Home video changed the world. The cultural and historical impact of the VHS tape was enormous. This film traces the ripples of that impact by examining the myriad aspects of society that were altered by the creation of videotape.
In the 1980s, few pieces of home electronics did more to redefine popular culture than the videocassette recorder. With it, the film and television media were never the same as the former gained a valuable new revenue stream and popular penetration while the latter's business model was forever disrupted. This film covers the history of the device with its popular acceptance opening a new venue for independent filmmakers and entrepreneurs. In addition, various collectors of the now obsolete medium and its nostalgically esoteric fringe content are profiled as well. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Even though I'm not a collector and I don't have a particular affection for the VHS format, I have witnessed the emergence of the videocassette, the video stores and the amazing novelty of watching films at our homes, something which seemed impossible in the times of Super 8 cameras. The protagonists of the documentary Rewind This! are authentic connoisseurs, collectors and many times key figures in this technological revolution, and we can enjoy their anecdotes thanks to director Josh Johnson, who traveled around the world (well, United States, Canada and Japan) recollecting testimony from "normal" famous people, such as Atom Egoyan, Cassandra Peterson and Mamoru Oshii, as well as from authentic psychotronic celebrities, such as Frank Henenlotter, Roy Frumkes and the late Mike Vraney. We can also witness pleasant interviews to people like Lloyd Kaufman, Charles Band and David Schmoeller. But the most sincere and emotive words come from the fans who don't only share their memories, but also illustrate the genuine importance of the VHS format as a cultural archive in danger of extinction due to the natural deterioration of the magnetic tape. For better or for worse, during the boom of the home video, thousands of films were exclusively edited on VHS, and not all of them had enough popularity in order to resurrect on DVD years later. This means that a significant part of "B" cinema will get lost forever in a few years from now, because so far, there isn't anybody like Martin Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola taking care of their preservation, like they are currently doing with the old films shot on celluloid. On the other hand, some people will say that films such as Ninja the Protector or Santa with Muscles don't deserve to be preserved, and that in fact, it would be better for humanity if they end up becoming semi-magnetic jelly... but those are obviously not the people this documentary was made for. So, I found Rewind This! a very entertaining documentary, and I recommend it not only to those who share the memories of that era, but also to modern lovers of cinema convinced that "cinematographic art" possesses enough categories in order to admit those modest films which defined a time, even though its popularity has dissipated through the years.
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