(director/writer: David Redmon/Ashley Sabin; cinematographer: David Redmon; editors: Mark Becker/David Redmon/Ashley Sabin; music: Enrico Tilotta; cast: Isabel Gilles, Robert Greene, Youngman Kim, Vittorio Sgarbi, Diego Muraca, Alex Ross Perry, Tim League, Dennis Dermody, Anna Thorngate, Eric Hynes, Glenn Hyman; Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Ashley Sabin, David Redmon, Deborah Smith, Dale Smith, Francesco Galavotti, Rebecca Tabasky; Fremantle; 2023-in English, Italian, Korean)
“This bizarre documentary made me feel good because the story favors the zany actions of film buffs.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An oddball documentary about the legendary NYC’s Kim’s Video rental store, whose flagship store was located in Manhattan’s East Village on St Mark’s Place. The curiosity film is from directors Ashley Sabin (“Herd”/”Do Monkey’s Act?”) and David Redmon (“Herd”/”Girl Model”). It was the best video store I went to when a student at NYU’s film school in the 1980s, whose enormous collection included top-line videos no other store had.
The chain was looked after by eccentric Korean businessman Yongman Kim. It ran successfully into the early years of the new century, when it was ruined by government anti-piracy raids and streaming videos. In 2008, Mr. Kim offered to donate the collection of 55,000 videos to any entity that would make it available to Kim’s members in perpetuity. A small town in Sicily, Salemi, made the sweetheart deal with Mr. Kim.
The curious directors went to Salemi to see the videos, and to their dismay found the Kim’s videos lying unboxed and unstored in a water-damaged civic building. The filmmakers and their friends liberated and relocated all 55,000 videos to someplace that will treat them with the respect they deserve. The good-guy thieves while recouping the videos wore masks of their favorite filmmakers, from Alfred Hitchcock to Maya Deren.
Too bad their adventure story is better than this merely competent film. Of note, the Kim’s Video collection now resides in the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in lower Manhattan, while “Kim’s Video” screens now are in Park City and are hoping to find distribution.
This bizarre documentary made me feel good because the story favors the zany actions of film buffs.
REVIEWED ON 2/12/2023 GRADE: B