No, not for the libraries here. For the ones in St. Louis. Seriously, folks, St. Louis has one of the top library systems in the country, and I already knew that, but my attempts to locate a copy of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 GROUND-BREAKING FILM Contempt in Waco has really made me appreciate St. Louis.
I thought, hey, the Waco county library has a good number of DVDs, including some classic stuff like the Criterion edition of Notorious, they’ve got a fair shot at having one of the top five French New Wave films, right? Wrong. They didn’t have any of the other top five French New Wave films, either (which I just arbitrarily decided were The 400 Blows, Breathless, Hiroshima, Mon Amour, and Jules and Jim…that’s pretty close to accurate, except Jules and Jim would have to fight off some competition for the fifth spot).
Okay, so granted, county library with only four branches. Give ’em a break, right? Surely the Baylor fine arts library will have it, even if it’s on video instead of DVD. Wrong. Out on a limb now…Blockbuster? Of course not. And…we’re out of possible rental/borrowing places. In St. Louis, I guarantee you that both the University City Public Library as well as the Blockbuster down the street from it have Contempt.
Now, I’m in no great bind. I don’t particularly have to see Contempt right now (although I would have liked to before I write a paper due next week on adaptation, since Contempt is about the difficulties of adaptation and every essay I read on the subject brings it up), and of course, I can get it from Netflix. But what in the world did people do in towns like Waco before Netflix was invented? I mean, especially with a big university here, you’d expect there to be a good many people around interested in more than the latest blockbusters, and what are they supposed to do? Go down to Austin every time they want to rent a movie over five years old or, God forbid, from another country? I realize I’m sounding like a film snob, which is not really my intention…I love blockbusters, but I don’t want them all the time. Sometimes I want 1960s artsy French films! And I understand Blockbuster not having it, because it would probably be waste of shelf space based on how often they would actually rent it. But isn’t that what libraries are FOR? To stock things of cultural value rather than marketplace value?
So appreciate that library system up in St. Louis, you guys. Use it and love it, because you may not ever have one as good if you move away from St. Louis.