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July 19, 2007

Silver Screens, And Linings


This has suddenly become my favorite image from Moxie, the new documentary I'm working on. It somehow feels like it sums up everything I want the film to be about. I had this notion that I could somehow exhibit the work in layers, with this image playing at algorhithmically random levels of transparency on top the the actual film, so that you never get to see the cut in it complete state. I don't know how that could be accomplished, though, aside from projecting a feed directly from Final Cut Pro or using two projectors.

And anyway, it's the sort of idea I should save for a different project. What I've realized in making this is that I have to balance my concerns as a filmmaker with those of my subject. It's a sort of responsibility which I'm sure every documentarian is familiar with; but it's something that I've never had to deal with before, and it's been a fascinating experience, trying to maintain that consideration within the formal contexts I want to explore. It's probably the reason I'm only seven minutes into the cut so far.

And now for some sad news. After editing all day, I put my boots on and got up to go to a movie. At the moment, I live within a ten minute walk of the New Beverly Cinema,, a magical little cinema which has since 1978 been a full-time double bill revival houses. It's where Tarantino programmed his month of Grindhouse prints last spring, and it's where I saw the late Gary Graver exhibit his collection of rare Orson Welles prints just over a year ago. The lineup changes every other day, and one could easily spend every night of the week there and quickly get a hopscotch education in cinema, but for whatever reason I hadn't gone in ages - not since a Vertigo/Rear Window bill last summer, in fact.

Last night, I walked by the box office and noticed that The Battle Of Algiers, which I'd never had a chance to see before, was going to be playing, and that the following night they were going to feature Lost Highway as part of a Lynch double bill. I quickly made plans with friends to see both. But when I walked up to the theater this evening, the marquee was dark. The doors were locked. A hastily handwritten sign in the window stated that "Due to family tragedy, the New Beverly will be closed until further notice." A small crowd gathered outside, until someone drove up to explain that the owner of the theater, who operated it day in and day out with his son, had passed away earlier in the day.

I imagine he died doing what he loved, which is a happy thing; I don't think anyone could run a theater like the New Beverly for three decades without having a passion for it. There's an art to showing movies, a sort of showmanship crossed with curatorial craft, and it's slowly being lost. It'll never fade completely (not as long as devotees are willing to set up screenings in Parisian catacombs), but as of today its its lustre is a little bit dimmer than it was before.

Posted by David Lowery at July 19, 2007 03:33 AM


I'm not sure how to break the news to Amy. She'll be hearbroken. As am I.

Posted by: James M. Johnston at July 19, 2007 09:43 AM

That is indeed sad news. I love that place.

Posted by: bryan at July 20, 2007 03:35 PM