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Disk connection: Film Noir Cinema still rents movies, hosts shows

The man in noir: Will Malitek, the owner of Film Noir Cinema, says that his collection of arthouse and foreign film has kept his video rental business thriving.
Danielle Kogan

The video store is not dead!

One of the city’s last video stores is not just surviving — it is thriving. Greenpoint’s Film Noir Cinema recently expanded, taking over a former funeral home and giving it new life as a retail store and screening room. The store’s owner says that his unique selection of rare films has allowed him to outlast the competition.

“When I opened 15 years ago, there were seven video stores in the area. A Blockbuster here died out, and people laughed that I killed them,” said Will Malitek.

And the Polish immigrant is not worried about competition from streaming film services Amazon and Netflix. His knowledge of foreign films and curated selection of high-quality, out-of-print arthouse flicks gives him the advantage, he said.

“I think I am their competition, and to me this is more than money. It’s my passion,” said Malitek.

In fact, in the age of digital streaming, people are seeking physical items more than ever — especially unique older items.

“It used to be more renting than selling, and now it’s the opposite. People collect now — they want to see it on their shelves,” said Malitek “And if it’s vintage? That’s a magic word, I say.”

Behind his video rental area, Malitek has installed a surprisingly spacious 54-seat theater, which hosts nightly screening of obscure films.

The space also holds special events, such as the monthly Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies lecture series, starting on Sept. 19, and an upcoming screening of 1920s Expressionist film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” with the band Reel Orchestrette providing live music, on Sept. 23. Malitek thinks that the combination of old film and new music will attract an audience.

“We’re bringing a modern approach to an old idea. It’s something different,” he said.

Film Noir Cinema [122 Meserole Ave. at Leonard Street in Greenpoint, (718) 389–5773, www.filmnoircinema.com]. Open daily, 3–11 pm. One-day DVD rental $3.50.

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