Picture Palaces in Peril!
November 29, 2005 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Picture Palaces in Peril! and a few hardy survivors from the golden age of Scottish film going. One of the most beautiful of all, The Cameo, apparently a favourite of Quentin Tarantino, is under threat from its new overlords - who've grabbed the majority stake in Britain's main independent cinema company. Can our heroine be rescued from the railroad tracks of venture capitalism at the 11th hour? Save The Cameo are trying.
posted by Flitcraft (5 comments total)
/belated more inside

I love old cinemas, so I was delighted to find a website with so much information about them, but shocked to find out that even gems like The Cameo - which is one of the main venues for the Edinburgh International Film Festival - are being ill treated. It still turns a profit but that apparently wasn't enough for the new set of shareholders with their massive DVD distribution business. A sad case study in how vulnerable those beautiful old independent cinemas can be.
posted by Flitcraft at 4:39 PM on November 29, 2005

It's a fucking travesty. The Cameo is – and I say this as someone who lives in Glasgow and therefore has an inbuilt suspicion of all things Edinburghian – the best cinema in Scotland; every time you watch something there, it feels like An Event. You don't get that at the UGC or whatever it's called these days, or at the Filmhouse, the other main location for the EIFF.

What's even more depressing is that Mark Cousins, amongst others, seem quite happy to see such a gorgeous cinema turned into an enormopub hellhole – of which Tollcross and the rest of Edinburgh already have more than their fair share – with a wee screening room tucked away in what is now the bar.

For anyone who has ever been to The Cameo – whether you live in Scotland or not – and for everyone who might want to go there at some point in the future to watch a film, and not knock back discount Bacardi Breezers, you can object to the plans by following the instructions on the Save The Cameo site here, because anything as beautiful as this deserves preservation.
posted by Len at 5:29 PM on November 29, 2005

I live across the street from the old Odeon in Edinburgh. Its boarded-up-ness is depressing.

And ditto everything Len said. Every time the Odeon's current owners tried to turn it into a shopping mall or student flats or whatever, the community (with support from James Bond) stopped it. Hopefully the same support can be garnered for the Cameo.
posted by milquetoast at 5:40 PM on November 29, 2005

It's a similar story with the old Odeon in Bradford too. It's a beautiful building in its way but at the moment it's unused and has trees growing out of odd places. Its days as a cinema are clearly over. Even as an art house cinema it wouldn't be viable as the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television is a hundred yards away and they already have three for that very purpose.

http://cinematreasures.org/ is an excellent site btw, well worth checking out.
posted by vbfg at 1:08 AM on November 30, 2005

Man, I *LOVE* the Cameo. Especially going to late night double bills in the summer, going in at 11am, coming out at 3am as the sun starts to rise again, probably having missed half the film in the middle as you nodded off over your popcorn, but just as Len says, feeling like you've done something special.

Even walking past the front door made me smile.

Flitcraft, thanks for giving me the chance to sign the petition.
posted by penguin pie at 6:28 AM on November 30, 2005

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