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Free from the Archives
“I have spent large chunks of my life in repertory movie theaters,” wrote Phillip Lopate on November 6, 2017, in an appreciation of the “wildly idealistic missionaries” who bring “the gospel of cinema” to filmgoers in New York City and beyond. Taking as his guide Ben Davis’s study and photographic guide Repertory Movie Theaters of New York City, Lopate looks at the repertory movement through the lens of economics and film culture. Davis, Lopate wrote, performs “an extremely useful service in recapturing this piece of the endangered past and arguing for its importance as a living archive that preserved the history of movies as an art form.”
“Overall, these pioneers come across as a bunch of wildly idealistic missionaries, lovers of film much more interested in spreading the gospel of cinema than in making money. They took chances, they played hunches, they went against the grain of commercial conformity, they artfully constructed balanced double bills, they connived to get their hands on the best possible prints. And eventually, most of them went under.”
Categories: Arts & Entertainment