Everyone needs to escape from St Andrews every once in a while; my latest retreat was to the cinema at Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre. It was only a few weeks ago that I came across the DCA, when two friends and I were desperate to see a film outside St Andrews. It was the only place in the area showing Albatross, a slightly obscure film we had set our hearts on, so we embarked across the Tay Bridge in search of it.
The cold wind was blowing off the water and the sat-nav had taken us to a nearly deserted car park. Was this it? There was not a sound, nor a flicker of light in sight, until we saw the iron external staircase leading up the side an ominously doorless building.
We pushed open the door to find something quite unexpected; a bustling candle-lit bar with couples sat at tables, dressed in suits and cocktail dresses, sipping martinis. The air was thick with conversation; after all it was a Friday night, and this was at the heart of the fourth largest city in Scotland. We were taken aback. How could something this cosmopolitan be in such an unlikely spot?
Slightly embarrassed, we shuffled past the sleekly dressed city-dwellers in our jeans and thick winter jackets to the cinema desk. Despite its dark back entrance, the entire interior of the building is wooden and white, styled in a post-modern art gallery kind of way. For the same price as a New Picture House cinema ticket, we were ushered into the cinema by the polite lady at the door, to find the entire room empty. Not a single person had come to see the film, apart from us.
Sinking down into the large, surprisingly comfortable seats, we found ourselves marveling at just how nice this cinema was. No popcorn strewn around the place or sticky floors, which take the soles off your shoes. No weird smells or crusty cup holders. Even the post-film adverts were good. Whilst the New Picture House does have its charm, this was something else.
Sadly, we didn’t end up having the entire screen to ourselves; three others decided to join us for the showing, but the film was just that bit more enjoyable to watch in such a nice environment. The DCA makes a point of screening films that would never make an appearance in your local Cineworld, which is all the more reason to leave St Andrews and take yourself for the evening. I promise, it’s worth the excursion.
The DCA shows a range of popular releases, as well as plenty of world cinema, art house and live opera and ballet screenings. Their upcoming French Film Festival opens tomorrow with La Fée and continues until the end of December. For more information, visit their website.
Images sourced from Richard Murphy Architects.