Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that spotlights projectionists appearing on screen in movies.
There is an inherent drama in seeing a film projected. A certain added element of artistry and risk that breathes activity into an increasingly automated profession. When a film is projected by a person, rather than a computer, it infuses irrefutable energy into the room. This is a print whose unique damage, history, and peculiarities are in someone’s hands. Suddenly, a prayer more at home in live theatre emerges: please, let it all go smoothly. Let the changeovers be seamless, may the sound be in-synch, and let the splices hold true.
This is, of course, a very romantic way to talk about film projection. And if you’ve spent any time on Film Twitter (god help you) you’ll know that waxing poetic on the ephemeral virtues of the “movie theater experience” is contentious, to say the least. No one asked me, but here are my two cents: everyone ought to have the opportunity to see films exhibited in whichever format they prefer. Of course, in the case of projected films, such idealism comes with two massive and unfortunate caveats. First: the ongoing pandemic has complicated the very notion of seeing a film in a theater — projected or otherwise. Second: well before the pandemic, the status of film projection was as an increasingly arcane art reserved for repertory cinemas and galleries.
So, in light of these two massive bummers, excuse the romanticism. And join in, with this video collage extolling the many, many cinematic representations of that noblest profession: the projectionist. From spliced-in obscenities to nitrate fires, to invading monsters, to booth-bound rendezvous, there is no shortage, on-screen anyway, of men behind the curtain.
Watch “Do Pay Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain“:
Who made this?
Established in 1981 and focusing on arthouse films, De Filmkrant is the largest independent film magazine in the Netherlands. You can check out their official website (in Dutch) here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.
More Videos Like This
- Here’s another video from De Filmkrant that shows how two scenes reveal the way movies depict a thought process
- One more sample: on how Wonder Woman turns questions into weapons
- An informative and succinct introduction to the engineering and mechanics of a film projector
- Okay, and an upgrade: how the IMAX projector system works (featuring some amazing Garage Band stock music)
- And, if you love physical film, a look at the competition: how digital cinema projectors work
- This video is a great, comedic complement to the above. If you’ve ever wanted to know what a Digital Cinema Package is, this is a light and breezy intro
- Here’s Queue favorite The Royal Ocean Film Society with a look at 70mm’s fascinating history and how it helped save Hollywood from potential ruin
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