In Ile-Tudy, the cinema of the Port, a place to resuscitate

We expected this moment as a reward after half a day sailing between the port of Ile-Tudy (Finistère) and the Glénan archipelago. We had to face the bundles of seawater that we took in the face on the days of strong swells, the desalination in water at 17 degrees, the often tedious returns to tackle, upwind, to finally pass the beacon of the Perdrix and find the mainland. The time to change, to have a well-deserved snack, and here we are again in the direction of the Café du Port with its cinema room, located upstairs.

We are then at the beginning of the 1980s, and for holidaymakers who stay in this Bigouden village with narrow streets lined with small stone houses with blue shutters, this cinema is the joy of being able to discover a film every evening, for a modest expense – less than 10 francs in my memory, or about 1.50 euros.

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Arranged in the 1950s above the restaurant run by Corentin and Corentine Le Corre in the place that was used by fishermen to repair their nets – its dimensions allowed a perfect spread for carrying out ramandage -, the room, lined with a matching tartan with apricot-colored seats, could accommodate 150 people. On busy evenings, it was enough to go down to the restaurant to grab a few chairs to gain more seats.

“Hunger clap”

The cinema session had the particularity of offering, as in the theater, an intermission. Chance to taste a Miko ice cream – it was the vanilla that was my favorite. The cut was not motivated by a commercial interest, but by a technical imperative: the projection booth (still in place) is the smallest in the world – which earned it a mention in the Guinness Records – preventing the film from being mounted on a single reel.

The cinema room at Ile-Tudy (Finistère).

In the 2000s, competition from multiplexes in Quimper and Bénodet harmed the Ile-Tudy theater, which was looking for solutions to maintain its activity. Taken over in 2009 by Gilles Garin, grandson of the founders, the cinema of the café-restaurant now called “de l’Estran” organizes, on Friday evenings, successful debates-screenings around rare Art & Essay films, such as The Wreckers (1959), by Charles Brabant, with Charles Vanel, shot in the nearby port of Lesconil. The extras of the time as well as the film’s photographer, Félix Le Garrec, come to share their memories with the spectators. The evening ends at the restaurant for a memorable “clap of hunger”.

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