Manhattan Analog

I have never seen “Manhattan” before.

I sit by myself in the dark in a tiny 50 seat theater in the Latin Quarter in Paris.

Gershwin. Epic shots of the concrete jungle. Fireworks. Black and white.

It’s an old print, scratched, missing frames.

I hear the projector running in the booth behind me. It clacks on the cracked sprocket holes.

The soundtrack garbles and hisses. High heels on sidewalks. Room tone.

A man in the front row stands, hunches and shuffles out of the theater; he stoops again when he returns, shuffles across the aisle and sits.

I see the cigarette burns. I hear the change overs, though I don’t see them because they’re flawless. The projectionist has been doing this for years.

The frame on the screen jiggles up and down. The film grain is alive, pulsing beneath the images of Woody Allen and Mariel Hemingway. Beneath the taxicabs and apartment interiors and the Brooklyn Bridge.

We all laugh. A lot.

I love film.

I will miss it.