It used to be that foreign films never played Spokane, unless they came to the Magic Lantern. And only then on occasion — when the place wasn't being closed down or changing ownership, which seemed to happen on a regular basis.
As the years passed, things got a bit better. Mainstream theaters would even, on occasion, play Woody Allen films — sometimes as few as months after the film's New York opening. But it wasn't until AMC opened, and even then only when AMC began its AMC Select (now AMC Independent) series, that mainstream Spokane theatergoers were able to pick from a semiregular schedule of foreign-language offerings.
And the overall moviegoing experience has been better for that. Certainly fans of foreign films will benefit when one of the Oscar nominees, Michael Haneke's "Amour," opens at AMC on Friday.
"Amour," which is up for five Oscars, tells the story of an elderly couple dealing with the pain of failing bodies — something all of us will have to deal with one way or another. It's no easy view. But for the right audience, it should provide a rewarding artistic experience.
Just the kind of experience that was so rare in Spokane just three decades ago.