Sundance: A lighthearted but freewheeling heist doc about what happened to NYC’s premier video store, made by the filmmakers who brought it back to life.
It was the spring of 2007, the height of the DVD boom. I had a hard time choosing between her two colleges that wanted me. Both were in Manhattan, but he was the only one with a video of Kim within a block radius of his freshman dorm.I wouldn’t say it was the deciding factor, but it’s not No That was the decisive factor.
As a movie junkie with a new driver’s license and nowhere to go, I spent countless teenage weekends hanging around Tower Records in a strip mall a few towns away from my parents’ house. It’s like a brick-and-mortar brigadoon that businesses have half-forgotten, and the store’s irregular opening hours, combined with the ghostly desertion of the crowd, make it seem like it’s only there at night. I often felt like when I happened to look for it. Needless to say, having lived 50 feet away from where the movies were alphabetized by producer, Criterion’s new release was on the shelves weeks before street dates, with the likes of The Wrens. A local band called “Grand Illusion” and a wall of illegally digitized Italian nun films was an offer I couldn’t turn down.
That’s the story of how I ended up going to a catastrophically overpriced college. — of the video store that gave us a better education about the cost of rental memberships. That college is where I met the mother of my children, fell in love with Abbas Kiarostami, and idled away most of her lifelong dreams. other The school promised to nurture. Well, the magic of physical media!anyway, i think perhaps It’s safe to say that I’m part of the target audience for David Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s flirtatious but amusingly freewheeling documentary, Kim’s Video.
Redmon focuses his obsessive, “Zeroville”-esque narration on “Kim’s Video” with the same positive force that his actions drive the plot. Linklater’s “Slacker”. Instead of revealing the name of his town, he said he grew up near Paris, Texas. And in a painfully relatable tic that leans into the performance realm, long before the rest of the film begins to blur the unhelpful line between documentary and fiction — he finds himself doing something. He cannot go on for two sentences without referring to a movie he has seen.
An endless array of film clips demonstrate his obsession. When the mysterious Mr. Kim inevitably gives in to the streaming age and decides to close his last storefront, Redmon wanders New York like the young protagonist in Kiarostami’s “Where Is My Friend’s House?” I’m here. When he learned that Mr. Kim had donated his 55,000-movie collection to a small town in southwestern Sicily, Redmon, with a seductive pull of a “Videodrome” signal, sent a DVD to him from across the ocean. I felt it calling. At one point, with a slightly hostile deadpan that seems to defy the semi-obvious irony of what he’s saying, he compares someone in his film to Charles Foster Kane. recommends you pay attention to the cheeky disclaimer that flashes across the screen at the beginning of the film. “Any resemblance to fictional characters in this documentary is purely coincidental.”
“Kim’s Video” provides the lip service that the store’s own myth requires. It includes interviews with former employees such as Alex Ross Perry and Robert Green, and fun tidbits about how the Coen brothers were too busy making “serious guys.” To pay off the $600 late fees they accrued over the years—but the film is less interested in offering yet another requiem for the lost relics of old New York. , Redmon and Sabin discuss what happened after Kim’s vast video collection was shipped to Salemi, and what it means for a devoted customer to lose access to their collective memory. I was more intrigued.
As Karina Longworth wrote hauntingly for The Village Voice, the town of Salemi was desperate for a PR win in the aftermath of a horrific earthquake. One imaginative official decided it would be a fun hook to house one of the world’s largest movie libraries.The deal allowed Salemi to project his 24-hour DVD collection in a micro-cinema and take the trouble to travel. It was to offer free accommodation to members of his Kim’s Video who came.
But when Redmon goes to Italy in search of a flickering old friend, his assertiveness quickly angers the local Salemi bureaucrats (who seem unfamiliar with the American mantra that the customer is always right). You have not adhered to the end of the negotiations. The films are piled randomly in damp, moldy buildings, many of which have been warped by water damage and neglected for years. At that point, Redmon takes it upon himself to find those responsible, free the collection, and return the tapes and discs to their elusive rightful owners.
I don’t know if the average viewer shares my interest in Mr. Kim’s current whereabouts — among the weirdos is even a DVD copy of the erotic tragedy, the only film directed by Kim Yong-man. Some don’t own one. It’s a story about a teenage prostitute and a monk who lives next door, but I’m sure few people are so compelled by the overly complicated tale of local corruption that has resulted in a film collection in disarray. Sure, there’s some oversized characters and the definite possibility of a Mafia-related murder, but “Kim’s Video” has a story about a neglected tape called “Chinatown” (or any of his 20 films).while thinking too seriously how The film avoids taking itself too seriously, so Redmon and Sabin fail to find a workable balance between documentary intrigue and mock automatic commentary.
While the director eventually ditched the corruption angle in favor of going full “Argo” mode (yes, “Argo” is name-checked), “Kim’s Video” was a tribute to Redmon’s role in the film. You rediscover a clearer sense of self-ownership when you begin to claim to be a collection. The joke is never convincing. Redmon’s pseudo-psychic connection to the cinematic unconscious always seems reverse-engineered from the films of the sincere joke he’s trying to summon from here, but the half-Godard it builds. The heist lacks the necessary elegance to solidify the illusion, with Redmon meaningfully communicating with the ghosts of past films.
Yet, anyone who once knew the yellow-purple glow of Kim’s video, whose memory has become virtually inseparable from the film itself, or vice versa, may still sympathize with the mission at hand. If cinema is an endless graveyard of lost time, Salemi’s corrupt bureaucrats (and the streaming business they effectively represent) are some of its strangest diggers. The poignant final moments of “Kim’s Video” confirm these truths by not only saving Mr. Kim’s storied collection, but adding new films to it.
“Kim’s Video” premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. We are currently seeking distribution in the United States.
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