Lead Review

  • Book: Abandoned Cinemas of the World
  • Location: World
  • Author: Simon Edelstein

Review Author: tripfiction



This is a beautifully produced and put together coffee table book. It is stuffed full of great shots of, well, abandoned cinemas. As pure artistry it has its merits but it is somehow more than a book of pictures and short essays. It is a book about an almost lost period of the Golden Age of Cinema when there was grandeur, pomp and ceremony and now all that remains are these colossi of concrete that just hint at what once was.

It is in many ways quite a sad book. To see such grand buildings, often still largely in tact but overrun with greenery and marked by the ravages of time and crumbling away. The author-photographer has literally travelled the world in search of these edifices – to a variety of places – India, France, Cuba, Morocco, USA and more. I even recognise one that I regularly pass in Berlin Friedrichshain.

Not all cinemas of course were indoor phenomena. The outdoor drive-ins, for example, also had their heyday and are disappearing fast under creeping vines and detritus. Some have morphed into homes and shelters across the world. Many are now destined (over 500, in fact) to be new houses of God in the USA – as the author says, Goodbye Georgia, Hello Jesus. Yet in France the reverse is true where there is a surge in the love of film, and cinemas are now moving in to former churches. In England some churches have morphed into Bingo Halls. The book is so much more than a photographic montage, it is also a reflection on different societies and the place of cinema today.

The author is familiar with all the forms of cinematic buildings and brings his creative genius to his photography. A lovely, lovely book for anyone who adores cinema and architecture. A truly wonderful book for your coffee-table.

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