Opened as early as 1936, Átrium (then May 1) movie theater was a vivid cinema during the socialist era, until it was closed in 2001. After being abandoned for a decade, Átrium recently opened its doors again and does its best to become Buda’s most important multicultural center offering movies, theatre plays, various cultural events and a café-pub with an artistic flair. As Buda is still behind the Pest side of the Danube concerning such contemporary cultural venues, Átrium is a long-awaited and much welcomed member in the Buda team.
The interior has been restored to resemble the pre-war elegance and minimalism. As you enter though, you might find yourself in a castle of illusion: the lobby’s black and white chessboard-like tiles and the mirrored pillars give a somewhat perplexing impression.
Átrium offers a colorful repertoire: for example they show plays from one of my favorite Hungarian theatre groups, Béla Pintér’s ensemble (some of their plays are with English subtitles!) and other plays by small and independent companies (the latest is The Lonesome West by Martin McDonaugh, with English subtitles). They also focus on expats and travelers and aim to showcase English-speaking performances (for the program, check the website!).
Besides theatre, Átrium also hosts contemporary dance performances and as the name suggests, films and film clubs as well. One more cool thing: after my favorite DVD rental place called Odeon was closed in the 13th district, a small counter of Odeon has moved here to one of the lobby corners!