 1922, directed by Tod Browning).
The cinema stood out with its’ remarkable repertoire and first-rate service and in the silent film period had an excellent orchestra, conducted by Oto Karli. In the October 1929 a sound film was screened here for the first time in the Baltic States – The Singing Fool by Lloyd Bacon (USA, 1928).
Since 1930s Splendid Palace has been the main venue of Latvian film premieres.
In 1969 cinema „Spartaks” was built next to cinema „Riga”. Today’s Small Hall of cinema Splendid Palace is actually the old hall of „Spartaks”, reconstructed in 1998. In the rear of the hall rows with two-seated sofas has been added.
Since 1994 cinema Splendid Palace has been the member of European film network “Europa Cinemas” and since 2007 – member of international art-house cinema association “Art Cinema” CICAE.
Since March 2010 cinema has three screening halls with 863 seats altogether.
The programme of cinema Splendid Palace consists of quality author cinema and art-house films from Europe and other regions of world that have gained attention at international film festivals. The cinema also promotes accessibility and popularity of Latvian national cinema both at national and international level.
The programme is supplemented with different film festivals, including International Film forum Arsenals, International Film actors’ festival Baltic Pearl, National Film festival Lielais Kristaps, International Short film festival 2ANNAS, International Children’s film festival Berimor’s Cinema, short film programmes Future Shorts etc.
In cooperation with foreign embassies and culture centres cinema presents various film days and retrospectives of cinema classics. Berlinale film programme, Nordic film days, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Kazakh, Japanese film days are just a few of these events. Film club screenings take place regularly.
In cooperation with Society Ekrāns, Riga Film Museum and ACME Film, one of the most popular film lecture cycles in Latvia “Tas, ko tu nedrīksti nezināt/Things you can’t afford not to know” takes place at the cinema.
The programme is further diversified by opera, ballet and concert live transmissions and recordings from the world famous opera houses and festivals, including La Scala, Liceu, Salzburg Festival. Cultural events like concerts, theatre performances and exhibitions often take place in cinema’s premises as well. In the future more educational events for the youth are anticipated.
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