In Ancient Greece, audiences gathered by the thousands to share in their appreciation for the theater and to witness stories which conveyed their experiences on stage. Today, the closest anyone can come to that unified assemblage is at the movies. While the latest blockbuster film is playing at your local AMC or Cobb, Coral Gables Art Cinema focuses on films of a different kind. Through their After Hours Program, the Gables Cinema is bringing back “the best films you never saw on the big screen (or maybe you did) from late-night cult classics to foreign favorites and even summer blockbusters every Saturday at 11:45 pm,” as advertised on their website. The big draw for me involves their 35 mm and 70 mm film screenings which set them apart from other independent cinemas. From the screening of Ghostbusters in 70 mm to their screenings of Metropolis and Nosferatu played with an original, live score, Coral Gables Art Cinema is reviving the love and appreciation of film as an art form.
I spoke with Javier Chavez, the Associate Director at Coral Gables Art Cinema, just hours before their one night only presentation of Logan Noir on March 23rd. From a simple conversation, I quickly gathered how passionate he is about film and about getting people to view films which they would not normally encounter. He stressed to me that the purpose of showing films in 35 or 70 mm is “to see them the way they were intended to be seen.” Javier and his team constantly take the initiative to contact universities, museums, or production companies to find archival film stocks of previously released films. In the case of Logan, it took several emails to 20th Century Fox in order to have the chance at being the only theater in South Florida to play this version on screen before its release on Blu-ray. It is these rare finds and the enthusiasm for film which mark the Gables Cinema as a staple of cinema for the Miami film enthusiast.
With the digital age of cinema on the rise alongside online streaming and the popularity of television, it has become more and more challenging to get consumers to go to the theater. After all, isn’t it much easier to watch Se7en from home, then to drive through Miami traffic to get to the theater on time? Yet the atmosphere at art house cinemas are impossible to recreate from home.
If you are hesitant to attend an art house theater like the Coral Gables Art Cinema or O Cinema then let me reassure you that they welcome outsiders and people from all walks of life. In Javier’s opinion: “if you love movies that tell important stories, if other cultures fascinate you, or if you just love engaging with different worlds, then seeing a reflection of your own turmoil on screen can bring you closer to other people and tie you to them through a communal experience.” You don’t have to be a film buff or a critic. The pure experience of watching a film in the warmer and more alive 35mm version is worth the visit.
Coming up for the Coral Gables Art Cinema in just a couple of days is Raiders of the Lost Ark in 35 mm on Saturday (6/3) at 11:45 p.m. Also, be sure to look out for screenings of Space Jam (Saturday 6/17 at 11:45 pm), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Saturday 6/24 at 11:45 pm), and Reservoir Dogs (Friday 7/28 and Saturday 7/29 at 11:59 pm) all in 35mm film.