One of the best thing about being an English speaker in Uruguay is that the films shown in cinemas aren’t dubbed.

Maybe not sound like a big deal to you but good luck finding a commercial cinema in Spain, Central America, Mexico showing undubbed films. Uruguayans appreciate the art of cinema, and they like it as it was conceived, in its original language. They are prepared to read subtitles to get that experience.

Checking out what movies are on

You can find movie schedules in most newspapers. My favourite what’s on website Cartelera has schedules listed by cinema and by movie title (in Spanish but easy enough to make sense of).

Beware that some English language film titles maybe changed completely in Spanish, as opposed to simply translated.

Movie ticket prices

Prices vary but you can expect to pay about 220 pesos on a weekend and 150 pesos on weekdays per person to get into the movies. 3D movies cost about 250 pesos. Children pay the same as adults.

Special deals

If you live in Uruguay, a number of local banks give you great deals. My ITAU banking card entitles me to 2 x 1 deals at some cinemas regardless of the movie or the day or time of the week, and for popcorn and soft drinks! This means that two of us can go to the movies and have refreshments for less than 20 dollars.

Children’s films

A word of warning. Most children’s films will be dubbed. If your children don’t speak Spanish, be sure to check the schedule carefully. If it says “Doblada al español” then the showing is in Spanish.

For films that also have an adult following such as Harry Potter or more sophisticated animation movies –think The Ice Age or anything by Pixar–, the English-language version will typically be available for night-time showings. Listings will indicate subtitling for the local audience (“ST en español”).

Cinema locations in Montevideo

Most art cinema venues are located in Pocitos or the city centre (Centro). The plushest venues are the commercial cinemas in Pocitos and Punta Carretas. Cinemateca has a new venue behind the Solis Theatre with three top of the line theatres.  Three shopping centres in Punta Carretas, Montevideo Shopping (Pocitos) and Portones have cinema complexes, each projecting around ten different films.

Pocitos
CASABLANCA: 21 de Setiembre 2838.
LIFE CINEMAS ALFABETA: Miguel Barreiro and Berro.
MOVIECENTER MONTEVIDEO: L. A. de Herrera 1290 and 26 de Marzo. (in the shopping centre)

Centro/Old City
CINEMATECA: Bartolomé Mitre 1236 (three state-of-the art theatres) 
GRUPOCINE EJIDO: Ejido 1377.
GRUPOCINE TORRE DE LOS PROFESIONALES: Colonia 1297 and Yaguarón.

Punta Carretas
GRUPOCINE PUNTA CARRETAS: Ellauri 350 (in the shopping centre)
MOVIECENTER PUNTA CARRETAS: Ellauri 350 (ditto)

KEY
Commercial movie house prioritising independent and foreign language films
Non-profit movie house showing independent and foreign language films

According to UNESCO, Uruguay produces around ten films per year. Check out Guru’Guay’s five Uruguayan films you must see and other articles on cinema in Uruguay.

Photo: This wonderful photo by Juan Pablo Colasso is called “Home cinema” and was taken at a beach in the east of Uruguay

[First published Apr 13, 2014]