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Bank Of America Cinema To Close

By Steven Pate in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 17, 2010 6:40PM

2010_08_boa_cinema.jpg Only days after the official end of one film-related Chicago institution, we find ourselves on the brink of another. Time Out Chicago reports that the plug will be pulled on the Bank of America Cinema after the completion of its announced schedule on December 18.

This will mark the end of a genuinely unique institution, a strange little screening-room on the second-floor of a bank where movie-lovers put on a year-round festival of interesting, carefully-curated fare for other movie-lovers. The Portage Park space was built inside a LaSalle Bank building 33 years ago, but its days may have been numbered when Bank of America bought LaSalle in 2007.

In an era when the multiplex had long-since replaced the movie palace and digital projection is progressively rendering film projection obsolete, Bank of America Cinema has been remarkable in its exhibition of 35mm and 16mm prints and for programming titles that were interesting and hard-to-find elsewhere.

We hope the rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated. If not, we share Bank of America Cinema programmer Mike Phillips' hopes that the equipment, and potentially the whole enterprise, can find a worthy new home.

You have a few more Saturdays to take a seat in the bank and watch something that will almost surely be worth your while. You could even start with this week's The Baron of Arizona from filmmaker Samuel Fuller (1951), starring Vincent Price, and we wouldn't blame you.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Bank of America confirms that the banking center is for sale but says it is premature to say the cinema is definitively closing.