Cinema Paradiso. In search of time lost

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"Lithuania" was not the first one. "Homeland" was shut before that and afterwards "Vilnius" was sold. The names of cinemas in my native Vilnius always used to be symbolic. Although I much prefer the way they sounded in the beginning of the 20th century: "Eden", "Fantasy", "Family". Nowadays only "Forums" and "Plazas" survive.

Dublin is much the same.

We're supposed to produce a social documentary project for the photography course. After deciding to leave out the issue of immigrants for now, I came with an idea to shoot closed down cinemas of Dublin. To search for the time lost.

In 2004 it was estimated that cinema audiences in Ireland are among the highest in Europe. The annual frequency of cinema going per capita here (at 4.5 visits per year in 2002) was only surpassed by Iceland’s (5.7 visits). 

Although the number of screens in Ireland has increased by 72%, to 328 screens during the period 1991–2001, the number of cinemas in Ireland has reduced by 15% over the same period, but many cinemas were already shut by that time.

When I was in Krakow in January, we went for a stroll alongside a square similar in size to St. Steven's Green Park. There were at least five cinemas neighboring it. Shabby, decaying, run-down. With paint flaking off the walls. They were showing Polish and Central European cinema. In some of them you could still puff on your cigarette or sip at a pint of "┼╗ywiec".

I managed to tally eleven cinemas in Dublin. Out of them IFI is the only one that screens movies that will never make it to the lists of top-grossing blockbusters. What's left are multiplexes with dozens of screens, dreadful sound isolation and carpets mantled with pop corn. These days Tarkovsky* we watch on DVD while the big screen is dedicated to "Spider-Man". The first. The second. The third.

*By the way, Kris Kelvin in "Solaris" is played by an accomplished Lithuanian actor Donatas Banionis.

Classic Cinema. Demolished in June 2007.

This Post has 3 Comments Add your own!
robert - November 4, 2007 at 12:21 AM

Cinemas here (outside Dublin) tend to be named "Regal", This is the one in my home town. Or "Odean" or "Savoy".

In Cork at least we have the Kino. It is the only cinema here catering for non blockbusters. one of a kind down here at least.

Anonymous - November 4, 2007 at 7:59 PM

Check out The Screen beside Trinity if you haven't as of yet. It isn't as eclectic or as arthouse as the IFI but it's better than the likes of cineworld or whatever...

Lina - November 5, 2007 at 11:26 AM

thanks for the suggestion, Anonymous, I'm familiar with the Screen.

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