A slice of history will be lost tomorrow, March 12, when Darlinghurst Film Club closes its doors to the public for the last time after 10 years. Owner Ben Kenny announced in September last year that he was looking for a buyer for Sydney’s self-proclaimed ‘latest, best’ DVD rental store. But no one accepted the offer.

“Financially, it’s always been a challenge,” says Kenny Large format on the eve of the closing of the Film Club. “We’ve always caught up, and then I guess the last year or two has put us back a bit. We can adapt and change up to a point, and then there’s a point where the niche we’ve occupied narrows to a point where it’s not quite enough to sustain it.

Since announcing its closure a month ago, Film Club has been selling its 25,000-piece collection (everything is currently selling for $1). When Large format talks to Kenny, he says about three quarters of the collection has been sold.

While the Film Club has remained a late holdover from the era of DVD and video rentals that helped define Friday and Saturday nights for so many growing up from the 70s to the 2000s, it has been maintained alive by more than nostalgia. It was a lively and thriving space frequented by a community of moviegoers looking for hard-to-find titles online – from blockbusters to queer cinema, arthouse, horror, silent and classic films. Others have come to take advantage of the expertise of Kenny and his team, who have harnessed deep knowledge of filmmaking – not algorithms – to recommend movies for their customers’ viewing pleasure.

“Being the local video store guy has always been a dream of mine,” says Kenny. “And so as not to simply run a video library, but to run the video store for this time it was pretty special. It is thanks to Sydney’s film community and moviegoers who have kept us going.

Despite the impending closure, Kenny remains in good spirits. “I’ve always run this place on my own terms, and I feel like I’m leaving on those terms as well. Ten years ago when I started, it was always a case of, ‘Well , I’ll see how long I can do this job.’ And for having done this for an entire decade, it’s way beyond my best expectations. It all feels like bonus time, and now that our goal is achieved, it’s time to move on.

Although Kenny has yet to make plans for his post-Cine Club life (“right now it’s all a big question mark”), he recognizes the impact the closure will have on the community.

“People move into the area and don’t know anyone, and sometimes we are their first stop,” he says. “So we had people thanking us for having them. It’s overwhelming. It’s unquantifiable, to think of the influence of the store. Clients have definitely made me understand that old cliché of “Oh, you changed my life”. »