Former longtime New Beverly Cinema employee and first-time director Julia Marchese makes an impassioned case for the preservation of revival house culture and the appreciation of 35mm in her new film Out Of Print. Marchese’s documentary follows the evolution of the New Bev (as it’s known among family) from risque porno house to respectable establishment to revered cornerstone of the moviegoing experience, becoming a favorite destination of celebrities and cinephiles alike.
This relationship with classic film may sound familiar to Hub moviegoers who frequent our many repertory and art house theaters, a sentiment which brings Marchese to Boston to present her film in person at Emerson’s Bright Family Screening Room this Thursday, January 29. Joining Marchese will be Emerson professor and director Peter Flynn, and The Orson Welles Complex documentarian Garen Daly, who will participate in a panel discussion on the future of theatrical exhibition following the film.
“I’d always wanted to make a film about the New Bev,” says Marchese in an interview with DigBoston, “since it is such a fascinating and unique theater, and the studios ceasing making 35mm prints was such a hard blow that it really pushed me to do the film sooner rather than later. I always knew I wanted the film to talk about 35mm and revival cinemas as broad subjects, but I also knew I needed to focus on ONE place that encapsulated everything that is wonderful about movie theaters, then branch out. I wish I could have filmed at more movie theaters around the country & world, but it just wasn’t within my budget. Maybe for the next one?!”
There is a place for home viewing in the world of film appreciation, but Out Of Print makes a strong case for the theatrical experience. “Showing movies I love to people is one of my favorite things in the whole world,” says Marchese. “I love finding little seen gems and blowing audience’s minds with a movie they have never even heard of.” Most notable for Marchese was the screening of a personal favorite, 1981’s Final Exam. The director and star participated in a Q&A at the New Bev at the screening, which went so well that Marchese participated in recording the DVD commentary. “That’s pretty much the best outcome of a screening, ever.”
Those who follow the news may already be aware of Marchese’s less-than-amicable split with the New Bev; top-level changes to programming and employee protocol led to Marchese’s departure in a blog post heard round the revival house world. Out Of Print had already been completed by this time, potentially complicating the doc’s reception. Yet for Marchese, despite the disruption, the film’s core messages remain intact: “It’s weird for me to watch it now, because it was always meant to be a film with a celebratory feeling to it, and now it’s become quite melancholy. I’m sad that the New Beverly that is portrayed in the film doesn’t exist anymore, but I don’t think any of that matters to Out of Print. It captures the New Bev at its best and I think my genuine adoration for the place shines through.
“My goal with the film was always to make the viewer want to go to his or her local cinema – to remember how great sitting in a audience with fellow film lovers and watching great films is. So even if the New Bev represented in the film doesn’t exist, there are still so many great little cinemas out there to discover.”
BRIGHT LIGHTS PRESENTS: OUT OF PRINT AND THE FUTURE OF CINEMA. EMERSON’S BRIGHT FAMILY SCREENING ROOM, BOSTON, 559 WASHINGTON ST., BOSTON. THU 1.29. 7PM. FREE.