FAILURE MACHINES

FAILURE MACHINES
Dirs. Nick Flessa, Karissa Hahn, Ilana Harris-Babou,
Ren Ebel, and Weston Lyon, 2019
58 min.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12 – 7:30 PM

failure machines is a collection of 5 shorts produced by 5 different directors that is touring out of Los Angeles.

FAILURE MACHINES is five films by five artists: Nick Flessa, Karissa Hahn, Ilana Harris-Babou, Ren Ebel, and Weston Lyon. The total run time of the program is 58 minutes. Its headliner is Nick Flessa’s long unavailable thesis film, IF I FORGET YOU, JERUSALEM, made during his graduate studies at Cal Arts. The film has recently been reacquired and re-mastered, and is ready to be shown for the first time. Grounded in a depiction of his former home in the East Side exurbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, Flessa’s film is a return to a land of new housing, humid overgrowth, and restless youth. Its generational hauntings and terse connections between parent and child engage a conversation around home movie aesthetics of the past, through Hi8 drenched framing and locked-off moments of lonely familial coexistence. Its characters proceed through time without immediacy but remain fixed together along a bloodline.

As a collection, the program looks to clear the boundaries of the “origin story”, a form commonly deployed for the development of character within narrative. Here, the focus is much more on a kind of technological failure. The origin story, as a concept, is tied to Nick Flessa’s return to Cincinnati, Ren Ebel’s attempts to locate a coyote in his home city, Ilana Harris-Babou’s domestic critique, Karissa Hahn’s media layering in the woods, and Weston Lyon’s journey down a river traversing the history of animation. All put forth sizable amounts of filmic play and biography. Each artist has their individual pursuits yet they all cohere along a line of recording that which escapes its beginnings. This, aided by a reverence for obsolete pictures, locates the program in a contemporary, rapidly aging moment.

History, in the form of a long and disjointed past of video technologies, is highly present in the program. It is its principle subject in ways less about a conventional origin story and more about the mechanized means of filming or representing the chosen worlds of each artist. All four artists happen to be millennials. And specific to this generation is cheap video, media distribution and home entertainment, all seemingly expanding without limit from the late part of the last century forward. This expansion, in all of its sociological crush, is taken quite literally for long sections of the program and continually calls attention to itself both in photography and script, at the surface and in performance. During key moments, the artists look to this history to catalyze sensations of perpetuity, distress, and the sublime.

All four films’ biographical leanings raise questions around disconnectedness, Saturday Morning Cartoons, matriarchy, and arguably, growing up. IF I FORGET YOU, JERUSALEM’s experiments in verisimilitude gradually sink deeper into narrative and ultimately bind together a historical moment in image making with the loss of one’s mother. The throwback camcorder positioned to quietly observe Flessa’s elegy on teenage disintegration; the soft buzz and delay of sound that predates its sources; the sitcom-like television set that never shuts off in his father’s living room…you can’t help but place the program’s concluding film in a time of neoliberal verve, where the promise of expanded middle class American life is outlived by its tools of preservation.

FREE AT LAST!

After a 20 year hiatus, new films are finally entering the public domain. Come celebrate our newly accessible cultural heritage as we screen some of the best of 1923…



LITTLE OLD NEW YORK
dir. Sidney Olcott, 1923.
110 mins. United States.
Silent with English intertitles.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23 – 3 PM
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29 – 10 PM

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Revenge! Harps! Crossdressing! Boxing! Bondage! Steamboats!

In order to receive a large inheritance and exact her father’s revenge upon his wealthy estranged brother, Pat(ricia) O’Day (Marion Davies) must travel to America from Ireland disguised as her ailing brother Pat(rick) O’Day. There she must avoid detection, honor a deathbed promise to her father, and check her anti-English impulses. Pat shows a knack for business, gets caught up in her cousin’s investment scheme, and must risk all to save the (extended) family’s home. Come for the fisticuffs, stay for the jigs!

NEW DIGITIZATION from the Library of Congress and a NEW soundtrack by Ben Model




THE BURNING CRUCIBLE
Dir. Ivan Mosjoukine, 1923
108 mins. France.
Silent with French intertitles and English subtitles.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30 – 3 PM

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“One day, I saw LE BRASIER ARDENT. The audience howled and whistled, shocked by a film so different from their usual fare. I was ecstatic… I decided to abandon my trade, ceramics, to try to make films.” – Jean Renoir

Too surreal to be straightforward romance, too sweet and sentimental to be anything but, silent oddity THE BURNING CRUCIBLE combines French amour-fou with Russian mystical melancholy in this tale of a detective who falls in love with the ‘lost wife’ he’s honor-bound to return to her doting husband.

The only directorial feature by Russian star Ivan Mosjoukine (who also wrote and played 11 different roles in the film), THE BURNING CRUCIBLE reflects the unique synthesis that made Mosjoukine himself so popular in his adopted country. Described by one admirer as ‘the subtle alchemist of passion and pain’, here he plays famous detective ‘Z’, who haunts the dreams of young wife Elle (played by Mosjoukine’s real-life wife Nathalie Lissenko). Elle and her husband, a doting, wealthy businessman, have grown apart. Tormented by jealous visions, the husband chases her through the streets of Paris in a scene worthy of Buster Keaton, accidentally stumbling into a unique detective agency dedicated to finding lost items – including the affection of wives. Unwittingly hiring the very man Elle’s dreamt of, he puts Z on the case, but in trying to discover the root of Elle’s apathy, Z uncovers a shared passion for Paris and a growing attraction to the lively young woman.

All this takes place on sets far too large for the human scale, amid truly bizarre set pieces including a dance contest literally to the death, a secret society with rooms of disembodied organs, and the swankest bedroom in Paris. Less ‘anti-‘ and more valentine to the bittersweetness of falling in love,THE BURNING CRUCIBLE’s earnestness is constantly tempered by a hefty dose of surreal humor.

EYES OF FIRE


EYES OF FIRE
dir. Avery Crounse, 1983
90 mins. United States.

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 8 – MIDNIGHT
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30 – MIDNIGHT

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Set in the 1750’s, EYES OF FIRE follows a group of colonial pioneers who narrowly escape persecution after their preacher (Dennis Lipscomb) has an affair with a married woman. Exiled from the small settlement, they make their way deeper into the wilds of future-America, haunted by the spectral threat of attack by Native Americans, until they find their way to a valley the natives avoid due to superstitions about the sinister nature of the land.

A sort of Protestant riff on AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD and potentially the first “western horror” hybrid film, EYES OF FIRE is a startlingly original and effective independent film that slipped largely under the radar on release in the early 80’s. It conjures a genuine sense of dread and tackles its colonial subject matter in a surprisingly modern way, and boasts some deliriously good and unsettling low-budget practical effects.

Showing in a less-than-stellar VHS rip but losing none of its potency, this is a real Thanksgiving horror treat.

BACK TOGETHER AGAIN: The Films of Milton Moses Ginsberg

Hailed in cinephile circles for its audacity and economy, Milton Moses Ginsberg’s 1969 debut COMING APART, starring Rip Torn, anticipated both the imminent porno chic mainstream of DEEP THROAT, and the rawness and transgression of ’90s American independents.

Unfairly panned by Andrew Sarris, COMING APART nosedived in attendance after its first week, its static-camera faux-documentary intimacy presaging the zeitgeist by just a hair, and its subject matter, including mental illness, sexuality, and misogyny, too real for the nudie-cutie crowd. Its box office misfortune would follow Ginsberg for the remainder of his career, complicating the production of his 1973 follow-up THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON; in 1975, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For the following decades, he would work in relative obscurity, primarily as a commercial editor for television—until the ’90s, in which a Museum of Modern Art repertory screening of the debut drew renewed interest in Ginsberg leading to a favorable New York Times profile and a Kino Lorber distribution deal. Much like the trajectory of fellow traveller Mark Rappaport, Ginsberg would eventually return to moving image in the form of video-essays, made in a similarly minimal spirit as COMING APART, tackling issues such as mortality, end times, the history of noir, and more.

Now, as COMING APART celebrates a half-century, feted at Metrograph on the anniversary of its debut, Spectacle presents a retrospective of these post-debut works.




THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON
dir. Milton Moses Ginsberg, 1973
90 mins. United States.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 29 – 7:30 PM

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A Watergate-era horror-comedy starring Dean Stockwell as a reporter bitten by a werewolf, assigned as a press assistant for the president of the United States (Biff McGuire).




THE MIRROR OF NOIR
dir. Milton Moses Ginsberg, 2015
120 mins. United States.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7 – 10 PM
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26 – 10 PM

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THE MIRROR OF NOIR describes the journey of several filmmakers who invented German Expressionist Cinema – and, forced to flee Germany, helped invent American film noir in Hollywood. The film focuses not on their physical journey – but on the journey of their cinematic style and the darkness of their vision. It also tells the story of a boy growing up in the Bronx who develops an obsession with haunted heroes and a fatal attraction to femmes fatale.




KRON
dir. Milton Moses Ginsberg, 2011
45 mins. United States.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30 – 5 PM

Preceded by:
DARK MATTER
Dir. Milton Moses Ginsberg, 2018
16 mins. United States.

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Earning his living photographing tiny objects – faceted diamonds for gem dealers, the architecture of insects for biologists – Kron decides to turn his close-up lens on the intricate movements of the watches he’s been obsessively collecting his entire life. As he magnifies their tiny gears and spinning wheels, Kron feels himself being drawn into their microscopic universe – and becoming increasingly haunted by re-found memories, his own mortality and time itself. Let’s call his Proustian journey ‘The Private Life of Time.’




THE END
Dir. Milton Moses Ginsberg, 2017
85 mins. United States.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22 – 10 PM
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25 – 10 PM

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Several haunting questions have taken on a sudden immediacy: Is humanity facing extinction in this very century? Have we already turned corners from which there is no turning back? And do sci-fi films merely offer us distraction, or have they been accurately describing the end of our existence? THE END collects the most prescient clips from past and present sci-fi films – and asks members of the scientific and political communities to assess whether these fantasy films that have been entertaining us for decades have actually been correct in predicting our total demise as a species – and soon!

DIGITAL NIGHTMARES OF DAMON PACKARD PT TWO


Continuing last month’s stellar run of Packard madness, we are pleased to bring you the ~NEW YORK PREMIERE~ of FATAL PULSE aka NIGHT PULSE aka UNTITLED YUPPIE FEAR THRILLER, along with a few choice older offerings.



FATAL PULSE
(aka NIGHT PULSE)
(aka UNTITLED YUPPIE FEAR THRILLER)
dir. Damon Packard, 2018
114 mins. United States.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 5 PM – Q&A via Skype with Damon Packard! (This event is $10.)
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 – 7:30 PM – Q&A via Skype with Damon Packard! (This event is $10.)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS

A powerful corporate mogul advisor for President Bush is trapped in his own home by a deranged deadbeat roommate named Tobo, the brother of his wife, who is plotting to kill him and everyone else in the movie. Meanwhile, everyone else is plotting to kill everyone else.

A psychotic stew of late 80’s / early 90’s pop culture chaos, Packard’s four year in the making magnum opus defies easy description, imagining an alternate early 90’s hellscape where reality caves in on itself and time breaks down.

One of those rare movies that truly has to be experienced to be believed. Starring Major Entertainer, and featuring cameos* by Janet Jackson, Sade, Bono, Dick Cheney, William Friedkin, and many more!




FOXFUR
Dir. Damon Packard, 2012 / 1999
60 min / 7 min (67 min total), USA

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 – 5 PM
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 – 3 PM
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS

A mentally unbalanced, oversensitive young girl obsessed with Billy Meier, the Pleiadians, crystals, dolphins, Richard C. Hoagland, David Icke and all manner of new age-isms rarely leaves her room due to her ability to see “the dead zone,” a living sentient energy which is the materialization of a time not meant to exist. When she is finally evicted after a shocking visit to the Bodhi Tree Bookstore (where David Icke is found working at the register after his reported disappearance) she wildly murders her landlady, ends up homeless and transforms into a female Robin Hood after donning a new set of donated wardrobe. She finds herself in Malibu Creek State Park in the year 1982 after a violent bus crash with Richard Hoagland and embarks on adventures beyond description.

Packard’s truncated sci-fi epic still packs more of a wallop on a per-minute-basis than any independent sci-fi feature you will ever see, diving headfirst into conspiracy theories, alternate dimensions, UFOs, chemtrails, new-age philosophy, and the occult – plus guest appearances by David Icke and Bob Ellis! It’s a fascinating, hilarious trip you won’t soon forget.

SCREENING WITH:

The Early 70’s Horror Trailer (1999)

Another fake-trailer for the ages – this one shorter and constrained to the early 70’s as the title suggests. Packard employs his encyclopedic knowledge of all things pop-culture-and-horror into another gleeful celebration of the movies, particularly schlocky horror movies.




SPACEDISCO ONE
Dir. Damon Packard, 2007 / 2009
45 min. United States.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS

A loose sequel to both LOGAN’S RUN and 1984, the official synopsis goes something like ‘Winston Smith runs into the daughters of Logan 5 and Francis 7’, but more accurately it plays like a long-trailer and making-of, in the best way possible.

Set in a roller-disco rink inside a space station, SPACEDISCO ONE blurs the line between documentary and fiction, satire and farce, the film ricocheting between fragments of scenes, dumping loads of plot between rants about chemtrails and how hard it is to make a movie with no resources from someone who looks to be a parody of Packard himself.

A love letter to sci-fi, movies and making movies.

SCREENING WITH:

TALES OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (2009)

A live-action tribute to Miyazaki made with little to no money, but per usual, what it lacks in budget it more than makes up for in charm and ingenuity. Packard avoids white washing and leans into the no-budget aesthetic, using actual stuffed animals as stand ins for Miyazaki’s creatures.

More a collection of scenes from Nausicaa than a cohesive narrative, fans of Miyazaki, Packard, either, or neither will find something to enjoy here.

NOVEMBER MIDNIGHTS



CARDS OF DEATH
Dir. Will MacMilan, 1986
94 mins. United States.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20 MIDNIGHT

A sort of cop-thriller-turned-horror film, CARDS OF DEATH follows a cop and two brothers as they try to track down the leaders of a murderous underground card game, in which masked players are forced to kill the loser or be killed themselves. When a cop on the case disappears, things get personal.

Shot on VHS, this accidental gialli ping pongs between the demented villains who run the card game (in what appears to be an empty warehouse with plastic bags + neon lights stuck to the walls) and the oafish cops trying to catch a lead. A truly out-there sleazy midnight gem.




NIGHTWISH
Dir. Bruce R. Cook, 1989

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16 – MIDNIGHT

A team of grad students studying lucid dream states in an attempt to die inside a dream without waking up (whoaaaa). As a final project, the lead research scientist drags the co-eds to a haunted house built on top of a former mine whose ‘magnetic waves’ will make their experiments easier to conduct (naturally), but the movie quickly unravels into a batshit maze of twists and turns.

Frequently referred to as a FLATLINERS ripoff despite coming out a few years prior, NIGHTWISH manages to be both dumber and more fun to watch than Schumacher’s (glorious) trainwreck.

Seances, mad scientists, zombies, aliens, booms-in-frame, glowing snakes – this movie has literally everything you could want in a genre flick and more.

Screening a brand new blu-ray remaster, courtesy of Unearthed Films.


MADMAN
Dir. Joe Giannone, 1981

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22 – MIDNIGHT

Gather round the campfire and hear the tale of Madman Marz, who legend says is summoned if you say his name too loud in his woods, says an old man to a group of teens who will absolutely yell his name into the woods Candyman-style first chance they get.

Alternately dreamy and goofy, creepy and hilarious, this-meat-and-potatoes slasher is way more fun and stylish than it has any right to be. Starring Gaylen Ross (DAWN OF THE DEAD, CREEPSHOW) and the goofy guy who sings the opening campfire shanty (Tony “Fish” Nunziata), and 6’5’’ behemoth Paul Ehlers as the titular MADMAN (fun fact: he was originally hired to design the poster art but was upgraded to Madman when the original actor dropped out).

Screening a new remaster from the original negative courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome.

SIGNS OF CHAOS: THE FILMS OF ROGERIO SGANZERLA

“I will never deliver clear ideas, eloquent speeches, or classically beautiful images when confronted with garbage, I will only reveal, through free sound and funereal rhythm, our own condition as ill-behaved, colonized people. Within the garbage can, one must be radical.” — Rogério Sganzerla

“Make films to occupy run down, low class theaters and be subsequently forgotten” — Rogério Sganzerla

Spectacle Theater is proud to present a near-complete retrospective of the films of Rogério Sganzerla, an independent master who challenged the institutionalized filmmaking of Brazil in the late Sixties to create a transgressive, intertextual, cinema of instability.  Sganzerla’s films which were a product of the Cinema Marginal movement (which also featured filmmakers like Ozualdo Candelas, Julio Bressane, & João Callegaro) are bold, dense, radical experiments that opposed the dogmatic aesthetics of Glauber Rocha’s Cinema Novo and shifted towards a new kind of cinematic liberation, one that was rich in atonality, dialectical reflection, and fragmented deconstruction.

Described as “a kind of cinematic writing in quotations”, Sganzerla’s films employ a reflexive depth and creative intuition that is likely unparalleled. Though miscast as “The Brazilian Godard” (La Monde, 2004), Sganzerla’s sense of cinema is uniquely his own. In reference to his dialectical approach to overcome modern cinema he explains he “had to film Godard in order to get rid of Godard.” In 2010, after a retrospective of his work was held at the BAFICI, Quintin – esteemed film critic and former head of the festival – referred to Sganzerla’s work as “much more important than Godard.” Canon aside, Sganzerla’s films perhaps have more to do with the theatricality of space and Artaud’s theatre of cruelty than with anything else in the history of cinema.

Part One of this two-part retrospective begins with 1968’s O BANDIDO DA LUZ VERMELHA (THE RED LIGHT BANDIT), made by Sganzerla at the age of 22 (three years younger than Orson Welles was when he made CITIZEN KANE), and which was manifested as an assemblage of genres ranging from the American B-picture to the surrealistic and parodical experiments of post-world War II. It had a profound impact on Brazilian filmmaking and became the quintessential film of the Cinema Marginal movement (alternatively labeled as the Cinema of Invention or the Cinema Udigrúdi – Rocha’s term, used almost mockingly, to bastardize the English word “underground”), which applauded films made with low-budgets and technical imperfections. Shooting on location in the Boca do Lixo (translated literally as “Mouth of the Garbage”, in downtown São Paulo),  Sganzerla exposed reality for all of its cruelties with his expansive discursive collage that was self-described as “a Western of the third world.”

Sganzerla followed up his well-received debut with 1969’s A MULHER DE TODOS (THE WOMAN OF EVERYONE), which will be featured in Part Two of the retrospective and stars Helena Ignez, his partner and muse, who plays, in the director’s own words, “the number one enemy of men.” It is an absurdist first-rate comedy that “undoubtedly reveals, without false modesty, the greatest work of a Brazilian cinema actress.”

Then in 1970, when censorship was high and the military dictatorship was getting stronger in Brazil, Sganzerla united with Julio Bressane to form Belair films in Rio. It was there that they made seven films in the span of three months. Acting as anti-cultural activists they produced three of Sganzerla’s most daring films (one of them forever lost to history, CARNAVAL NA LAMA) further blurring the line between art and reality, exploiting a caustic humor that literally explodes on the screen, breaking free from clear psychological or anthropological categorization. COPACABANA MON AMOUR (1970)  and SEM ESSA ARANHA (NO WAY, SPIDER, 1970) represent cinema as the “art of the present” with a deeply rooted internal structure and logic that exists on its own defiant terms. These deconstructive masterpieces turned the camera to the Favelas, usually in a series of long takes which stimulate visual contemplation over time while actors dip in and out of frame repeating the same words over and over again until the words become meaningless or inversely create new meanings from language itself. These radical polemical works are chaotic and contradictory and reveal a political horror that is both messy and awe-inspiring in their execution.

After the disbandment of Belair, Sganzerla and Ignez travelled through Europe and North Africa, working in exile and making short experimental works, some of which were completed while others were left abandoned. It was during this time that their daughters Sinai & Djin were born, both of whom would have a profound impact on preserving Sganzerla’s archive. In fact, Sinai Sganzerla’s most recent short EXTRATOS (2019) will be presented in Part Two of the retrospective, featuring images from the short documentary FORA DO BARALHO, shot in the Sahara desert and left unfinished in 1971.

It was also in the Seventies where Sganzerla developed a deep fascination with Jimi Hendrix, who he declared “America’s number one genius”. He began filming Hendrix in 1970 at the Isle of Wight Festival and a few years later in 1977, he would dedicate an entire film to him. O ABISMO (Or ABISMU) served as a return to feature-film making for Sganzerla. It is a film about “the abyss”, or an endless search for the infinite. Fusing archetypes, spaces (both past and present), cryptograms, treasure maps, symbols, phrases, ideograms, experimental imagery, and most spectacularly, Jimi Hendrix, all coalesced into a structuralist mind-fuck that is both mythical and enigmatic.

In part two of the retrospective we will feature NEM TUDO E VERDADE (IT’S NOT ALL TRUE, 1985) – the first of four films made by Sganzerla about Orson Welles’ Pan-American trip to Brazil told through an amalgam of archival images, re-enactments, interviews, faux documentary, pastiche, and film essay. The title is a pun on Orson Welles’ unfinished film IT’S ALL TRUE, filmed during his stint in Brazil in 1941. We will show the complete tetralogy of films which includes a short-length Eisenstienian montage film A LINGUAGEM DE ORSON WELLES (THE LANGUAGE OF ORSON WELLES, 1990), the follow up feature, TUDO E BRASIL (ALL IS BRAZIL, 1998) and Sganzerla’s closing thoughts on the matter – which also marked his final film – SIGNS OF CHAOS (2003). It it is through these fascinating documents that we begin to understand not only Sganzerla’s obsession with Welles and his great experimentalism, but the harsh reality of Brazilian politics and the forces of suppression.

Lastly we will feature the short and medium-length works of Rogério Sganzerla which possess relentless experimental energy, innovative image-play, and spectacular uses of montage. These films are just as important as the features. We will be playing his debut short, DOCUMENTARIO (1966) which follows two teens who are looking to see a movie, HQ (1969), a unique collaboration with Brazilian journalist Álvaro de Moya on the history of comics, ISTO é NOEL ROSA (1980), an imaginative medium-length film devoted to the tragic samba musician Noel Rosa, PERIGO NEGRO (1992) produced with a script by Brazilian polemicist Oswald De Adrade, and a special tribute film entitled BRASIL (1981) which has João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Gil Gilberto, & Maria Bethania making the aforementioned record in a recording studio.

Rogério Sganzerla’s cinema is one that demands to be seen in order to be experienced.

“Those with shoes will not survive!” 

Long live Brazil and long live Rogério Sganzerla’s cinema of instability.




THE RED LIGHT BANDIT
(O BANDIDO DE LUZ VERMELHA)
dir. Rogerio Sganzerla, 1968
92 mins. Brazil.
In Brazilian Portuguese with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14 – 10 PM with introduction from film critic Pablo Gonçalo!
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17 – 7:30 PM

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“My film is a western about the Third World. That is to say, a fusion and blending of various genres…a western, but also a musical, a documentary, a cop film, a comedy (Or is it slapstick?), and science fiction. It has documentary honesty (Rossellini), the violence of a cop film (Fuller), the anarchic pace of a western (Sennett, Keaton), and the brutal simplification of conflict (Mann).” – Rogério Sganzerla

“Who are we?”

THE RED LIGHT BANDIT stars Paulo Villaça as the crude and existential bandit on the loose in downtown Sao Paolo’s, Boca do Lixo. Sganzerla refers to the bandit as a repressive “political character… an impotent rebel”; who speaks in revolutionary rhetoric and torments society into mass delirium. This is a revolutionary film and by some accounts, one of the greatest Brazilian films ever made.




COPACABANA MON AMOUR
dir. Rogerio Sganzerla, 1970
85 mins. Brazil.
In Brazilian Portuguese with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 – 10 PM

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“First kill your ego then come with me.” – Rogério Sganzerla

“Hunger, Thirst, Dance.”

COPACABANA MON AMOUR follows Sonia Silk, a sex worker troubled by visions and spirits, who walks around Copacabana dreaming of being a big-time radio singer. The first Brazilian film shot in Cinemascope (or “Stranglescope”, as the film puts it), COPACABANA MON AMOUR points its lens (as if shooting the south of France in the summertime) towards the favelas of Rio where reality crumbles right before your eyes.




O ABISMO
(THE ABYSS)
dir. Rogério Sganzerla, 1977
80 mins, Brazil
In Portuguese with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 3:30 PM
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

“Jimi Hendrix is a thinker and to him I dedicate all my travelings, panoramic and fixed plans. With him I discovered the need to say everything at once no matter what.” – Rogério Sganzerla

“What I wanted was to destroy my ego…”

O ABISIMO is a sensory mind-trip that forges a dialog between the music of Jimi Hendrix, the land of Fusangs, the power of MU, and the story of an Egyptologist, who is searching for an ancient emblem while being pursued by a woman named Madame Zero (Norma Bengell). The film also features director José Mojica Marins as the professor, Ze Bonitinho as some-sort of deconstructive archetype, Edison Machado (Bossa Nova legend) as a drummer who plays loud and intermittently, & Wilson Gray – who shoots a gun in the middle of nowhere while making references to Edgar Allen Poe. O ABISIMU is possibly Sganzerla’s freest film.




THE SHORT FILMS OF ROGERIO SGANZERLA: PROGRAM ONE
dir. Rogério Sganzerla, 1966-1992
110 mins. Brazil.
In Brazilian Portuguese with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 10 PM
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

DOCUMENTARIO
1966. 10 mins.
Featuring cinematography by Andrea Tonacci, Sganzerla’s debut short-film follows two teens walking around, killing time, and talking about movies.

HQ
1969. 10 mins.
A unique collaboration with Álvaro de Moya (who is considered to be the foremost Brazilian expert on comic books) on the history of the comic.

BRASIL
1981. 13 mins.
João Gilberto receives Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Maria Bethania during the recording of his legendary album Brasil.

ISTO E NOEL ROSA
1990. 47 mins.
A fascinating collage filled with animation, reenactment, montage, and samba dedicated to the tragic Brazilian musician, Noel Rosa.

PERIGO NEGRO
1992. 29 mins.
A bitter comedy based off the only screenplay left by the great Oswald de Andrade which follows the career of a rising soccer player in Rio.

MATCH CUTS PRESENTS: Y2K STALKERS – FEAR


FEAR
dir. James Foley, 1996.
USA, 97 min.
English.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20th
ONE NIGHT ONLY

MATCH CUTS PRESENTS closes out the year (and their three-year [!] Spectacle run) with a series titled Y2K STALKERS, taking place October thru December. Presented in reverse chronological order, the series looks at, well, stalker movies before and after the year 2000 (aka Y2K). First up is 2002’s SWIMFAN, followed by FEAR in November, and finally THE CRUSH in December.

“When Nicole (Reese Witherspoon) met David (Mark Wahlberg); handsome, charming, affectionate, he was everything. It seemed perfect, but soon she sees that David (Mark Wahlberg) has a darker side. And his adoration turns to obsession, their dream into a nightmare, and her love into fear.” – IMDB

MATCH CUTS is a weekly podcast centered on video, film and the moving image. Match Cuts Presents is dedicated to presenting de-colonialized cinema, LGBTQI films, Marxist diatribes, video art, dance films, sex films, and activist documentaries with a rotating cast of presenters from all spectrums of the performing and plastic arts and surrounding humanities. Match Cuts is hosted by Nick Faust and Kachine Moore.

THE LAST REVENGE

THE LAST REVENGE
(DIE LETZTE RACHE)

dir. Rainer Kirberg, 1982.
85 mins. Germany.
In German with English subtitles.
Music by Der Plan.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4 – 10 PM
MONDAY, OCTOBER 7 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

While Spectacle has been host to a number of films noteworthy for their soundtracks (ROCK N’ ROLL HOTEL, HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS) as well as their love of the sepulchral (MARQUIS, BLACK PAST), Rainer Kirberg’s little-seen German No Wave oddity straddles both sensibilities. First broadcast in on the second TV channel in West Germany (ZDF), THE LAST REVENGE is a camp nightmare, a Brothers Grimm-style fairy tale told in bravura musical numbers. The score (and subsequent album) by legendary electronic group DER PLAN (Moritz R., Kai Horn, and Frank Fenstermacher) is at once jarring, hypnotic, abrasive, flouncy and dissonant, but the film is more than just an extended riff on the wild and subversive pop paegantry of the band’s concert appearances: Moritz designed the spellbinding 2D sets in the style of METROPOLIS and THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI. The plot, such as it is, concerns Worldly-Wise (Erwin Leder), an adventurer duped into participating in an experiment to help an aristocratic ruler gain immortal life. Something goes terribly wrong in the process, and Worldly sets his sights on the ruler’s two children, and their possibly incestuous relationship…

BURNING FRAME: A MONTHLY ANARCHIST FILM SERIES

CALLING ALL LEFTISTS! The past few years have been a whirlwind: exhausting, invigorating, and ripe with potential. It’s tremendously difficult, when in the thick of it, to pause, reflect, or even find a moment to catch a breath. Especially when “it” refers to the rise of fascism on a global scale, with any number of future cataclysms hovering just over the horizon. But we digress.

Join us, then, for a series that asks: if not now, when? Come for great works of radical political filmmaking, stay for the generative discussions, or even just to gossip and gripe. The hope isthat this forum for authentic representations of successes, defeats, and the messy work of political action, will be thrilling, edifying, and maybe even inspire your next organizing project. To butcher the title of a great film for the sake of a moderately applicable pun: “Throw away your dogma, rally in the cinema.”

NAGAI PARK ELEGY
(長居青春酔夢歌)
dir. Leo Sato, 2009
69 mins. Japan.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

“In 2006, the Osaka Municipal Government forcibly evicted two major tent villages, one in Utsubo Park and another in Osaka Castle Park. After having confronted with the riot police for defending the dwelling space, we were sadly realizing the impossibility of competing with the state power. Now the remaining village was only in Nagai Park. The dwellers and supporters of the village knew that they were doomed to be kicked out sooner or later. In the following winter of 2007, the people in the park staged a collaborative play, while their village was being attacked by the riot police. This was a festive choice in desperation. The director Sato was shooting this entire process. The present documentary is thus centered on the confrontation/play at Nagai Park.

During the 1990s, Japan’s real estate bubble dramatically burst. The day-laborers lost their jobs in construction and most of them turned to be homeless. On riverbeds and streets, in stations and parks, many large-scale tent villages appeared across Japan. There was a construction boom for a short period, after the Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, when jobs for day-laborers increased and homeless population decreased. But in the 2000s, tent villages returned everywhere in Osaka. The homeless people sought to sustain their reproduction by building tents, earn living by collecting cans and wastes, thereby organize their autonomous community. We, the outside supporters, went in their village, seeking to find a way of symbiosis.

Eventually we were evicted from Sagai Park as well. The loss affected our relations nurtured during the communal life-in-struggle. Being unable to create a new base, we were dispersed. Some of us were badly depressed in devastation. But in the summer of 2008, a riot broke out in Kamagsaki, the day-laborers’ ghetto in Osaka. It was locals’ response to the police brutality against a day-laborer. The event was a sheer surprise for most of us, because the locals had not rose up against the police since 1992. Though the police oppression was tough, we were nevertheless empowered. It provided the opportunity to connect the older dispossessed and the younger precariats in Osaka. It gave us who had been disseminated after the eviction an ideal occasion to reassemble. While shooting the riot, some of us organized a film production collective the Nakazaki-cho Documentary Space (NDS). Therefore, the documentary connects the struggle of underclass across Osaka’s urban space, from the tent village defense in the park to the inner-city riot.”

LETTER TO OUTSIDE FRIENDS FROM THE KAMAGASAKI COMMUNE:

We want to share our struggle with you, who are fighting against capitalism and the state, somewhere on the planet. We are seeking to make the labor center a space of our encounter and cohabitation. That is the most substantial objective of our present occupation.

On the evening of March 31st, we began occupying Airin Labor Welfare Center in Kamagasaki, Osaka. The humongous building was originally constructed in 1970 to provide the space for a large-scale labor market where construction companies could buy the labor power of day laborers on daily basis. After the construction boom was gone, the need for labor market has diminished and the building has gradually come to function as a common space for the workers and homeless people, being used communally for cooking, sleeping, hanging out, playing shogi, etc.

In the summer of 2018, closure of the building was announced by the Osaka Municipal Government. The building was to be demolished for new development. Expecting the eviction, various forms of protests were attempted by different groups. However, nobody had thought that a physical occupation was possible, until it actually happened on March 31st, the date scheduled for the closure. At the moment when the dear and necessary space fell under attack, a crowd emerged as so many bodies ready to physically defend it. The ensuing struggle manifests how this space had become a part of their lives.

The occupation has begun and continues. We have been observing much passion of left leaning academics to analyze why and how the occupation had taken place. We would say: if you need bread for your career, here it is, take it! But to be honest, ex post facto analyses do not help our occupation. What we need is to exchange and share the ideas and aspirations for what we want to create out of this occupation. Since the remarkable Sunday evening, when many bodies spontaneously gathered and rose up — beyond the divisions of activists vs. workers/homeless — our common passion has been to ask each other on our future orientation: what we want to do, how we want to do it, … It is the questionings that are presently rearranging the power of our struggle, as the impetus to go beyond the stagnant frameworks of day-laborers’ movement and homeless movement.

We would like you, our friends, to know that the occupied space has openness and uncertainty at the moment. Although the space is managed by us to welcome everyone, homeless people and neighbors, many of them are still standing-by, hesitating to join. Although increasing number of friends are visiting, the space is far from being a common place for the locals.

The power (or genius loci) of Kamagasaki is made by a hybridization of various types of people, who are essentially outsiders. The majority of residents are social outcasts (clerics, activists, criminals, day-laborers, performers, street vendors, miners, migrant peasants, prostitutes, transvestites, all kinds of losers, …), who originally come from somewhere else. It has been the place of radical struggles and periodic riots. But there has been no single ideology leading them. If there is anything that has led them, it is the power of cohabitation of those others who come from different backgrounds.

The hybrid power is manifest in various dimensions. For instance, the communal kitchen – one of the most crucial projects there — has been sustained twice a week (Tuesday and Saturday) in the autonomous space of Sankaku Park, since the 90s, by various individuals: Christians, day-laborers, park dwellers, organizers of homeless movement, leftist radicals, anarchists, citizen volunteers, … This project has been made possible by everyone’s gesture that is equally forged by persisting in everyday troubles, rather than by the efforts of selected few.

In the present occupation, the moment of cohabitation with all locals has not yet been discovered. But with the incompleteness, we intend to experiment a new arrangement of cohabitation. Especially, we would like you, our friends who are outsider to Kamagasaki, to bring something different to our common space shared by the present occupies, in order to create a new arrangement of cohabitation with those homeless people and neighbors, who are standing-by. It is high time to fully employ the hybrid power of outsiders/social outcasts as the genius loci of Kamagasaki.

The conventional premise of the leftist movement in Kamagasaki has been to postpone the end of workers’ autonomous space, tacitly taking for granted that it is destined to be lost sooner or later by the development. It is high time to go beyond this fatalism with a flavor of nostalgia. What is crucial for us now is to take this event as an opportunity to experiment a new social relation that would maximize the power of our struggle. As To Our Friends keenly said, while the subject of strike was the working class, the subject of occupation could be anyone, namely, the heterogenous and hybrid crowds.
Since the beginning of center’s crisis, young precariat like us have been engaged in the struggle leading to the occupation, in order to construct the base for a communal life of the dispossessed. Thereby we have been seeking to create a new form of life-as-struggle against the capitalist-nation-state on the everyday basis. This is an ongoing attempt to realize what we would want to share, which entails much unknown factors at the moment. But what we would want to realize is clear: to create a new village of the dispossessed within the mammoth building.

To begin with, we want to improve the present state of our living, where tens of us are surviving only with several tents installed on the small area covered with blue sheets, in the center’s huge floor. We want to make a kitchen with which we can cook for a hundred people. We want to become a power that makes possible a safe and comfortable cohabitation for all genders. We want to organize the openness and uncertainty as flexible as possible, so that everyone of us can attempt to create what we all share in their own ways. We want to stop representing the oppressed by professing to be supporters/activists, and instead, nurture the power together with the locals through our common struggle. We want to think together with you all what this struggle can achieve, beyond our intention.

We call to all friends who are passionate to participate in this occupation: the success of this struggle is not in sustaining the occupation forever. We are well aware of the fact that we could be evicted by the police anytime. Our objective is not to beat them. It is a sheer impossibility today. It is not only impossible, but also undesirable. What we want to have is not the power rivaling the power that the state conceives. What we want is a totally different power, namely, the power of association that creates an yet unknown arrangement of planetary struggle against the capitalist-nation-state, by connecting our attempt for a new cohabitation of the dispossessed in Kamagasaki with the struggles of our friends outside Kamagasaki. We believe that today’s revolutionary potency exists in the power nurtured by the encounter among the struggles across the planet.


KAMAGASKI CAULDRON WAR
(月夜釜合戦)
dir. Leo Sato, 2018
115 mins. Japan.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!


Kamagasaki is the town of day-laborers, homeless and social outcasts in Osaka Japan. Along with another urban ghetto, Sanya in Tokyo, the town saw periodic riots — even after the age of uprisings in the 60s — whose last manifestation was in the summer of 2008 during the G8 Summit. The town embodies all aspects of otherness to the country known for its near completion of social control and consumerist paradise.

During the economic growth, the resident workers were made to provide their blood and tears for massive developments, while excluded from nation’s civil society. After the construction boom dwindled, the town was disinvested and the impetus of all activities declined, but the exclusionary status has sustained, while the majority of residents have turned to be homeless. Today the area is the target of gentrification and the spaces of autonomy that the residents had achieved by their long-time struggles are being evicted one after another.

The town has been a center of political activism. The activists of liberal inclination work for welfare projects designed to domesticate homeless population, mostly, in collaboration with the government. Certain artists are mobilized to make the town look neater and more accessible to the general public. Labor organizers of different veins have long been working with the residents in the framework of their political organizations. Left leaning academics (mostly urban theorists) passionately study the history of labor militancy as well as the recent development of gentrification. And finally, young precariats (including those with anti-capitalist convictions) seek to create a cohabitation space with the older day-laborers and homeless by developing new autonomous zones. During the past two years, the annual gathering of Living Assembly was hosted by the community there.

On the evening of March 31st 2019, the residents of Kamagasaki began occupying the local labor center. This was the date scheduled by the Osaka municipal government for the center’s closure, in order to demolish it for a new development. At the moment when the existence of the center — dear and necessary in the minds of so many — fell under attack, a crowd emerged as so many bodies ready to physically defend it. The ensuing struggle manifests how the space itself had become a part of their lives.
Though originally constructed in 1970 as a massive labor marketplace where construction companies could buy the labor power of day laborers, the building had since come to function as a common space for the workers and homeless people, used communally for cooking, sleeping, hanging out, playing shogi, etc.

The occupation ended within twenty-four days. But the short-lived event broke the ice of powerlessness that had long been affecting the entirety of Japan, and opened a potency for the unknown. What was happening inside the occupied space was remarkable. It was an experimentation of cohabitation between the young and old dispossessed, outside the consumerist society. When the spring wind turned cold, heaters were brought in; when their stomachs got empty, a community kitchen was organized; when the night grew long, bedding was collected. The occupiers organized general assembly for sharing the prospect of occupation. They held various discussions for all decision-makings. They built a library. They invited authors to give talks. They had film screenings. Music concerts took place. Many outside friends in and out of Japan visited for support (…) These are manifestations of real capacity for a communal life in happiness, deriving from the power nurtured by the worker/homeless through their lives-as-struggle, that was reawoken by the new encounter between the older residents of Kamagasaki, young newcomers as well as friends from outside. The event created relations beyond the previously dominant duality between the activist (as savior) and the day-laborer/homeless (as victim); it surpassed the phase of leftists’ passive immersion in the nostalgia of good old days of labor militancy. The event created a new body of communal life-as-struggle.

This body is now charged with a question, that is shared universally among all of us living under the endless drive of capitalist/state mode of development. If every autonomous zone we create is destined to perish by violence, sooner or later, at some point in future, how can the autonomous zone and the communal relations nurtured therein sustain themselves and grow further? Is it possibly by creating a certain mobile form and synchronicity with others?

This film’s story takes place in various Kamagasaki locales, unfolding in the shadow of what its characters refer to simply as “Abeno.” This is the high-rise complex Abeno Harukas, Japan’s tallest building and the epitome of reckless development. Today, powerful and vested interests threaten to displace the old Kamagasaki dwellers and destroy the forms of life they created outside of civil society. The film maps this ongoing gentrification through the perspectives of a diverse cast of characters, representative of Kamagasaki’s real inhabitants: there are day laborers, prostitutes, homeless, a pickpocket, a street performer, a blind masseur, an orphan, a political activist and a priest. There is also a yakuza family called the Kamatari Gang who rule underground businesses, including the red light district Tobita Ukaku. Like real-life yakuza, the Kamatari regularly collaborate with the police and with developers. When the Kamatari’s prized possession — a kama emblazoned with the family emblem, used in pledging ceremonies — is stolen by a wandering performer, a great melee ensues, embroiling gangsters fighting for prestige, locals looking to make a few bucks, workers/homeless protecting their symbol of survival, and bystanders who can’t help but get involved. The countless kama being circulated around only complicate the situation, and confrontations multiply…

The cast includes only a few established actors. The majority of the characters are played by friends of the production team, and real people living in Kamagasaki. The film was shot in 16mm in attempt to capture the special atmosphere of Kamagasaki, its smells and its aura, as well as people’s breath and heartbeat. All in all, the real subject of the film is the town of Kamagasaki itself.

In the process of the film’s distribution, however, a conflict arose, between those who prioritize screening in political communities across the world and those who cherish major distribution, especially in national and international film festivals. This conflict is so idiotic, since there is no reason that these two stances have to oppose each other. On the other hand, however, in the context of Japan it embodies a recurrence of the important debate that surfaced in the late 60s among revolutionary film makers, between the film of movement (collectivity) or the film of author (director).

The production of KAMASAGAKI: THE CAULDRON WAR was made possible by the collaborative relations nurtured in the Nakazaki-cho Documentary Space (NDS), where all members contribute to making films directed by other members. This assumes a de-hierarchized collaboration among all, wherein all are directors and production assistants at the same time. But after the production ended, the drive for success in the capitalist mode of film making has come to dominate and a group led by the producer has come to monopolize the object and means of distribution. Meanwhile, another group persists in guerrilla screening across the world, focusing on small enclaves of radicals. It goes without saying that this screening is part of the latter.

All texts written by Living Assembly.