Cine Paris: The Iconic Open-Air Cinema of Plaka is Back

The open-air cinema on Kydathinaion Street is set to reopen on Saturday, May 11, thanks to the efforts of the Greek streaming service Cinobo.

Imagine arriving in Greece and having the chance to see a cinematic classic at an outdoor theatre that has been an iconic local landmark for decades. And all this against the backdrop of the Acropolis! A truly amazing experience for any cinephile.

I can therefore sympathize with visitors who, drawn by Cine Paris’s new marquee, attempt to sneak a peek inside the newly refurbished outdoor theatre that will be reopening its doors to the public on Saturday, May 11, after a four-year hiatus. A screening of Jules Dassin’s “Never on Sunday” will mark the – unofficial – start of Cine Paris’ new era on Friday May 10. During the theatre’s first week of operation, the film will also be screened alongside Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers.”

The open-air cinema on Kydathinaion Street has been restored thanks to the efforts of Cinobo and its founder Dafni Bechtsi, who have been instrumental in the revitalization of Athens’ cinemas. Thus, the Greek streaming service has brought back to life yet another of Athens’ cinematic “institutions,” following the pleasant surprise of the reopening of the Cinobo Opera theatre last winter.

Dafni Bechtsi and her group set to work as soon as the theatre was listed for sale in May 2023. “Because of its history, location, and importance for Athens, we believed that Cine Paris needed to be taken over by people who love both cinema and the city,” says Dafni. The Cinobo team were able to find common ground with the owner of the property, well-known Cypriot businessman Stelios Chatziioannou, which helped shape the vision of the cinema’s new tenants.

People tend to associate Cinobo with a more alternative, cinephile outlook; how will you reconcile this perception of Cinobo with the undeniably commercial character of Cine Paris, which is located in the heart of Athens’ tourist district? “I don’t think that these two elements are mutually exclusive,” Dafni explains. “Obviously, we will be showing quality films, but we will also do everything possible to capitalize on the area’s high number of foreign visitors. Many of these visitors have expressed a strong interest in the cinema, which increases our responsibility.” In the first instance, this will entail showing Greek films and non-English productions with English subtitles, as well as carefully curating their selection. “We want to retain an element of surprise, which is why we will be showing classics alongside first-run films. Greek cinema will always hold a special place, and this year we are planning a special season dedicated to films set in Athens.”

The cinema will be open daily from 19:30, allowing moviegoers to enjoy a beautiful sunset and a refreshing drink at the fully refurbished bar before the first screening (21.00). As it happens, all that remains of the old Cine Paris is its unparalleled view of the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis, since most of the building has been renovated – without, however, compromising its authenticity. Cine Paris is fully accessible to people with disabilities. See you on May 11, and have a great summer!

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