A look into the archives: musings on a lost era

December 7, 2013

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What did the Roxie play during ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ circa 1978? Why, a cornucopia of films, that’s what! We got a little bit of Herzog, a little bit of John Waters, a little Bogart and a little Travolta. Wait, do I see the Edith Beales in there too? Dang. 1978: not a bad

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35 years ago on this day exactly  the Roxie screened the interesting double bill of PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN with NEXT STOP, GREENWICH VILLAGE.

NEXT STOP, GREENWICH VILLAGE is a film that was made in the 70′s about an entertainer in Greenwich Village  in the 50′s which would be an interesting comparison with the the new Coen Brother’s movie INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, this season’s buzz film about a singer stomping around the Village in the 60′s.  The New York Times wrote a bit about the difficulties of  recreating  “a New York that most New Yorkers thought was gone for good”   as the film’s cinematographer, Bruno Delbonnel, answers the question of how to “exhume the New York of back then from under the archaeological gloss of New York, circa now.”  It’s certainly commendable to see Delbonnel skew today’s common practice of CGI and aftereffects for the more daunting duty of shooting on location, avoiding post production digital clean up and enhancing the film’s authenticity. But as Delbonnel laments on the often tragic task of turning a now commodified tourist trap back into the bohemian hub bub it once was, we have to wonder how soon before the in-camera practices of filmmakers like the Coen brothers are rendered all but physically impossible for films recreating a world but only a few decades old.