Friday, January 10, 2014

Roxie Theater Makes Amends; Keeps Cineaste Happy

(Public domain photo.)

This is the followup to my Saturday post about the rude dude working the Roxie Theater's snack counter and how his attitude forced me to demand and receive a refund. Before we get to the much-appreciated note from the theater's new director Isabel Fondevila, permit me to say I went to the Roxie last night to catch the film I wanted to see over the weekend, Jia Zhangke's "A Touch of Sin".

This new film from China lived up to its very favorable critical reception here at home and last year at the Cannes film festival. Four tales of corruption, capitalism and violence show us slices of modern life in the country and each story is gripping. The performances were quite good and the cinematography was sumptuous, and the director has an eye for compelling compositions in practically every scene. Be sure to catch "A Touch of Sin" before it leaves the Roxie.

I'm excited to see what direction Fondevila will take our cherished local rep house. A short profile of her in the San Francisco Chronicle notes she hails from Spain, is in her mid 30s and has lived in the city for a decade and counts Luis Bunuel among her cinematic inspirations.

She'll soon be receiving a few suggestions from me of movies I want to see at the Roxie including a Bunuel retrospective and the complete 7-hour version of Manoel de Oliveira's "The Satin Slipper", proposals for post-screening discussions with local critics and knowledgeable fans and a town hall meeting at the theater for patrons to engage with the staff and collectively chart a course of programming that will put butts in seats.

By the way, that version of "The Satin Slipper" was shown at the 50th New York Film Festival in 2012 and the print was from the Cinemateca Portuguesa, so I know it's not an impossible dream to screen the film in America.

My hope is that 2014 ushers in a year of active and creative collaboration between the management and audience of the Roxie, to ensure it survives and thrives for many more years.

Here's Isabel's fabulous note:

It is with great concern and regret we received your e-mail outlining the experience you had with our service. Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you may have experienced. 

At The Roxie, we take pride in ensuring our customer’s satisfaction. Unfortunately, we did not meet your—or our own—expectations. We accept full responsibility for the mistake and I assure you we are taking the necessary steps to prevent it from happening in the future. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

Because we value your relationship with The Roxie, we are going to provide you with 2 free passes. Please, reply to this e-mail with your mailing address, so we can send them out to you as soon as possible. It is the least we could do for causing you any inconvenience. If you have any further questions or comments regarding this matter, please feel free to discuss it with me. We look forward to continuing serving you as a valued customer.

Try getting a note like that from your bland and boring corporate multiplex. Support the Mission's only movie theater as often as possible. Bring friend. Share their printed calenders. Participate in their important audience survey. Long live the Roxie!

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