There Is a Light That Sometimes Goes Out
To construct or break apart a 35mm film print you have to run it between your finger and thumb to feel where it's imperfections stutter and jump. The snaggled perforations and taped joints, the left over pieces of magnetic tape that'll trigger the lighting cues, it is covered in the scars of all the times it told it's story before.
Reels travel in boxes and cases which are battered, scratched and disintegrating from touring the theaters. They are sleeping when they arrive, heads and tails curled up,
Who said the sharp image is the optimal image? Who said there was less beauty swimming in the soft edges of emulsion?
Don't get her wrong, The Goblin knows they are imperfect, those coiled stories hundreds of feet long. Sometimes bleeding purple or yellow, all their flaws exploding onto the screen a thousand times their original size. And that time the cinema showed Jaws but the shark had been stolen, frame by frame, by light fingered winders. There is source decay.
But she still mourns the fact that they are going to let the lights wink out, the machinery fall into disrepair and the humans who knew how to coax those fragments into their beautiful whole be unceremoniously dismissed.
The theater's clattering, warm, temperamental light and shadow heart is shut down for the last time and something dies secretly in a building the Goblin once thought of as home.