Ljubljana’s moving pictures

by Jaka Bulc

Cinema buffs have got it made in Ljubljana, although that hasn’t always been the case. It looked pretty grim for a while in the early days of the new millennium, when a new multiplex threatened to single-handedly ruin the indie cinema scene in the capital. Fortunately, good taste prevailed and these days Ljubljana has a variety of good film venues and events in its arsenal.

The first stop on any cinephile’s list should be Kinodvor, a lovely movie theater with a cozy cafe and a well-stocked shop, which is housed in an art nouveau building from the early 1920s. The atmospheric theater shows a wide variety of international indie hits and arthouse films.

Kinodvor is also responsible for some wonderful open-air cinema events during the warmer months. For a month every summer, Ljubljana Castle’s courtyard is turned into a movie theater for Film Under The Stars, a selection of the very best films from the past year and a couple of highly anticipated premieres. Some free screenings also take place at Kongresni trg.

  • Kinodvor 1/2
  • Kinodvor 1/2

Just a couple of blocks away is Kinoteka, a real local institution in every sense of the word. Like all cinematheques, this one also specializes in historically important movies which it screens from all sorts of meticulously preserved old reels. It also plays host to numerous special events, such as screenings of student films, short films and even concerts.

Kino Komuna and Kino Bežigrad are safe bets for big budget flicks and blockbusters, although they sometimes also screen a very good movies that are just a bit too mainstream for Kinodvor.

Ljubljana also has its fair share of entertaining film festivals. The biggest one is Liffe, which takes place every autumn. For a couple of weeks in November, Ljubljana International Film Festival brings a certain cosmopolitan vibe to the city. The festival takes place at a variety of different locations including Kinodvor and Kinoteka, while its programme encompasses a diverse selection of highly anticipated premieres, critically acclaimed indies and left-field options.

  • Kinoteka 1/2
  • Kinoteka 1/2

An up-and-coming festival that’s worth mentioning is FeKK, Ljubljana’s short film festival. It takes place in late August in a couple of venues dotted near the city center and showcases fresh shorts from former Yugoslavia and a selection of retrospectives of carefully chosen auteurs.

On the other hand, Animateka already has a rich and storied tradition. This festival focuses on animated film - its competition section comprises animated works from Eastern and Central Europe, while other section consist of films from all around the world. Animateka usually takes place in December and is always accompanied by a number of interesting accompanying events.

  • Fekk/Kongresni
  • Fekk/Kongresni

A bit more niche but just as interesting is Festival gorniškega filma, a festival dedicated to films about mountains and mountaineering. The festival has recently entered its second decade and is as relevant as it has ever been. The film programme is complemented by interesting lectures, exhibitions and round tables.

Jaka Bulc

Jaka works as a photographer, translator and music journalist.

More about Jaka Bulc

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