When I visit other countries, I look for a place like this: Bem Mozi is a cinema, but also a community. It closed down several years ago, when it seemed that we were all doomed to accept multiplexes, but thanks to Budapest’s incredible faith in cinema, in 2016 it reopened its doors. A miracle that I hoped for where I was born, in Italy, but never saw happening.
Inaugurated in 1908, 111-year-old Bem is a “no-multi” repertory cinema: there’s a single screen, in a room which is not even that big. All the movies here are in their original language (if Hungarians love it, expats might find it vital) and the selection is over the top. Everybody is welcome, even those who “accidentally fell from Bem’s pub into the screening room”.
On a rainy Sunday, what’s better than a classic with a company of other movie lovers? Bem is a welcoming shelter in wintertime but its summer selection is so fine as to make it a perfect solution when it’s too warm and stormy. A beer before or after the screening sets the mood and offers you the chance to socialise. The bar is in typical Hungarian retrò style and serves the staple snacks such as “rópi”, salty sticks, and “fat bread” slices with onion and lard.
It really makes the difference where you watch “The Graduate” or “Scent of a Woman”. Masterpieces are made for the big screen and the big screen of a small theatre is simply unbeatable.