Since at the very least the nineteen-fifties, when tv possession started spreading quickly throughout the developed world, film theaters have been laboring below one form of existential risk or one other. But regardless of their obvious vulnerability to quite a lot of disruptive developments — house video, streaming, COVID-19 — many, if not most, of them have discovered methods to soldier on. In some circumstances this owes to the dedication of small teams of supporters, and even to the efforts of people like Shuji Tamura, who operates the century-old Motomiya Film Theater in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture single-handedly.
You possibly can see Tamura in motion in My Theater, the five-minute documentary brief above. “The Japanese director Kazuya Ashizawa’s charming observational portrait captures Tamura as he screens outdated motion pictures for an viewers of scholars and cinephiles, and provides behind-the-scenes excursions of the cinema,” says Aeon. These excursions embrace an up-close have a look at the completely analog movie projector of whose operation Tamura, 81 years outdated on the time of filming, has retained all of the know-how. Although he formally closed the theater within the nineteen-sixties, it appears he retains his threading expertise sharp by holding screenings for tour teams younger and outdated.
Although lighthearted, a portrait like this might hardly keep away from an elegiac undertone. Already affected by the depopulation that has many areas of Japan, Fukushima was additionally badly by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and their related nuclear catastrophe. In 2020, the yr after Ashizawa shot My Theater, a storm “brought on the Abukumagawa river and its tributaries to flood,” because the Asahi Shimbun‘s Shoko Rikimaru writes. “The Motomiya metropolis heart was inundated, seven individuals died, and greater than 2,000 homes and buildings have been broken.” Each Tamura’s theater and his house have been flooded, and “half of the 400 movie cans on cabinets on the primary ground of his home have been drenched in muddy water.”
In response, assist got here from close to and much. “A producer in Kanagawa Prefecture despatched 10 containers of movie cans to the theater, whereas a movie show in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, delivered a film-editing machine. About 30 individuals affiliated with the movie business in Tokyo confirmed up on the theater to assist clear and dry the movie. The trouble led to the restoration of about 100 movies.” Alas, Tamura’s deliberate re-opening occasion occurred to coincide with the unfold of the coronavirus throughout Japan, leading to its indefinite postponement. However now that Japan has re-opened for worldwide tourism, maybe the Motomiya Film Theater can grow to be a vacation spot for not simply home guests however international ones as nicely. Having been charmed by My Theater, who wouldn’t need to make the journey?
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