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Name: Dan Sallitt
Location: New York, New York, United States

Monday, January 21, 2008

Video Projection at the Walter Reade

Axel Corti's interesting "Where To and Back" trilogy is being projected at the Walter Reade on video - and rather bad-looking video at that, with a nasty sideways distortion at the top of the screen. I'm happy that the films are being shown in any format, but as far as I know the theater has made no announcement at all about the video projection, not even posting the information at the box office. The Walter Reade has generally been forthcoming about print quality; it's a shame if they're joining the many theaters who sell tickets in silence and hope that no one will notice.



OpenID geocaplan said...

Very sorry to hear about this. I know you were looking very forward to catching up with these titles. I've come to expect this practice at the Leonard Nimoy Theatre at Symphony Space but they outdid themselves this week. I hoped to revisit HIS GIRL FRIDAY there but not if it was digital projection. (For the record, in the last year I have passed on more screenings there then I have attended because of digital projection. I was twice burned there and quickly learned to ask before paying $10 to watch a DVD in a barn-like space with folding chairs.) I went by on my lunch hour ( I work very nearby) to ask about the prints. The house manager, Sarah, came to the lobby and in response to my question replied "Oh, come on now, does it really matter?" When I replied, that "yes, to me, it matters completely and I do not wish to pay money to watch a DVD" she began to get unpleasant. Unhappily she went to the booth to find out the answer and returned to tell me that the Hawks film was DVD while THE WOMEN was film. She then said "Please feel free NOT to pass this information onto others." (Boy, did she fuck that up! - I immediately started wishing I had a blog just to be able to reveal such a willful attempt at consumer fraud. Thanks, Dan, for the opportunity.) "I'm sorry" I said, "but I certainly will pass this information on to anyone who might ask me - why wouldn't I?" "We don't want to get the reputation as a place that only shows DVD." "Well" I said, "you should think of that before doing just that. Like the recent Alec Guiness series which, except for one title, was all digital. I and several other people I know of would have been happy to have come for that series." (That was the singular instance of their calendar alerting patrons to their digital practice.) She then attempted to convince me that it was the fault of Sony for not sending a print in time. I then asked about the upcoming THREE COMRADES, saying I assumed that since it has never appeared on DVD that a film must have been booked? Now very perturbed, she snapped "well, it it isn't on DVD we can't very well be showing one now can we? Besides it's too far in the future to tell." THREE COMRADES plays this weekend! So cinephiles beware, Symphony Space does not care about presentation or respect its audience. Ask before you pay or simply boycott this practice. That said, I will be there for THREE COMRADES, assuming they screen a print.

January 22, 2008 1:04 AM  
Blogger md'a said...

They've been doing this a lot lately, to my great annoyance. The Whole Shooting Match was shown on video, and so was one of the films in their Pasolini retro -- Accatone, I believe. The latter at least had a notice up at the box office window (too late, really), but there was nothing at all re: the former.

January 22, 2008 1:42 AM  
Blogger Dan Sallitt said...

Jeff and Mike - it's interesting that the very large and enthusiastic audience for the Corti films didn't seem to mind, or even note, the video projection. Showing any concern for the nature or the quality of the projection medium seems to be solely the province of the lunatic-fringe film buff. In which case we have to expect that theaters will get more and more relaxed on this point. Still, a small note in the publicity, and a notice at the box office for last-minute crises, doesn't seem too much to ask for.

Jeff - I stopped paying attention to Symphony Space years ago because of print quality. When they have 35mm, do they project it well?

January 22, 2008 8:13 AM  

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