July 18, 2012

Don’t Take for Granted Montgomery Cinema’s Rewarding Alternative to Mainstream Hollywood

To the Editor:

Thanks so much for your July 11 front-page article (“Montgomery Cinema Ponders Future As Digital Projection Takes Hold”) that clearly explained the grave financial dilemma confronting small, independent cinemas, which are being forced to decide whether to convert from 35 millimeter film projection to digital projection.

Profound thanks also go to Bob Piechota, owner of Montgomery Cinemas, who was interviewed for your story. Mr. Piechota has somehow managed to keep his unique but fragile enterprise alive, even though the financial realities imposed by the explosion of other entertainment options, most of them available on home screens, has significantly diminished the number of people who go out to the movies. For movie lovers who savor independent and foreign films, as well as acclaimed documentaries, Montgomery Cinema has been a godsend. We do not take for granted the luxury of having in our area a theater that consistently offers rewarding alternatives to mainstream Hollywood fare — alternatives that are challenging, ambitious, layered, and nuanced (but also beautiful, enlightening, entertaining, and well-acted), and that provoke us to think and talk about what we’ve just seen, often for days afterward.

We worry about how limited moviegoing in our area would be if we no longer had the good fortune of being able to choose to see the kinds of films presented by Montgomery Cinema. I urge everyone to recall how exhilarating it can be to see exceptional films on a large screen, in the company of others who share one’s anticipation and responses — and then to take advantage of this remarkable theater while we still have it. Perhaps if there is an upsurge in patronage, Mr. Piechota will be further encouraged to find a way to keep Montgomery Cinema in operation, and eventually see it thrive.

Janet Stern

Monroe Lane