Batalha Centro de Cinema, Porto

Established in 1906, the iconic Batalha Centro de Cinema has been a focal point for film enthusiasts for over a century in Porto. Its recent reopening in 2022, following a decade of meticulous restorations, marks a renaissance in its cultural significance for the city. The highlight of the renovation is the unveiling of frescoes by the renowned Portuguese painter Júlio Pomar. Covered for eight decades due to Pomar’s opposition to the Estado Novo regime, which remained in power from 1933-1974, these frescoes were recently rediscovered under 6-8 layers of paint.

The Batalha now boasts two modern projection rooms and a dedicated 40-square-meter film room for installations. It caters to a diverse audience and shows an extensive range of films from timeless classics to contemporary masterpieces, including special cine-concert events. This broad offering ensures that the newly renovated cinema remains a vibrant and inclusive cultural hub for Porto residents.

The refurbished Batalha Centro de Cinema,
Vítor Ribeiro, Flickr

History

The Batalha Centro de Cinema, an important monument in Porto’s cinematic history, began its journey in the summer of 1906 with regular film screenings at Salão High-Life. This initial venture, housed in a modest shack at Feira de S. Miguel, was the brainchild of Manuel da Silva Neves and Edmond Pascaud.

Under the stewardship of Luís Neves Real, a multifaceted personality encompassing roles as a mathematician, teacher, film critic, and founder of Cineclube do Porto, Salão High-Life soon relocated to Jardim da Cordoaria. In February 1908, it transformed into Novo Salão High-Life at Praça da Batalha, laying the groundwork for the future Cinema Batalha.

The 1940s marked a pivotal era for Cinema Batalha, with the demolition of the Novo Salão High-Life building and the rise of a new, modern cinema complex designed by architect Artur Andrade. This new structure, hailed for its radical modernity, featured two auditoriums, accommodating 950 and 135 spectators, respectively, alongside dual bars and a restaurant with a terrace.

The building’s aesthetic appeal was further enhanced by Júlio Pomar’s foyer fresco and Américo Braga’s bas-relief on the lateral façade, although both artworks later faced censorship under the Estado Novo regime.

Batalha’s cinematic legacy faced challenges in the 2000s, leading to its closure in 2000 due to competition from larger commercial cinemas. After a period of neglect and a brief occupancy by Comércio Vivo, the building was declared a public monument in 2012, ensuring that it would be preserved for future generations.

The Porto City Council’s intervention in 2017 marked a new chapter, taking over the management and initiating a major 5 million euro renovation led by Alexandre Alves Costa and Sérgio Fernandez of Atelier 15. The renovated Batalha Centro de Cinema, with Guilherme Blanc as its Artistic Director, reopened in December 2022, reestablishing its cultural significance in Porto.

Architecture 

The newly renovated Batalha Centro de Cinema includes two film projection rooms. Sala 1 is located on floor 0, features both digital and analog projection capabilities, and has seating for 301. Its design cleverly splits the audience area, offering 185 seats, and an elevated gallery with 112 seats, allowing everyone to have an immersive viewing experience.

Sala 2, the cinema’s second projection room on Floor 2, mirrors Sala 1’s technical versatility but with a cozier setting, accommodating 110 patrons. The Library and Film Library, equipped with a 14-seat reading room, provides a relaxing space for cinephiles and includes an extensive collection of cinema-related literature and film viewing stations. The Café and Bar, a transformed tea and coffee room, now hosts various events and serves as a lively social space with a capacity of 68. To round out the collection of new cinematic offerings, there is also a bookshop specializing in cinema.

Praça da Batalha with Batalha Centro de Cinema on the left,
Vítor Ribeiro, Flickr

Visiting Times & Tickets

The ticket office for film screenings is open as follows:

Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 11:00 am-8:00 pm

Friday and Saturday 11:00 am-10:00 pm

The ticket office opens 1 hour before the first screening of the day and remains open 30 minutes after the start of the last session.

To attend a film screening, ticket costs are as follows:

Film Screenings

Regular 5 € 

Tripass 3,75 €

BFF Card, Porto. Card, students, +65 seniors, unemployed, partnerships 2,5€ 

The BFF Card allows access, without further associated costs, to all film screenings.

For prices for festivals, concerts, and guided tours, check the website for the Batalha Centro de Cinema Ticket Office.

To purchase tickets online, click here.

Sessões Família

2,5€ Single ticket

General: 3.20 €
Friends of the Cinemateca, Film students, Unemployed: 1.35 €
Students, Youth Card, Over 65 years old, Retired: 2.15 €

Opening Hours

Monday-Friday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 AM

Saturday: 12:00 PM – 1:00 AM

Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays

The opening times for the permanent exhibition are as follows:

Monday-Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Saturday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

How to Get There

Address: Praça da Batalha 47, 4000-101

If you use the Metro, you can access the Batalha Centro de Cinema from São Bento (Yellow) (400 m) and Bolhão (Orange Line and Green Line) (650 m).

If you prefer to use the bus, the following routes serve the area: 207, 303, 400, 901, 904, 905 and 906.

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