Quite often village clubs became mini-cinemas: Sever – in the Vostochny settlement, Zarya – in the Krugloye Ozero settlement, Stroitel club – in the Zaozerny settlement.
This is how journalists Sergey Shcheglov and Alexey Bondarev described the film environment in their book named Norilsk:
“At the end of 1957, there were 23 stationary movie installations and 58 motion picture projectors in Norilsk. In just nine months of 1957, the city’s cinemas and cinema installations were visited by more than two million viewers. There are four cinemas in Norilsk: Rodina, Luch, Pobeda, Sever. Whereas before the revolution there were three small cinematographs in the entire Yenisey province”.
The cinemafication culmination in Norilsk was the opening of the first wide-screen cinema on April 30, 1960, on Komsomolskaya square.
At that time, going to the cinema for Norilsk children was a real window into the world. By the way, at first they wanted to call the cinema World. But since that year the country widely celebrated the 90th anniversary of the revolution leader birth, the wide-screen cinema was named after Lenin.
The building was designed by architect Jakob Trushinsh. True, he imagined it differently. For example, the cinema was supposed to have two side wings, and they wanted to decorate the facade with a monumental sculptural group, which they even managed to make. But in the fight against architectural excesses, the cinema lost its spacious foyer and buffet, the facade decor was greatly simplified.
The architect Vitold Nepokoichitsky later called such a ‘planed’ building one of the most unsuccessful, suggested taking away the name of Lenin from it and giving it to the Palace of Culture.
Nevertheless, the cinema was the first widescreen one in the city. It had two large cinema halls, where 1200 people could join the most important of the arts at the same time.
The first film in the lower wide-screen hall was Kochubey with Nikolay Rybnikov in the title role. In the upper hall with a conventional screen the leader of the 1960 release – the three-part film Virgin Soil Upturned – was on.
In its first operation year, the new cinema set an absolute record for attendance – its screenings were visited four million times. That is, theoretically, every inhabitant of Norilsk, including infants and the blind, visited the cinema at least 30 times during the year.
Since May 2000, the Norilsk Museum has been operating in the building of the former Lenin cinema.
In the last issue of the History spot photo project, we talked about the fact that in the 1950s Sovetskaya street divided Norilsk into two parts: one of them remained Stalin’s one, the other – Hrushchev’s one.
Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive