The Projectionist is 2019 American documentary feature film about independent theatre operator Nicolas “Nick” Nicolaou.
Film director Abel Ferrara (The Addiction; Bad Lieutenant; King of New York; Body Snatchers; The Driller Killer) converses with his friend and fellow cinephile Nick Nicolaou about the 1970s era of film making and exhibition when things were edgier and sleazier than they are in today’s cleaned-up scene.
Nicolaou moved from Cyprus to New York City and began working as a teenager in a small neighbourhood in Manhattan before eventually running a cinema complex in Queens. From 1970s Times Square adult film houses through decades of city regulation, chain takeovers, and cultural shifts, the documentary charts an odyssey through the history of film exhibition and New York City.
Nicolaou defied gentrification, changing viewing habits and corporate dominance in the 1980s, only to emerge decades later as one of the city’s last independent theatre owners. “Abel, I’m not a politician. I’m a survivor.”
The Projectionist premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Kino Lorber will release the film theatrically at select venues from October 2nd 2020 with Blu-ray, DVD and Digital releases to follow.
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“The film’s most endearing moments happen during the second half of The Projectionist, as Ferrara explores the city’s theatrical heritage through the eyes of Nicolaou. The images of New York’s streets lined movie theaters, positioned one-after-another, will make any cinephile crave for simpler cinematic times.” 812 Film Reviews
“There is a kind of love triangle here, between the two men and the cinema. But with Ferrara content to let his subject mostly drive the show and not impose more of an authorial vision and context that could have created a grander narrative about the history of moviegoing in New York, the passion is missing. Without it, The Projectionist may not have a chance to gain that large of an audience.” The Playlist
“Though painting with a bigger canvas this time—and exercising slightly less precision—Ferrara is able to frame Nicolaou’s experience of the New York movie theater business over the last several decades as one that parallels the director’s struggles in the film industry, and as illustrative of a major city’s radical reshaping of itself.” Slant