On Washington Avenue and eleventh street, the old Historic City Hall looms large over much of the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach’s Art Deco district. The building now houses the Miami Beach Courthouse and a few law offices, but tucked away inconspicuously in its lobby, you’ll find one of South Florida’s brightest beacons of art and culture: the Miami Beach Cinematheque. The Cinematheque, which serves as the home base of the Miami Beach Film Society, functions as a high definition screening room, gallery, bookstore, and café all at once. MBC holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many of Miami’s cinephiles, but at the same time, it’s also one of our best kept secrets. We here at Tropicult want to let you in on it.
Focusing on independent art house films, the Miami Beach Cinematheque provides a venue for films that showcase cinema as art, as opposed to the more commercial fare you’d typically find at the dime-a-dozen McTheater chains. Founder and Director Dana Keith and his staff clearly pay very close attention to the quality of films selected, as many of them have been or go on to enjoy widespread critical acclaim. This includes movies that went on to win or be nominated for Academy Awards, Golden Globes, or the Palme d’Or, such as Blue Is The Warmest Colour, The Hunt, and The Great Beauty. It is also not uncommon for filmmakers and critics to pop in to take part in a Q&A session, which is something you want get at your average chain theater.
But it isn’t just the movies that make the Miami Beach Cinematheque special. It’s the whole experience. The perpetually dim lights, charming décor, and cozy seating provide a sense of comfort and intimacy, while the oft-evolving art, books, and memorabilia on display infuse a sense of liveliness to the space. I like to get there early so there’s time to check out the exhibitions for a while after I’ve grabbed an espresso or a snack, of which there are many to choose from. My personal favorite piece is the poster print of Fritz Lang’s masterpiece Metropolis.
If you’ve never been to MBC, now is a great time to change that. The line-up for the next month looks absolutely astounding, as Lars Von Trier’s incendiary Nymphomaniac wraps up its run, and a few critically-lauded films make their Miami premieres. These include Visitors, Godfrey Reggio’s experimental documentary set to the music of legendary minimalist composer Philip Glass; and Hide Your Smiling Faces, winner of National Society of Film Critics Best Undistributed FIlm award, whose director Daniel Patrick Carbone will be at the Cinematheque for their “Speaking In Cinema” event on April 29th. In May, MBC will be screening films as part of the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
We’ll be bringing you news and reviews on these films and events as they approach. Whether you’re a casual film fan looking to expand your horizons, or an expert film aficionado interested in a great venue for top-notch contemporary cinema, make some time for a screening at Miami Beach Cinematheque.