Video Killed

One cassette is one whole world.

By the time it closed in 2008, the Kim’s Video on St. Mark’s Avenue had amassed 55,000 VHS tapes and DVDs. These were tapes you wanted to keep: foreign and rare, many bootlegged. It was a New York City institution until the weirdest thing happened to it: The entire collection was shipped to Sicily. Streaming and digitization were killing Mr. Kim’s business, and the entrepreneur found a beneficiary in the town of Salemi, which had grand plans to become an artist colony. But the dream was never realized, and the collection was left to rot. A decade after the sale, David Redmon, director with Ashley Sabin of the documentary Kim’s Video (2023), visited to find the doors locked and green mold along the ceiling. In the film, there is a lot of yelling at Italians in English before Redmon is able to ship the truckloads of tapes back to Manhattan.

The idea of an archive displaced and replaced should be a gold mine, but unfortunately the doc is more concerned with preaching, presumably to the converted, the value of cinema. Every other voice-over line is Redmon likening the e…

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