Archives for December 2014

So Farewell then, Laser Video…

Laser DVD in Dublin.

Laser DVD in Dublin.

First, some quick housekeeping. For the moment, I’m going to be posting here once a month, as opposed to every week. If things are particularly slow in your neck of the woods, and you’d like to hear why, by all means drop me a line in the comment section, and I’ll make a short story boring. But for the moment, onwards:

For anyone who’s lived or studied in Dublin over the last 25 years, Laser Video, as it was and then Laser DVD wasn’t so much an institution as it was a lifeline. Since it moved to Georges Street from Ranelagh 22 years ago, it fostered around it a community of aspirant film makers and musicians and the intellectually curious from all around the city and its environs.

Women Without Men.

Women Without Men.

The last three films that I picked up from there, as I recall, were: A Time For Drunken Horses, a Kurdish film from 2000 that manages to be incredibly culturally specific and yet timelessly universal; the sumptuous Iranian film Women Without Men from 2010, which I reviewed earlier here; and Fassbinder’s sole foray into science fiction, World On A Wire which was originally broadcast as a two part mini series on German television in 1973.

All three were a joy to behold and are impossibly hard to get your hands on. Or at least they would have been, but five years ago.

The truth is, I’ve been to Laser significantly fewer times over the last two years than I had in the previous two. And I had been far fewer times during those previous two years than in the two before them. I had every intention of frequenting it as ardently as I had in the past, it just didn’t happen.

David Byrne's True Stories.

David Byrne’s True Stories.

The very technology that made a place like Laser possible ultimately rendered it redundant. Or at least commercially unviable. It was the revolution in film distribution thanks to the arrival of video that lead to the creation of a place like Laser. And it’s the Internet and the ripples created by the digital revolution that have lead to its tragic demise.

It’s desperately sad for everyone involved. And we’re all going to miss it terribly. And I suppose, if anyone’s to blame, we all could have made a bit more of a conscious effort of late.

But, for good or ill, the world has moved on. To quote from True Stories, which is exactly the kind of film that you would only previously have ever chanced upon in Laser. David Byrne, whose only work as a director this is, turns to camera, and says:

What time is it? No time to look back.

Farewell then, and thank you.

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