Friday night. The weekend is ahead of me. I’m making me a sandwich, fixing a drink and getting ready to play a movie. Beauty! The selection – huge: 20 movie channels, plus Netflix, plus HBO on Demand. Crazy! …40 minutes later – sandwich eaten, drink finished, and I still “scroll” trying to find what movie should I watch. Either I have watched everything 30 times, or the titles that are offered to me do not attract me to sit down and play them … Someone should recommend a movie to me, say that he/she has seen it and liked it, or I need to read a critic’s review that says it is good. And that’s it. I’m going to bed.
And now I nostalgically go back to not so long ago, only 25-26 years ago (or maybe it was a long time ago!?), the time when the choice on TV was reduced to 2 channels, and instead of Netflix we had video store.
A video store is a movie rental shop.
We had the EMI video store in Struga. In the “Goce Delchev” alley. Every Friday afternoon you are sent by your family to take 2-3 movies for the whole weekend and it is better for you to do not come back home with a bad choice. From the store catalogue you see what is new and you have not seen yet, and you also look at the tapes that someone before you left on the counter. There are 2-3 copies of good movies in stock, but it is always possible that someone before you already rented them. You take 2 VHS tapes (the worst video carrier ever invented) and you head home where everyone is waiting for you. The choice of movies so – so … everyone is happy that they saw something new. And the movie … the movie is of course in “far from HD” quality, sometimes shot from the cinema, so you hear audience laughter like in a sitcom. But no one complains! Plus you can always have the “bonus moment” that your neighbours (who do not have VHS player!), come to visit you and you watch a movie together!
But I was talking about something else… About the EMI video store…
For me, it was not just a video store. It was something much more … Here, at the EMI video store, I got my biggest informal film education. And that happened because the man responsible for “giving away” films was Dimitrie Duracoski, AKA Dimche Durac.
In Struga we all knew him – a townsman, a writer, a painter, an artistic soul. You go there to get a movie, and he is your advisor in choosing the movies that are available to you. And there was always an option for him to take a VHS tape out from under the counter, a tape with a better title. But not for everyone! Only if he estimated that your eye caught something different from a classic blockbuster with “Schwarzy”.
And so one day, in a casual conversation, while trying to impress him with my knowledge of film, Dimche takes out a VHS tape from under the counter: “Watch this one and then we’ll talk …”
VHS tape with movie number 2, if I’m not mistaken. “Betty blue 37 ° 2 le matin”. French drama with incredibly impressive music…. And the rest is history … you meet Kishlovski, Polanski, Almodovar, Scorsese, you learn about the shot, the scene, the cinematography, the movie score… At every VHS tape return, you receive a short lecture from which you will steal something new…
Thus began my adventure in informal film education. It was Netflix of my time! Both Netflix and school in one. And Dimche, who even now is the biggest supporter of culture in Struga, well I am still happy to sit down with him and talk about a movie.
For Camera Obscura