Cinema was most popular entertainment in 1950s

Cinema was most popular entertainment in 1950s

November 28, 2023

Films in Norilsk were shown in the Rodina, Pobeda, Sever, Looch and Stroitel cinemas.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. When cinema was the most important art, as well as the only cultural form of recreation, in the city, in addition to large cinemas, there were several small cinema halls in almost every village around the city.

Today, few people remember where the Looch, Sever, Stroitel, and Pioneer cinemas were located in Norilsk. And that the films were shown in the hall of the Trade Union’s district committee office on Sevastopolskaya street, 7, and in the cinema hall of Gorstroy – the theater building on Sevastopolskaya street, 20. An interesting excursion into the Norilsk film industry is given by an article from the Norilsk press of 1957.

“The culture department of the city executive committee receives many complaints from workers that it is difficult to get tickets to the Rodina cinema. These complaints are completely fair, since the cinema, which has two small halls with 200 seats each, is not able to satisfy all spectators. There are three state cinemas in Norilsk: Rodina, Looch (Gornaya street) and Sever (Eastern village) and a state mobile cinema network. In addition, there are 24 cinema vans. They available in all, even the most remote villages. Workers living in the villages of Medvezhy, Yuzhny, Severny, Zapadny, Kayerkan and others watch films in their clubs. Recently, clubs were put into operation in the villages of Ugolny and Zaozerny. Geologists also have a mobile film network, and Imangda has recently received its own mobile film network.

There are three large mobile cinemas in the factory village: in the Looch cinema, in the Metallurgists’ House of Culture (formerly Engineering Workers’ House), and in the Miners’ House of Culture (formerly a trade union club). In this area, the issue of cinema services has been resolved more or less satisfactorily. While in the city, where most of the population is concentrated, there is only one cinema. According to the city development plan, back in 1955, two more cinemas with 400 seats (Pobeda) and 600 seats (Lenin cinema) were to be put into operation here. However, the theater building with 600 seats has only a foundation, and the building with 400 seats, although almost ready, has not been put into operation.

The builders decided to suspend finishing work in order to concentrate all their efforts on housing and commission three residential buildings by the new year. They kept their word, and hundreds of workers moved into new apartments in December. Now the builders have begun finishing work in the cinema and have committed to putting it into operation by Soviet Army Day.

Most viewers want to watch films not in clubs at their enterprises, but in Rodina. And this is understandable – it is much more pleasant to return from work and go to the cinema with your family. Therefore, in a number of clubs, sessions are held with a small number of spectators. The Rodina cinema is open daily from 8 a.m., but the main stream of spectators comes to the evening screenings. Of the 200 tickets, 70 percent are sold through preliminary collective applications. The remaining insignificant number of tickets are sold through the box office.

Various ticket distribution options were proposed and implemented. For example, to make one box office sell tickets for today, and another – for tomorrow. But such a proposal, put into practice, turned out to be unrealistic: “for tomorrow” all the tickets were sold out and “for today” there was nothing left to sell. Collective applications were proposed to be accepted not at 8 a.m., but in the evening. But a few days later, the cult leaders themselves asked to resume accepting applications in the mornings. Proposals were also put forward for the Rodina directorate to draw up a schedule for viewing films by enterprises. Such advice, of course, is unacceptable, since workers will not agree that someone regulate their rest.

All the difficulties associated with watching films, of course, stem not from the Rodina cinema’s unsatisfactory operating methods but from the lack of seats in it. The commissioning of a new 400-seat cinema, which is located next to Rodina, will certainly improve services for workers living in Gorstroy”.

In the History Spot photo project’s previous publication, we told how architects came up with stucco molding to decorate Norilsk houses.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

November 28, 2023

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