Cinema goes mainstream to put bums on Picture Palace seats

'White elephant': the Picture Palace arthouse cinema.
'White elephant': the Picture Palace arthouse cinema.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

The doors of the jinxed arthouse cinema were thrown open to Galway City councillors.  About half of the 18 elected members turned up for a tour of the half-finished building and presentation given by Element Pictures, the new operators of the Picture Palace.

These are the guys who run the arthouse Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin, which is quite successful by all accounts.

The public, who have footed most of the bill, are sick, sore and tired of the arthouse cinema debacle.

It has missed more deadlines than there are Rocky films, and it’s gobbled up millions of euro that would easily pay to make another Sylvester Stallone blockbuster.

And yet despite all these years and all that public money, it is not altogether clear that the city actually needs another cinema, be it for arthouse screenings or any other types of films.

Apart from the Galway Film Festival, a week-long event once a year, it is not apparent where the demand is going to come from to fill this costly white elephant.

And what exactly constitutes arthouse?

The top-three films that were shown by Lighthouse in 2016 were Room, Sing Street and A Date for Mad Mary.

All three of those films were available to audiences in Galway City, too, without an arthouse cinema, because they were screened at the mainstream Eye Cinema.

Surely, we cannot condone the massive State subsidy of one “arthouse” cinema, to compete with a private operator, who is happy to screen those movies if and when there is a demand for them?

Keane’s canvassers are able

Keane by name, keen by nature. Though he was reluctant to contest the most recent general election, Peter Keane looks increasingly keen to stand for Fianna Fáil in the next one. What a difference a few opinion polls make.

With FF seemingly out of the sinbin, thanks to an amnesiac electorate, the party is eyeing up a return to the glory days of two seats in Galway West.

Peter is eager to join Dev Óg in the Dáil, and already has his canvassers out knocking on doors and distributing literature in Knocknacarra. Watch this space: The Man With The Red Trousers is coming to a doorstep near you.

Meanwhile, eager Peter, and his party and City Council colleague Ollie Crowe, were among the Soldiers of Destiny who turned up outside city churches – including Salthill – this week, trying to get a few bob out of hard-pressed massgoers.

It raised eyebrows among some political opponents, including Mike Cubbard, the Independent.

Mike said: “Separating the church from the State is a current topic up for debate and is one I agree wholeheartedly with. The National Maternity Hospital should be State-run, simple as that! Ironic though that in the height of this debate I see Fianna Fáil having a national collection day to raise money – outside the churches!”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.