Perhaps my favorite cinema in the city of New Orleans is our one-screen, neighborhood joint, The Prytania. Aside from week long runs of mainstream fare, they have special engagements for a more diverse crowd. From midnight showings of The Room (the modern day Rocky Horror Picture Show equivalent) to art-house choices beyond America, The Brunet Family runs this theater with wit, with charm and with personality – which all comes through in the programming.
Their new festival, FILMTOPIA, is the perfect cross-section of everything that makes the curation here special. Within its foreign and independent selections, there is something I want to highlight in terms of cultural appreciation, both of movies and this city.
A large chunk of show-times are dedicated to maybe the greatest and most profound/grand scale filmmaker of his or of any time, Stanley Kubrick. He didn’t make many features, but the time and effort spent on each one he did resulted in puzzles of imagery, of light and of movement. We’re still debating the merits and theories behind The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey decades after being released. They were more than technical achievements, mind you; they were really reel dreams or, better yet, nightmares. They were finely tuned and controlled, to the point of giving crew and cast alike panic attacks. Suffice to say, if you’re not feeling it during production, viewers won’t in the theater either.
Now, New Orleans is a place that loves to showcase music, sports and food. You can’t read a local paper or watch a news report without getting some content on those three subjects. Typically, movies are relegated to a smaller section of the Entertainment category, and often enough, will be written by an AP Newswire Reporter not from here. We have a community of buffs and enthusiasts and movers and shakers. We have a group of writers and reporters who focus on and care about this art. And, believe it or not, people still like to read print and watch the news.
So, what am I getting at?
One: Go out and watch some Kubrick this weekend.
Two: More movie coverage in local media would be a nice benefit for readers and moviegoers across the city. And, to add an asterisk: Build more movie theaters, especially in parts of town devoid of such venues. Am I suggesting a new Prytania Theater chain? That’s an idea, but we’d have to buy tickets in droves for that to even be humored. Maybe take a cue from those who’ve done it themselves: Those plucky folk that project film on rooftops or in parking lots, against sheets and walls.
Two more points!
One: Show movies.
Two: What movies are you showing?
Start with Stanley. Start with the Prytania. Make New Orleans a FILMTOPIA.
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