There are few things in this world that make me as happy or happier than learning of or discovering a movie theater, new or old. Of course, this initial feeling of excitement could give way to depression, depending on many factors – movie presentation, interior design, staff friendliness, etc. I used to ignore most of these things, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve become more of a critical grump.
Multiplexes, like the new Kenner Grand, are wonderful and all for families and general audiences, but their uniform designs don’t always appeal to film aficionados. If we movie buffs are to go out, leaving our streaming services behind, we want something that’s comfortable, friendly AND stimulating to our moviegoing senses. The Prytania, the only remaining single screen movie house in Louisiana, has a terrific old school feel with new school programming. It’s Inviting, perfect (aside from the occasional play button that appears on screen) and pretty much represents how awesome movie screenings can be in town.
Of course, they’re not the only cinematic trend setters in the area.
Last November, there was a showing of the classic silent The Passion of Joan of Arc, with live musical accompaniment, at the St. Louis Cathedral. That. Was. Incredible. Later this month, The Burgundy Picture House will screen Johnny Guitar at the groovy Moviehouse NOLA art exhibit. And the crowd investment start up Indywood has regularly shown independent and local films at The Art House Theater in the Bywater. Events like these have a very intimate feel, something that is missing when going to see the latest Brett Ratner flop (not to knock fans of his). Intimacy with a movie sounds silly, but the feeling is far from that, and it’s worth more than the price of admission.
I guess what I look for in a night out at the movies is a cross between traditional and nontraditional.
Recently, a press release announced the formation of Shotgun Cinema, an organization of fellow film lovers and presenters, looking to make a name for themselves in The Big Easy. Starting this Sunday at The Old Marigny Opera House with a showing of , Shotgun hopes to test the field and settle down into a permanent theater. The idea is to be a repertory cinema, screening independents and classics alike. A few years back, I wrote about the idea of creating a New Orleans Cinematheque, in an effort to progress film appreciation and literacy in Hollywood South. I’d love it if Shotgun turned into this, possibly working as a bridge between local organizations like the New Orleans Film Society and Timecode: NOLA. It could happen…
Soon, I’ll be interviewing the team behind Shotgun Cinema for an episode of The PROPAGANDA Film Report podcast. Until then, catch me at their first screening this Sunday. Based on the information released, I have no reason to expect my excitement to wane. In fact, when it comes to local cinema, my joy has been growing bit by bit, every day. Even a crotchety young man like myself can be optimistic.
Bill Arceneaux is a local freelance film critic, writing and podcasting for PROPAGANDA NOLA. He tweets at @neauxreelidea.