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A Love Letter to Physical Media in a Digital Age

Kim’s Video


Genre: Documentary
Year Released: 2024
Runtime: 1h 25m
Director(s): David Redmon, Ashley Sabin
Where To Watch: in select theaters nationwide starting April 5, 2024

RAVING REVIEW: KIM'S VIDEO is a captivating saga that charts the rise and fall of an iconic New York City video store and the long, storied history that goes along with it, transforming into an epic tale that crosses oceans to a Sicilian village where the unexpected awaits. Directors David Redmon and Ashley Sabin have explored a narrative that's as much about the pursuit of preserving film as it is a love note to the tangible charm of VHS and DVD days now being swallowed by the digital era’s vast sea. This film grabbed me with its mix of heartfelt homage and gripping mystery, revealing the complexities and challenges of keeping cinema's legacy alive.

I want to interject with somewhat of a PSA without spoiling anything; the film dives into some of the moral grey areas of film piracy, and while I’m generally against it. I believe that the circumstances covered in the film were more about film preservation than film piracy. Having watched the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die,” I can vouch that some films were brutal to hunt down; some even felt nearly impossible. I was finally about to do it, but barely, and not without crossing those seas myself. Film is art, and art should never be that difficult to enjoy. I don’t support “stealing,” but I do support making sure more of these one-of-a-kind creations aren’t lost to time.

In New York's bustling streets, Youngman Kim’s video rental stores became a cultural beacon for cineastes, offering an array of films unmatched in their diversity. Kim’s unwavering commitment to film accessibility saw him navigating the murky waters of copyright laws, a theme that the documentary tackles with finesse, highlighting the tension between legal frameworks and the democratization of film access.

Yet, when the digital revolution threatened to render KIM'S VIDEO obsolete, a daring plan was set into motion: relocate the vast film collection to Sicily for preservation (or so he thought.) What unfolds is a journey rich in intrigue and unexpected challenges, from local political entanglements to hints of organized crime lurking in the shadows. This portion of the film ramps up the suspense and deepens our understanding of the intricacies of safeguarding cinematic treasures. It took a pretty straightforward documentary in a direction I never saw coming.

Redmon and Sabin flirt with various genres within the confines of the film, turning KIM'S VIDEO into a multifaceted exploration of cinema’s social and cultural impact. Their innovative approach entertains and educates, emphasizing the urgent need for film preservation in an age where the digital dominates.

Addressing the ethical problems of piracy and the hurdles in conserving our cinematic heritage, the film presents KIM'S VIDEO in a balanced light. It navigates through the complexities of copyright and film history, offering a comprehensive view that enriches the viewer’s understanding and appreciation of cinema's art.

As the journey to uncover the fate of Kim's collection unfolds, we meet a colorful ensemble of characters, from shadowy politicians to the visionary Yongman Kim himself. These individuals add intrigue to the story, blurring the lines between reality and fiction and showcasing the filmmakers' dedication to unraveling this complex expedition.

KIM'S VIDEO is a clarion call to cinema lovers and preservationists, championing the cause of saving the silver screen’s heritage for future generations. It's a documentary that melds the thrill of adventure with profound reflections on cinema's value, leaving an indelible mark on its audience.

Crafting a documentary that's as exhilarating as it is enlightening, Redmon and Sabin remind us of film's power to inspire, connect, and endure. KIM'S VIDEO is a vital reminder of cinema's irreplaceable role in our culture, urging us to preserve its history against the relentless advance of digitalization. A must-see for anyone who believes in the magic of movies, this film underscores the pivotal role of preservation in keeping cinema’s spirit vibrantly alive in the digital epoch.

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[photo courtesy of DRAFTHOUSE FILMS]

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Chris Jones
Entertainment Editor

Chris Jones is the Mail Entertainment Editor covering Movies and Television topics. He is from Washington, Illinois, and is the owner, writer, and editor of Overly Honest Reviews.