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June 09, 2007

Day Night Day Night

day night day night 1.jpg

Julia Loctev - 2006
IFC First Take 35mm Film

I was looking forward to returning to the Starz Cinema and seeing Day Night Day Night. The experience was ruined by the people who run the theater. While it is great that Denver has a theater dedicated to showing the small art and independent films from the smaller distributors, the management seems to have forgotten that it's not enough to show great films, you have to care for the audience, the lifeblood of any theater. As indicated by this schedule, there should have been no problem showing this ninety-four minute film. The schedule said 12:45 pm Saturday as did my ticket. The film started about fifteen minutes early. When I expressed anger that the film started signficantly earlier than scheduled the guys at the ticket counter first explained that there was a problem with the posted schedule that would affect the later showings. They also explained that the correct schedule was published in the newspapers and was posted on the theater door. I did not see anything clearly posted indicating a change of schedule, and foolishly thought that the theater's own website would make a point of posting a correct schedule. Because I thought that the excuse was unacceptable given that the film was booked well in advance, and because I had the nerve to ask to speak to a manager, the ticket guys started threatening to call security. I should point out that three other people were in the audience for Day Night Day Night, and they entered the theater later than me, again based on the assumption that the film would start at the time published on the tickets.

Maybe the guys working at the theater are actually working on behalf of Mark Cuban, because this has been very effective in making me feel more supportive of my local Landmark Theater chain. I suspect that I will be barred from from seeing films at the the Starz Theater in the future because I expected the theater to be run by professionals. I will be emailing this posting to Natasha Hoover who I was told was responsible for the scheduling gaffe at natasha@denverfilm.org, as well as Ron Henderson, the Artistic Director at ron@denverfilm.org. You can post comments of sympathy to me if you wish, but better that if you feel as outraged that a theater's idea of customer service is to call security. What seems to be beyond the comprehension of the theater staff is that when you show a film for only a week, there are viewers who can only see that film at a specific time, or not at all, or at least not until the DVD release.

The film, at least what I saw of it, was effective in generating suspense once one realized that the young woman with no name was a suicide bomber on a leisurely walk through Times Square. The organization she is associated with is not named, but some of the images of the girl being photographed suggested those photos of Patty Hearst and the "Symbionese Army". By the time Day Night Day Night ended, it seemed that Loctev was less interested in presenting the portrayal of a terrorist, or even showing how a terrrorist act could take place. Instead, the film is about how people can be desperate for a sense of belonging, for the sense that they are doing something significant or are in some way clearly defining themselves. In some ways Luisa Williams is perfect for the role as she is nominally attractive, but otherwise fairly anonymous. Williams' voice is of a person not very certain of herself. Williams fragility and inconspicuousness are a reminder that so-called terrorists do not announce themselves, but are more often just faces in the crowd.

Posted by peter at June 9, 2007 04:46 PM

Comments

Today I went to the bus stop. A clearly marked schedule, posted on the edge of the closure, told me that a bus was scheduled to arrive within two minutes of my reaching the stop. However, the bus that eventually came was some fifteen later than posted. I was outraged, needless to say. I viciously excoriated the bus driver in front of the other bus riders, telling him that I thought his job was easy enough to do correctly and that if he wanted me as a future rider that the buses should arrive AS POSTED, NOT fifteen minutes later!

Well, he was just furious. I was asked to depart the bus and told to just walk - yes, WALK - or he would be forced to call the police. Even the other bus riders were yelling at me, as the bus couldn't leave the stop while I was registering my complaint with the driver. "We have places to be," they said angrily. "Get the fuck off the bus bitch!"

Needless to say, I refused to exit until I was very nearly forced out by an elderly man waving a long cane at my midsection. I've since sent emails and letters to RTD, the State of Colorado's various transportation employees and the mayor himself requesting that the bus driver be fired and that I be offered a free monthly bus pass as reparation for my inconvenience.

Have I heard anything back? No! Of course not. Surely the civic duty expressed by an outraged citizen isn't worthy of notice by officials PAID TO NOTICE THEM. That was sarcasm, by the way.

In any case, I think our mutual experiences have proved that customer service is not only on the decline, but quite possibly completely dead. If the bus can't arrive on time (and, actually, I was told it was likely that I missed the previous one, as it had arrived slightly earlier than expected; but the principal, the principal is what matters!) then how am I to expect anything else to perform with efficiency and reliability? What must be done to stop the world from spinning chaotically into this realm of complete and utter disorder? I mean, when posted schedules are WRONG, how will the country continue?! How how HOW?!

Posted by: Dade Westchester at June 10, 2007 07:10 PM

I think that showing a movie at the published time, and remembering that you have a website, pretty much comes under "minimum job requirements" for a cinema owner. Unlike--just as a randomly chosen for-instance--bus schedules, which depend on the vagaries of traffic, passengers needing assistance, weather etc., a movie's running time is admirably consistent. The movie that took 94 minutes to play yesterday can be reasonably expected to take 94 minutes again today. If you get on the bus fifteen minutes late, it will still get you from Point A to Point B. Missing the first 15 minutes of a movie means missing the period most screenwriters and directors consider crucial to engaging the interest of the audience. In some instances -- Once Upon a Time in the West, Saving Private Ryan, to name just two -- it is also the best part of the movie.

Posted by: Campaspe at June 11, 2007 07:23 PM