In Amsterdam going to a movie theater can be an interesting experience. I remember one of my first visits to the Tuschinski theater, I was stuck in a small, hard seat in the balcony with my knees stuck up against the chair in front. I needed a shoe horn to get in it, and a crowbar to get out. In addition the cigarette smoke was choking me, and the interminable “pauze” or break in the middle of every movie was enough to make you wait for the video release.
At the time I thought something was seriously wrong with movie going in Amsterdam. Other theaters suffered similar problems, too, especially the smoke. Well things have been changing, and many movies are now shown without the “pauze”, and some theaters have banned smoking too.
One of note, is the Pathè Theatersin the Arena complex of shops. It offers 14 screens with state-of-the-art surround sound and very comfortable seating. The complex is air conditioned and there is no smoking allowed in the theaters.
The venerable Tuschinski Theaterhas been completely restored and is decked out in Art Deco splendor once again. It’s worth the price of admission just to see the truly awesome interior.
The major commercial theaters show the major commercial releases from Hollywood of course. And these days that leaves a lot to be desired since most movies coming from the big media industry are either poor copies of older movies or violent, obscenity packed action yarns with no plots. But that’s another story.
If you want to find good “foreign” films outside the mainstream, you’ll be delighted because Amsterdam has lots of theaters specializing in alternative films. The Vondelpark is the place to check out the Film Museum’sincredible collection of movies. Every month there’s another theme, and they dip down into a whole century of film to find some choice selections to show. The great majority of the movies are foreign, with Dutch subtitles, unless it was originally made in English, the dialogue will be in the country of origin. The Cinecenter and the Cinerama theaters near the Leidseplein specialize in foreign films too.
Oh, one more tip! The best time to see a movie is weekday afternoons, when you get a discount and the theaters are almost empty!
There are also film festivals during the year that are worth checking out including the International Documentary Film Festival in November, the Amnesty International Film Festival in March, The Amsterdam Pink Film Festival in December (gay). For those who understand Dutch, the Netherlands Film Festivalhighlights the small, but critically acclaimed, Dutch film Industry’s new entries and takes place at the end of September in Utrecht.
Amsterdam Movie Theaters
CineCenter – Lijnbaansgracht 236 – right across from the Milkweg, near the Leidseplein
Cinerama – Marnixstraat 400
Phone 0900-1458 (25 cents per minute)
De Uitkijk – Prinsengracht 452 – Small theater with NO pauses in the main feature.
Kriterion – Roetersstraat 170
Rialto – Ceintuurbaan 338
The Movies – Haarlemmerdijk 161
Smart Cinema – 1e Const. Huygenstraat 20
Film Museum – Vondelpark 3
Het Ketel Huis -Westergasfabriek – Haarlemmerweg 8-10
Pathé Theaters – Visit their website for more info.
Arena – Arena Boulevard 600 – Metro:Bijlmerstation
De Munt – Vijzelstraat 15
The City – Leidseplein
Tuschinski – Reguliersbreestraat 26-34