A tangible proof that one can rise from a butcher to Janosik (i.e. a noble outlaw or the Slovak Robin Hood, as they call him). The history of this “none other than the only cinema in Żywiec” dates back to 1906, when Antoni Kasztelnik, a butcher by profession, decided to realise his dream of creating a theatre of light and raised a designated building after the fashion of the Royal-Bioscope Cinema in Prague. The first film was screened here in 1911 – the citizens of Żywiec were watching “The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ” (original title “La vie du Christ”) sitting in either the first class seats (chairs covered with velvet), the second class seats (folding chairs) or the third class seats (benches), whereas the boxes were reserved solely for the family of the Grand Duke of Żywiec. And the cinema was called “Urania”.
That same cinema is active up to this day – admittedly, neither is it called Urania, the Theatre of Light any more, nor the Edison Cinema (since 1916), it is not fitted with boxes either, and each and every chair there is upholstered… But still it is the best place in Żywiec to realize innovative ideas connected with films.
Since 1948/49 it has born the name of “Janosik” and – with the courage worthy of its progenitor and namesake (or even namesakes), with no complexes whatsoever, the cinema realizes dreams of flamboyant premieres, glamorous films with live music, an interesting film club, cult titles, themed film festivals, or even genuine Adrenalinium (i.e. a mountain film festival). It is here that films are presented in 2D and 3D, but also here – right next to the digital one – the analogue projector rattles on.
Janosik’s sanctuary of film art takes pride in the fact that the descendants of Antoni Kasztelnik still attend the events organized here. The story of the Janosik Cinema proves that the film art and the butcher’s craft have more in common than one might expect.
ul. Sobieskiego 1
34-300 Żywiec, Poland
tel/fax 33 861 20 03