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Home Culture The Chapultepec National Cinematheque: more than 600 million pesos and Korean technology

The Chapultepec National Cinematheque: more than 600 million pesos and Korean technology

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A group of workers tries to move a huge steel beam in the complex where the eight rooms of what will be the headquarters of the new National Cinematheque are being built, a project that will occupy eight hectares in the Fourth Section of the Chapultepec Forest, in Ciudad de Mexico. The workers, who speak indigenous languages ​​among themselves, use enormous wooden logs as wedges, while other of their colleagues move pine panels or climb metal structures to weld some pieces into the iron and steel framework that forms the backbone. of this enormous construction, one of the key projects in the Culture sector promoted by the Federal Government. The cost of the new Cineteca amounts to more than 652 million pesos and although there is still no date for the inauguration, the Ministry of Culture estimates that it will be ready in August.

Workers are working against the clock to complete a project that was scheduled to open in June, but has been delayed due to a series of logistical problems, including a shortage of materials such as steel. This product became more expensive during the covid-19 pandemic and suppliers were slow to guarantee what was necessary to continue with the construction of the new complex, Culture explains. A team from EL PAÍS visited the construction, where one of the rooms is finished so far, in which the enormous Korean technology film screen has already been placed. The seats also look impeccable, spacious and comfortable. The rooms are built in steel and concrete, but they have a beautiful exterior cover made of thin wooden sticks, which reinforce the modern, minimalist tone that the architect Mauricio Rocha, in charge of the design of this Cinematheque, wanted to imprint on the complex. .

The enormous open-air forum, which has the capacity to accommodate 1,800 people in its stands, is also finished. The forum has a giant screen also made in Korea, designed with a technology that allows light to be refracted and thus keeps the presentation of a film clear if the projection takes place in broad daylight. The new facilities will also have spaces for the sale of food and drinks and huge hallways with benches where spectators can wait for the start of the rounds.

The construction of these rooms is part of this year’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the National Cinematheque, whose management has organized cycles of retrospectives of Mexican cinema and foreign authors, as well as exhibitions and re-releases such as the one of A Clockwork Orangeby Stanley Kubrick. Last August, the Culture authorities inaugurated the National Arts Cinematheque, located within the National Arts Center, a space that has dedicated most of its rooms to the exhibition of national productions. This complex has 12 exhibition rooms, three of them with 3D projection systems and a total capacity for 1,300 people.

The National Cinematheque of the Arts has received 103,835 spectators until last December and has screened 220 films, 143 of Mexican origin. The Cineteca Nacional, the large headquarters located in when the venue had not yet recovered from the hit of the pandemic. The institution’s data show that 190 premieres were screened at that venue, 56 of them Mexican films.

The authorities hope that the new Cineteca will have a success similar to that of its peers, but one of the obstacles it must overcome is access. This Cineteca is built in a remote area of ​​the Chapultepec Forest, between housing complexes where military families live. To access the new movie theaters it is necessary to drive through a checkpoint where Army officers verify that visitors have permits to enter that area. The Ministry of Culture affirms that it is a routine process while construction work continues, but that the authorities will guarantee free access once the project is inaugurated.

The difficult-to-access location, far from the city’s means of transportation, is a challenge for those who want to visit the new center. The authorities have developed a cablebus service to connect the former presidential house of Los Pinos, converted into a cultural complex by this Government, with the new Cineteca. There will be eight stops between the two points and the price of the ticket is estimated at about seven pesos. The complex will also be crossed by the interurban train that will connect Mexico City with Toluca.

The intervention in the Chapultepec Forest, the lungs of the great Mexican city, is the most ambitious cultural project of the Government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. It is expected that when completed it will have 12 cultural “nodes”, that is, several facilities built for exhibitions, presentations and concerts. Among them are the School of Trades, where workshops for tram operators or lighting will be given; the large National Winery, where works of art from federal museums will be preserved, “because their archives are no longer sufficient,” explains a source from the Ministry of Culture. In this warehouse there will also be spaces to rent to private museums, which also have problems storing their collections. But the flagship project of this intervention is the new Cineteca, whose work advances in the arms and shoulders of the workers who like ants work against the clock so that the movie theaters are ready this summer, before the López Obrador Government ends.

Outdoor forum of the Chapultepec National Cinematheque.Gladys Serrano

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