Way Back In The Day, the Orpheum, the Fox, and the Warfield were magnificent movie theaters that screened the major Hollywood productions. There were also dozens of neighborhood theaters that screened "B" movies like "Tarantula," Clint Eastwood's first screen appearance. And there was the school auditorium, where we got to, or had to, watch documentaries and "educational" films.
In todays movie landscape, you basically have three choices. You can go see some wretched Hollywood production and pretend to ignore the exploding heads, blantant sexploitation, “messaging,” and stereotyping. You can go to your neighborhood art house and watch independent productions or someones idea of “classics.” Or watch mostly Hollywood-type stuff at home online or on cable.
I believe that film has enormous potential for education. There are lots of films children could see that are not specifically “children’s movies.” And there are many movies that are produced for children that aren’t marketed that way; movies with subtle messages like “violence is OK,” or “the military is a noble undertaking.” There are many excellent documentaries and truly independent (not Hollywood “independent”) films that are only seen by a tiny fraction of their potential audience due to the way the movie industry has consolidated all the studios and theaters.
The Metro Retro movie house would be a 21st Century take on the family movie house. The theater will be able to show any type of audio/visual production, from Super 8 to video to modern widescreen formats. The programs will concentrate on forgotten classics like Orfeo Negro, family-friendly documentaries like Aliens Of The Deep, and independentfilms produced by Bay Area filmmakers.
This would be a worker self-directed enterprise employing members of marginalized communities in and around the Central Market neighborhoods. The facility would provide a place for neighborhood residents to engage with each other and the broader community. And visitors to the City would have a place to go on Market Street that would give them a little local, non-corporate “flavor.”