Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I miss the old Oak Street....

...words I thought I would never utter. But while reading about the Shohei Imamura retrospective happening at BAM Rose Cinemas at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, I sadly relized that it will never come to the Twin Cities. Of course that wasn't always true. In the Oak Streets previous life, that ended not so long ago, the Imamura retrospective would have been something they would have gotten around to screening. As much as I really disliked the totally schizophrenic weekly schedule they used to keep and even though the Oak-Street-ego (you know what I mean) was maybe a little too big for this town, I wish they were still holding on in that repertory dysfunctional way that they were. Instead I am left lamenting all the retrospectives that have no place in this town.

The same goes for the Mikio Naruse retrospective that that included 22 new prints of the rarely seen and insanely unavailable films in his repertoire. Criterion has taken the lead on releasing some of the Naruse films on DVD in the US, but it will be years before they all show up. If the industry is so concern that people are not going to the theater to see films anymore, maybe they should start showing something other than the same old shit. I am still holding out for the possibility of a Hong Sang-soo retrospective. As a filmmaker, he is gathering some momentum internationally as an auteur. Retrospectives of his work are starting to show up, and I can't think of another relatively new contemporary filmmaker who's work deserves complete review from start to finish. None of Hong's seven films have played theatrically in the Twin Cities.

For every retrospective I am pining for, there are a dozen others I would like to see. But who cares? I am realistic enough about my influences and abilities to know that there is nothing I can do about it. If anything, I would blame the apathetic venues and programmers who are unwilling to protest against the status quo. Despite the way venues are treating the Twin Cities' film goers, there is a very adventurous and lively film community here that is up for the challenge.

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