Bioskop Zvezda (engl. cinema star) is more than just a place to see a film. It’s a social hub for film-lovers and culture-seekers. Read more about the occupied cinema which has been making cultural waves since opening.

Zvezda, Belgrade’s oldest movie theatre, was opened in 1911. The cinema’s location was the atelier of Milan Jovanović before, a renowned Serbian photogapher. The building was listed as protected monument because it was Belgrade’s first constructed photo studio. Zvezda and 13 other state-owned cinemas were run by the Balkan Film company.

In 2007, almost 100 years after Zvezda’s grand opening, the Balkan Film cinemas were sold way under their value to a Serbian businessman, who resold it to private companies. While most of them fell into disrepair, some cinemas even ended up as fast food places. It was a big loss for Serbia’s cultural scene.

In November 2014, a group of young people who were tired of watching Serbia’s cultural shutdown, took the first step. They entered and occupied the Zvezda cinema. That same night, a protest screening was organized. The protesters stayed, cleaned up and even slept there. They got attacked several times but didn’t give up. With the ambition to bring the culture back to the people, the occupators started to host not only regular film screenings, but also concerts, alternative theater plays and exhibitions for free donations. The money got invested in Zvezda’s restoration.

Nowadays, Zvezda is one of Belgrade’s strongest voices in terms of independent projection, allowing classical pieces, iconic Yugoslav film, underground movies and many more. They have an indoor theatre and one with a bar on their hidden rooftop. Both offering a very laid-back living-room atmosphere, enough for any cinephile to feel at home

This cinema is the right address, if you’re looking for a place, where you will not only see films you won’t see elsewhere but also hear from the film-makers, join a discussion and socialise. After 3 years, the cinema’s future is still unclear: the group got smaller and there is always a lack of money.

See Zvezda’s full repertoire  on their Facebook Fanpage.

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