From growing up in Elwood and Elsternwick, small, middle-class suburbs of Melbourne, to becoming the creator of three remarkable cinemas, Eddie Tamir has achieved some outstanding goals in life.
The Lido cinemas, which recently opened on Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, is the third instalment of Eddie Tamir’s restorations. The two others he has refurbished and renewed are in outer suburbs, the Classic, in Elsternwick, and the Cameo in Belgrave.
His passion for film has always had a big effect on Tamir’s life. Although he still hasn’t achieved his major dream of creating a popular feature film – although he has not given up on it – he did create a small short film, which was well received in the German Film Festival.
“Loves movies, loves cinemas, and loves bringing life back into old things. He is quite an entertaining person, very smart, seems to know a lot of stuff,” says Anne-Marie Varasso, a close friend of Tamir, and manager of the Classic.
Tamir, married to wife Lindy Tamir, and with five grown up kids, admits that creating the Lido was a 15 year old dream, born when he first heard the old building in Hawthorn was available. However, he missed out on buying it the first time around. This dream never faded and was sparked to life when the old cinema became available five years ago, and he and his wife decided they were still interested in buying it.
Eddie’s kids are a big part of the Lido cinema as well. His eldest son is the manager.
“We are all very involved with the cinema, a lot of cinema talk, we all love movies,” says Lindy Tamir.
The environment Tamir grew up in may have influenced his interest in renovating things. He describes his parents as rather “careful and not a lot of stuff got chucked out, we would generally make the best of things and renovate things. Old stuff excites me and especially the history of it, the weirdness of them.”
He also has a wide interest in sport, which started when he was younger. He enjoyed playing basketball, hockey, soccer, and running, and still enjoys playing basketball regularly. However, film has been his major interest.
“Film has always been and continues to be a magical thing. To listen to people’s stories and engaging with them and somehow when it’s on film it’s not just a story around a campfire, which is also cool, but it becomes more magical and weird and I like that,” he says.
After dropping out of Melbourne University vet school, Tamir still succeeded in obtaining two degrees, first travelling to America where he did his Liberal Arts Degree in creative writing and psychology. Not long after, he attended film school at Swinburne University at the Hawthorn campus, opposite the Lido cinema, and graduated in 1993.
“He is focused and has an intense and intelligent personality,” says his wife.
Varasso says: “He is a very genuine and caring person. He expects a lot from his employees but he does actually give a shit about what’s going on with you personally and your job.”
Tamir admits that achieving your goals can be very hard. “Film making’s hard, it’s a hard thing, it’s hard to write a script, it’s exciting to make stuff, but then in the end you sort of feel a little bit vulnerable. You depend on people’s opinions, on whether they hate it or they love it, whether or not they put it into their festivals, so that was always a bit hard, but I always loved making stuff.”
The Lily Put Café was the graduate film Tamir produced whilst attending film school, and although it became popular in the German Film Festival it didn’t make it into the Melbourne Film Festival. There’s a feeling of disappointment in Tamir’s voice as he says this, but he does admit that he prefers writing and directing to producing.
Asked if he ever thought about doing something different in his life and taking a different career path his answer was definite.
“Not sure if this is quite it really, you know acting, film making, I was in the family petrol business when I was a kid, so I did try different things and thought about doing different things.
“I was into playing basketball pretty seriously, played state here and championships, but was never quite good enough to go into the American league as a professional.”
Although Tamir has achieved some outstanding goals in life he still hopes to achieve at least one more.
“I still hope to make a feature film and to write and direct a feature film and maybe do some stand-up comedy here and there, yeah that would be good.”