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Remembering Ben Barenholtz

Exhibitor, distributor, producer and director — one of the seminal figures in the modern American independent film movement, Ben Barenholtz, passed away last Wednesday in Prague. He was 83. In the late ’60s, Barenhotlz’s rep theater, the Elgin Cinema, mixed experimental films with mainstream movies, and it was where the exhibitor popularized the concept of the “midnight movie,” playing Alejandro Jodoworsky’s El Topo for months on end. Another midnight movie — Eraserhead — was an early marquee title of his first distribution company, Libra Films, and later, at Circle Films, he bought and distributed the classic and career-launching Blood Simple, […]