San Antonio cinema chain Santikos to bring art films once destined for closed Bijou to its other theaters

The Bijou closed in April after spending 35 years as the Alamo City's primary arthouse cinema.

click to enlarge George Miller's fantasy film Three Thousand Years of Longing is among the arthouse productions theater chain Santikos will show as part of its Bijou Collection. - MGM
George Miller's fantasy film Three Thousand Years of Longing is among the arthouse productions theater chain Santikos will show as part of its Bijou Collection.
The Bijou may be gone after spending 35 years as the city's primary arthouse cinema, but theater chain Santikos is promising that independent, foreign and documentary films still have a home in San Antonio after it closed the property in April.   

In a Thursday press statement, Alamo City-based Santikos unveiled its Bijou Collection, a series of indie, foreign and specialty films that will premiere at its other theaters. The collection will “[champion] the importance and power of arthouse films," officials said.

“With many competitors struggling in this post-pandemic, streaming dominated market, it seems harder than ever to find a company dedicated to these types of smaller releases,” according to the press statement. “San Antonio film fans can expect to see the kinds of diverse and challenging films that were such a big part of the Bijou experience.”

The Bijou Collection will launch this week with the release of A24’s Funny Pages, playing exclusively at Santikos Embassy, and Three Thousand Years of Longing, playing at Santikos Embassy, Casa Blanca, Silverado, Northwest and Palladium.

Funny Pages is a dark, coming-of-age comedy about a teenage illustrator who quits college to pursue a career as a comics artist. The film is the directorial debut of actor Owen Kline, best known for his role in the 2005 dark-comedy masterpiece The Squid and the Whale.

Directed by Australian filmmaker George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), the fantasy film Three Thousand Years of Longing tells the story of a lonely scholar (Tilda Swinton) in Istanbul who's offered three wishes by a djinn (Idris Elba) — a genie in Islamic mythology — in exchange for his freedom.

“San Antonio has a diverse and passionate film community,” Santikos "in-house movie guru" Rene Villanueva said in a written statement. “Santikos is serious about providing a wide variety of experiences to our community. That includes everything from major blockbusters to small, independent and foreign releases. The Bijou Collection is critical for preserving and honoring film from new arthouse releases, hidden gems and forgotten classics.”

Other films included in the Bijou Collection this year are God’s Country, Silent Twins, Pearl, See How They Run, Don’t Worry Darling, God’s Creatures and Moonage Daydream, a documentary about David Bowie.

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