Three Indie Movie Houses in Santiago, Chile

Nightlife, Things to Do — By Bearshapedsphere (Eileen Smith) on December 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm

When you just can’t take another Hollywood blockbuster, and you couldn’t care less which LA bigwig is dating which other one, Santiago’s got a remedy for that. Engage your curiousity about other-than-pop-culture  by checking out a movie (or several) at one of the following three places that have indie, throwback, and sometimes indie throwback movies on the cartelera (marquee) any day of the year. Some movies you might not consider alternative at home, but here in somewhat conservative Santiago, Chile, movies like Brokeback Mountain (called Secreto en La Montaña, or the secret in the mountains) were considered alternative, so offerings may vary. Chilean movies figure prominently, but there’s a healthy smattering of movies from all over the world shown at these centrally-located independent movie theaters in Santiago. Costs: up to 3,000 pesos, but occasionally free or as little as 1,000 pesos.

Cine Arte Alameda

The Cine Arte Alameda is located just a few blocks west of Plaza Italia, at Alameda 139 (Avenida Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins) at Centro Arte Alameda, which serves as a space for art exhibitions, musical performances in the cozy upstairs area called “El Living” (the living room), and in a couple of movie theaters. To find out what’s going on right now at Centro Arte Alameda, click, or specifically for movies, check out the Cine Arte Alameda.

Biógrafo  in Barrio Lastarria, Photo courtesy of El Biógrafo.
El Biógrafo

El Biógrafo is located in cute-as-a-button Lastarría, with its winding cobblestoned streets, active nightlife and Plaza Mulato Gil‘s antiques market and museums (Museo Arqueológico and Museo de Artes Visuales. This theater plays only first-run movies, with upcoming movies including “The Kids are Alright,” “Partir” and “Chloe.” They play many foreign movies, with just a smattering of US-produced one, and a heavy slant towards European films, as their business name details (transeuropafilms). To see what’s going on at El Biógrafo in the coming days, check them out. El Biógrafo. ((Lastarría 181, Metro Bellas Artes on the green line, or Universidad de Chile on the red line)

Centro Cultural La Moneda

The Centro Cultural La Moneda, under the Moneda Palace steps from the Moneda metro and best accessed from the Alameda side to the side of the fountain, houses a couple of cafés, a notable bookstore, a nice store with products from Chile, exhibition space, and two movie theaters, under the name Cineteca Nacional. There are two theaters, the Microcine, and the Sala de Cine, both located on the -2 level, and you can buy tickets at the entry level. There are occasional thematic series, for example from January 3rd to March 19th, Chilean films will be heavily featured. For information about what’s being shown in the coming days, check out their website. Cineteca Nacional, daily schedule.

No matter which movie house you choose, or even if you choose a mass-market movie, you’ll want to consider the two following important details.

Language: Some movies, especially those aimed towards children will be dubbed, if their original language is not Spanish. Therefore, you’ll want to choose one that is “subtitulado” (subtitled), not “doblado” or “en español” if you want to hear the original.

Nibbles:  The second is that in cases where popcorn is available, it will often be sweet, not salty. And I’ve never seen a movie theater ask people not to bring in their own snacks.

Now get in there and out of the Chilean summer sun! And if you can’t wait, and simmply must watch some Chilean movies before you even leave home, check out these (juried) recommendations for must-see Chilean movies.

Coming soon: More places to see indie movies in Santiago.

Tags: Chile, cine, film, film festival, independent movies, indie movies, Santiago


  • Margaret says:

    And then there’s the classic of all Chilean art houses: Cine Normandy, now at
    Tarapacá 1181. It was originally where Cine Alameda is now.

    Also, gringos should be forewarned that the “Cine Arte” crew does not take kindly to eating popcorn (or pretty much anything else) in the theater. If you want popcorn, nachos, hot dogs, the works, you’ll have to go to one of the commercial houses.


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