In 1953, Cuba had 694 cinemas and theatres. Havana alone had 134, more than the combined number of movie theatres in New York and Paris at the time. Most of the theatres were built and managed by American companies such as 20th Century Fox and MGM. They functioned as important cultural and social meeting places within communities. However, since the Cuban Revolution they have slowly fallen into decline due to lack of funding and changing social habits.

Today, only 19 of these theatres still function as cinemas. Others have been repurposed as rehearsal and performance spaces for local dance and theatre groups but the majority have been abandoned. Italian photographer Carolina Sandretto spent four years travelling through Cuba to document more than 300 theatres for her book Cines de Cuba, capturing the faded grandeur of the golden era of cinema in Cuba.

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