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La Ciotat: Eden, the oldest cinema in the world


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France 2

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The first screening in the legendary hall of Eden, the oldest cinema in the world located in La Ciotat (Bouches-du-Rhône), dates back to March 1899. The establishment is now listed in the Guinness World Records.

It has hardly changed since 1889. At La Ciotat (Bouches-du-Rhône), the Eden was inaugurated the same year as the Eiffel Tower. Ten years later, the first films of the Lumière brothers, the pioneers of cinematography, were screened in this establishment. Eden is today officially recognized as the oldest cinema in the world in activity.

On March 21 and 22, 1899, we saw films from the Lumière factories in Lyon“, recount Guy Anfossi, librarian. The descendants of the historic owners are fighting today to keep this cinema in its period clothes. “It makes you think more of an Italian theater than of a cinema as we know them today“, valued Marie-Laure Smilovici, director of Eden and great-granddaughter of the builders. Eden hosted, at its inception, theatrical performances, concerts, boxing matches and even Greco-Roman wrestling. It has since found its original vocation: the seventh art.

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