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Just like that, the Lumiere is gone

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Lumiere Theater
Long-time independent and foreign film house Lumiere Theater closed its doors Sunday after 45 years at California and Polk. (Rupert Ganzer/Flickr)

Like the final moments of many of their signature depressing movies, the Lumiere Theater at California and Polk faded to black Sunday night.

Current Lumiere owners Landmark Theaters told the Chron last week they lost their lease after not coming to terms with the landlord. For the first time since 1967, the Lumiere is no longer operating as a movie theater.

The Lumiere never fancied itself as a major movie house. Quite the contrary, its three screens featured independent and foreign productions, now easier than ever to see via Netflix and other online sources.

Landmark told KTVU the theater’s five employees won’t be losing their jobs. Landmark operates a handful of other indie-film theaters in San Francisco: the Bridge, the Clay, Opera Plaza Cinema and Embarcadero Center Cinema.

One of the Lumiere’s final three films was ironically entitled Keep the Lights On. On the theater’s website, a promotional note ominously read:

“Now Playing at the Lumiere Theatre.┬áMust End Sunday, September 23!”

Nothing else on the website hinted of the theater’s closing. Except a lack of listings from Sept. 24 onward.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as assistant professor at San Francisco State University.

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