Picturehouse returns to the frame

Cathay art house reopens in new Singapore landmark

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s best known art-house theater, The Picturehouse made a return to business Thursday as part of the newly-renovated Cathay Cineplex. Building’s lengthy and expensive overhaul took over 5 years at a cost of over $60 million.

Now an 82-seater boasting luxury seating, Picturehouse originally opened in 1990 as a 220-seater in stand-alone building next-door.

Released in 1939, same year as opening of the original Cathay building, “Gone with the Wind” was the chosen flick for opening gala. Other titles in Picturehouse’s opening festival are contempo art pics “Invisible Waves,” “Three Times” and “U Carmen eKhayelitsha.”

Picturehouse is owned by Cathay Cineplexes Pte Ltd. It is managed by Cathay-Keris Films, a shingle formerly responsible for production of over 150 Malay language movies and now the group’s distribution arm.

Cathay Building was Singapore’s first skyscraper and for decades was one of the city state’s most famous landmarks. “This new building, whilst built with the same pioneering spirit of our grandmother, is not quite what we would have envisioned it to be,” Cathay Organisation Holdings CEO Ms Choo Meileen said.

Cathay Cineplex, however, has nostalgic touches including a gallery showcasing the cinema’s history, a memorabilia shop and the ‘kacang putih’ man selling peanuts wrapped in paper cones.