Tonight, the rep movie house Red Vic bids adieu forever to a city of cinephiles and loyal patrons. Before it crosses over to the other side, Red Vic will screen Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude (1971), a film as sad and sweet as a funereal bouquet. In a most bittersweet turn of events, the theater’s last night is also its 31st birthday. Better to die young and beautiful, I suppose.

News broke this year of the co-op style alternative theater’s imminent close, and it became a reality last month when the Red Vic owners made the official announcement. For movie geeks like myself, this bulletin was not only a eulogy but an end of an era. For one, the Bay Area is down a rep theater. And for two, it’s sad to see that a small, worker-owned collective can’t survive in San Francisco.

The Red Vic’s calendar of classic, foreign and independent films — as well as current releases at least once a month — made the theater a haunt for moviegoers with obscure and unusual tastes. But now it seems the status quo isn’t quite in their favor anymore.

For Harold and Maude, you have two options: 7:15 and 9:30. Hal Ashby’s cult darling stars Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort as two misfits whose burgeoning friendship blossoms into a strange romance in spite of their age difference.

Tickets range from $6 to $9 and, until tomorrow, the theater is located at 1727 Haight between Cole and Shrader.

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