Prague’s legendary summer cinema at Střelecký ostrov closed its proverbial doors back in 2011 – and doesn’t seem likely to reappear given the recent renovations on the island – but Střelák has given birth to a number of open-air cinemas and special outdoor film events that take place throughout the summer months.
Looking for the perfect place to chill out on a summer night by the river or at a park, and enjoy a flick to re-capture that old drive-in feel? Look no further: in 2014, Prague has a wealth of options. Now we just need to get them to screen some classic drive-in era fare.
Not all films screened at the summer cinemas will be English-friendly – indeed, many of them will be in Czech, or only contain Czech subtitles – but the summer cinema experience shouldn’t be missed.
One of the city’s most popular summer cinemas, Výletní kino Smíchov made a splash last year by the Smíchov riverbank. Across the Vltava from the bustling Náplavka hotspot, the beachfront cinema offers Fatboys to lounge in, grills for barbequing, sports equipment (pétanque and badminton), and more to rent. Tickets to screenings go for 100 CZK apiece, with films starting at 22:00 early in the summer, and 20:00 in August.
Výletní kino Smíchov’s summer schedule (with movies from distributer Aerofilms) has yet to be announced, but festivities are set to kick off on June 27. Watch the cinema’s website and Facebook page for details.
Karlín’s summer cinema is organized by the radio station Český rozhlas Regina, who host the screenings next to their offices by Invalidovna Park. Tickets cost 50 CZK each, with films beginning at 21:30 (at least, in June). Capacity is limited to 350 people, and can fill up quickly, so it’s recommended to get there early to grab the best seats (the cinema opens an hour before showtimes).
Letní kino v Karlíně begins on June 18, with a special four-day schedule of Czech classics from director Jiří Menzel based on works by Bohumil Hrabal: Ostře sledované vlaky (Closely Observed Trains), Perličky na dně (Pearls of the Deep), Skřivánci na niti (Larks on a String), and Slavnosti sněženek (The Snowdrop Festival). The films aren’t likely to screen with English subtitles, but these first four nights are presented free of charge.
Over at the beaches of Žluté lázně, the Aperol Spritz summer cinema serves up a weekly movie every Tuesday night (beginning after sundown) throughout the summer months. In June and July, you can catch a number of Italian and Italian-themed movies like the Audrey Hepburn-Gregory Peck romantic comedy Roman Holiday, Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, Fellini’s Ginger & Fred, Giuseppe Tornatore’s The Best Offer, and some other 70s-80s Italian obscurities.
The location gives you the opportunity to enjoy Žluté lázně’s sport & relaxation facilities before the movie, or chill out after a day at the beach (or the closest alternative we have in Prague). Best of all: entry to the films is free.
Starting June 27, shopping center Galerie Harfa in Prague 9 will be screening a film every Friday-Sunday at 21:30 on its rooftop terrace. Entry is 100 CZK, with children under 10 years of age admitted for free. Selection of films includes recent hits like Blue Jasmine, Rush, The Great Gatsby, Silver Linings Playbook, and more.
The unique mobile cinema project – a revamped bus armed with a projection booth and a giant inflatable screen – will be hitting Prague streets once again this summer, with the tour set to kick off at Petřín on June 23. Movies screened have traditionally been recent Czech productions, and are presented free of charge.
Each Wednesday starting June 18, MeetFactory will hold a special summer cinema screening, with users voting on the film to be screened through the Filmjukebox portal. For the June 18 screening, you can vote for Nymphomaniac I + II, Tom Ford’s A Single Man, or Jasmila Žbanić’s Grbavica. For June 25, it’s between Steve McQueen’s Shame, John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus, and Szabolcs Hajdu’s Bibliotheque Pascal. Entry fee: 80 CZK. Start: 21:30 (June-July), 20:30 (August-September).
If the film of your choice doesn’t get voted for at MeetFactory, Cross Club offers a set schedule of films at the same time (Wednesday nights at 21:30) throughout the summer (including Czech films with English subtitles). Coming up: 12 Years a Slave on June 18, A Clockwork Orange on June 25.
Galerie Trojský kůň – the giant, wooden Trojan Horse down the river from the Prague zoo – is also screening a weekly film outdoor film throughout the summer months, every Tuesday starting after sunset (note: it’s Tuesdays, not Thursdays, as pictured above).
Entry is free and the film selection – mostly 60s-80s Czech and international classics – is pretty interesting: Spielberg’s E.T., Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night, the 1966 concert film Festival, and a Russian version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde caught my eye. You can check out the full schedule here (but you might need a magnifying glass). Otherwise, watch the Gallery’s Facebook page for updates.
Café Neustadt at Karlovo namesti also has a summer cinema program, every Sunday in their courtyard. Films selected seem to be TBA, but the schedule will include 16mm b&w films from the private collection of Martin Plitz, with live piano accompaniment. Entry is free. June 22: Volga – Volga (1938), a classic Russian filmed claimed to be Joseph Stalin’s favorite! Watch the café’s Facebook page for future screenings.
The rockin’ houseboat U bukanýra also opens up a summer terrace, with Wednesday night screenings throughout July and August. Schedule TBA.
The Park-café restaurant & beer garden at Riegrovy Sady, which has orgainzed a children’s summer cinema in the past, doesn’t have any plans for 2014 but promises to re-introduce the summer screenings in 2015. Free entry. Watch the website for updates next year.
Not in Prague? The rest of the Czech Republic features some 100+ summer cinemas during the warm months, so you’re bound to find something in your neck of the woods.