Mary Kenny: I found sanity at the cinema
Lonely? Depressed? Isolated? We need the movies as a shared experience
The Irish, I'm proud to say, are rated as the best cinema-goers in Europe (along with the French) by the International Union of Cinemas and last year, cinema attendances increased again in this country.
That's great, but there's something else I'd like to see: an operational cinema in every town, as once there was. A local cinema is a blend of art, entertainment and community involvement. A queue for the cinema animates a sense of joining others in a shared experience: you pick up the responses from the rest of the audience, and quite often, conversations about the film are shared as you emerge.
We are in a wondrous age of visual entertainment. Television drama has probably never been better, across a range of networks, and it's enhanced by access to playback. Word of mouth prompts a second chance to see a gripping new series on TV. Downloading, DVDs, Netflix all provide amazing choices. I travel by train a fair bit and I notice that commuters often watch a film on their personal screens after a working day.