It’s Good To See You Again – An Ode To The Anniversary Rerelease
People, as a rule, need little excuse for a celebration. As a species that has managed to label a time of day Gin O’Clock/Wine O’Clock (delete as applicable), birthdays are comparably legitimate reasons to mark an occasion. The 18this the time to abuse newfound liberation, while the 21stis a last hurrah before the impending realisation the title of ‘adult’ is now unavoidable.
But anniversaries in particular provoke a type of wistful fondness for what has come before; a youthful energy the rest of life is spent trying to reclaim. Bands depart on anniversary tours, playing albums in full, in turn feeling part celebratory, and in part an acknowledgement of futility that their best days are behind them.
Only in cinema do anniversaries come complete with good-will. Instead of basking in nostalgia, what these anniversaries allow for are modern reassessments, analyses of legacy, and excuses for fans to revisit classics and younger audiences to discover them for the first time.
2018 alone sees Heathers, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Grease, and The Producers all celebrate milestones with cinematic rereleases. With an unreal amount of films released annually, it is understandable even the most ardent cinemagoer has gaps in their knowledge. I hold my hands up and admit I saw Grease for the first time this year thanks to an anniversary screening.
What a way to come to a classic it was. After its initial run, a film is lucky to ever be seen in cinemas again, where – despite modern advances in cinematic consumption – it was meantto be seen. Since its release in 1978, Grease has made its mark on both film and music history, but for younger generations, many will have had to settle for home video, at least for their initial viewing.
The cinema was teeming with young couples, the parents of whom lived through Summer Nights as teenagers themselves. Alongside them were couples who still had ticket stubs from ’78. Some were there alone, curious of what all the fuss is about, while some solitary patrons simply weren’t going to miss seeing a favourite on the big screen even if no one else fancied it.
It presents the question: what from today’s crop will be celebrated decades from now? Are the likes of Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Zero Dark Thirty, Moonlight, and Boyhood films we will look back on fondly, considering ourselves lucky to have seen at the time of their initial release? Are these the films a new generation will call for a chance to see in cinemas, having bestowed upon them worthy amounts of praise and influence over years and years?
With each marking of the calendar, the weight of history is felt, and the expanse of the unwritten hangs above. The now is a chance to engage with what we have and to create for tomorrow. It is a privilege of cinema to be able to celebrate its anniversaries, and a delight to know that will always be true.
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