- A showing of a film by the Lumière brothers held on 10 November 1895 in the Palais du Mid ntroduced cinema to Brussels, and, beginning in the late 1890s, film projections were shown in the back rooms of cafés and other establishments. The first cinema theater was founded at the beginning of 1904, when a 250-seat house was opened by bicycle and phonograph salesman Louis van Goid-senhoven at boulevard du Nord 110. Called Théâtre du Cinématographe, it was renamed the Albertum in 1909. Closed during World War I, it reopened after the war and remained in existence until the end of the silent movie era. The Pathé-Palace (1913) on boulevard Jules Anspach, decoratively designed by Paul Hamesse, was one of the most popular cinemas before 1914.The central boulevards were a favored locale for film theaters, and the interwar years saw the arrival of many new ones, including the Agora (1920-1921), the Marivaux (1924), the Plaza (1931), the Ambassador (1936), and the Variétés (1938). The last featured a revolving podium, a retractable metal roof, and was the first in Brussels to employ neon lighting throughout.The first film in color was shown in the 1930s at the Eldorado (1933) on the place de Brouckère, a location that also featured the Scala (1929), a theater noted for its monumental entranceway and lavish decoration. During World War II, the Eldorado was requisitioned by the Germans for use as a Soldaten Kino.Following the war, cinemas remained abundant and many were established in the surrounding communes. Saint-Gilles has been especially known for its cinemas. Beginning with the Crystal Palace (1905), numbers reached a high point in the 1950s. Many cinemas throughout the Brussels area closed during the final quarter of the 20th century. Multiscreen complexes now predominate, including the Kinepolis in Bruparck, UGC/Toison d'Or, and UGC/de Brouckère. A film hall is featured in the Palais des Beaux-Arts. The Cinema Nova, founded in January 1997, is a one-screen hall showing alternative films.The Brussels Film Festival was held annually from 1974 until 2001 when funding shortfalls and administrative problems forced its closure. The festival reopened in 2003 under the title Brussels European Film Festival. The Brussels Gay and Lesbian Film Festival dates from 1981. Anima, the Animation Film Festival, also began in 1981. Showings at the Brussels International Festival of Fantastic, Thriller and Science Fiction Film have been held since 1982. The Musée du Cinema is located on rue Baron Horta. The museum opened in 1938.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.