At the memorial for Dan Talbot and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on Jan. 28, film-world luminaries spoke of the theater’s storied past and the continuing need for its brand of independent film theater on the Upper West Side. They included the director Michael Moore; Michael Barker of Sony Classics; Jonathan Sehring of IFC Films; Richard Pena, former program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center; the film scholar and writer Annette Insdorf; the critic Molly Haskell; the writer and actor Wallace Shawn; and Jeff Lipsky of October Films. Here are a few of the reasons New York needs New Plaza Cinema:
“For so many Manhattanites, the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas is a synagogue of cinema. . . . New York is our country’s epicenter of independent film, both film production and distribution. . . . And the audience is here, in greater numbers than ever before. . . . The loss of the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas isn’t sad; it’s catastrophic. The art film scene in such markets as San Francisco, Boston and Seattle has all but atrophied. They said it couldn’t happen here. It has. . . . Today’s closing is a clarion call. Please answer it.”
“Through building and growing this theater, inviting us in, embracing us, Dan Talbot created a beautiful community and a beautiful family. . . . Let us not lose that sense of taste and community that Dan Talbot proved was in us here.”
“This theater does have some kind of unifying principle. It’s a kind of mainstream arthouse . . . something reliably familiar, new and familiar at the same time. You could chat online with people, and you’d start arguing about the movies. So this is really a community that came of age at a privileged moment, and I think the theater is gone, but I hope that experience survives.”
For Michael Moore’s remarks (still being edited), watch this space.