The majestic cinema auditoriums of a period are sometimes obtuse structures, and sometimes spaces that are reached through corridors within another structure. Cinema buildings range from rundown auditoriums of peripheral neighborhoods to fancy auditoriums of elite neighborhoods. Open-air cinemas of summer on the other hand are non-permanent but nevertheless sentimental structures that represent mementos of a certain period for audiences. At the entrance of cinemas are the ticket sales, followed by the foyer and lobby. The concession stands offer popcorn, sodas as well as Alaska and Frigo. Some cinemas have balconies and some have theater boxes. As a matter of fact, we even come across a period when cinema screens display commercials. On the other hand, premiers, which are special occasions where audiences meet the world of movies, begin when movies with sound arrive in Istanbul. These premiers resemble magnificent balls, and take place at the Melek and Ipek cinemas owned by the İpekçis. During the sixties, the golden years of Turkish movies, these premiers take on a different role and become events that are organized to increase the financial success of movies.
Once upon a time, Istanbul is surrounded by cinemas. A story that begins at a pub in Beyoğlu, continues in Şehzadebaşı, before returning to Beyoğlu once again. Naim Tiralı describes the Beyoğlu cinemas that take audiences breaths away with these words: “The only places of entertainment on the Great Avenue suitable for everyone are the cinemas. The crowds strolling along the avenue are either waiting for their movie to start or have just left the cinema. At the entrances to the cinemas there are pictures showing beautiful legs, kissing scenes or fights, cannons, rifles and exploding bombs. Those who can go in watch these events on the silver screen, either shuddering or cheering as they do so. When the movie ends everyone is sunk into a peculiar melancholy. As they leave the hall to return to their daily lives, the movie-goers traverse long aisles and exit through the back door into narrow alleys with an atmosphere all their own.”
-Naim Tiralı, “Büyük Cadde” (The Great Avenue) (1947) Yirmibeş Kuruşa Amerika, İstanbul 1983, Yazko Yayınları, p.15.