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Murder in the Cine Oriente

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Back in 1950’s Ruzafa, a gruesome crime took place which has become known as the Murder of the Cine Oriente. The cinema on Calle Sueca no longer exists, but it captured the headlines of Valencia for an entire summer.

Photo credit: missmass

For days, the patrons of the cinema had been complaining about a terrible odor. The owner explained it as dead rats, owing to the poison he’d recently spread around. But the stench was truly atrocious and didn’t go away, even after the rat cadavers where cleaned up.

Meanwhile, a bag had been found at the nearby train tracks, holding the extremities of an adult human. The legs and arms were cleanly shaven, with freshly painted nails. Shocking, but not nearly as horrific as the decapitated, armless and legless body that soon appeared locked in trunk, in an empty lot on Calle Sueca.

With these discoveries, the rancid odor at the Cine Oriente took on a more ominous tinge. Despite thorough searches of the premises, the police could find nothing. They began interrogating the cinema’s employees… but the janitor was strangely nowhere to be found. He lived with his mistress, María López, who explained that urgent business had called him away to Barcelona. Her story, though, seemed a little suspect. The janitor may have been a useless drunk, but at least would have informed his boss about a sudden departure.

A more thorough search of the cinema was immediately undertaken and finally, battling through the overwhelming stink, behind the cinema screen inside a box of cookies filled with dirt and manure, they found the partly decomposed head of the janitor.

María López confessed immediately. The janitor had been drunk, and they had been fighting when he fell backwards down the stairs and smacked his head on the ground, dying immediately. Panicked, she decided to chop up his body and hide the pieces, using a handsaw and knives. She painted the nails and shaved the limbs to confuse police. After her original hiding place inside the cinema began to stink and draw suspicion, she started removing the pieces one by one to various locations, but ran out of time before she got to the head.

A good story, but a little difficult to believe in its entirety… there was no contusion in the back of the janitor’s skull, nor did this version explain the crowbar stained with blood and hair, which was found in her apartment.

María López would serve 6 years for homicide, and another 5 months for the mutilation of the corpse.

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July 6, 2010 at 11:41 am Comments (0)

The 25th Cinema Jove – 2010

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On Saturday, Valencia’s summer film festival got underway — Cinema Jove. This is it’s quarter-century anniversary, and they’ve got an awesome line-up of films for viewing.

Cinema Jove shines the spotlight on foreign cinema, with 9 films from 9 different countries competing for the top prize. Denmark’s Submarino an is supposed to be excellent, as is Eamon from Ireland.

The official selection films are playing at the Teatro Rialto, but the festival visits over 10 other screens throughout the city. Our favorite are the open-air screenings in the Viveros Gardens. It’s free, and fun movies are always chosen for these popular viewings. Here’s a run down of the films at Viveros.

Saturday, June 19th
Celda 21120:30
Juan Oliver wants to make a good impression at his new job as a prison officer and reports to work a day early, leaving his pregnant wife, Elena, at home. His destiny is forever changed by this fateful decision, as during his tour of the prison, an accident occurs that knocks him unconscious. He is rushed to the empty but visibly haunted walls of cell 211. As this diversion unfolds, inmates of the high security cell block strategically break free and hijack the penitentiary. Spain, 2009
Sunday, June 20th
20:30The Beguiled
While imprisoned in a Confederate girls boarding school, a Union soldier cons his way into each of the lonely women’s hearts. USA, 1971
Monday, June 21st
20:30The Elephant Man
A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity. USA, 1980
Tuesday, June 22nd
20:30Paths of Glory
When soldiers in WW1 refuse to continue with an impossible attack, their superiors decide to make an example of them. USA, 1957
Wednesday, June 23rd
20:30The Tenant
A quiet and inconspicuous man (Trelkovsky) rents an apartment in France where the previous tenant committed suicide… France/USA, 1976
Thursday, June 24th
A serial killer is murdering London women with a necktie. The police have a suspect… but he’s the wrong man! UK, 1972
Double SessionPaths of Glory
Friday, June 25th
20:30King Kong
A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal giant gorilla who takes a shine to their female blonde star. USA, 1933
Double SessionJaws
In 1975, director Steven Spielberg brought Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel to the screen with stunning power and unbearable suspense. Jaws left an indelible mark upon the movie-going (and beach-going!) public, distilling a sea of fear from these five words: “Don’t go in the water.” Once the terror begins, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw must join forces on a desperate quest to destroy a killer embodying nearly three tons of white death. USA, 1975
Saturday, June 26th
20:30The Thing
Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills. USA, 1982
Double SessionThe Devil Doll
IPaul Lavond was a respected banker in Paris when he was framed for robbery and murder by crooked associates and sent to Devil’s Island. Years later, he escapes with a friend, a scientist who was working on a method to reduce humans to a height of mere inches (all for the good of humanity, of course). Lavond however is consumed with hatred for the men who betrayed him, and takes the scientist’s methods back to Paris to exact painful revenge. USA, 1936

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June 21, 2010 at 9:50 am Comments (0)

Cinema Jove – Valencia’s Summer Film Fest

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Who will win Golden Moon of Valencia? That’s the top prize at the city’s summer film festival, Cinema Jove, which will be staged at locations throughout the city from June 20th to 27th.

There will be screenings on 15 screens, including the Teatro Principal (location), the Viveros Gardens (location) and UGC Cine Cite (location). They’re showing some great classic films in open air of the Viveros Gardens, including Night of the Hunter and Touch of Evil.

This is the festival’s 24th year, and though it’s not Spain’s most high-profile event (that would be San Sebastien’s), there are a lot of quality films to catch. The 12 movies in competition hail from all over Europe — last year’s prize went to Autumn Ball, a bleak, multi-plotted drama out of Estonia.

Cinema Jove’s Website

Sunset Cruise in Valencia

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June 11, 2009 at 2:53 pm Comments (3)

IMAX in the Hemisferic

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Who doesn’t like a good old-fashioned IMAX film? That’s right: nobody. Everyone loves IMAX. We’re crazy for it because it blows our minds; it’s like a roller-coaster for the soul.


Valencia’s IMAX is found in arguably the coolest building of the City Arts and Sciences: the Hemisferic (location). The theater is the pupil of the eye. For €7.50 per head, you can thrill to classic IMAX staples about the Nile, Outer Space and the Deep Sea. I think they actually have multiple shows about Egypt right now. One can never have enough mummies!

If you do go, show up early and confirm the show times. Because, the schedule on their official website is full of lies. We showed up extremely late, because the time listed online was simply wrong. And: don’t sit in the back row, like we did. From the last row, the IMAX screen looks just like a regular one, only blurry and distorted. It made us nauseous.

We’d love to see some Hollywood blockbusters on Valencia’s IMAX screen … The Dark Knight and Monsters vs. Aliens are said to be even better on an IMAX. Why don’t they come to the Hemisferic?

Location of the Hemisferic on our Valencia Map
Official Web Site

Valencia Airport Car Rentals

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April 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm Comments (0)