One of my planned stopping off points in Spain was the port city of A Coruña on the Northwest coast. If people have heard of A Coruña at all, they'll know if for the Tower of Hercules, the oldest known lighthouse still in working use. Built in the 1st century it still stands proudly warning sailors of the treacherous rocks below and drawing thousands of tourists to wander around it enjoying the views and the sculpture trail below. This is what I thought would be the highlight of my visit, little realising how many cinema and film finds I'd stumble across as I walked from my arrival point to the Tower.
As I was waiting at the traffic lights to start my walk to the Lighthouse, I was looking at the rear of a building and I thought to myself, "that looks that the back of a cinema". Crossing the road and walking round to the front I discovered that it was indeed a former cinema, theatre and cafe that was now one of the city's art galleries.
Its current exhibition was part of a city-wide celebration of comic books which manifested itself in exhibitions both at Kiosko Alfonso and in the Centro Galego de Artes da Imaxe, a library, cinema and home of the region's film archives and a trail of large sculptures of comic book characters. These two exhibitions, the sculpture trail, two former cinemas and a working multiplex certainly filled my day as I racked up 25,461 steps on a sunny Spanish day, interspersed with cooling showers.
Cine Avenida The cinema, which was designed by the architect Rafael González Villar, opened in 1941 and closed in 1997. The following year a fire destroyed the auditorium. It is now undergoing a 3.9 million euros overhaul by Abanca for office use. You can see photos of its cinema past in this news story on its re-build.
The Paris Cinema was built in 1908, and is now a lively bar and restaurant over two floors. There is talk that they will start showing films there too!
This busy multiplex is what appears to be an otherwise abandoned mini shopping mall in the port area of A Coruña. I arrived as the queues were forming for Barbie & Oppenheimer.
Comic Book Sculptures
Tintin opposite the entrance to Cantones Cine
Asterix and Obelix outside the Town Hall in Plaza de María Pita
Spiderman climbing the Obelisco on Rúa Nova
Batman atop the Bank overlooking the Gardens of Méndez Núñez