Publisher's Note: Film: Don’t do it alone
By Jeff Rapsis
This week’s Hippo takes a good long look at the movies — specifically, the kind you take in by going out to an actual movie theater rather than staying home and parking yourself in front of a home entertainment center.
Fancy though your living room setup might be, there’s just no substitute for venturing out to a darkened theater and being part of the audience for a film. Seen that way, movies have a fighting chance to live up to their potential as a shared experience similar to theater, music and other performing arts.
The good news is that in recent years, the choices for local filmgoers to get out and see all types of films have increased. There are more places to watch films than ever, from specialized art houses such as Concord’s new Red River Theatres to interesting screenings at local colleges and libraries.
Yes, the long-running Regal 9 multiplex on Manchester’s South Willow Street is slated to close, joining the Bedford Mall cinemas and Merrimack’s Premiere 8 theaters in the local multiplex graveyard.
But for every older theater that shuts down, a new one seems to open with better facilities or stadium seating.
Beyond that, there’s a surge in screening independent films in some surprising local venues. Manchester’s Franco-American Centre, for example, holds monthly “Cinema Mardi” screenings of French-language films in its facility.
And the number of local film festivals continues to grow, too — just check out this week’s cover story for details on a half-dozen festivals to choose from. They’re great ways to experience new and unusual work and sometimes even talk with the people who are doing it.
Even the Hippo is getting into the local film screening act. Some years ago, we ran a summer movie series at Singer Park in Manchester. It was successful, but then the city went and built Merchantsauto.com Stadium on the site, ending that program.
More recently, we’ve been co-sponsoring a series of local screenings of classic silent films accompanied by live music. It’s a project that’s near and dear to my heart because I’m the one who supplies the music.
We’ve been doing it for about the past year and getting some good crowds. About 150 people showed up last month at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre for a screening for Harold Lloyd’s great comedy The Freshman (1925).
It’s been a real kick to bring these older films (most from the 1920s) back to life by showing them as they were intended to be screened — with nice prints in a big theater, and with live music and a live audience. They still work, and that last component remains a crucial ingredient.
Next up: On Sunday, Sept 28, at 4:30 p.m. at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre, we’re showing Clash of the Wolves (1925), starring Rin Tin Tin. See the listings for details, and hope to see you there.