A visit to a popular spot now threatened with extinction by the ultra-proximity of our computer screens
Interactive essay: Cédric Chabuel Alexandra Viau
Design and programming: Deux Huit Huit
In partnership with: Le Devoir
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Hooked on Video Stores
An inveterate film enthusiast, store clerk Victor Paré has spent an inordinate amount of time in his neighbourhood video store. As a child, he could spent hours there, just looking at the video box covers. “I went addictively, almost daily. I looked forward to returning my tape so that I could rent another one right away. The only problem was that I couldn’t break the habit, and it ended up costing me way too much money!”
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Rare VHS Tapes
The owner of Vidéo du Carrefour carefully preserves a VHS copy of certain films that are no longer produced in DVD format. She asks for a $25 deposit per rental, which doesn’t seem to discourage film buffs, who can also rent a VHS player at the store.
This interactive work contains images of nudity and/ or explicit sexuality. Viewer discretion is advised.
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Spoofs and Big Busts
One of Régo 3XXX’s most-rented movies is Plus-Sized and Plugged, filed in the “Big Breasts” section. The “Young Girls” and “Evil Empire” shelves are also quite popular. Chantal Boisclair, a store employee, is surprised by the popularity of certain films: “When it hurts and when the girls vomit, there’s nothing sexual about it. That’s just violence and it’s degrading.” Porn scripts that parody such best-selling movies as Top Gun or The Flintstones are the most popular among couples.
On-site or Take-out
For a long time, Video Club Régo 3XXX provided clients with a very special service: a private screening room. To screen a movie, the client went in alone, and wore headphones. To avoid any trouble, store clerk Chantal Boisclair would admit clients based on their good behaviour. “I turned away drunks or scruffy people.” Due to renovations, this service is temporarily unavailable.
Mommy, what’s a video store?
Un vendredi soir au club vidéo/ Friday Night at the Video Store, directed by Cédric Chabuel and Alexandra Viau, is a tribute to those places that brought people together, and that led to a sudden increase in the number of film buffs, brought video and film into the home and for a long period, mirrored changes in society. After witnessing video stores drop like flies, one after the other, the directors were determined to record and preserve a vestige of the brief existence of these local businesses, victims of trends and technology. Their project is an archaeological study of a fleeting present, perched on the tipping point between the past and the future.
Un vendredi soir au club vidéo/ Friday Night at the Video Store is an interactive documentary that takes a playful look behind the scenes of five video stores, popular neighbourhood shops now threatened by the ultra proximity of our computer screens. This documentary puts the spotlight on independent storekeepers, who cling to their dream of keeping the video rental industry alive. Their personal stories shed light on the major transformations – still too early to assess – in our daily lives, brought about by the Internet. What stands out above and beyond the financial difficulties experienced by what may well be the last corner video stores is their accessibility and congeniality.
Behind the “dépanneur” storefront, and the clichés, there often lie the story of a family and the realities of doing a job, integrating into a new culture and learning a new language. An intimate interactive essay about a convenience store in the heart of Montreal. In collaboration with Le Devoir.
We travel through them on our way to work, we choose to live in them and we do our shopping there: in one way or another, the new urban landscapes are a part of our lives.
Cinematography and Direction
Web Design and Development
Deux Huit Huit
Sergiu Raul Suciu
Émilie Nguyen Ngoc
Le Devoir Team
Deputy Director on Information for Internet
François Pesant (photographe)
Vidéo du Carrefour ("3 Femmes")
Nicole Vézina, owner
Maryse Drapeau, employee
Sonia Paquin, employee
Vidéo Centre Ville ("De l'or en banque")
Patrice Doré, owner
Victor Paré, employee
Club vidéo dépanneur Premier choix ("Moitié-moitié")
Jean-Luc Richard, owner
Lyne Francoeur, employee
Club vidéo Régo 3XXX ("Papa est chez le coiffeur")
Réal Gaudet, owner
Chantal Boisclair, employee
Club vidéo Royal Fashion ("The taylor's dream")
John Ola, owner
Thanks to Germain Larochelle for her help and her love of cinema.
Thanks also to Gabi Macaluso, Julie Gauthier, Lisa Arduini and to everyone else who steered us to the very best video stores.