Did you know that more than 120 years have passed since the first film projection was made in Peru? That’s right, the first cinematographic function came to Peru in February 1897 and the cinematographer of the Lumière brothers (French brothers considered the parents of cinema) was used for it. This screening lasted only 46 seconds and took place in the Strasbourg Garden Confectionery, today is known as the Union Club.
This first film that only the Peruvian aristocracy of those years could enjoy was made up of several shots of landscapes from different countries. Later, in 1899, the first video shots of Peru were made.
Due to the decline of technological tools of the time, the criticism was immediate, viewers complained about the diffuseness of the first images, as well as the lack of sound, and not many liked black and white. But, starting in 1908, the film business began to open up space and some establishments were opened for this purpose, in addition to improvements in the quality of projections, these began to be accompanied by a phonograph to add music.
During the following years, the popular Jirón de la Unión became the main street in which street vendors offered the kinetoscope service for a modest amount of 25 cents. Subsequently, the arrival in Lima of the company of the Automatic Biographer, in February 1904, is a remarkable fact under the command of the Spanish businessman Juan José Pont, it is the first film company that intends to show, in an itinerant way, views taken throughout the country.
On August 24th, 1908, the Cinema Theater Company was established, which had among its main partners the well-known storyteller, Julio Ramón Ribeyro. The creation of the Cinema Theater Company is really important in the history of Peruvian cinema since it is not only the one that builds the first cinema of noble material, the Cinema Theater on Belen’s street in Lima; instead, it maintains a dominant position for two decades and almost monopolizes the national film market.
Soon more theaters begin to open in Lima, such as the Excelsior or the Colón cinema in January 1914, initially located in the heart of the historic center and later spread to other districts such as Chorrillos and the constitutional province of Callao. Although it is true that since its arrival in Peru, cinema has undergone several changes and went through various phases in history, currently the film industry moves millions of soles in the country.