A new boutique cinema called Přítomnost is opening May 25 in the Radost building in Prague’s Žižkov district.
The grand opening of the 70-seat theater had been delayed from mid-March due to the coronavirus restrictions, but now the easing of rules will allow it to operate.
The concept behind Přítomnost is that viewers in the basement space can watch movies or other programs from comfortable armchairs at low tables, as if they are in their own living room, and the bar is open during the event. The bar service should be quiet so as not to disturb people watching the films. The space will also host concerts, parties, tastings, conferences, workshops, lectures, and festivals.
The concept of the boutique cinema is that spectators watch movies or other programs in comfortable armchairs and there is a bar in the hall during the event. The opening of the boutique cinema has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but now the site is ready to welcome the first guests.
The program is now on the cinema’s website and tickets can be purchased via the GoOut network. Following another recent trend, Přítomnost is a cashless zone, so sales will only be made through payment cards.
Currently on the program are hits of recent months such as Emma, The Gentlemen and Jojo Rabbit but also a midnight screening of the horror film Lighthouse as well as a special screening of the cult film The Big Lebowski followed by a DJ set.
“In recent weeks, we’ve only fine-tuned the last details to really feel like you’re in your living room, where you’ve invited a lot of friends to watch a movie together,” cinema director Lada Žabenská said.
“In this living room you will get draft beer and mixed drinks, and the bartenders will serve you at your couch,” he added.
Přítomnost, which means “presence,” is a joint project of the Radost, film distributor Aerofilms and the Spectaculare Festival of music and performance. It is intended to create a type of venue that has been missing from the local market so far.
“The hall with the bar always opens half an hour before the first performance. During the screening, visitors can easily order their favorite drink by filling in the ‘silent menu,’ so they will not disturb the continuity of the screening in any way,” lead bartender Štěpán Kundrt said.
After the last screening, spectators can spend a pleasant evening in a stylish bar, which turns into a lounge with DJs on selected days of the week. The menu includes, for example, a special gin and tonic menu or a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails.
“In the Czech Republic and abroad, cinemas are increasingly offering alternative and extraordinary content in a comfortable environment. At the cinema today you want to experience more than just seeing a movie and leaving. The trend is to offer an in-room experience for the whole evening. This is how we understand our boutique cinema,” Aerofilms’ Jiří Šebesta said, adding that the long-vacant hall in the Radost building was ideal for such a concept.
Šebesta and colleagues from Aerofilms previously worked on projects such as Aeroport at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival and films at Manifesto. “We enjoy places where people meet — and that are a bit shrouded in mystery. We are looking for new places with potential,” Šebesta added.
For Spectaculare, one of the partners in the venture, Přítomnost represents a new base for musical, dance or theater performances during the year. “We realized during the first seven years that we were constantly encountering the unavailability of interesting spaces and medium-sized halls. After I was approached by the new owners of Radost, I realized the potential of the space and immediately fell in love with the hall,” Spectaculare’s Jakub Grosman said.
The space will be available for meetings and conferences during the day. “One magical element of Přítomnost is that through the windows in the auditorium you can watch the day progress, which is nice if you spend a day at the conference,” Žabenská said.
The cinema space will join other new features in the Radost building, such as a cafe and accessible rooftop.
“This is how we want to develop the lower Žižkov area. We are addressing experienced operators in the field of culture. Together with Aerofilms and the Spectaculare festival, we are opening the Přítomnost cinema hall along with the rooftop lookout terrace and coworking cafe,” Martin Louda from Radost said.
In the summer of 2019 the 12-story Radost building already hosted rooftop events. The ground floor cafe has been open to the public, and offers isolated coworking spaces.
The Radost building by architects Karel Honzík and Josef Havlíček was built between 1932 and ’34 based on an unusual cross design, rather than a square with a courtyard. It reached 53 meters in height, with 12 stories, and was the first skyscraper in Bohemia.