Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dr. Zhivago

Film culture is alive and well in Los Angeles.  Aside from the lavish multi-plexes for today's popcorn-munchers,  there are countless theaters that exclusively show independent and classic films.  These places would go out of business if they were in any other city, but LA understands the importance of seeing films on "the big screen."  Yeah, you can rent it and get all cuddly on your couch, but there's something unique about putting yourself in a room solely designed for optimizing your viewing experience. 

Some theaters, however, are more optimized than others. The New Beverly Cinema is pretty run down; it feels dingy and sleazy inside, but for some reason that's part of the appeal for me.  It allows them to screen whatever they like, and they take full advantage of it.  Where else can you see "Duck Soup" one night, and "Til Death Do We Scare" the next?

So a few nights ago we went to see Dr. Zhivago, a film that I had rented a while back and watched incrementally on my cuddly couch.  The New Bev kept things classy: they played the entire (Oscar-winning) overture before the film, and had a full intermission between reels.  I was wrong to watch this film over several nights in my living room.  I didn't get a real handle on the scope, I didn't really feel every wistful glance that Omar Sharif casts at the wind blowing through the trees (man, he does that a lot.  Gets me every time).  I didn't really appreciate Rod Steiger's performance as one of the most bad-ass and layered antagonists I've seen in a while.  It made me want nothing more than to live with Julie Christie in a cottage caked deep with snow.  We'd keep warm by making love as we listen to the wolves howling outside.  Mmmm, Lara.

Sorry... but you get the idea.  I didn't feel these things the first time around.  It wasn't until my viewing experience was optimized.  Thank you, New Beverly.

Danny Tieger actually spent some time in Russia, and knows a lot more about the historical subtext of the film than I do.  Hopefully he'll write an illuminating post, or at least one about how Dr Zhivago is essentially How I Met Your Mother: The Movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment