Metropol Cinema (Mestni kino Metropol) was the first cinema in Slovenia to introduce arthouse film programming. That happened in 2002, one year before Kinodvor Cinema was reopened in Ljubljana as an arthouse cinema. What may appear surprising at first (knowing the situation in Slovenia) becomes clearer if we know that in the past the city of Celje was also one of the first Slovene cities to host screenings of touring films. Nowadays it is managed by Filter Society (DZU Filter) and hosts also concerts, readings and exhibitions.
A short trip to the past
The first recorded screening in Celje took place in November 1896 in the garden salon of the White Ox Hotel [Pri belem volu]. Then in 1930 the first sound film screening was organised at the Dom Cinema. The Kino Metropol itself was established in 1936 in a building conceived by the architect Jože Plečnik. From 1973 to 1989 the Kino Metropol hosted – together with the Union Cinema and the Dom Cinema – the National Film Week (Teden domačega filma, TDF), an eminent meeting of all filmmakers in the former Yugoslavia. In 2003 Kino Metropol hosted the 6th edition of the Festival of Slovenian Film, and, as an integral part of it, a retrospective of all the award-winning films of the TDF as well as those of the Festival of Slovenian Film.
In 1997 the Kino Metropol was renovated to accommodate 288 seats and modern screening equipment. After the opening of the first Celje multiplex cinema called Planet Tuš, the Metropol was converted into an arthouse cinema. It was initially managed by Planet Tuš, then closed for some months. In July 2004 it was taken over by Filter Society (DZU Filter), the NGO that runs the nearby Stane Internet cafe. In September 2004 the foyer and the coffee house were also renovated.
Today the Kino Metropol programme features auteur films as well as commercial movies. Alongside its regular programme it has a special programme for films made by young filmmakers who utilise new digital technology. It also hosts other events, including concerts, book presentations, and exhibitions.
In 2007 DZU Filter launched a small specialised competitive video film festival called Electric Rats Dream Video Dreams. In July 2009 the third edition of the festival took place but without the international competition programme.
The cinema is a member of the Art kino mreža (Art Cinema Network), which distributes selected high-quality films around Slovenia. It is also a member of the Europa Cinemas Network and has received the award for the Cinema of the Month in 2015.
Art kino Metropol also serves as one of the dislocated units for the International Film Festival Rotterdam: during IFFR Live a few films premiere simultaneously in over 45 cinemas throughout 17 countries.