End credits for Abu Dhabi’s El Dorado Cinema this week, a sad closing for the capital’s oldest indoor cinema and its wonderful neon signs.
While I wish I had been inside, I paid my respects this past week, and was saddened and alarmed to see workers already taking down the neon sign facing Electra Street.
Though the site dates to the 1960s, the current cinema was built in 1985. Founded by Jerusalem-born Jordanian Ferdinand Lama and the Beiruti Atef Karam, El Dorado originally screened English and Arabic films, and later switched to Bollywood, according to a fantastic article in The National.
What is to become of the cinema is up in the air. The most frequent re-use for cinemas in the United States are mega-churches, but converting into a house of worship is not feasible here in Abu Dhabi. It seems like a challenge to tear down the cinema, and as it’s wedged between two towers.