Tribeca ’03: Cinemania (review)

If I ever worried that there might be something, you know, wrong with me and my passion for movies, I can now rest easy. Because this funny, sad film — by Angela Christlieb and Stephen Kijak — assures me that I am nothing but the greenest amateur compared to the cinemaniacs profiled here. Jack, Eric, Harvey, Bill, Roberta… I see some of these folks at screenings all the time, and now I know why. They’re New Yorkers all — for there are few other places in the world where you could see five different movies a day every day for the rest of life — and they have reduced their lives to little more than going to films, planning their schedules to maximize their daily consumption of film, cataloguing their movie memorabilia, and memorizing, Rain Man-style, such arcana as the running times of every movie ever made. From its buoyant opening gambit of highlighting the cheerful and self-acknowledged absurdity of these obsessives, Christlieb and Kijak wind in closer, focusing on the dismal fact that their subjects have cut themselves off from real life in favor of reel life. I do wish they’d cast a slightly meaner eye on their subjects — I can only imagine, with a snide glee, how Christopher Guest would run with this idea.

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