The Cine Tauro: Musta been something in its day. (Photos by C-M.)
Lima is not kind to its buildings. The city spends half the year moistened by a persistent fog known as garúa, under skies that look like styrofoam. There’s dust: a pervasive influx from from the surrounding desert, mixed with the soot produced by an endless parade of smog-belching buses. And there are regular earthquakes, end-of-the-world affairs that regularly clear patches of the grid.
Even so, the city retains some striking Modernist buildings. Even if, sometimes, they are little more than a shell. Above is the Cine Tauro, designed by Walter Weberhofer in 1960, residing on a grimy corner on the west side of downtown. This was where stylish limeños once came to see the latest releases, before heading off to El Chinito for over-stuffed sandwiches. The country’s economic crisis in the 1980s (aided and abetted by the internal conflict) sent the locals running for the suburbs. Now the Cine Tauro is a decaying porn palace, a spot where solo men pop in for a skin flick and a hand job. (Though, two years ago, artist Sandra Nakamura did use a piece of the sign as part of a temporary gallery installation.)
As the city works on restoring its downtown, it’d be nice if they didn’t forget about structures like this. Neo-colonial is nice. And it’s great to see the areas around the main plazas looking spiffy. But how rad would it be to catch a flick in this building? Preferably without getting stuck to the seat.
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