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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 February 2008, 09:31 GMT
Starry last night for tiny cinema
Kenneth Branagh

The smallest cinema in Wales - a 23-seat former railway carriage in a Swansea back garden - has been given a star-studded farewell.

Oscar-nominated actor and director Kenneth Branagh made a guest appearance at La Charrette for the world premiere of Danny Boyle's Alien Love Triangle.

The screening of the sci-fi comedy gave the tiny cinema in a quiet terraced street an out-of-this-world send-off.

The cinema will now be dismantled and rebuilt at the Gower Heritage Centre.

Belfast-born Branagh walked up the red carpet between two end of terrace houses for the black-tie screening at La Charrette.

"This is a fantastic," he said. "It is a romantic idea and a symbol of why people go to the cinema.

"This is like the street I grew up on so I feel completely at home."

La Charrette in Gorseinon, near Swansea, was due to close in November but was kept open to host the premiere.

La Charrette

The screening was organised by film critic Mark Kermode after he featured the venue on BBC2's The Culture Show.

Founded in 1955 by the late Gwyn Phillips, the crumbling cinema had become too costly to maintain but Kermode lobbied the film industry to give La Charrette a memorable send-off.

After contacting all of the UK's major film distributors and sending them pictures of La Charrette, Mr Kermode said he received offers of several upcoming movies to bring down the final curtain.

But he decided to ask Alien Love Triangle's producer Andrew Macdonald for the film because he wanted "something special, something unique, something unattainable".

The 30-minute movie was made in 2002 by Danny Boyle, director of Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Sunshine. In addition to Branagh, it also stars Courtney Cox and Heather Graham.

Mark Kermode
Film critic Mark Kermode was the man behind the fitting finale

Speaking before the screening, Branagh said Alien Love Triangle was a "lost film" by one of "our greatest directors".

"After 10 years and having seen an uncompleted version of it, I'm slightly nervous about it," he said.

"I hope people like it. I hope the rest of the world gets to see it."

Shortly after Mr Phillips died in 1996, the British Film Institute recognised La Charrette as the smallest cinema in Wales.

Over the years it has shown classics such as Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music, as well as more recent films such as The Queen and Wild Hogs.

La Charrette's farewell will feature in The Culture Show on BBC 2 on Saturday, 1 March at 1900 GMT.

Stars turn out for final screening

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