'Koch' documentary opens on day of Koch's death

February 1, 2013 8:07:14 PM PST
"Koch" wasn't meant to be an obituary, but in many ways the documentary is exactly that.

It premiered Friday, but its larger than life star wasn't around to enjoy its screening.

"Koch" the documentary is a narrative of a man's rise to political power and a behind the scenes look at the struggles he faced along the way.

But as fate would have it, the former mayor who so loved the spotlight isn't around for the fanfare as his death coincided with the movie's premiere.

"What does it mean to you that he passed away today, the day the movie opened?" a filmgoer asked the director.

"This has been a very surreal day. I was awakened around 6:30 by a local reporter telling me he passed away," said Neil Barsky, "Koch" director.

"Koch" director Neil Barsky answered questions from theater-goers after a screening of the documentary.

"Some of the scenes will feel a little different now because he does talk about death in the film. He does visit his gravesite," Barsky said.

88-year-old Ed Koch's death has saddened many New Yorkers, including Wade Hanley who says he met the mayor as a young boy.

"I was always a fan of Mayor Koch. After today, I knew I had to see it, I didn't want to miss it," Hanley said.

"A little bit of sadness. It's kind of like your grandpa died," a filmgoer said.

"I think it was a great way to honor his memory. What he stood for and what he represented. And he did a great job for us," another filmgoer said.

"He would have loved it. It's better than any editorial, obituary, or anything else. It's what he would have wanted," a viewer said.

The documentary will be screened at the Angelika Film Center in the village as well as Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on the Upper West Side.

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