Inside Indie Movie Theaters’ Battle to Survive
Nestled at the foot of a large hill on the edge of downtown Providence, R.I., Cable Car Cinema was known to local moviegoers as ”the one with the couches.” That was a charitable description. They were love seats, really — perfect if you were with a date but awkward if you went to see a movie with a friend or found yourself seated next to a stranger.
Despite, or perhaps because of, its idiosyncratic seating, Cable Car inspired fierce devotion among its regulars, a collection of Brown and Rhode Island School of Design students, professors, artists and cinephiles.
“It was a place you went to commune with fellow movie lovers,” says Mike Ritz, a longtime patron. “You didn’t go there to see ‘Spider-Man.’ They played art films that challenged you, that provoked emotion, that made you think.”