Monday, September 8, 2008

The Cinema Projectionist

I went to the movies this past weekend to see Elegy, and the beginning of the first reel was a little out of focus.  The audience mumbled and grumbled and then started calling out to the projectionist - who quickly fixed his error.

This got me thinking about cinema projectionists.  They're not obsolete - not yet, but I guess their days are truly numbered.

I remember watching a movie by Hungarian art master Bela Tarr and half way through this epic black and white opus about a whale and an insane asylum the projectionist accidentally (I assume, though I wondered if it was deliberate sabotage) played the wrong reel.  It wasn't the wrong reel from the right movie - it was something completely different, psychedelic technicolor, a beach, a family.  I have no idea what it was, but it woke up every sleeping member of the audience, that's for sure.

I've always like the idea that there's someone up there, lovingly playing the movie to the audience, making sure they see the movie they've paid to see in the best possible light.  And never getting any thanks or recognition for it.

So I guess, I want to thank them now.  For all their work.  They won't be forgotten.

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