Say what you like him about him, but there’s no doubt that Quentin Tarantino takes in film the way the rest of take oxygen. The writer/director has an encyclopaedic knowledge of cinema that trumps just about anyone in the world, that shines through both in his work and in everything he does and says.
Back in 2007, Tarantino put his money where his mouth was, and saved Los Angeles’ historic revival theater the New Beverly Cinema from redevelopment by buying the building and maintaining the theater, which suspended usual programming for an extended run of “Django Unchained” two years ago. Now Tarantino is getting even more involved.
The director has given an interview to LA Weekly in which he confirms that “after seven years as owner, I wanted to make it mine,” and that Michael Torgan, son of the theater’s founder Sherman, is stepping back as programmer, and that Tarantino is, at least for now, taking over programming. The New Beverly bought a digital projector back in May, but the director is retiring it after four months and plans on only showing movies on his beloved 35mm, with the bulk coming from his expansive private collection.
Tarantino denies that he’ll be turning the theater into a grindhouse, saying “we’ll have Fassbinder double-features, Truffaut double-features, ‘The Thin Man‘ movies, all that,” but is also installing six-track sound and 16mm projection as well, and will be screening one of his movies on every Friday night.
This isn’t quite going to be a full-time job: the director is off to make “The Hateful Eight” in the new year, as such saying that “I’m going to program the first three months… then the other people working in the theater can put together the schedule.” But it sounds like he’ll stay closely involved throughout, and presumably even more so in his downtime. Though we wonder how Torgan feels about the whole thing, this certainly seems like good news for L.A. film fans. And we wonder if Tarantino could be planning on expanding his empire: he was said to be among the bidders for the rundown Rialto Theater as well…