Monday, 20 October 2014

Out Of Print: A Documentary - review

I wish the release of Out Of Print online this week came under better circumstances but on October 15th Julia Marchese (director of the film and long-time New Beverly Cinema employee) announced that she had left the New Beverly in Los Angeles due to recent managerial changes at the cinema.

It might be too early to tell, and just to be clear I don't know the whole story, but I hope that what started out as a love letter to the New Beverly Cinema doesn't become a eulogy.

One the one hand Out Of Print is a documentary about a repertory cinema in Los Angeles called the New Beverly which became world famous for its eclectic range of programming, Grindhouse feel and celebrity patrons (many of whom appear as talking heads).

On the other hand, it is much bigger than that and looks at the importance of small independent cinemas like this, and the Prince Charles Cinema in London, are in keeping "film" alive in the form of 35mm when all the multiplexes have switched to digital.

Not only are they doing their best to keep the medium of celluloid alive but they also are bringing new audiences to old films that they might never have seen before or on the big screen.

The film reminds us that there is no better way to enjoy a movie than in a darkened cinema auditorium packed out with likeminded people who are there for the same reason that you are.

I have worked at the Belmont Filmhouse (formally The Belmont Picturehouse) for over eleven years now and some of my fondest memories include screening an original print of Predator to a sold-out audience or the many, many screening of The Room with all the crowd participation and flying spoons.

We've seen the transition to digital cinema, and while it certainly does have its advantages, there is nothing quite like the look, sound and feel of a reel print so it is very exciting that we'll be one of the few sites in the UK screening Christopher Nolan's Interstellar from a 35mm print.

But I digress, what is clear throughout every frame of Out Of Print is that it is a movie made by people who love movies about places that love movies screened by people who love movies, and that is something that should be supported.

It is a rallying cry to people to stop watching movies on their phones, turn them off and head to their local cinema and experience the film as the filmmakers intended.

Julia Marchese's enthusiasm for cinema shines through in the documentary and her future might lie in the box office counter at the New Beverly but Out Of Print demonstrates she might lie within the industry she has spent so much of her time fighting for and personally I hope that another repertory cinema takes advantage of her skills soon.

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