by Marguerite Corrigan
I never had the courage to be a harlot. A jezebel. A lady of the night. But I play one in my day-dreams. When I was a child, I dreamt of Scarlett O’Hara, perched on her decrepit plantation staircase clutching a shotgun, glowing in Technicolor. I must have watched Gone With the Wind a hundred times, until the VHS fell apart. I stretched the iridescent film strip between my fingers and wondered how so much beauty could be contained in such a tiny picture.
My love affair with film began on Vivian Leigh’s face. From that point on, I loved watching old movies. I l tried to imagine that I was a siren of the silver screen, teetering on the edge of doom while I was painfully stuck in puberty. For me, film has always been about the power of transcendence, to be lost in the beauty of a detail. A woman’s handkerchief, a glare on the windowpane, soft words whispered in the night. I’m the kind of person who will labor over a detail and I suppose that’s why film appeals to me. Because every detail is a labor of love.
Working in a video store has been such a blessing to me because it has given me access to films I never would have been able to see otherwise. Where else are you going to find a copy of Russ Meyer’s legendary sexploitation film Faster Pussycat Kill Kill and on the same day watch a young Marlon Brando slither out of his leather jacket in A Fugitive Kind? I’m sharpening my switch-blade just thinking about it.
Video stores are an invaluable resource because they give the public the opportunity to delve into the deepest corners of their imagination and experience cinema in a visceral, concrete way. In the age of convenience, video stores hold the same kind of appeal as a library or a record store. You just can’t find the same material probing through a pirating website fraught with ads for busty, Russian singles. On the internet, you have to know what you’re looking for. Here at our store, you can wander in and be surprised.
Marguerite Corrigan is an employee at Bellingham’s Film is Truth 24 Times a Second, a fantastic store that specializes in foreign films, independent movies, arthouse films, and documentaries (though they have a little bit of everything!)