It recently dawned on me that there may be only one functional cinema left in Georgetown, possibly only one left in Guyana. While the television and computers, handheld media players and the internet have certainly impacted on how we watch our movies, the cinema has always had a big draw for people, however the cinemas in Guyana have steadily gone into disrepair and certainly some have disappeared. While we can place a lot of blame of the modernisation of media viewing, the owners and promoters of our cinemas have to take some of the blame, even when I was much younger, and the cinemas were full of moviegoers, I remember the sordid states of the seats, the persevering smell of urine, and the sound of the rodents running around the aisles.
They never did the little things that made you WANT to go to the cinema, why suffer through all that when you could wait a few months and see it in the comfort of your home? It was the experience, it was the “event” of going to the cinema with family or friends to watch a new (or old) movie in the company of others there to enjoy the experience, the camaraderie, the joy of the big silver screen, unfortunately the experience was not always a good one. And the cinemas are disappearing, one by one, by one…
I was re-reading an article written by Godfrey Chin on the Rise and Fall of Guyana’s Cinemas, I believe this was part of his “Nostalgias”, and while I am not old enough to know of some of the cinemas or even the movies he mentions, it hits home. He, of course, goes back to even before we gained our Independence, back to the days of British Guiana, and he brings us into the modern era, where instead of Cinemas modernising to keep up, they just kept going, stagnated in time, except for the titles of the movie releases 🙂
What prompted this blog-post was the sudden nostalgia I got (I am probably getting like Godfrey) when I was processing a photo I took of the partly demolished “Globe Cinema” and an image of the abandoned Starlite Cinema. Both of those images are included in this post. As the Astor is the last remaining cinema, I think that I should make an effort to get permission to do some photography in that establishment before it too disappears.
There are at least two other Cinemas that I know of which have been converted into places of worship, it seems to be the thing to do 🙂
Click on each image to see them larger in their respective galleries.