The American Cosmograph is one of the most famous cinema in Toulouse. This place has welcomed Art for over three decades. This cinema stands out from big companies such as Gaumont or UGC by offering a different content than blockbuster or mainstream movies. As time went by, the American Cosmograph managed to keep his authenticity.
The American Cosmograph is an art-house movie theatre located in the heart of Toulouse.
Originally used to host “Jeu de Paume”, the place started investing Arts in 1687. At that time, it became the first opera house inToulouse. In 1748, the site was struck by a fire which ravaged the opera entirely. But only a few years later, it arose from its ashes.
Between 1781 and 1907, the building became a place of celebrations and hosted wise men meetings. During this decade, the location was named “Salle du Concert”, “le Musée”, “le Lycée” and “l’Athénée”.
Known as one of the first cinema in the city, the American Cosmograph, as we know it today, appeared in the early 20th century. It became the Utopia in 1996, after a series of different owners. Finally, two employees of the Utopia took the lead in June 2016 and brought back the name of the American Cosmograph. As Jérémy Breta, one of the new director, said to me: “It was a risky call. The Utopia’s owners have been wanting to sell the cinema since 2015. As a 10 years long employee, I decided to buy the place with one of my workmates. One of the main risk was to lose a part of our audience by losing the name Utopia. But things actually turned out pretty good and people are still coming ! One of our strength I think, is the fact that we managed to keep the spirit of the place and that’s why people like the American Cosmograph”.
A unique atmosphere
The whole thing is about the spirit of the place. Just walking in, you can feel the soul of the location. Paintings on the walls and the ceiling, wooden stairs and columns, everything seems authentic. Even inside the room, the stage or the seats creaking reminds me of an old theatre. There is as well a piano on the stage, a relic of silent cinema’s era.
But the atmosphere is not only due to the ornaments, it’s the movie program that makes the charm of the cinema. Back in the days, I used to despite French or “independent” cinema. I associated art-house cinema with a 4 hours long Hungarian movie about fishing. But sometimes I was watching French movies acclaimed by the critics; then I was watching more and more every year… I remember almost 6 years ago, I discovered the Utopia. Actually, it was the second time I went in this cinema : The first time was with my mid-school class to see an animated movie called “Mary and Max”, but the day I “really” discovered this place was about two years later, on my own.
It was a freezing night of December 2011. I was walking down the street and found the place randomly. The main movie attracted my attention and it was absolutely amazing. This movie, “Carnage” from Roman Polanski was really good, but that entire night and the place made it unforgettable. Since that day, I try to go there, as often as possible.
As the owner told me once : “citizens from Toulouse love cinema” and now that I know them more, I can say that the American Cosmograph loves cinema.
This experience made me open my mind and now I can say too that I do love cinema.