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This documentary about the culture of intense cinephilia in New York City reveals the impassioned world of five obsessed movie buffs. The filmmakers expose this delightfully deranged cult by capturing the daily lives of its members. Interviews in movie houses, on the street and in the homes of the subjects tell the story of each individual. Many cannot hold a job, or choose not to. All of them have demoted the importance of the real world, giving all of their attention to the fantasy world of the movies. These human encyclopedias of cinema see two to five films a day, and from 600 to 2,000 films per year. Many have no physical sex lives, living instead in a world of romance with stars like James Dean or Audrey Hepburn. In Cinemania, Hollywood's biggest fans become the true stars. This is the story of their lives, their memories, their unbending habits and the films they love. Written by
Manhattan is a mecca for the lonely. Nowhere in the world can people survive for years without the need of communicating with other people. Some of them have absolutely no life, or in the case of these five characters in this fantastic documentary, these are people who put all their energy into escaping from the real world. Their refuge is the many film theaters of Manhattan that show non commercial programs such as the ones that attract them.
How much can they absorb? How much can they really enjoy the same films that attract them?. Watching this documentary one can't really say.
Of all five people analyzed in the film only Jack comes close to a normal person. He is a walking encyclopedia. He knows about cinema. I have seen him in numerous occasions and have talked to him. He is the source one wishes to have when one is thinking of an obscure passage of a forgotten film, domestic or foreign. His whole life revolves around the different showings around the city. His life is a mess, but at least, he gives the appearance of normalcy in comparison to the others.
Roberta is an eccentric lady whose whole life revolves around collecting programs wherever she goes. She appears to go to films out of duty, not because she really enjoys what she is seeing. Her own anecdote of taking off her blouse during an air conditioned failure is a hoot. Talking to her after a film will give you no clue if she liked or disliked what she saw. She would be much better off staying home sorting out a whole lifetime at the movies and straightening the mess she lives in. I hate to see a fire in that tenement, or in some of the other apartments, for that matter.
Co-directors Christlieb and Kijak know these people very well. They give us a bit of their world; they have captured the essence of these five lonely souls in the big city.
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