A Cinephile’s Sanctum: Yau Ma Tei Cinematheque, Hong Kong

Broadway Cinematheque is located in the middle of Prosperous Garden apartment village. Photo credits: Kawal

Yau Ma Tei is a typical Hong Kong neighborhood. A vibrant fruit and vegetable market is located next to a couple of serene temples, and a few streets away is a set of apartments named “Prosperous Garden” among many other residential complexes that wishes luck to the tenants.

However, behind this mix of concrete and grass lies Yau Ma Tei Broadway Cinematheque, the go-to movie theater for indie and arthouse lovers. Seemingly living up to its underground and indie nature, it was Broadway Cinematheque’s idea to place it in a spot where inattentive passersby would rarely notice. “Never a full house, rest your feet on the seat in front of you” is likely the motto of the theater.

Despite its discreet location, Broadway Cinematheque has been followed religiously by groups of cinephiles in Hong Kong. Here are some reasons why, other than the regular showcase of high quality, small budget movies.

1. Celebrations of Various Film Festivals

Yau Ma Tei Broadway Cinematheque has never stopped hosting film festivals since its opening in 1996. Some of the past film festivals held at the cinema include the Asian Film Festival, the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and the Korean Film Festival. What more do cinephiles love than the limited release of movies they can’t watch elsewhere?

Yau Ma Tei Cinematheque is currently hosting the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival (HKAFF) 2019, MOViE MOViE Fest: Life Is Art 2019, and the Hong Kong French Film Festival 2019.

The cinematheque itself has an arthouse atmosphere. Photo credits: Kawal

2. Special Screening

Retrospective programmes are held at the cinema, introducing historic filmmakers that are considered essentials in film making and appreciation. Cinematheque has shown works by directors such as François Truffaut, Yamada Yoji and Krzysztof Kieślowski to a new generation of cinephiles.

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Kubrick Bookstore + Cafe. Photo credits: Kawal


About two-thirds of the ground floor of this cinema is taken up by Kubrick, which is a cafe, a bookstore, and most importantly, a retailer of vintage, cinema-related goods.

Posters come from various eras and come in various sizes. Photo credits: Kawal

In this vintage shop lies a wall covered with posters that one might think only exist in coming-of-age movies from the 90s. Posters from Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury to the Japanese promotional poster for Annie Hall can be purchased here.

A little further inside the shop are movie soundtrack CDs, DVDs, and Blurays. Obviously, none of them are from the latest sets of releases. Cinephiles visit Kubrick for rare finds such as limited director cuts and soundtracks out of print. Visitors can purchase them at an even cheaper price with membership.

Vintage DVDs, Blurays, Soundtracks. Photo credits: Kawal

The cafe and the bookstore are merged together, creating a comfy space for those who are waiting to watch a movie. The bookstore carries mainly art-related books. One of the most popular movie magazines, Little White Lies, can be found here.

Yau Ma Tei Broadway Cinematheque is indeed the best playground for movie lovers. Out of its many entertainments, the most notable is that there is no way of knowing what film will be screened next.

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The ticket counter is small but well decorated. Photo credits: Kawal

Check out more at the CINEMATHEQUE website.

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