This past weekend, I went to the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. I bought a popcorn and a drink and settled in to my seat. The theater began to fill with people. There were teenagers, young adults, people in middle age and older. They all got comfortable and settled in for what we were about to watch. We were about to see a film on the big screen in 70 mm. It was a film that is meant to be seen on a big screen. It’s a sweeping epic that’s rarely in theaters. We were about to watch Lawrence of Arabia, starring Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, and Omar Shariff, directed by David Lean.
It did my heart good to see how many people raised their hands when asked “who has never seen this film before?”. I envied them. They were about to experience the film for the very first time the way that it was meant to be seen.
I cannot stress enough the importance of what the American Cinematheque is doing at both the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. As a lover of film, new and old, it does my heart good to see them bring films to theaters that would not normally be shown. By doing so, interest in older films is revived to a younger generation. And, for filmmaking, that is so important. Remembering how, cinematically, we got to where we are today, helps us innovate while being able to pay homage to the greats of the past.
If you are in Los Angeles, whether you live here or will be visiting, I highly recommend looking up what the American Cinematheque has playing. The films are well curated and you’ll be surrounded by people who just love cinema. The tickets are affordable, which is a blessing, considering the workers are all volunteers. The source of their funds to be able to play such films come from membership fees. You can become a member here. If you’re a film lover, it’s all such a good cause. It’s absolutely worth it.