BEST PLACE TO RENT FOREIGN FILMS - 2000
Not much has changed at Intercontinental since it took this category last year: The West Bank store is still an unsightly mess, to the extent that it's amazing when the staff can actually find what you're trying to rent (and, alas, sometimes they can't). But even amid the chaos of tapes and boxes stacked floor to ceiling on both sides of the counter, what one has here is the chance to take home foreign titles that aren't in circulation anywhere else in town--and world cinema enthusiasts leap at that chance wherever they can. (Who cares whether Blockbuster is spic and span if you can't get Sauve qui peut (la vie)?) The many ultrararities at this truly international tape outlet include something for everyone from just about everywhere: Spain, Poland, Yugoslavia, France, Israel, Sweden, Hong Kong, China, Russia, and more, each given its own amply stocked shelf. And once you acquiesce to the high-pressure sell to become a member ($25 a year; two free rentals included), most tapes go for a mere $1.55 per day. (Members pay $2.50 for new releases, while nonmembers pay $3 for anything.) The store's laser-printed signs suggest: "If You Don't See What You Want--Ask!" And that's good advice, since you never know what you'll find--or not find--at this video equivalent of an overseas casino, where the risk is high and the payoff phenomenal.