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January 31, 2008

Sundance sell out

I recently watched Juno with a good friend while she was visiting her family in Wisconsin. We went to a super-chic movie theater in Madison that was a part of the Sundance company that organizes the Sundance film festival. One of the most surprising things that I have noticed being a movie lover is the forthcoming commercialization of even the artsy films, although I wouldn’t really call Juno an artsy film. The Sundance film festival owning a theater? I guess I always thought that the purpose of film festivals was to promote and to exhibit new and obscure cinematic works. The tickets at Sundance 608 cost about twelve dollars, well above the price of any theaters that I have been to in awhile and they didn’t have student discounts. On the other hand they had gourmet food and microbrews that cost less than a soda at the typical multiplex. What are they looking for besides to turn a lucrative profit? Surely they tell themselves that they are doing it for a benevolent reason such as the more widespread exhibition of good films. However, I don’t see the people at Cannes creating a special movie theater arrangement any day soon. To me it seems like whenever art is commercialized it stops to be art…this is especially true in Hollywood. Americans seem to commercialize everything, even tragedies that are fresh in memory. Just look at some of the films that are released every year.

I guess that I just prefer the old main street theaters. When I lived in Connecticut there was a theater like this (where they sometimes even screened foreign films) that I used to go to. There was an old woman who worked behind the counter with her dog (a little one). One time we went there on a Sunday with nothing else to do (it was winter). We watched one film and then decided that since we had nothing else to do we might as well watch another. When we went up to pay for the second movie, she told us that we could just go watch it and she wasn’t going to make us pay! Whether she recognized us as regulars and wanted us to keep coming (there are several multiplexes that threaten small theaters in the area) or maybe she just cared more about movies than money, I don’t know.


Sundance cinemas
http://www.sundancecinemas.com/index.html