The Lost Arcade

Mar 27, 2016

(Kurt Vincent, United States, 2015, 79 min)

Northwest premiere!


The Lost Arcade, a documentary about the closing of Manhattan’s last video game arcade, could easily fall into the trap of nostalgic cool. There’s a fashion to that former scene and those past decades that rings true with today’s hegemony of hip. After all, the lost arcade is discussed in darkened rooms, on dark sidewalks, within dim and lonely studios. Arcades are campy, obsessive, loud, colorful, and removed from the mainstream. 

But the arcade is ultimately a human experience, a fact beautifully captured by the documentarians Kurt Vincent and Irene Chin. Rather than try to appreciate or dissect the nostalgia, they reveal the heart of it. They find the unique stories within the greater trend of arcade games, and the long, joyful life of an arcade called the Chinatown Fair.The Pakistani owner first envisioned the arcade in a dream. A homeless, parentless boy discovered heaven in Chinatown. The lives and stories and dreams intersect with a beautiful cinematic lucidity. The film’s stranger-than-fiction characters reveal the arcade to be a powerful social interaction, and in portraying these enthusiasts we see the purest colorings of an authentic joy.

It’s rare to see humanity captured in flashing screens ignited by quarters. You may feel compelled to search for quarters and the closest machine once the credits roll. 

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