During the pre-Christmas period of 1923, the members of the Kuressaare Estonian Society (KES), the most prestigious Kuressaare organization, had their hands full-fledged. Nowadays, a rather risky undertaking - the launch of its own cinema - has also been added to the preparation of traditional holiday programs.

The first place

The management of the company had been talking about the cinema earlier. Already in 1912, when Berzin was in charge of Richens Street 25 (now Customs 1), for 15 years, the cinema, or the cinematographer was told to rent the premises for the first time, was summoned to an emergency meeting of the KES Board. The discussion was about setting up their own competing cinema, but the majority considered it an unnecessary risk. However, it was agreed to rent space for cinema exhibitions either to a member of the society or to a businessman coming from outside. At the same time, at the same time, the country started to adapt the former warehouse in the Tolli Street House to the cinema hall.

On June 16th (vkj), the municipality committee reviewed the new movie theater, stayed tuned, and on Sunday June 17, Kuressaare hosted the first cinema demonstration at the "Skala" hostess. Obviously, Berzin had overestimated his financial possibilities, as already the same, in the autumn of 1912, bought by a local jug merchant, F. Birkmann, who worked for a few months.

The Kinol had its own power plant, where the legendary Kuressaare-old Oskar Espal, whose wife Olga was playing on silent pianos, worked as a mechanic. Sessions were held twice a week, on Saturdays from 18 to 24 and on Sundays from 15 to 24 pm Although there was a great deal about both the technical equipment and the quality of the films, the audience was always crowded.

Contemporary criticism sounds right in modern times. So it was written in 1914. In the 10th issue of "Voice": "Our cinema theater is slowly moving on. It does not have the same rich carnage as it was in other cities, but it still does not survive. Unfortunately, our cinema does not try to offer anything more valuable to the cinema, but still one and the same The "shaking" and bloody "drama" rushing up the hair alternating with low-value, sometimes even cynical and nilbete jokes. There was a time when the cinemas, alongside the pieces of the creeps, were also somewhat instructive and seriously interesting, at least half of the program contained better presentations. Unfortunately, however, they are now Such more serious pieces everywhere are more and more overcome by the back plan, and the lion's share will be "shattering" and "funny" because alone the last strength is to attract the attention of our tasteful audience with its exciting content. There's a lot of people there. But in the KES, where serious art is practiced, empty chairs d against ".

The city's only cinema was "Scala" until 1923. Meanwhile, in January 1918, the German occupation forces flooded the premises at its premises. In October 1919, the owner was able to re-launch a large number of time cinema, but soon there was an error: at the government level, the prohibition of films that did not have Estonian titles was banned.

Who sets up a cinema

At the same time, the KES board broke the head of how to organize an organization in both the creative and the economic crisis. By the end of 1922, it had been so much that the board had stepped back and the issue was on the agenda. However, under the leadership of the new chairman, Aleksander Kallus, the agency managed to bring the agency down. To achieve this was the opening of the cinematic milestone.

As both the media and the public were dissatisfied with the film's selection and ticket prices of the monopoly "Skala", it was decided that it would be a good time to set up their own cinema. The goal was to have both the hardware and the selection of films first-rate. The AEG projector, which was at the time the most advanced at that time, paid for the 270,000 mark in Germany. Since it was not possible to sum up the entire amount of the company's account, this contribution was supported by A. Kallus, O. Liiv, A. Velvelt and J. Kahu.

The screening ceremony took place on Saturday, December 23, 1923. The opening films were carefully selected and the film "Reis Arensburg" was the most enjoyed audience. However, it was not satisfactory from the film review because it was not able to dazzle the hall to the extent necessary. But compared to the "Skalaga", where it was necessary to wait outside the performance or to wait in the cold showroom and to suffer a lot of camera equipment during the session, the KES rooms were warm and comfortable, and the device was impeccable.

The cinema is full of hopes for him. It was led by the chairman A. Velvelt, the mechanic was A. Kozhevnikov, background music was played by music director E. Busch. In 1925, the cinema presented 210 sessions, which was viewed on average by 106.7 people. By the year 1936, the cinema with its 12 years of operation provided revenue for the company about 11500 kroons. The first, though partly colorful, movie "Ben-Hur" was shown in 1928, the first soundtrack "Opera Ball" in 1932.

The screenplay of soundtracks led to new investments. In 1936, the Zeiss-Ikon from Dresden, Germany, was commissioned by the time of the time the most modern sound projector in Estonia, the monsters who were invited to come to Tallinn from that time were initially stuck.

At the same time as the KES cinema progressed, the "Skala" fell into grave difficulty. In September 1932, the newspaper "Our Land" was already known about the bankruptcy of Birkmann, but then the guest houseman V. Sagorski, who had bought the plot with the cinema house at the end of 1931, started to develop his own cinema. He bought an audio projector for the new AEG company, and the competition between the two cinemas could go on.

The future of the movie

Under the Decree of the People's Commissars of the Estonian SSR on October 12, 1940, KES was liquidated. On the basis of the assets of the company, the Kuressaare Folk House was originally founded, which was reorganized into Kuressaare Theater at the beginning of 1941. It was also part of the cinema. After the capture of the city by the Germans, the KES Cinema was reopened on November 6, 1941. On the basis of the sudden cessation of filming published in the newspaper "Meie Maa", it could be concluded that the KES cinema closed its activities from 1942/43. New Year's Eve.

A more viable "Skala". During the first Soviet occupation the cinema was nationalized. When it was restarted after the Reds' departure, it is not quite clear. The "Scale" movie presentations will appear in the columns of "Our Earth" again in June 1943 and a few weeks later, it is announced that since the beginning of the year, 292 sessions have been performed here for a total of 40360 viewers.

In November 1944, work continued once again under the conditions of a new ideology. In the Tolli Street House, "Skala" operated consistently for 55 years until 1967, after all, after the 1951 overhaul under the name of "Oktoobri".

On November 4, 1967, a new cultural house was opened, which included a 302-seat cinema. In this house, Kuressaare is the only one, but in the meantime, the "Skalaks" has been baptized and, since 2003, the "Diva" named after the cinematologist until now.

We would not be quite accurate if we did not mention another cinema test. On March 1, 1998, the doors opened for the cinema of Kuurhoone. According to Rein Orn, project director, it was supposed to be a commercially opposed film-directed institution. But already in August of that year it became clear that there would not be an audience in Kuressaare for such a program to support cinema.

ENDEL FISH,
Saaremaa Museum