As a fairly old man, I’m often forced to restrain myself from uttering the tiresome phrase “back in my day.” Every time I say it, I’m reminded that I’m becoming…that guy. That guy who can’t let go of the past. That guy, who needs to let you know how easy you have it. Which brings us to Roy Power’s documentary short, Memory Video, a story featuring one of those guys.
The nine-minute short spotlights Miguel Gomez, the owner of his town’s last video store, Viva Video. The film primarily flashes images of Viva Video and the hundreds of movies sitting on the shelf with talking-head testimony from Gomez himself. He talks about the first time he saw Nightmare on Elm Street as an all-too-young child and reminisces about the experiences of walking into the store and stocking up on movies for the weekend. I can’t help but be reminded of those Friday evenings I spent with my father at Blockbuster, begging him to let me rent Airplane! once again as he grabbed some lame old drama.
“…spotlights Miguel Gomez, the owner of his town’s last video store, Viva Video.”
There is a place for the past in documentary filmmaker, whether it’s Alexander Monelli’s At The Drive-In about the few remaining drive-in theaters or director Power’s Memory Video. With nostalgia comes harsh realities. As you would imagine, Gomez’s video venture is not exactly rolling in money. It’s interesting to find out just how Viva Video has managed to stay open, which I won’t spoil.
Overall, Power’s film serves as a reminder of how we once entertained ourselves in the past before Netflix killed Blockbuster. Memory Video is a no-frills doc, but definitely worth the nine-minute walk to the past.
Memory Video screened at the 2019 Hot Docs Film Festival
"…With nostalgia comes harsh realities."