Cinemateca Portuguesa Cinema Museum

In the heart of Lisbon, the Cinemateca Portuguesa is an esteemed institution that promotes and protects Portuguese cinema’s rich heritage. It serves as a repository of films and, in collaboration with the Cinematheque Française, offers a diverse range of programming, showcasing the finest in Portuguese cinematography alongside a carefully curated selection of European and independent films.

Interior Cinemateca Portuguesa, Photo by Becky Gillespie

The Cinemateca Portuguesa’s facilities include two cinema theaters named after Félix Ribeiro, the film critic and essayist and founder of the Cinemateca Portuguesa, and Luís de Pina, cinephile and former director of the museum (1982-1991). It also includes a bookstore, a vast archive, and a Cinema Museum. The 39 Degraus Restaurant/Cafe, a nod to Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps”, adds to the charm. Regularly hosting debates, author presentations, and film cycles, it attracts cinema enthusiasts with its rich daily programming. The Cinemateca Júnior, an extension aimed at younger audiences, further underscores its commitment to cinematic education. During the summer, it even extends its magic outdoors with open-air screenings, making cinema accessible and enjoyable in the original language with Portuguese subtitles.

History

Since its inception in 1948, the Cinemateca Portuguesa has been amassing an important equipment collection. Under the direction of Manuel Félix Ribeiro, the first director of the museum, the collection grew to include a vast array of cameras, projectors, and other filmmaking paraphernalia. This initiative was driven by a deep appreciation for Portuguese cinema and its cultural significance. These artifacts highlight the intricate journey of Portuguese film production.

From 1982 to 1991, a significant portion of these historical pieces found a home in the Cinemateca’s new headquarters on Rua Barata Salgueiro. There, they formed an exhibit across various rooms. Alves Costa’s script, published in 1986, accompanied the exhibit, offering insights into the objects’ connections to renowned Portuguese directors. This served as a tribute to these cinematic pioneers, weaving together technology and artistry.

Interior Cinemateca Portuguesa, Photo by Truus, Bob, & Jan too! (Unsplash)

The growth of the Cinemateca Portuguesa’s collections owes much to contributions from individuals and institutions, both Portuguese and international. Their donations have enriched the collections, and these items demonstrate both technological diversity and also hold significant historical value.

What To Expect

The Cinemateca Portuguesa shows films on its two screens six days a week. Special films for children are shown on Saturdays. The daily schedule can be found here.

Visitors can first check out the permanent film exhibition which starts up the main staircase and extends through the beautiful rooms surrounding the staircase. They can then check out the Linha de Sombra bookstore, which offers an interesting selection of books and magazines, DVDs and postcards, always with a connection to art and cinematography. The bookstore is also equipped with a panel where visitors can post advertisements related cinema.

The restaurant Espaço 39 Degraus serves a choice of three dishes a day: meat, fish, or vegetarian. There are also some cinema-themed cocktails which can be enjoyed on fine days on an outdoor terrace.

Enjoy a drink at the Cinema Bar, Photo by Becky Gillespie

Cinephiles will certainly appreciate this beautiful home for Portuguese cinema. 

Visiting Times & Tickets

For attending a film screening, ticket costs are as follows:

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: R. Barata Salgueiro 39, 1269-059

If you use the Metro, you can access the Cinemateca Portuguesa from Marquês de Pombal station (blue line) or Avenida station (blue line).

If you prefer to use the bus, the following routes drop you off near the museum: 712, 720, 738, 773

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