The founder of the cinema
"La Paz" Cinema was opened in 1925 by Francisco Signes Signes (14.10.1889 - 07.14.1963). He was known in the village as "Quico Ceja" or "Quico el Cine" (for founding the cinema). He married Francisca "La Venta" and they had three children: Pepe (father of "Los Texanos"), Felipe ("el de Alicante") and Paquita ("she from Bar La Paz"). He owned since 1920 of a luxury furniture factory in Gata which eventually became the "La Paz" cinema. Francisco Signes noted for his good humor and optimism, knowing take advantage of adversity to reinvent himself and bring for the first time cinema in Gata de Gorgos.
The creation of the cinema
In 1925 there was a fire in the furniture factory owned by Francisco Signes because of a cigarette badly off. The insurance company refused to compensate him because they were not aware of the insurance payment. This was crucial because it will make Francisco decide, alongside with some friends, to transform the factory and turn it into a cinema, "La Paz" cinema.
The first years were very successful and the cinema was filled with public throughout the region. Seating capacity became small so it was decided to renew its seats and place new ones. In addition to the film screenings there were carrying all kinds of activities and events such as theater performances (both amateur and professional), boxing shows, carnival dances, etc.
Initially the films were without sound, rested on small written explanations interspersed with periods of images that tried to clarify them. These writings, despite this, didn't like most of the public, who could not read. Screenings also were accompanied with the orchestra, consisting of a selection of musicians from the region, which were selected by Francisco himself.
Over the years the talkies replaced silent movies. Around 1930 began to project the first films with sound, proceeding in their great majority from EE.UU. Companies like Paramount (with films like "The sign of the cross", "The Crusades" or "Cleopatra") and Metro (with films like "The Hunchback of Nott Dame", films of Greta Garbo and Norma Shira or "Ben-Hur") were production companies with greater presence in La Paz cinema.
The tradition of Easter was also reflected in the cinema. Religious films were projected as "Genevieve of Brabant" or performances of companies representing the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. Theatre performances were given by fans companies or professional companies that used to visit yearly the villages. Francisco admitted to all the companies that came with variety, zarzuela, Valencia farces, dramas, etc.
Evolution of "La Paz" cinema
In 1936 Francisco tried to open a summer cinema on a plot of La Paz street (now "Bar Jardí"). This project was never realized because the Civil War was declared while the manager (from Germany) was moving sound equipment from a cinema to another and he left without saying a word to anyone, disappearing and avoiding the opening of the cinema.
Two years after, in 1938, Francisco rented the cinema to "Empresarios Reunidos de Denia" because he coudn't keep the cinema without his sons help, because they were at war.
In 1940 the cinema was handed to Mr. Matías Monfort ("El Tío Passetes”). In the fifties Matías Monfort was associated with the competitor who was in town and owner of the Ideal Cinema, Paco Feliu, alternating therefore the screening of films at the two cinemas existing in Gata de Gorgos at the same time. In the mid-fifties the two partners disagreed and the Ideal Cinema was closed, so cinema La Paz continued with no competitors.
In 1975 Matías Monfort dies and his son is responsible for the direction of the cinema. He delegates the management of the theater to Paco Carrasco. In November of the same year takes place the closing of the business. At this time grandchildren of the founder of the cinema create a society (SIGFA, SL.) and agree to reopen the cinema with a reform that dote the salon with a more modern equipment and includes a small bar. So, in April 1978 the cinema opens and Paco Carrasco is named as manager. After a year, the owners are not very happy with the idea to operate a business they do not understand and collides with their own work. SIgnes brothers have their own business and that absorbs their all time. For this reason they decide to offer the use of the cinema, leased, to the young entrepreneur Juan Bta. Salvá Mulet, who managed with great success both cinemas, La Paz in conjunction with Casablanca cinema until the cinema stopped breathing. The cinema closed its doors in 2003 with the screening of the film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".
Signes Grimalt brothers (known as "los Texanos") think about the possibility of reopening the theater as a tribute to its founder Francisco Signes Signes. Finally, after a new reform, La Paz cinema opens its doors again in 19 December 2015 with the screening of the film "The Belier family". Begins therefore a new stage of this historical local full of enthusiasm and joy with the possibility to offer the magic of cinema to all neighbors of Gata de Gorgos and residents the region of the Marina Alta.
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