Talitha Ferraz: Activating Nostalgia Cinemagoers’ performances in Brazilian movie theatres reopening and protection cases

Based on two recent Brazilian efforts to protect historical street-level cinemas in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, I aim to analyse the role of audience’s activism in promoting engagements for the reopening and maintenance of picture houses, taking into account the handling of cinema-going memories by certain practices, actions, and discourses that I denominate as “activated nostalgia”. I discuss the campaign against the closure of the Grupo Estação cinema circuit, located in Rio de Janeiro, and the recovering process of the Cine Belas Artes, an art and essay cinema situated in São Paulo. These movements operate their network across online social media and public events, hence accomplishing significant gains in terms of the maintenance of the places. I investigate the limits and intersections between enthusiastic collective performances and the uses of the cinema-goers’ nostalgia expressions by institutional actors and managers involved in the final steps of the restoration projects. I suggest that the activation of nostalgia through cinema-goers mobilizations becomes a crucial axis for the formation of belonging and identity ties among cinephiles. Adding to that, it functions as a component of the uses of memory regarding street-level cinemas and its criteria for preservation, reopening or patrimonialization, often meeting the interests of forces of power engendered within governmental and private spheres.