When your mother names you after Maureen O’Hara, odds are that film will feature highly in your life. So it was for Maureen Moya, administrator of the Centro Comercial Lindora along the radial highway connecting the western towns of Santa Ana and San Antonio de Belén. She grew up with a love of cinema, especially alternative film, and when space became available to the rear of the mall, the idea seeded itself for a cinema dedicated to independent movies far different from the usual fare of mainstream Hollywood blockbusters.
She presented the idea to the tenants and investors of Centro Comercial Lindora, who backed the idea to develop Arte Cine Lindora, a comfortable, 100-seat, CinemaScope-screen movie theater that opened in December.
Asked whether this new theater would conflict with the long-established Sala Garbo in western San José, much loved by dedicated movie buffs hungry for hard-to-see films, Moya refuted the idea emphatically.
“On the contrary,” she stressed. “I received a lot of advice and support from Nicolette Baker, who helps run Sala Garbo with her father, Nico. We realized our theaters can complement each other because the demand is out there for this kind of cinema.”
Arte Cine Lindora’s inaugural movie was the Oscar-nominated Danish film “After the Wedding,” directed by Susanne Bier. The movie was received with filled houses and gratitude from art-film lovers who came in from all over the Central Valley to enjoy a different cinematic offering.
“One elderly gentleman turned up,”Moya recalled.“He’s lived here for years, loves film, but it was the first time he’d been to a cinema in Costa Rica. He kept thanking me; it was touching to know we are reaching a different, appreciative audience.”
The subsequent movie, German-produced “The Edukators,” was also well met, though the Swiss-released “Vitus” that followed has not been as well supported. Moya isn’t worried. It’s all part of the experiment to bring thought-provoking themes to Costa Rican screens.
“If one film doesn’t work, we’ll pull it and put something else on. We can offer that kind of flexibility and service to our clients,” Moya said.
Theatergoers can be put onto a contact list to receive e-mail notifications of upcoming films.Moya is planning a European film festival this September that will show a variety of award-winning feature films. She said the space is also available for rent on Mondays or mornings for corporate or private events.
Now playing at the theater is “Transylvania,” a French production written and directed by Tony Gatlif that delves into the world of Gypsies. Like all foreign-language films shown here, the movie is subtitled in Spanish.
Arte Cine Lindora is open Tuesday to Sunday. Schedules depend on the length of the movie, with three daily showings starting at 4:30 p.m. The theater offers parking for 300 cars and wheelchair access. Tickets cost ¢2,500 ($5); seniors and students receive a 10 percent discount. For information, call the theater’s box office at 2205-4130.