To start with, a short background story: the bankrupt Beograd Film company, at the time owning 14 cinemas in total, was sold in 2007 under doubtful conditions, while most of its cinemas ended up closing. “Zvezda” was among them, until in November 2014 a group of young filmmakers occupied (or rather: liberated) one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in the city center. From then on, this space has been open, mostly showing films and at times bringing people together on various events.
In 2018, the movie “Occupied Cinema” (dir. Senka Domanović) premiered in Belgrade and brought the story about breaking into private property back to life: nevertheless, the enthusiasm about Zvezda is not as strong as it used to be, and a small group of people is now enthusiastically running the place. The quality of screenings is not impressive, but the choice of films can be interesting (although usually there are no English subtitles).
During winter, the cinema’s empty corridors and its dilapidated interior remind you of how recklessly this palace had been left to rot, while it can get pretty cold and humid in the screening room. During summer, the screenings are held on the rooftop between buildings, which can be a great experience. On Novi Bioskop Zvezda’s (meaning New Zvezda Cinema) Facebook page you can check the program for the forthcoming week. Once you get there, chances are you will meet someone who will eagerly tell you all he knows about the place and take you on a short tour.