THE REP (Morgan White). See listings. Rating: NNN
Despite having one of the largest movie-going populations in North America, our city's cinephile scene couldn't sustain the Toronto Underground rep theatre. Morgan White's documentary, The Rep, follows the haphazard first year of that doomed little movie-geek nook buried in the basement of a condominium.
The young entrepreneurs who ran the Toronto Underground knew the endeavour made little business sense. ("But fuck that," one of them says.) They stubbornly pursued their passion, bickering among themselves while programming classics in 35mm for an audience whose numbers on most nights could be counted on one hand.
This is a film about the few people who make up Toronto's rep cinema scene, and its appeal will likely be limited to that very intimate community. You (like me) will recognize colleagues and acquaintances among them. Consider that my full disclosure.
White zooms out to analyze the bigger picture, talking to programmers from rep cinemas across North America like the Alamo Drafthouse and New Beverly who discuss how the culture worked in the past and why it no longer does.
Like the Toronto Underground, this charmingly amateurish film overstays its welcome.
But locals will be pleased by its thorough look at a scene that (as the ticket sales show) we didn't know well enough.
Opens Friday (May 24) at the Big Picture Cinema.