…in San Juan from the hospital there was a movie theater?


In 1966 the Archbishop of Valencia, D. Marcelino Olaechea commissioned, to the priests of the Prelature of Opus Dei, to take over the Church of San Juan del Hospital in the old part of the city, which at that time had no worship and was used for various purposes of the archbishopric: like a school for deaf and dumb people, Christianity courses, residence in some rooms adapted on the construction itself and, for something more unique: as Cinema.

Entrance detail to the SARE Cinema

It was the time when university students demanded a greater openness to foreign filmography. While is true that, at some point and at special times, It was used for children in the same way as the cinema of the Colegio de los Niños de San Vicente or the Colegio de Dominicos, SARE cinema was born as an alternative to the Art and Essay cinemas that were beginning to appear.

The university SEU took responsibility for it, And thus, films by new directors such as Ingmar Bergman began to be screened., Hitchcock, Vidor o Vajda. Emerging after the screening of the film, among the young audience that attended, an interesting and sometimes passionate debate. In newspaper reviews of that time we see advertisements for movies like Psycho, The Seventh Seal or The Spring.

The nave of the church had to be fitted out for this. In the presbytery, a large curtain that a textile company installed, hid the altar of plaster and jaspers from the s. XVIII, work of José Domínguez (curiously it was the first altar built under the fire regulations promulgated at that time); the central chapel at the bottom of the nave was partitioned, the arches disassembled and a huge projection machine was installed on it. A small window served as a ticket office.

The 8 side chapels were closed by upholstered panels that insulated and favored acoustics. In my memories of being a student and attending the Sare cinema sessions, there is a white false ceiling that concealed the centuries-old vault and made it look like a large warehouse.

The seats were new and comfortable, and they replaced the old cattail chairs; during the break you could buy a snack in the small canteen or bar installed in the sacristy attached to the Chapel of St.. Barbara. At an angle, acting as a fountain, a black marble ewer with the Maltese cross awaited his transfer.

The entrance to the site was through a corridor that overlooked Calle del Milagro, that for many years was the entrance to the historical complex, since what is currently El Tránsito and the oldest part of the building, it was occupied as a home.

When in January 1967, the church recovery work began, all this disappeared. The Sare cinema moved near the Plaza de San Bult, with the name of cinema Sipe.

Margarita Ordeig Corsini
Technical Director of the Museum of the Hospital San Juan de el Hospital de Valencia set

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