by Adam Riske
Personal aside, I dislike when movie sites or podcasts have a year-end top 10 lists and 8 of the 10 are movies YOU have no chance of ever seeing, mostly because they played at an uber-art house theatre for one showing back in February and are about corrupt police men in Romania who eat soup. Not saying these are bad movies, but if your readers can’t see them, why bring up how wonderful they are? Thus, the dilemma I had with The Rep. I didn’t want to be that guy, but I wanted to tell all of you about this movie. What to do?
Luckily, The Rep has a web site (www.therepseries.com), and through that site I was able to get in touch with the movie’s writer/director, Morgan White, and start an email conversation. We talked about the possibility of the movie coming on VOD and I asked for an interview (which Morgan graciously accepted and will run this afternoon on F This Movie!). After a few months, Morgan announced that The Rep is going to be available on most On Demand services* as of September 3rd. So here we are. You can see The Rep right now and I finally feel like I’m in the place where I can share 2013’s best-kept-secret movie.
So what is The Rep?
web site) centering on the Toronto Underground Cinema. The film follows the lives of three film geeks -- Alex, Charlie and Nigel -- during the first year of operations at a single-screen repertory cinema. In the face of strong competition from big box theatres, local cinematheques and home video, it’s a constant struggle to stay afloat. The Rep also broadens out to feature other rep theatres in North America, including The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, The New Beverly Cinema in L.A. (saved by Quentin Tarantino, as if you needed another reason to like him) and The Red Vic in San Francisco. This section of the documentary covers the history of repertory theatres and the passion of movie lovers to keep these theatres alive in the ever-changing film exhibition climate. The question is: will a greater audience recognize their cultural value before it’s too late?
The genius of Morgan White’s movie is that he allows you to become personally invested in Alex, Charlie and Nigel’s enterprise. Over the course of the year, you’ve seen all three men grow as film fans but, more importantly, as business people. You understand the sacrifices these men are taking in their personal lives to keep the legacy of cinema going. I see these three as heroic in a way.
Dogfight. After college I was chasing a new syllabus, which I found in the Music Box, Patio and Portage (RIP) theatres. These establishments pointed me in the direction of so many classics as well as some good old-fashioned oddities that I am glad to have had the opportunity to see. I got to see stylized versions of what the world was like in the 1920s, 1940s and 1960s, learning about culture and attitudes I’d only read about or spoken about in passing. How cool is that? Movies are miracles for that reason alone. I became a huge fan of Paul Newman, Audrey Hepburn, Roger Corman, Universal Monsters and Akira Kurosawa through these theatres. Plus, if not for my discovery of the Music Box, I would literally not be writing for F This Movie! I found the site after searching for coverage of the 2010 Music Box Massacre and, through that, got to know Patrick and JB over the years. I owe my opportunity to write about movies every week, and for this community of F-Heads that I love, in no small part to repertory cinema.
The Rep is a battle cry to save repertory cinema and the theatrical experience. If there’s a movie theatre in your town that you love, go often and place your vote to keep them in business with your attendance. Buy concessions. Suggest programming. These are community theatres built for you. You should support them.
I love this documentary and I hope it’s the first in a long and successful career for Morgan White. Please see it and leave a comment about the movie or your feelings about repertory theatres in general.
*The Rep is available through many VOD providers such as iTunes, Amazon and YouTube for either rental or purchase. Visiting the movie’s site is the easiest way to find those links.