Lawrence of Arabia

Perhaps my love of watching film in theaters on film comes from Lawrence of Arabia. I first saw in 1989 at the Northpoint Theater in San Francisco. I can still remember that day and how I felt as i watched this masterpiece unfold. I subsequently purchased it on VHS (which was letterboxed, of course) and watched it again and again while in high school and college.

Now, though, I can’t actually remember the last time I saw it. Since I last watched it the US has spent and taken much money and blood in its own imperial folly in the Middle East. I have changed as well, having grown up wandering the world a bit, though not as a soldier or diplomat or writer, all things I perhaps thought about doing after watching Lawrence of Arabia for the first time. Instead just followed the more mundane (and less violent) path of teaching English abroad while collecting degrees and certifications here and there.

It has now been over 25 years since I first saw Lawrence, however, which about the same amount of time between when it first was released and 1989. In addition to my own personal growth over these past two decades and change, another thing that has changed is film itself. While in 1989 I saw a gloriously restored 70 mm print on the huge screen at the Northpoint in San Francisco, the Shin Bungeiza Theater in Tokyo is showing the 2012 4K restored version, which is said to be good and to have been worked on with the same loving care. Still, film is film and digital is digital. Since a 70 mm print of Lawrence probably won’t be showing anytime soon, this is what is available and so this is what I will (hopefully) get to see this Wednesday.

Lawrence of Arabia is showing at the Shin-Bungeiza Theater on Wednesday January 13 at 9:45 am, 2:05 pm, and 6:25 pm.