Published on Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00
You have probably seen photos of really cool cinema concepts; the ones that replace the boring cinema chairs with beanbags, beds, and even boats floating on water. Have you seen the creepiest one though? Located in the Sinai Peninsula, somewhere in the Egyptian desert is an eerie looking open-air theater aptly dubbed the “End of the World” Cinema.
The orderly arrangement of the weathered wooden seats situated in the middle of nowhere looks like a post-apocalypse scene. The 150 seats are worn out, the screen's foundations are broken and the building that once housed the generator and projector are in shambles. It doesn't take much for one to imagine that a long, long time ago, people sat in these very seats munching on popcorn and happily watching a movie when an unknown force swept over them and everyone mysteriously disappeared along with the building, and the landscape drastically changed to that of a desolate, dusty plain.
In actual fact though, this theater is only a decade old. Built by a crazy Frenchman who thought it would be a brilliant idea to open a cinema in the middle of a desert, he bought everything he needed for the cinema from an old theater in Cairo. According to Kaupo Kikkas, an Estonian photographer who recently took pictures of the site, the cinema was doomed ever since its conception.
“On a sunny day at the very beginning of this millennium, a crazy Frenchman found himself in the desert of Sinai,” he wrote. “After some puffs of a magic smoke he wondered – how come there are no cinemas in the middle of the desert? He flew back to Paris and arranged some money. After that he went to Cairo to buy original seats and projection equipment from an old cinema theater. Then came back to Sinai, arranged a generator for electricity, and a monstrous tractor to pull up the screen that was like a gigantic sail. And now more or less everything was ready for the premier.”
However, the Frenchman forgot one very important aspect – the Egyptian authorities. “Only detail he forgot was that this nice desert happens to be in Egypt. A country where local authorities are not too happy about such enthusiasm and spirit, especially if it comes from a crazy Frenchman. At the primer, everything went ‘accidentally’ wrong, their electricity generator was sabotaged and no movies were ever screened at the End of the World cinema.”
As of now, the ghost cinema still lies out in the open, abandoned, as if waiting for movie-goers to fill its decrepit chairs for a screening that will never happen. The cinema is accessible by only one road- Dusti Road – that nobody ever takes.
“Egypt is and was kind of a police state. In Sinai, it’s actually forbidden to go to the desert if you don’t take a tour or an organized trip. These tours and trips take you to all the same places and actually one route is just two miles away from the cinema,” said Kikkas. He also added that most locals know about the place but because of all the confusion between the government, the Frenchman and the Bedouins, but otherwise, no one ever talks about it.
This bizarre concept of a cinema looks like it could have actually taken off if the authorities did not intervene with the crazy Frenchman's plans. Can you imagine how cool it would be to fly to Egypt, trek through the desert, sit in one of these charming rickety chairs and watch a movie under the stars at the “End of the World” far away from civilization?