In this photograph of the Brattle Theatre circa 1953, you can see a sign that says “Opening Soon! Foreign Films.” The brilliant idea behind the sign belonged to Harvard classmates Cy Harvey and Bryant Haliday, without whom the Brattle Theatre would probably not be showing the eclectic array of films it does to this day; there would be no Janus Films, which Harvey and Haliday founded together in 1956; and there would be no Criterion Collection as we know it. Cy Harvey, the last surviving of the two Janus founders, passed away last week at the age of eighty-five. He was stylish, kind, courageous, and retained a deep love of cinema long after he left Janus Films in the mid 1960s. He will be deeply missed, and we thought we would share this image as a testament to his youthful vision, one that still sustains us all today.
“Is it a Rorschach test? I don’t know, but there are enough people who are sort of convinced by what he shows us, that they first are willing, and later look forward to… how, how many times have I seen Au Hasard Balthazar? Oh, many many times because I like what it does to me. It’s like traveling. You go to a city where you like yourself. I think maybe to you go to a movie where you like yourself.”
– Donald Richie
“I’ve put my life into it. I’m fully aware that it’s my life. I don’t have parents– they’re gone. I don’t get another life. I’m 34 years old and this is it. My entire youth is gone and dedicated to this, so I care enormously. I meet lots of people who don’t realize that this is their only life.”
– James Murphy
I have long held 1984 as the “best year.” I remember how good it felt saying it was 1984. I remember how awesome my O.P. socks felt, and corduroy shorts looked. No evidence however, is more convincing of the year’s prowess than a simple list of movies from its 12 month period.
It’d be outstanding even if Breakin’ and its sequel hadn’t been released in the same year.