Yup, this week a 90 seater art house cinema has been built (with your money) so that MEPs, on your time watch, three films in order that they can be complicit in Parliament Vice-President Gerard Onesta's vanity project.
According to the PR fluff about the prize its purpose is as follows,
"Cinema at the heart of cultural exception Cinema lies at the heart of the European cultural model. It is emblematic of the cultural exception dispute between the European Union and the United States. Cinema is also a medium that is accessible to a very large number of people of all ages. Marrying sound and image, it has always been a medium that appeals to the individual at an emotional rather than a cognitive level. At a time when text as a medium is at a crossroads, cinema is the ideal vehicle for communication – or reflection – on Europe and its future".
Lucky us. Not only that but as an added bonus we get to see Antonioni and Bergman films as well.
What is not clear is how much this is all costing, why it is necessary in the first place, given that Europe already has a number of film festivals (London, Berlin Cannes and so on) and what the hell do they think they are doing?
Today's FT picks up a particularly egregious aspect of this prize,
"Mote was jailed in September for fraud. As he received less than a year, under British law he is entitled to keep his seat. That might be news to some of his constituents visiting his website. A cryptic message reads: "Owing to unforeseen circumstances there will be a short intermission in my trouble-making in the European parliament on behalf of the constituents of south-east England."
There are some duties he can perform, though. A high-security web link has been set up for MEPs to view and vote on the films shortlisted for the assembly's new cinema prize, the Prix Lux. "If the governor agrees, Ashley could go to the recreation room, log on to the internet . . . [and] do his cinematic duty," Observer hears."