Thursday, September 20, 2012

The IFI is just half my age

I can still remember the excitement and expectations amongst my friends and I. Being 20 years old in the early 1990s was rather a good thing to be, especially if you were a fan of cinema. The dreaded "18 certificate" no longer mattered to you - you could go and see what you wanted!  I eventually managed to get to the IFI on the day after its official opening that September and got my membership card. The card over the years had varied in colour - green, red, blue and now a very grown-up and sophisticated black!

It became the meeting place, particularly on the Thursday before Easter, for reasons which have been lost in the mists of time. We'd park up in the restaurant, order chips and drinks for everyone and discuss life and what film we'd just seen. To this day, the little blue neon circle outside is a welcome sight on a winter night in Temple Bar. There was even a time, when things were getting pretty unbearable in one job I was in, that the restaurant was my place of refuge each lunchtime for two months. And, silly as it sounds, I still get a thrill walking down the glass floor corridor into the heart of the building.

Having the IFI in Dublin brought Europe and then the world to my eyes and broadened my horizons. The first film I saw was Without You I'm Nothing, a film of Sandra Bernhardt's one woman show of the same name. I can barely remember it now but my abiding recollection is of Sylvester's "You make me feel mighty real" being used in one scene and no-one seemed to mind that I sang along with it. I would have loved to have got up out of my seat and had a dance around.  I saw the best of American 90s indie films like Slacker and Dazed and Confused, sexy Spanish films like Jamón Jamón and The Fencing Master (best watched eating a little tub of Haagen Daz ice cream), amazing German films like Head On and even some downright weird films like Man Bites Dog and Benny's Video.

I even got to see classics that I never thought I'd see on the big screen like Dr. Strangelove, The Third Man and Night of the Hunter and a real bit of history with Metropolis, but the one that sticks with me the most is 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould. Such an amazing beautiful film. Even though I have it on video, I'd love to see it on the big screen again. 

I've not been to the cinema in a while. My life situation has changed and it just hasn't been possible, but I hope that will change soon. And, maybe, I will finally get to dance around in that cinema.

Colette Carroll

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