The Vox Cinema was located at the end of Place de France (now Place des Nations Unies). Designed as a standalone building, as a monumental addition to the Paris–Maroc and Les Galeries Lafayette shops (which no longer exist), it was the largest cinema in the world. It was an “enormous“ building that projected its “cubic mass“ onto the ground. It had a hall with 3800 seats. An absolute world record. This was a cinematic monster that could also serve as a huge theater, opera, and above all, a venue for grand performances. Just imagine the logistics and the most complicated organization: selling tickets, seating such a large number of people, mobile vendors of reglas, candy and cigarettes roaming among the rows (smoking was allowed by everyone, women and teenagers from 10 years old). I will probably surprise you with the fact that the screen for the projection was the size of a three–story house (slightly less than in iMax). Can you imagine the power of cinema projectors? This was something unreal for the century–old period. That‘s not all: it was also one of the first cinemas in the world with a set of sound–reproducing equipment installed on the cone projectors (in the USSR, sound will appear only in 19 years). The pictures were already full–length and lasted about 70 minutes. The cost of tickets for sound films was higher than for silent films.
For the first time in the world, in Casablanca, a variation of a movie show called “kinodeklamatsiya” was tested: actors voiced themselves directly in the movie theater. Traveling together with the picture, like a theater troupe, the actors loudly pronounced their lines in synchrony with the image from behind the screen. But this form of entertainment did not justify itself, as the hall was huge and the voices of the actors were very poorly heard. The cinema had three huge balconies, one on top of the other (a rare case in the architecture of this genre). One of the main innovations was its indirect lighting: the light stream was directed at the walls and ceiling, where it was reflected, creating uniform lighting. Such a lighting scenario, created by small ceiling lights placed around the perimeter of the room, made the space appear transparent and weightless, and most importantly, very comfortable. A find for that time, which testified to the avant-garde nature of the architecture and technology of the time.
Another strong feature of this monumental architecture: the retractable ceiling, which at the same time allowed, in the absence of air conditioners at the time (another find of genius), to enjoy the freshness of warm evenings in Casablanca. “Vox” was destroyed in the 70s. (how?… I don’t want to write about it now… a horrible and hurtful story). Today, in an alarming situation, when the cinemas of Casablanca are closing one by one, our duty to memory brings us back to this pride, built by the French and destroyed by the foolishness and aberration of the new Moroccan owners who succeeded them.