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1215 Blanshard St. Victoria BC
Open / Operational
Charming + Human + Nostalgic
Director: Lisa Hurwitz
USA 2021 79 min
Emerging filmmaker Lisa Hurwitz’s debut feature is one of the most impressive documentaries at the 2022 VFF and surprisingly it doesn’t take on current social issues. Yet somehow it does, as the Automat, an automated dining experience, was a precursor to awareness, when people were kind and integrated in the restaurants without concern. There are surprises and they come in the form of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s thoughts on the meaning of the Automat to women as well as the liberating ability of a black family, such as Colin Powell’s, to go out to dine.
Automat is a film of such charm. There’s even an Automat Historian! If only current fast-food purveyors had the style and quality of Automats. I could just imagine swooning over Audrey Hepburn as she put her nickel in for a cup of coffee.