Brussels Cinemas Offer Blockbusters, Art Films, Cultural Films and More
We found a great article about Brussels cinemas scene by resident and blogger Linda Broughton. She has graciously allowed us to reprint her article here. You can thank Linda by visiting her interesting and informative blog: EU for US.
Movie theaters abound in Brussels. Ticket prices are usually between 7 and 12 euros. Student prices (the equivalent of a child’s ticket) are 6 or 7 euros, provided that you can show a valid student ID.
(Sometimes, you can also buy tickets from an electronic kiosk, where there is no person present to validate your student card. This system functions like the “honor code” Brussels public transport system. When you buy your ticket from an electronic kiosk, you may or may not have a valid student ID…and you may or may not be a student. Not all theaters have the electronic kiosk, so bring your student card if you have one.)
For most theaters, tickets can be purchased in person or online. Online is easiest, but cinema spectators should still arrive a bit early to pick up tickets purchased online. The queues for ticket pick-up grow quickly.But the queues to buy tickets in person, especially on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evenings are huge. Arrive at the cinema an hour or so early, buy your tickets, and then go for a beer or a hot chocolate.
For refreshments, purchase some candy, cookies, or Cote d’Or chocolate from a nearby GB or Del Haize and smuggle your food into the theater. Official cinema refreshments, if there are any, are expensive and poor quality. Movie theater refreshment selection is usually limited to sugary gummy treats, Coca Cola products, somewhat stale popcorn, and cheap American chocolate.
Call ahead or check out theatres online. Also, pick up a free copy of Agenda/Cinema magazine at most Belgian cinemas, museums or coffee shops. The monthly magazine lists Brussels theaters, film festivals, individual films and several film reviews. Plus, the magazine lists when and where any movie directors, actors, or actresses, will be visiting Brussels to speak about their work. All Agenda/Cinema articles are published in French, Netherlands (a.k.a. Dutch or Flemish), and English.
Brussels Cinemas Directory
There are four types of movie theaters in Brussels:
(1) Popular, mainstream movie theaters: home to the most recent blockbusters.
(2) Art/mainstream movie theaters: home to art house favorites AND critically-acclaimed blockbusters.
(3) Straight-up art/serious cinemas: playing movies that attract conflict, old black and white classics, or new artistic genius and/or crap, depending upon the taste of the viewer.
(4) Culturally-specific cinemas: playing large-screen movies in their original language(s), sometimes with French, Dutch, or English subtitles. Call ahead to be sure that a language you know is included in a film showing. That is, if you to understand more than just the movie visuals.
MAINSTREAM MOVIE THEATERS
These theaters get the newest films from major American and European distributors. Movies not originally made in French or Dutch can be seen in OV (the Original Version) or VF (Version Francaise, or dubbed in French). Non-French/Dutch movies shown in OV will have subtitles in both French and Dutch, running concurrently at the bottom of the movie screen.
Brussels has four big mainstream movie theaters:
This is the 'Ikea' of Brussels movie theaters. Kinepolis is a cinema megaplex, too big to be built inside of Brussels. Kinepolis is instead just next to the Atomium, situated on the outskirts of Brussels. Ironically, this theater has great parking but not such great access to public transportation.
Take the 1A metro all the way out to Heizel/Heysel, direction RoiBaudouin/Koning Boudewijn, or grab Tram 23, 81, 84, or 89. You’ll have to walk just a bit. Walk towards the BIG building.
I suggest that you go to Kinepolis in the evening. Prior to or after your film, you can watch the Atomium light show and eat at one of the nearby restaurants. The whole area has a very “American” feel, between the Tex-Mex restaurants with extra-big (for Brussels) entrees, the huge multiplex cinema, and the Disney-esque Atomium light show. It reminds me a bit of a miniature Epcot Center in Orlando.
Every first Tuesday at Kinepolis is “Ladies at the Movies Night”. For about ten euros, ladies receive a movie ticket, champagne, popcorn, and goody bags from local vendors. While waiting for the movies to start, the ladies are invited to participate in a raffle. On Ladies Night, select “chick flicks” are reserved for women-only audiences. Make sure that you and your girlfriends reserve tickets to your favorite show early, because Ladies Night is extremely popular.
The UGC Toison d’Or
Located between the Namuur and Louisa Metro Stops. The electronic kiosk is the ticket kiosk located next to the Foodmaker and the fast food chicken restaurant. You can also buy tickets from the kiosk inside the Gallerie, located next to the STIB office. Buy tickets online and pick them up near the electronic kiosk.
The UGC De Brouckere
Near the City Centre, located, logically, atop the Metro Stop De Brouckere. Tickets here must be purchased from an actual person, so there can be no pretending to have a student ID to buy a cheaper ticket. De Brouckere regularly schedules Belgian premieres of movies, and European celebrities sometimes show up to open their movies. Check out the website to see when the next premiere is and, if you understand either the spoken language or French or Dutch subtitles, purchase tickets in advance.
The UGC theaters offer a UGC Membership card that allows card owners to see a set number of films each month for only five euros per ticket. If you go to the movie theater a lot, this is a good bargain.
Cinema Le Stockel
This is on av. De Hinnisdaelln. 17 in Woluwe Saint Pierre. The phone number is 02-779.10.79. If you don’t speak French or Dutch, call ahead. The movies are frequently dubbed for a Belgian audience.
ART/MAINSTREAM MOVIE THEATERS
Home to art house favorites AND critically-acclaimed blockbusters. There are FIVE of these, rotating the good, the old, and the odd in film.
This theater is next to hip Café Belga in Place Flagey.Disclaimer: I love this place. I live nearby, and the menu at Flagey is always changing. The movie theater plays everything, from an assortment of Anima cartoons (now showing) to old black and white classics. Flagey showcases film icons from Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall to Preston Sturges or Rob Reiner. Call 02-641.10.20.
The theater is in one of the most active squares in Brussels. To add a truly Belgian spin to the evening, wander just a few feet down Ch. D’Ixelles, in between the GB and the bright red-coloured Café, to check out Le Patin. This is a classic Belgian bar, nestled between a few Belgian bakeries and a telephone shop. Have a beer, play some chess with a local, and catch a movie.
Located in Matongé, where the Ch. De Wavre meets the Ch. D’Ixelles, Vendôme showcases the latest film festival favorites. The screening rooms are only a bit smaller than the more mainstream movie theater screening rooms. Phone number: 02/502.37.00
This movie theater is hidden between Avenue Louise and the Ch. D’Ixelles, phone number 0900 27854 / 02 7302010. It’s best to go in good company if you go at night. The movie theater is tucked between dark empty buildings.
Koninginnegalerij 26 galerie de la Reigne, phone number 02-512.80.63. This will offer the original versions of movies old and new, with Belgian subtitles.
Located at 21 Monnikenstr/rue des Moines, 02-537.69.54. This movie theater shows two or three OV films at different times. Usually there is a children’s movie in the late afternoon, followed by evening/night movies for older audiences.
STRAIGHT-UP ART/SERIOUS CINEMAS
Playing movies that generate conflict, old black and white classics, or new artistic genius and/or crap, depending upon the taste of the viewer. The "CC" theaters stand for "Centre Cultural" or cultural center, so expect a bit more than just movies in these places. Sometimes there will also be live theater, music, or artwork on display. There are 12 of these of which I know.
Big, old, and classic film buff movies. Located at rue Baron Hortastr. 9, phone number 02-551.19.19. This will have documentaries, art films, festival favorites, old moives, independent cult favorites, cult classics. For example, these days its playing the 1970s Catch 22, Vittorio De Sica’s I Girasoli, the Experimental Robert Nelson, L’arent de poche, Luis Bunel’s Un chien andalou (I had to watch this in my university film class, and don’t think I’d like to sit through this piece of art again. There is a part where it looks like someone stabbing an eye...), etc. This movie theater is a definite must-visit. Several times. And then some.
Korte Beenhouwersstr. 16 petite rue des Bouchers, phone number 02-512.16.96. The theater is just behind the hotel lobby--follow the signs. This shows movies that have been in theaters for three to four months and been very popular with a critical audience, as well as any films that have garnered controversy. From Gomorra and Vicky Cristian Barcelona to Appaloosa and Der Baader Meinhof Komplex and Entre le murs. Usually around 18 or so conflict-laden movies from which to choose.
CC Jacques Franck
Chee de Waterloosestwg. 94, in Saint Gilles, phone number 02-538.90.20. Usually showing a documentary and the original version of a good but perhaps less well-known film.
CC de Schaarbeck
Rue de Lochstr. 91-93, in Schaarbeck, phone number 02-245.27.25. Frequently a double-header of older, well-known non-Hollywood stuff.
CC D’Etterbeek-Espace Senghor
Waversestwg. 366 Chee de Wavre, in Etterbeek/Ixelles, phone number 02-230.31.40. The original version of a non-Hollywood film, currently the movie This is England, I think. Usually just one movie at a time, for a time (maybe a week or so).
Rue d’Aumalestr. 2 Anderlecht, phone number 02-522.74.07. Currently showing Disney’s Wall-E, dubbed in French.
Paleis Voor Schone Kunsten/Palais des Beaux-Arts At the Bozar, this is a cinema of unexpected wonders. This is at 23 the Rue Ravensteinstr. Phone number 02-507.82.00.
This is at Hoogstraat 139 rue haute. Lots of documentaries always, usually a film or two, either modern or artsy.
Kran Film Collective
Located at Sint-Gorikspl. 26 Place Saint-Gery, 02-511.25.42, this shows a lot of documentaries, many of them related to Belgium or random parts of Europe and with English voice-overs or subtitles. A must for those that want to learn more about the Belgium outside Brussels. Or the Europe outside the capital of the EU.
Found at Bondgenotenstr. 54 rue des Allies, 02-340.95.80. This will show a lot of Belgian films, often a series of “kortfilms/courts metrages” or short films.
Found at rue Gratesstr. 3 Watermaale-Bosvoorde/Watermael-Boitsfort, phone number 02-663.85.50. I don’t know much about this one. Please share if you do.
Greepstr. Centrumgalerij 57 rue de la Fourche galerie du Centre, phone number 02-219.92.02, currently closed for renovation.
Playing large-screen movies in the original language, sometimes with French, Dutch, or English subtitles. Call ahead to be sure that you’ll be able to understand more than just the visuals. These Centers have a lot more the "just" movies. Go for art, live performances, language classes and cultural holidays or events.
The Czech Center (Tsjechisch Centrum/Centre Tcheque) This is a Czech movie theater, located at 60 the rue du Trone/Toonlaan, not too far from the Metro Stop. Call 02-213.94.30 to see what’s playing and with what linguistic options.
Found at Treurenberg 10, 02-209.07.50.
The Italian Cultural Center (Istituto Italiano di Cultural)
This theater is at Livornostr. 38 rue de Livourne, phone number 02-533.27.20.
The Jewish Museum of Belgium
(Joods Museum van Belgie/Musee Juif de Belgique)Found at Minimenstr. 21, rue des Minimes, phone number 02-512.19.63. This shows a lot of Jewish cinema, largely documentaries. There’s a museum attached, showing some of the history of the Jewish community in Belgium. (For more about this historically important cultural community, be sure to visit Antwerp, still home to a thriving Belgian Jewish cultural center.)
Latin American House
The Latijns-Amerikaans Huis/Maison de L’Amerique Latine.This is at Collegestr. 27 rue du College in Ixelles. Always good Latin American Cinema, usually in Spanish (Castellano), sometimes with subtitles. Lots of art and sometimes demonstrations or protest art for those migrants "sans papeles" or "without papers" (illegal Latin American immigrants to Belgium).
CG de Linde, a Dutch movie theater
This theater, located at rue Kortenbachstr. 7, Haren, phone number 02-242.31.47, shows films in the Dutch language; however, the movies are sometimes American kids’ movies from last year, dubbed in Dutch.
BELGIAN FILM FESTIVAL SCHEDULES
Check out the different cinema calendar sites to see what's here now and what will soon be on its way.
Belgium Film Festivals listed here.