One of the best thing about being an English speaker in Uruguay is that the films shown in cinemas aren’t dubbed.
Maybe not sound like a big deal to you but good luck finding a commercial cinema in Spain, Central America, Mexico showing undubbed films. Uruguayans appreciate the art of cinema, and they like it as it was conceived, in its original language. They are prepared to read subtitles to get that experience.
Montevideo has around twenty cinemas. Six of them belong to the non-profit Cinemateca complex. Two of them – Casablanca and Life Alfabeta– are commercial but target an audience looking for independent cinema.
Checking out what movies are on
You can find movie schedules in most newspapers. My favourite what’s on website Cartelera has schedules listed by cinema and by movie title (in Spanish but easy enough to make sense of).
Beware that some English language film titles maybe changed completely in Spanish, as opposed to simply translated.
Movie ticket prices
Prices vary but you can expect to pay about 200 pesos on a weekend and 150 pesos on weekdays per person to get into the movies. 3D movies cost about 250 pesos. Children pay the same as adults. [That’s roughly 9 USD, 7 USD and 11 USD, April 2014]
Cinemateca tickets are far cheaper – about 90 pesos, less than 5 USD. There are also season tickets, but that is for another post entirely dedicated to the wonder that is Cinemateca, Uruguay’s six-theatre non-profit cinema foundation.
It’s possible to buy your movie tickets online for Moviecenter showings (site in Spanish).
If you live in Uruguay, a number of local banks give you great deals. My ITAU banking card entitles me to 2 x 1 deals at some cinemas regardless of the movie or the day or time of the week, and for popcorn and soft drinks! This means that two of us can go to the movies and have refreshments for less than 20 dollars.
A word of warning. Most children’s films will be dubbed. If your children don’t speak Spanish, be sure to check the schedule carefully. If it says “Doblada al español” then the showing is in Spanish.
For films that also have an adult following such as Harry Potter or more sophisticated animation movies –think The Ice Age or anything by Pixar–, the English-language version will typically be available for night-time showings. Listings will indicate subtitling for the local audience (“ST en español”).
Cinema locations in Montevideo
Most art cinema venues are located in Pocitos or the city centre (Centro). Cinemateca has seven movie centres in a number of neighbourhoods. The plushest venues are the commercial cinemas in Pocitos and Punta Carretas.
Note that Cinemateca venues can be a little run-down, and in Cinemateca 18 unfortunately the sound quality is not as good as the films merit. However at less than 5 USD a ticket, and a great array of films, really, we have to think twice before complaining.
Three shopping centres in Punta Carretas, Montevideo Shopping (Pocitos) and Portones have cinema complexes, each projecting around ten different films.
CASABLANCA: 21 de Setiembre 2838.
LIFE CINEMAS ALFABETA: Miguel Barreiro and Berro.
CINEMATECA POCITOS: Alejandro Chucarro 1036
MOVIECENTER MONTEVIDEO: L. A. de Herrera 1290 and 26 de Marzo. (in the shopping centre)
CINEMATECA 18: 18 de Julio 1280. (huge venue, ancient seating, dodgy sound, GREAT films)
CINEMATECA SALA DOS: Lorenzo Carnelli 1311.
GRUPOCINE EJIDO: Ejido 1377.
GRUPOCINE TORRE DE LOS PROFESIONALES: Colonia 1297 and Yaguarón.
LA LINTERNA MÁGICA: Soriano 1227.
GRUPOCINE PUNTA CARRETAS: Ellauri 350. (in the shopping centre)
MOVIECENTER PUNTA CARRETAS: Ellauri 350. (ditto)
DODECA: San Nicolás 1306. (tiny little art venue, worth supporting)
Commercial movie house prioritising independent and foreign language films
Non-profit movie house part of Cinemateca
According to UNESCO, Uruguay produces around ten films per year. Soon I’ll be posting about great Uruguayan movies to watch.
Photo: This wonderful photo by Juan Pablo Colasso is called “Home cinema” and was taken at a beach in the east of Uruguay