El Hamra or Al Hambra, as it was called at the time, was a cinema located at 28, rue El Jazeera, one of the busiest shopping streets in Tunis. The cinema inaugurated its activities in 1922 and was one of the most famous theaters in the capital during the 30’s and 40’s. Hindu and Egyptian films, musicals as well as melodramas gained a wide audience. Eventually the cinema lost his audience and closed its doors for fifteen years.
In the 80’s Ezzeddine Gannoun succumbed to the charm of the place. In 1987, the year that president Ben Ali assumed power, Gannoun transformed the old cinema into a home of the arts. He has been called “the man who reinvented Al Hambra”. In times of censure and oppression, Gannoun and his team produced and programmed engaged and daring performances. In doing this, he created a new dynamism in the neighborhood and contributed to that phenomenon in all of Tunis. Since 2011, El Hamra has also become an important place for social debate.