In 1920, film lover Anton Pierre du Mée, a chocolate salesman by day, started realizing his big dream: building his own cinema. A year later, the cinema was ready and Rialto was born. Du Mée’s main focus lay on the neighbourhood and on children, with an emphasis on good films. The cinema thrived for years, but in the 1960s and 1970s—Du Mée had passed away by then—things went downhill. In 1980, the cinema’s closure loomed.
A brief History
In the 1970s, a group of Amsterdam cinephiles saw that there was insufficient diversity in the range of films shown in their city; many beautiful, artistic films never came to Amsterdam, a situation which in their eyes had to be remedied. The group which eventually came together in the Amsterdam Filmhuis Foundation held screenings at various locations in the city, without succeeding in finding an ideal spot to show their films.
All changed when the then operator of the moribund Rialto brought the cinema’s owners into contact with the foundation. With the municipality’s help events moved fast: in 1982, the foundation moved into the old cinema building and has since never left. After several renovations, Rialto has been transformed into a modern theatre with three auditoriums and a nice café. The name has remained, though, as has the distinctive façade.
In addition to the well-known Rialto in De Pijp at the Ceintuurbaan, Rialto VU will also be a fact from November 2021 onwards. A brand new movie theater on the campus of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam at De Boelelaan 1111.
What Rialto offers
Rialto has always loved and supported non-Western cinema, since beautiful films are not only made in Europe and America, but all over the world. This is why the cinema screens many splendid European and American films as well as special gems from Latin America, Asia and Africa. Rialto spotlights non-Western cinema throughout the year, but especially in August during World Cinema Amsterdam.
Another distinguishing feature of Rialto are its many specials. The art films in Cracking the Frame, documentaries in Docupodium, classics in Rialto Classics, new film talent in Rialto For Short, to name some. For a special to become special something special must happen! This can be anything: an introduction, an interview, a workshop, or a party until the wee hours, you name it.