For three days.[rssbreak]
It's sort of tragic that a new print of any film from one of the acknowledged masters of the French New Wave should receive such a limited run. Actually, there's no "sort of" about it, given that Vivre Sa Vie has been out of print on DVD for several years now. Sure, you could rent the old Wellspring disc if you can still find it, but the best way to see this movie - or any movie, really - is on a big screen at a proper movie house.
Now, the home-video industry's been pretty good to me, and to the preservation of film in general; movies are saved from obscurity on an almost daily basis by the demand for DVD editions, and entire generations of viewers are now able to discover classics from every era of cinema. Indeed, this new print of Vivre Sa Vie will be turning up on the Criterion Collection's impending special edition. So why rush out to see it at the Bloor?
The short answer? Because it's a movie. And a movie from a very particular point in time, from a director who specialized in using the screen as a means of interacting with his audience. Vivre Sa Vie was designed to be watched, and engaged with, by people - not an audience of two or three people gathered around a television, however large, but by a crowd. This is a movie that shines brightest in a big, dark auditorium.
The movie's attitude predates video culture. It's put forward to be embraced, adored, argued with; you're supposed to go out for coffee afterward and fight over it with friends and lovers. And if you wanted to see it a second time, the odds are you'd still be able to find it playing somewhere a month later.
These days, the delivery system has changed; now, it's all about being able to see any movie, anywhere, on its opening weekend, and if a film does particularly well you'll be able to catch up to it a month later. But how many movies last that long these days? How many are designed to?
Incidentally, at the end of the month, the Bloor is hosting another new print of another essential French New Wave film, François Truffaut's Jules Et Jim. Truffaut is one of my favourite directors; this is one of my favourite films. I was in London last month, on my way back from Cannes, and to my absolute shock, this very same re-release was running commercially on thirteen screens around the city, including the British Film Institute.
In Toronto, it gets three shows at the Bloor, from Tuesday the 29th to Thursday the 31st.