August is here and, just in time, Film Forum has reopened after a long-overdue renovation. The place is almost a half-century old. “Not bad” (as their website notes) “for a scrappy non-profit that started with 50 folding chairs and a 16mm projector the size of a breadbox.”
More than just another arthouse, Film Forum is one of the last standing temples of American cinephilia, the sort of place that can mix obscure spaghetti westerns and avant-garde documentaries with an Andrei Tarkovsky retrospective and the latest in Iranian or South Korean cinema without missing a beat. Plus, the popcorn is amazing, even sans butter.
The Times published some recollections about Film Forum, from filmmakers like John Turturro to Christopher Nolan. Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes) speaks for many cinephiles’ aching backsides:
Their renovations sound wonderful, because, yes, we all know, their seats were a little uncomfortable and the sightlines were not ideal — but their programming was so impeccable that we went anyway.