Sir, – Donald Clarke’s homage to the Screen Cinema (Ticket, March 2nd) transported me back to when the Dublin Film Festival and the French Language Film Festival brought some much-needed glamour to that corner of Townsend Street and Hawkins Street.
From the thrill of seeing Jean-Jacques Beineix’s Betty Blue and Spike Lee’s She Gotta Have It in 1986, the year they were actually made (a difficult proposition in Ireland at the time), to the opportunity to catch the Big Blue, the Double Life of Véronique, Subway and Uranus all in the one festival (the French Language Film Festival in 1991), it was a veritable cinematic feast for this undergraduate and later PhD student in nearby Trinity. Sure there were some bum notes – the arrival of a Russian film without its subtitles, which prompted a real-time, somewhat chaotic translation from a member of Trinity’s Russian department; the realisation that Theo Angelopoulos’s the Travelling Players at nearly four hours was a exercise in perseverance (which I and my American friend failed cheerfully by adjourning to nearby Mulligan’s of Poolbeg Street during the intermission); to the controversial American short Dick (no pun intended), providing the somewhat unnerving viewing at 10.15am on a Saturday morning of 1,000 penises and the views of 100 women on the male organ.
But the quality of the overall cinematic offering far outweighed the dross and the bizarre in the mid-1980s and early-1990s for the cinema-going denizens of this fair city. – Yours, etc,