Oh my, IFI!


Bridget Fitzsimons revels in the refurbishment of Dublin’s IFI

Recently, one of Dublin’s best small cinemas has undergone a huge refurbishment. The Irish Film Institute (IFI), on Eustace Street in Temple Bar, has always been loved by film buffs for its choice of films you’d never see anywhere else, but has the new refurbishment added to the cinema?

In a word (or three): yes, it has. The two screens that have always served the IFI were fine, but the addition of a new screen really works wonders for the cinema. The screen is compact and intimate, with comfortable and roomy seats. As someone who is vertically challenged, I was worried about how low my seat felt, but the seats are levelled extremely well. Even short people like me can watch films without all you tall people ruining the fun for us.

Because of the new screen, the IFI will be adding more events and festivals to its schedule. I went to see Tokyo Story as part of the season celebrating Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu in the new screen and the intimate cinema really added to my viewing experience. Upcoming festivals include the Stranger Than Fiction documentary season in April and the family oriented festival in July.

As a film student, I’ve always relied on the IFI and my membership discount for cheaper film book prices. The range and prices of their DVD selection are also impressive. With the renovations comes a completely new shop. Far from the open space the bookshop previously occupied at the back of the open atrium, the new shop is enclosed with its own doors. The new shop offers privacy and is away from the bustling restaurant and ticket office. It now offers somewhere quiet to browse DVDs, books and other film merchandise.

The restaurant now gains more tables in turn – a great development for a place with meals that are both high quality and kind to the pocket. The menus are being updated, with brunch and tapas being added to the already varied list. Also, it helps that the new toilets are clean, shiny and roomy, unlike the scary ones that used loom around the back. The only downside of the new intergalactic style toilets is that they use the same obnoxious toilet paper holders that the Student Centre does. The ones that get the loo roll stuck in them, meaning that you have to venture into a couple to find one that actually has accessible paper.

The IFI has typically been the reserve of buffs and film students going to see complicated foreign movies to impress their lecturers (including me), but these new renovations will really open up the cinema as well as making independent and world cinema far more accessible to the people of Dublin.