The final projection: the man who lived the protagonist of “Cinema Paradiso”

Anthony Garcia It has been on the booth of the various Barcelona offices of the Filmoteca de Catalunya for 41 years. We can say that he is the last viewer, without nostalgia. The guy who gently put rolls and rolls of celluloid into the projectors and made sure the beam of light was just right as it bounced off the white screen in the living room. as the protagonist Paradiso cinemabut really. Thousands of films relating to chemical support and, more recently, digital files for showing classic and modern films have passed through his hands. He began working as a projectionist at Filmoteca in November 1981 and will retire on March 10. end of an era?

He started very young, at the age of 14, “at home, running with my parents a small film library at the German Institute, organizing events and exhibitions,” García recalls. He jumped into professional cinema at the age of seventeen, as an apprentice in the room where the Spanish Film Library was located on Mercaders Street. From Barcelona near the cathedral.

Before and after completing his military service, he screened some small courses at the Fundació Miró, such as those dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini, in a program carried out jointly with the Film Library. He also spent a season at the Atlántida Cinema in Sant Andreu and collaborated with Drag Màgic – a cinema cooperative founded in 1971 – showing films throughout Catalonia.

When the powers were transferred with the Spanish Film Library, “They offered me to be the booth manager here,” W.J Until now there was no other projectionist in Catalan cinema. He was at the Padró cinema, at the Travessera de Gràcia theater, then at the Aquitania and finally at the Raval headquarters.

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The question arises by itself. Likes Paradiso cinemaGiuseppe Tornatore’s film focused on the relationship between a child fascinated by cinema and the projectionist at City Hall? “Yes, of course. It captures very well the old projection system, the carbon arc lantern, the nitrate work…”. García recalled that “throughout the entire stage in the Travessera Room, we used carbon lights. The light is provided by the projectionist, not the camera. You control the height and drift of the mirror to give the best possible lighting for the screen.”

Projection problems? A lot, but especially with black and white movies. “Working with black and white celluloid is much more difficult than working with color,” Garcia tells us. “Depending on the view, there were areas that could look bluish or brown, since the light from the lamp is affected by the positive of the print. With the color it wasn’t as noticeable.”

The romantic idea is that showrunners cut frames from films and keep them. “I didn’t, but if I kept a frame for a magnetic, very reddish copy of 2001, A Spaceflight. Versions with magnetic sound are unusual, since they have different holes.” Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey was precisely the first film that our hero showed from the darkroom of a school in the Tres Torres neighborhood of Barcelona. He did it with his older brother, although this syndicate soon What changed and he devoted himself to engineering.

digital access

After decades of working with photochemical supports, Digitalis has arrived with its pros and cons. “It happens when you come into Rafale’s room. We thought the photochemical would last for a few more years.” But that was not the case. Garcia explains, “Shortly after we were informed that the Majors They no longer make 35mm copies of their films.” flaws? “Cartridge load,” García immediately said. “You have to upload it to the projector’s server. It’s a very slow process. If the movie runs for two hours, you have to spend two hours uploading it to the hard drive. And then it’s more complicated to verify. Copy in 35mm, on the contrary, you don’t need to try, Preparation is much easier, you can quickly see the status, translation and soundtrack.

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Few filmmakers today have the possibility and the right to shoot on 35 or 70 mm celluloid. Just Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, and a few others. For García, “Digital cinema is like seeing a painting, very healthy and artificial. Instead, the film slides on a photochemical support, when the light heats the frame there are small imperceptible movements.”

After many sessions, the most diverse films were drawn up, prepared and shown. What are your best memories? “Many John Ford, Film Noir, concrete junglethe photographic quality of Ingmar Bergman’s films, Chaplin’s films, the more classic the better, but also 2001And alienAnd Blade Runner“.

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