Rafel Royes Lopez
June 2007 - There are rainy nights, exhausting days, boring afternoons and moments when it just feels nice to be entertained. Whatever the reason, selection is key when renting a film. Here are four of Barcelona’s most interesting video clubs where selection, knowledge and ambience play leading roles.
Video Instan Enrique Granados 30, www.videoinstan.com
Owner Aurora Depares estimates Video Instan’s total collection at 40,000 DVDs. That’s a lot of movie time. Although the video club is located in a huge storefront, their vast selection occupies every nook and cranny, where tantalising titles and long forgotten flicks wait to be rediscovered.
As Spain's largest video club, Video Instan was the first of its kind when her father opened it 28 years ago, according to Depares. “My father had a VHS video player, but nothing to watch. So, he went on a trip to London and Paris and brought back films he loved.”
Video Instan has a website, but doesn’t offer on-line rental. Depares does offer a long-term rental policy for people living outside Barcelona and free parking in front of the store. When it comes to selection, the Oscar goes to Video Instan.
Deuvedes Martínez de la Rosa 71, www.deuvedes.com
Entering Deuvedes is a pleasurable experience. The space is open and orderly, with a newly-laid mosaic floor swirling a path through three rooms filled with diverse selections of quality films.
In addition to creating an attractive ambience, Deuvedes has attempted to make finding and renting films as easy as possible. The 5,000 DVDs they have in stock include an impressive selection of television series like ‘House’, ‘Six Feet Under’ and ‘The Sopranos’, and a remarkable collection of independent films, all of which are accessible on the store’s website. It is possible to search, reserve, view upcoming new releases and rent online with Deuvedes. Located in Gràcia, over half of the video club’s clientele is foreign, resulting in their hefty selection of original version imported titles.
Septimo Arte Verdi 78, www.septimoartedigital.com
Another great Gràcia choice is the diverse Septimo Arte, a couple of blocks up from Verdi Cinemas on Carrer Verdi.
With two locations already in Madrid, Septimo Arte hopes to expand in Barcelona soon, adding another location near the Born. This club operates a bit differently from others, as its members use a credit system ranging from €35. Each month, Septimo Arte offers a special deal, like two- for-one Thursdays and genre discounts, plus an ongoing €25 euro all-you-can-rent-in-a-month package for the serious film fan. Open every day, with about 5,000 movies to choose from, plus on-line options, it seems that Septimo has hassle-free renting down to an art.
La Papaya Verde Julia Portet 8 and Bilbao 13-15, www.videolapapayaverde.com
Even if La Papaya Verde didn’t have over 10,000 DVDs, website search options, and two convenient locations, it would still be worth a visit to meet cinema-buff Dina Obesos, the charismatic and super-helpful owner.
Obesos and her sister opened the video club seven years ago and watched it grow from a meagre collection of VHS movies to what it is today; a success. “I began with a couple of videos displayed in painted vegetable crates that I had nailed to the wall. I hoped others would share the love I had for culturally diverse and artistic cinema, but it was a gamble.”
Looks like Obesos won the bet.