• It didn’t look this pretty at Doc.

The print of Time Bandits that Doc Films screened last night was far from perfect. The first few reels had degraded and taken on a pinkish hue; others appeared washed out, as if the film been exposed to sunlight before processing; and the music sounded like it was came from an old transistor radio. I loved it.

Having come of age at repertory film screenings, I learned to appreciate older movies in no small part for the fragility of their medium. Weathered prints taught that movies not only reflect the moment of their creation but continue to exist in time. To dream of the era a beat-up film came from was no mere nostalgia; it was an exercise in creative thought, requiring you to reconstruct an ideal film in your mind from the evidence that remained. I like that it should take work to communicate with the past. For one thing, it gives you a firmer bearing on the present.