Words by: Finnian Williamson
Any mildly passionate film buff or Mt Lawley local will look at Planet Video as the father figure of rental stores. Still maintaining that retro American video store vibe, Video has served Perth’s community with its seemingly infinite selection of movies – obscure cult classics, indie Australian flicks, timeless masterpieces – making it the go-to place for that film you can’t find anywhere else. Far more inviting than your standard rental chain, the staff were always ready with a passionate and knowledgeable answer. Open till late every day with probably the best rental store advertisements ever to grace our papers, Planet knew and loved film.
But when it’s closing was announced, it didn’t come as a great surprise. Obviously, locals of the store were heart-broken the best video shop in WA would be closing, but it had been coming for a long time. Netflix and Internet Piracy are now the norm, and the fact that Planet survived this long is an indication of the loyal community it had created.
I was lucky enough to be at Video’s final week, directing a short documentary about the store’s closing. The customers – some who hadn’t been there for five, ten, twenty years – came out in force to bid goodbye to an integral part of Mt Lawley’s culture. It’s not an exaggeration to say Video’s closing was an end of an era, signalling not only a change in Perth’s lifestyle but also how technology’s transformed since the store’s opening 25 years ago.
Add to that a loss of crazy customers, wanna-be gangsters and…well, why don’t you watch the documentary and remember Planet for the icon it was.