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Montreal: The Revenge of Small Cinemas

Within Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier is essentially traveling on the run, his office in his backpack, searching for fascinating subjects and people. He talks to everyone and cares about every walk of life in this urban history.

The big traditional cinema complexes are empty as ever…but the smaller neighborhood cinemas are overflowing.

Are you crazy? Don’t talk about modern cinema in Le Journal! I begged a friend, anxious not to let the relative secret of this fifty-four-seat room on the Rue Saint-Laurent, whose antechamber was a café-bar, be betrayed.

To get tickets, see the calendar and book several days in advance.

Cinéma Moderne organizes Quiz evenings in its café-bar.

Louis Philippe Messier

Cinéma Moderne organizes Quiz evenings in its café-bar.

The atmosphere is friendly, the popcorn is affordable, and you bring your own pint of beer to the room.

“A film should not outlast the human bladder, said Hitchcock, the capacity of the human bladder to hold itself,” philosopher Garrett Mann, director of the setting.

Oscar on the big screen

Since Thursday, Cinéma Moderne has been in catch-up watching mode for Oscar-nominated films.

Garrett Mann and Amy Caron from Modern Cinema

Louis Philippe Messier

Garrett Mann and Amy Caron from Modern Cinema

“I’ve selected 13 films for the Oscars to give people a chance to see them on the big screen before the results are announced… Many of the shows are already sold out or almost sold out,” Mann said.

Principal Emmie Caron created an Oscar-themed cocktail with vodka, sparkling wine, pear syrup, and gold flakes.

During the interview, Cannes Film Festival representatives watched Canadian films in the hall in order to “pre-select” some of them.

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During the day, the room is used by post-production professionals who color there.

“Directors, editors and cinematographers come to work here and present their previous films to our audience in the evening,” explains Alexandre Domingue, owner of Cinéma Moderne.

Like at home

Mr. Domingue founded his cinema four years ago, inspired by the “magic” of private shows at a friend’s house in a large loft on Sainte-Catherine Street.

In Montreal’s east end, there’s also a busy schedule at Station Vu, another small cinema.

Located in the Casa d’Italia on rue Jean-Talon Est, a public cinema fills its room, even if a house-desecration regulation prohibits the consumption of popcorn.

“We are looking for a new address that will also be a place for community living,” says Aude Renaud-Lorrain, director.