It was announced fairly recently that HMV Canada has been filed for receivership after struggling sales. Although I’ve not been one to buy music frequently the fact that HMV is closing up shop for once is marking the end of an era – because I was always one to buy films through physical media. For movie lovers in Canada, unless you had a local retailer that would sell many obscure foreign titles via the Criterion Collection/Artificial Eye or classics on Blu-Ray, HMV was indeed the only place we could head to if we could buy them in store.
We’ve been aware of the selections available at Best Buy or other electronics retailers or at Walmart and Costco among the lot but oftentimes said catalogues are never stocked up on titles we would be seeking out. And while it may be easy for some to say that library catalogues would have what we wish for, it never carries the same feeling as owning a copy of said film up close – and hence it’s where my habit of collecting Blu-Rays has come about. There was also another last resort some of us had to go to if we were to find movies that we have intended to see for the longest while and we would be lucky enough had some of these films been on YouTube or within a selection on Netflix but even then their selections often were fairly limited, so there came online streaming.
For years I’ve been a loyal customer for HMV Canada and the news that they were coming into receivership had broken my heart because it was also the one place I headed to more than any other store had I wanted to fill up my own movie collection especially with the lacking selections included in other retailers – because I don’t really know any other store where I’d be asking to find a film like Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard or Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums without giving the impression I’m trying to alienate the clerk. Library staff would know up close if such titles are in their catalogues but given how many titles we would consider to be favourites are oftentimes difficult to find in store when the stock mostly consists of popular titles in favour of where filmgoers like us would be setting our priorities. One can easily say that we could buy what we want off of Amazon, but with shipping prices being too expensive, what’s the risk worth?
Speaking as one who has always sought films through HMV’s catalogue I’m probably going to come out at the risk of rambling but owning films through physical media was always the best way for it gave a sense of undying support for the artists whose films we have been buying. When we stream, download, or borrow movies, it’s only a means of gaining access to art that we know we’ll eventually come to love but it never had that same joy of owning a film up close – especially with classics or rare finds as presented by the Criterion Collection. There’s a dedication that I love to keep myself attached to with my own love of film and now that the biggest factor of how it is building up is about to disappear, a sad day has come for us all.
Without this factor within the lives of me and several other Canadian film lovers, we’ll be waiting till some miracle comes about so we can continue to buy the films we love up close. There was always that comfort of purchasing online, but it never felt the same as it did getting them in the store. If something else were to come in its place so soon (which I’m sure will happen even if my hope is not as high), then it is only fitting I bid farewell to a big factor of my life that has only fueled not only what I love most, but what I’ve grown to become as a person. Thank you for the many memories, HMV – it’s sad to see you go.