Xàbia : Facts and Anecdotes .. Did you know...that Xàbia’s one and only cinema theatre - Cine Jayan - is the sole family-owned cinema in the whole region to survive the onslaught TV, video rentals and Netflix?
Cine Jayan - is the sole family-owned cinema in the whole region to survive the onslaught first of TV, then video rentals and finally internet movie channels like Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime ? By the 1930s almost all the towns around Xabìa had their own family-owned cinema theaters. Xabìa´s first cinema, Cine Espinos, was opened around 1915 by Antoni Espinos Llopis. This was located in what is today the parking lot of Restaurant Trinquet. It had been a casino before Antoni bought it to convert into a cinema with approximately 800 seats, a film reel office and a piano, all films being silent films in those days. It became extremely popular, with people even coming from the surrounding towns and was always fully booked. First it opened only on Sundays, later also on Saturdays and even later even on Thursdays. It became customary on Sundays that the men went to a football match after lunch, while the women spent time together and then at 7 pm they would all look forward to the latest cinema film. A second session would be shown at 10.30 pm. In the 1940s the family opened a cinema in the port. It also had a summer terrace close by. Cine Espinos in the village would be closed in the summers.
In the 1930s, before the Civil War, Jaime Ortuño and Angela Devesa, a couple who were bakers, moved from La Nucia to Xàbia to open their own bakery in the Calle Nazareno, no.20. Angela, known to all as Angelita, was very enterprising (surprising for a woman of her day !) and saw that there was great scope for a second cinema in Xabìa. She convinced the numerous members of her family (she was the thirteenth of thirteen children) to lend her money to open a new cinema which they then called Cine Central, opening in 1955 next to what is the Museum today. This had a capacity of 700 seats. Three years later Angelita opened a terrace for open-air viewings in the summer at the location of today ´s Cine Jayan in the Port. Very successful, both cinema and terrace were run solely by the family, her two sons taking charge of the acquiring and programming of the films, and the rest running the daily shows including the bars.
In 1973 Antonio Català Bover married Immaculada, one of Angelita´s daughters, who was studying in Valencia to be a pediatrician. He joined the family business and became a very active participant. A year later, the terrace in the port was converted into a cinema hall with a terrace on the roof. This was called Cine Jayan, an acronym of the names of the founders Ja-ime y (and) An-gelita.The theatre originally had a capacity of 420 seats, but due to a necessary anti-humidity reformation in 2003, it had to be reduced to the 347 seats it has today.
In the early 1980s, Antonio, who had brought a lot of quality films to Javea, including original versions of films, suggested opening a drive-in autocinema, which the open-minded Angelita (by now close to her 70 s) agreed to, inspite of resistance from the family. This was opened in1982 in the area near the camping site. A year later yet another open-air terrace was opened behind the Arenal, next to the petrol pump.
Then came 1985, a disastrous year for small family theatres in all of Spain. Ever since the advent of TV, the public´s interest in cinemas had already declined. However, when videos came on the market in the early ´80s and then video rental shops appeared everywhere, it was the final blow for many cinema halls (Cine Espinos had already closed in 1972). By the middle of that decade 50% of the cinemas in all Spain had to close, including those around Xàbia. Angelita´s world of cinemas struggled on. Then in 1995, when the Ayuntamiento showed serious interest in buying the building of Cine Central, they closed it and sold. It has remained unused and empty until this day…….
They were losing the battle against the new era of cinema culture. They had to close other places : in 2000 the terrace in the Arenal and in 2009 the auto-cinema. To keep up with the times Antonio, who had already been running the cinema for many years, had to make a big decision in 2011 : either go digital, which meant a huge investment, or close down. For all six of Antonio´s and Imma´s offspring there was no doubt. Fortunately for Xàbia, the passion is in their veins too !
Now Cine Jayan is almost the only one left of its kind in all the region. And it continues to be a family affair. After 58 years, we still have Antonio in the ticket office and Imma, who worked all her life as a pediatrician in Denia and in the evenings at the bar of one of the cinemas, is also still there. It is only thanks to their fervour and dedication that Xàbia still has its oh so charming cinema that we cinefiles are so enchanted by.
There´s nothing like a night out at the cinema…….not forgetting the popcorn of course !!