My Arthouse Education

I’ve just realized that 2009 marks the more-or-less 20th anniversary of the beginning of my cinephilia. Back in the late ’80s, Toronto had a handful of repertory cinemas under the Festival banner. The flagship was the Bloor Cinema, but I also saw films at the Revue, the Capitol (now an “event theatre”) and the Fox. The Kingsway, the Paradise, and later the Royal were a bit far for this east-end boy to get to at the time, but luckily they rotated the films around a fair bit. Each month, the newsprint Festival programme opened up a world of cinema riches to a young lad like myself. Though the Festival theatres no longer operate as a chain, most are still functioning movie houses, though it’s painfully evident that the best days of Toronto’s repertory cinemas are now gone. Here are some of the films I saw that made an impression on me all those years ago. In particular, I think the first four are sadly overlooked nowadays.

Thanks to John Vetterli for making his photo available under a Creative Commons licence.

This entry was posted in Lists. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to My Arthouse Education

  1. Mad Hatter says:

    Your photo of The Paradise brought back fond memories, since my fianceƩ and I went there for some of our very first dates (WINGS OF DESIRE being one of them, speaking of arthouse films!).

    “They” have slowly started bringing some of these theatres back, but it just doesn’t seem the same. Feels like they’re leaning more on the mainstream flicks than running the cultier/artier flicks.

    A shame really, since you’d hope a city this size could provide a little bit more cinematic variety.

  2. Bob Turnbull says:

    Figures…I haven’t seen any of those top 4. But I love that one of your art house eye-openers was directed by the guy that did “Candyman” (nothing against that film by the way – I quite like it).

    I need to see more Tarkovsky (only seen “Stalker” and “Solaris”), Leigh (only “Secrets & Lies” and “Happy-Go-Lucky”) and Greenaway (none yet).

  3. Jay Kerr says:

    Hmm. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t seen the first four films on your list. None of them seem to be available on video!

    Delicatessen and Cinema Paradiso are a couple of my favourites. Just added Life is Sweet and Metropolitan and Mediterraneo to my ZipList on Great list.

  4. Thanks, everyone, for the comments. It’s not like I was presenting this as some sort of “canon” for arthouse cinema, though. It’s an idiosyncratic list of stuff I happened to see. For instance, Mediterraneo is not a particularly noteworthy film, but I enjoyed it and it played a part in my continuing exposure to “world” cinema, so I noted it.

    And thanks for the reminder, Ryan. Adding Wings of Desire to the list, too. How could I have forgotten that one?

Comments are closed.