Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

A word on The Light House

By now, you may be aware that the landlord of The Light House, John Flynn, has issued a petition for a so-called winding-up order against the cinema following a dispute over rent. Laura Slattery, one of our business boffins, laid …

Thu, Mar 24, 2011, 12:18

   

By now, you may be aware that the landlord of The Light House, John Flynn, has issued a petition for a so-called winding-up order against the cinema following a dispute over rent. Laura Slattery, one of our business boffins, laid out the information on Tuesday. As we understand it, the rent has was doubled from €100,000 to €200,000. Maretta Dillon, co-founder of the venue, commented: “The increase was outlined in the original lease but our point is that we agreed to pay a baseline rent based on a successful development which has not occurred.” The hearing will take place on Monday.

More precise details of the dispute are not forthcoming and it would be irresponsible to speculate further. But it is worth reiterating what a superb space the Light House is. Nice seats. Good sound. Lovely intervening spaces. A city the size of Dublin should, surely, be capable of supporting three cinemas dedicated to foreign language and independent cinema. (I think The Screen, though more commercial, deserves to be placed alongside the Irish Film Institute in that triumvirate.) There are clearly difficulties with the Light House’s location, but a few weeks ago, when I arrived to do a Q & A during the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, every screen was packed to the rafters. The success of Of Gods and Men at the Light House counts as a genuine phenomenon. Now, it’s not every day you get crossover hits like True Grit and The King’s Speech — playing during my visit at JDIFF — but the audience for films without robots is out there. Not that there’s anything wrong with robots.