Author: spectacle_theater

PROOF OF EXISTENCE: THE FILMS OF ELIO PETRI

One of the better Oscar-acceptances was by Elio Petri, who said he was too busy working on another film and sent Leslie Caron to accept it with no prepared statement. Meanwhile, he was in the middle of THE WORKING CLASS GOES TO HEAVEN, with Gian Maria Volonté on set, complaining that the script went against the Communist Party and getting into fist fights with students. The film itself would go on to piss off the radical Italian left and tie for the Grand Prize at Cannes.
Petri studied with the neo-realists, but his films do not dwell on portraits: instead, they show how individual psychologies conflict with their social and political world. The contents of an individual are in high contrast: what contains a person is constantly trying to burst out and inflict some damage on the social and economic strictures. What makes a character is not that they play out a minor drama or undergo a personal change, but that they rip at the contradictions in their physical world, and in doing so, truly exist. Petri called these “dialectical films” – those that showed the tension and contradictions of life rather than mere representations. They are not only intense, but also cunning, desperate, funny, and strange.



L’ASSASSINO (THE LADY KILLER OF ROME, or THE ASSASSIN)
Dir. Elio Petri, 1961
Italy, 95 min.
In Italian with English subtitles
SUNDAY, JULY 1 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, JULY 6 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, JULY 9 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, JULY 17 – 10 PM
This is Petri’s feature film debut, starring real-life lady killer Marcello Mastroianni as Alfredo Martelli, the key suspect in the murder of a wealthy older woman. He is subsequently sequestered and endlessly questioned by an inspector, who not only probes Martelli’s relationship to the dead woman but also his general moral turpitude. Censors had many issues with how the film portrayed police authority (including a scene where policemen did not wipe their feet before entering a home), but Petri is equally taking shots at the young men of new wave cinema. The loud jazz soundtrack plays like a joke, and Martelli’s lack of integrity and passion is a critique of a generation. Petri comes from a different perspective, and this film defines how his films will stand apart from the art of his time.


PROPERTY IS NO LONGER A THEFT (LA PROPRIETÀ NON È PIÙ UN FURTO)
Dir. Elio Petri, 1973
Italy, 126 min.
In Italian with English subtitles
THURSDAY, JULY 5 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, JULY 13 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JULY 17 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JULY 30 – 7:30 PM
This is a stark and theatrical film that circles around two opposing characters: The Butcher, a rapacious capitalist, and Total, a self-proclaimed “Mandrakin Marxist”. Flavio Bucci is Total, a low-level accountant with the look of a hangdog-Stallone and a physical allergy to paper money. Ugo Tognazzi is The Butcher (recognizable from LA GRAND BOUFFE), a spokesperson for the potency of wealth and the wisdom of fully insuring your property. Total claims to steal only what he needs, but he has a psychological need to infuriate The Butcher with petty theft.
Ennio Morricone’s subtle score is accompanied by groans and conjugations of the verbs “to be” and “to have”, to an effect that is not as existential as it is surreal. Total summarizes the point: “I would like to be and to have, which is impossible. Property is longer a theft… it’s a disease.”


Poster and typeface by Benjamin Tuttle



THE WORKING CLASS GOES TO HEAVEN (LA CLASSE OPERAIA VA IN PARADISO)
Dir. Elio Petri, 1971.
Italy, 125 min.
In Italian with English subtitles
WEDNESDAY, JULY 4 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JULY 7 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JULY 8 – 5 PM
MONDAY JULY 16 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JULY 31 – 7:30 PM
In some ways, this is an inverted reprise of Petri’s INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION, the Oscar-winner from 1970. Gian Maria Volonté returns as the main character, this time a wound-up factory worker rather than high strung police detective. Morricone creates another essential score, sometimes drowned out by relentless yelling and clanging of factory machines. The factory was in no way staged: many of the workers in the film are not actors but employees.
Lulu Massa (Volonté) proves to be more of a hot-head than a working-class hero. Petri’s depiction of factory organizing is brutally honest: the factory gates are plagued with megaphone-toting students who bark slogans and annoy the workers. But a transformation occurs when Lulu loses a finger in a cutting machine and channels his new anger into support for a factory-wide strike. The “Italian miracle” was only achievable when workers did 15 hours worth of work in 8, and did so as a point of pride. When this ethos breaks, its power and determination seeks a different outlet.


Poster by Luke Alexander Atkinson



THE 10TH VICTIM (LA DECIMA VITTIMA)
Dir. Elio Petri, 1965
Italy, 93 min.
SATURDAY JULY 28th – 10 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!!!

ONLINE TICKETS HERE
FB EVENT

“The rules of the big hunt are quite easy. Rule #1: Each member is obliged to undertake ten hunts, five as the hunter, five as the victim. Rule #2: The hunter shall know all about his victim – name, address, habits too. Rule #3: The victim shall not be told who his hunter is: he must find out – and kill him.”
Don’t be mislead by the pronouns in those rules: Caroline Meredith (Ursula Andress) is a skilled killer and needs to kill one more person to finish the game. She wants to do it in grand style and needs to get it on camera to fulfill a lucrative sponsorship deal with the Ming Tea Company. All in all it is a truly mod affair: bold colors, mod concept, mod clothes, and furniture that is enviably mid-century mod. This is an unusual entry in the Petri canon – it’s some super-hip sci-fi within a critical social concept, and it’s great.


ELIO PETRI: NOTES ON A FILMMAKER (ELIO PETRI: APPUNTI SU UN AUTORE)
dir. Federico Bach, Nicola Guarneri, et al.
2005, 70 min.
In various languages, English subtitles
SUNDAY, JULY 8 – 7:30 PM (Q & A CANCELLED)
TUESDAY, JULY 31 – 10 PM (Q & A WITH NICOLA GUARNERI)

ONLINE TICKETS HERE
FB EVENT

“–What am I then? I come from a working class family, poor, if not abjectly poor. I instinctively chose to side with the workers. Circumstances led me to become a filmmaker. Which circumstances? The hundreds and thousands of films I saw and loved. The fact that the poor become boxers, or popular musicians, or filmmakers. The fact that film was, in those days, a popular art form.” – Elio Petri
This straightforward documentary winds through Petri’s career, guided by interviews with actors, directors, critics, and collaborators – including his widow Paola. It’s an excellent introduction to Petri’s films as well as their intersections with financial supporters, the public, and the broader political context. Ennio Morricone tells a story of Petri putting the wrong score to a film as a prank, which even in the retelling is deeply emotional.

MUBI PRESENTS: CASA ROSHELL


MUBI SPECIAL DISCOVERIES: CASA ROSHELL
dir. Camila José Donoso, 2017
71 minutes, Mexico/Chile
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13 – 7:30pm
SCREENING ADDED: TUESDAY, JUNE 26 – 7:30pm

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Music plays, drinks are served and the last boundaries are suspended: those between man and woman, gay, straight and bi, past and present, reality and fiction…

Official Selection: Berlin, Queer Lisboa, Rio de Janeiro, Art of the Real

“Tucked away, rejecting the norms of the outside world, lies the mesmerizing Casa Roshell, a place where gender rules do not apply, and men can transform into women without being judged or discriminated against. Director Camila José Donoso’s eye-opening documentary tells their story…a candid, inspiring and insightful exploration of how different things could be if the outside world looked at masculinity and femininity in a new light.” —The Upcoming

MUBI is a curated online cinema, streaming hand-picked award-winning, classic, and cult films from around the globe. Every day, MUBI’s film experts present a new film and you have 30 days to watch it. Whether it’s an acclaimed masterpiece, a gem fresh from the world’s greatest film festivals, or a beloved classic, there are always 30 beautiful hand-picked films to discover.

ARANDARAMA: THE EARLY FILMS OF VICENTE ARANDA



FATA/MORGANA (Left Handed Fate)
dir. Vincente Aranda, 1966
Spain, 84 min.
In Spanish with English hardsubs
MONDAY, JUNE 4 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JUNE 12 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, JUNE 24 – 5 PM
THURSDAY, JUNE 28 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

A comix/fumetti inspired film in line with Spectacle fave BABA YAGA and DEADLY SWEET, we enter a world of victims and killers and nothing besides. A strong giallo influence is pulled like taffy into a story that reaches Henry Stephen Keeler-style absurdity as Aranda, in his first film, piles on a parade of bizarre hitmen, garishly disguised spies, demented police officers and a faceless killer always waiting in the dark for our heroine Gim (Teresa Gimpera). Crackling with youthful energy, it’s a film for fans of pulpy paperbacks who want as many twists as possible.



LAS CRUELES (The Exquisite Cadaver)
dir. Vincente Aranda, 1969
108 min, Spain.
In dubbed English./h5>
TUESDAY, JUNE 5 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JUNE 18 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JUNE 24 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

“You must know that I am dying under the weight of my sorrow.”

Aranda blurs the line between thriller and horror with plenty of modernist touches and a deep melancholy in LAS CRUELES, or The Exquisite Cadaver. Our protagonist, a pulp publisher straight out of a Jess Franco film, receives a package containing a human hand, a hand , beginning a descent into guilt and madness that defies a simple plot synopsis. Filled with astonishing scenes shot with a near-architectural coolness, it’s a meditation on suicide, a tightly-plotted mystery and a sullen psychedelic reflection on the endless battle of the sexes. It also contains the greatest turtle funeral scene you will ever see!




THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK (Último deseo)
Dir. Leon Klimovsky, 1976
Spain/Italy, 78 min.
In dubbed English.
SUNDAY, JUNE 3 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JUNE 9 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JUNE 28 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Vincente Aranda co-wrote the script for this post-apocalyptic take on The Castle Of The Red Death/I Am Legend, as a group of military and financial leaders spend a nuclear strike partying in an old castle. Director Leon Klimovsky (known to Spectacle midnighters from WEREWOLF SHADOW and VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES) takes over the director’s seat for this one, and it’s no shock Paul Naschy is along with him, along with familiar faces Maria Perschy, Nadiuska and Alberto de Mendoza engaging in creepy rituals and various decadence. The group has to go to town to get supplies, only to find the town is not as empty as they guessed…Aranda’s script brings a particularly strange series of shocks to the story, moving toward one of the most what the fuck endings you’ll ever see!


And Coming in July… LA NOVIA ENSANGRENTADA (The Blood Spattered Bride) 

COLEMAN ZURKOWSKI’S ZERO (2017)

Z E R O
dir. Various, 2017
40 mins.
&
ICEBERG TABULAR
dir. Anthony Zakharia, 2015
40 mins.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY! ARTIST IN PERSON!

(This event is $10.)

ONLINE TICKETS HERE
FB EVENT

ZERO explores the mental and physical effects of binaural/isochronic rhythms gradually slowing into silence, featuring music by Coleman Zurkowski and short films by Nick Edelberg, Kostas Chondros, Jodie Mack, Solomon Turner, Anthony Zakharia, Jimmy Schaus, Sofia Canales, Chris Wronka, and John Schmidt.

ICEBERG TABULAR is comprised of seven scenes directed by Anthony Zakharia set to seven arrangements by Zurkowski. Each scene contains a single, unbroken shot depicting the human form engaged in unexplained rituals and actions. ICEBERG TABULAR is confident in its repetitive portrayal of ceremony, but does not provide the necessary context for an audience to escape without inquiry. The visual theme of the horizon acts as a stage for Iceberg’s divorcing music, dispassionate subjects, and overall stoic disposition.

COLEMAN ZURKOWSKI is a composer and musician. He studied composition at DePaul University in Chicago, IL and continued his studies at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, CA. Zurkowski lives in New York City and composes music for film, television, and commercials, while releasing albums of his own work. In 2015, he was chosen to be the resident composer of the Khora Residency at the Syros International Film Festival.

NEXT LEVEL FUCKED UP: A NIGHT WITH VANESSA RENWICK

FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 7:30PM
DIRECTOR IN ATTENDANCE
(This event is $10)
~70 min plus Q&A

ONLINE TICKETS HERE
FB EVENT

Spectacle is excited to present a selection of 13 shorts by artist, filmmaker and founder of the Oregon Department of Kick Ass, Vanessa Renwick. These short, personal constructions demonstrate a wide range of formal approaches and subjects that include wildness, hitchhiking, death, nuclear power, gentrification, migration and the Anthropocene. Renwick’s films share a restless spirit, an interest in outlaw art-making, and an unflagging sense of wanderlust. Without fail, the work is intense, hard to pin down and even harder to forget.
“Vanessa Renwick’s films reveal the hidden stories and secret lives that define our great national weirdness, imbued with the radical curiosity and vision of a true pioneer.” —Todd Haynes

FOUR DOCUMENTARIES BY CHANTAL AKERMAN

Chantal Akerman’s “directional” documentaries are concerned with borders: the porous outline between place and person. As in all of her work, her sensitivity to place and time are awe-inspiring — she has an innate ability to subsume the viewer in details; her camera remaining unobtrusive as she struggles between objectivity and subjectivity behind it. Thanks to the cooperation of Icarus Films, who released La-bas (Down There), since our last iteration of this series, we are proud to once again showcase these later works from one of the most compelling and influential filmmakers. They remain timely as ever.



FROM THE EAST
aka D’Est
Dir. Chantal Akerman, 1993
France/Belgium, 110 min.

Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, and “before it was too late”, Chantal Akerman made a journey from East Germany in late summer, across Poland and the Baltics, to deepest winter in Moscow, “filming everything that touched me”. Tracking across city streets, landscapes, and faces, the film also takes us inside the private spaces of the countries’ inhabitants, where they peel potatoes, watch old TVs or stoically stare down the camera.

TUESDAY, JUNE 26 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JUNE 30 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Akerman takes satisfaction in the demanding nature of her films. Most directors feel complimented, she has said, when viewers say they are not aware of passing time: “But with me, you see the time pass. And you feel it pass. You sense that this is time that leads towards death… I’ve taken two hours of [your] life.” – Film Comment

While taking a minimalist approach to its form, FROM THE EAST is rich in content, with fascinatingly culturally specific settings, music and images creating an entertainingly retro and unexpectedly moving experience.




SOUTH
aka Sud
Dir. Chantal Akerman, 1999
France/Belgium, 70 min.
In English.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JUNE 12 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, JUNE 14 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Chantal Akerman originally planned to make a meditative film on the American South. On June 7th, 1998 in Jasper, Texas, only days before filming began, James Byrd, Jr., a black man aged 49 was brutally murdered by three white men. Byrd, after being severely beaten, was chained to the back of a pickup and dragged three miles down an asphalt road. What was left of his body was dumped in front of a black cemetery.

SOUTH is a quiet portrait of the town of Jasper and its residents. Rather than focusing on the aftermath of the killing on national politics or the murderers themselves, Akerman centers on the environment of Jasper and the people affected by Byrd’s death. Akerman was allowed to film Byrd’s funeral and the ceremony is a considerable segment of the film.

Akerman writes, “How does the southern silence become so heavy and so menacing so suddenly? How do the trees and the whole natural environment evoke so intensely death, blood, and the weight of history? How does the present call up the past? And how does this past, with a mere gesture or a simple regard, haunt and torment you as you wander along an empty cotton field, or a dusty country road?”

SOUTH is constructed of static shots and long pans along country roads interspersed with interviews with townspeople. The structure of the interviews feel somewhat naïve if one were to focus more acutely on the politics of the racially motivated murder. Through what could have been a lack of probing, the interviewees talk uncomfortably around issues, and Akermans’ concern with not interfering obstructs deeper analysis.

Nonetheless, Akerman is a tourist and an outsider, and she seems aware of this. SOUTH could be considered a contribution to a cinema, including Alain Resnais’ fictional HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR or Alexander Kluge’s BRUTALITY IN STONE, that attempts to recognize human suffering while being critical of its representation. Though, as a documentary, the film raises slightly different questions. Is it possible in documentary to construct representations of someone’s pain, and if so, is this ethical?




FROM THE OTHER SIDE
aka De l’autre côté
Dir. Chantal Akerman, 2002
France/Belgium/Australia/Finland, 99 min.
In English, Spanish and French with English subtitles.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, JUNE 26 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

FROM THE OTHER SIDE looks at the situation of Mexican immigrants at the border between Agua Prieta, a Mexican border town in the state of Sonora, and Douglas, Arizona, the city on the other side. The first half of the film is set in Mexico. Between static and tracking shots of desert landscapes and the border wall, Akerman interviews people who plan to or have attempted to cross the desert into the US, including a young boy in an orphanage. She quietly interviews an older couple whose son died in the desert when his group lost their way.

Similar in structure to her earlier film SOUTH, and stylistically reminiscent to FROM THE EAST, FROM THE OTHER SIDE feels perhaps the most active. By physically crossing the border and filming on both sides, we experience Akerman’s and our own ease of travel between, as well as witness the shift into the militaristic and racially skewed reality existing in Douglas, Arizona. While in Douglas, Akerman interviews a Mexican consulate, the sheriff and paranoid white locals.

Through Akermans’ signature steady gaze, she “insists” – we have no choice but to look, think, settle into the image, and to let the image settle in; in a way the length of the shots summon respect for the person on the screen. In one scene, per his request, a man reads a pained statement among his traveling companions in a cafeteria. He tells us why his group is migrating and what the journey has been like for them. Akerman says, “You have to be really like a sponge when you make a documentary.” FROM THE OTHER SIDE urges the viewer to be porous.




DOWN THERE
aka La-bas
Dir. Chantal Akerman, 2006
France/Belgium/Israel, 78 min.
SUNDAY, JUNE 17 – 5PM
SATURDAY, JUNE 30 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

According to director Chantal Akerman, she never planned to make a film in Israel. She was convinced that neutrality does not exist and that her subjectivity would get in her way. She was sure she would only be able to reflect on ‘the Israel question’ while she was outside the country.

It was only when she taught at the University of Tel Aviv, picked up a camera and ‘found’ suitable images that she decided to make a film. Akerman spends a brief period on her own in an apartment by the sea in Tel Aviv. She takes the chamber play to its ultimate form: it is almost entirely chamber. She films from the apartment and in her narration she talks about her family, her Jewish identity and her childhood. She wonders whether normal everyday life is possible in this place and whether filming is a realistic option. Akerman does not film here with any intentions defined in advance. She wants to be as open and blank as possible to ensure that things take their own course. – Icarus Films

“What’s remarkable is the degree to which Ms. Akerman uses the interplay of place and displacement to wrest beauty from despair.”J. Hoberman, The New York Times

“La-bas at first seems painfully esoteric, but for those with patience there is, as promised, a pay-off.”—Frieze Magazine

“One of the great documentary self-portraits.”Richard Brody, The New Yorker

SATANIC SVMMER

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that Summer 2018 will be hot, muggy, and fully Satanic. These offerings dig deeper into the devil’s work than you might have thought possible. We have a direct line to the source, what can we say.
Happy Solstice to you, and welcome to the long-awaited SATANIC SVMMER.


ENTER THE DEVIL
(aka: Disciples of Death)
dir. Frank Q. Dobbs, 1972
92 min, USA


THURSDAY, JUNE 7 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JUNE 10 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, JUNE 15 – 10 PM
MONDAY, JUNE 25 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, JUNE 29 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Special thanks to Massacre Video.

A man named Ozzie Perkins has gone missing in the desert. Pulled away from a hot date and told to shave his mustache, Deputy Jace must travel to a remote outpost by the border to look for the missing gringo. Little does he know this path will take him to some of the darkest corners of the desert. Jace teams up with Leslie, a specialist on the subject of ancient religious cults, who thinks there’s something more to the rash of disappearances around the outpost. The scary thing is…she might just be right.

Massacre Video proudly presents the debut of Frank Q. Dobbs’ low budget regional chiller, ENTER THE DEVIL (aka DISCIPLE OF DEATH), newly restored from a recently discovered inter-negative.



SATAN’S BLOOD
(aka: Escalofrio)
dir. Carlos Puerto, 1978
82 min, Spain
Dubbed in English.
SATURDAY, JUNE 9 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JUNE 11 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JUNE 18 – 10 PM
MONDAY, JUNE 25 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Andres and Ana are a couple living in Madrid. One fine day they decide to pack the car and wrangle their dog and set out for a fun time in the Spanish countryside. Not long into their trip, they encounter another car on the road. The couple in the other car, Bruno and Berta, flag them down. Bruno is excited to see his old college buddy – Andres, but Andres isn’t so sure they know each other. Never-the-less, the two couples set out for Bruno and Berta’s gigantic house for a grand reunion and a nice hot meal. But once they arrive, a storm rolls and in the as the weather gets worse and worse, Andres and Ana decide to stay the night. When the foursome decide to tamper with the spirit world in the form of a Ouija board, things really start to get weird. But that’s the least of their problems.

Drug fueled orgies, suicide, creepy living dolls, and a freezer full of who knows what become a disorienting whirlpool and the helpless couple can’t get out. Trapped by a coven of devil worshipers, the film builds to a terrifying, twisting climax.

Produced by none other than Juan Piquer Simon (PIECES, SLUGS) SATAN’S BLOOD is a veritable cornucopia of sin and debauchery. A gothic tale of Satanic panic who’s influence can be seen as recently as Ti West’s throwback jam/only good movie HOUSE OF THE DEVIL while showcasing the Spanish countryside and a score by Simon regular Librado Pastor.



SATAN’S BLADE
dir. L. Scott Castillo Jr, 1984
82 min, USA
SATURDAY, JUNE 2 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JUNE 11 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JUNE 21 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

A group of friends travel to a ski lodge to celebrate one of them becoming a lawyer. When they arrive they find out there was a MURDER in their cabins the night before. Luckily the resort has an excellent clean up crew and the group decides to stay. After some poking around they find out about a local legend. The legend tells of a man possessed by the spirits of the mountain returning every 14 (?) years to wreak havoc with his knife on Mountain Men and Ski Bunnies alike. Nightmares, pranks, and carnage ensue.

Filmed in 1981 and left to age like a fine wine until it’s release in 1984, SATAN’S BLADE rounds out our Satanic Summer line up for June.

CHANTAL AKERMAN’S ALMAYER’S FOLLY

ALMAYER’S FOLLY
aka La Folie Almayer
Dir. Chantal Akerman, 2011
France/Belgium, 127 min.
FRIDAY, JUNE 8 – 7:30 PM
With Introduction by critic/video essayist Scout Tafoya
SATURDAY JUNE 16 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Chantal Akerman’s Joseph Conrad adaptation was always too audacious to be written off as an oddity. The muted beaches and ensnaring jungles of Malaysia highlight Akerman’s disciplined formal impulses vividly in her late-career epic, which hits all of the beats of Conrad’s novel before twisting it in on itself; tangling the book like a Rubik’s cube to get closer to the underlying colonialist obsessions and subtly focusing on the mixed race daughter of the tortured protagonist.

“Akerman’s control of the expressive elements, particularly the performances, which are at once subdued and theatrical, and the choreography of the long takes, in which actors move through the encroaching jungle, are exceptional.”Artforum

“Fervently passionate and formally meticulous, the latest stunning coup for a director who’s made a career of repurposing archetypal storylines.”Slant Magazine

“A work of engulfing jungles and rivers, vehement and incantatory speeches, and piercing female gazes in front of and behind the camera.”The House Next Door

FANS DIE HARDER: 2 x Eckhart Schmidt

Eckhart Schmidt is Spectacle royalty. His 1982 film DER FAN, a teen pop melodrama with a horrifying, drawn-out cannibalistic climax, has returned to the theater as a fan favorite again and again over the years. But Der Fan is not a one-off exploitation oddity; Schmidt is an unbelievably prolific filmmaker with wealth of cineastic knowledge to match. His work spans genres and mediums, but is perhaps at its best when focused on exploring and satirizing the stark divisions between art and commerce, which is what he does in his loose trilogy of surrealistic 80s bloodbaths of which DER FAN is the first installment.
The other two films in the series, while perhaps not as strikingly iconic as DER FAN, are similarly nightmare-inducing and incredible showcases of a filmmaker with a limitless imagination and a fondness for abrasively catchy soundtracks and bleak parables bathed in neon.


THE GOLD OF LOVE
aka Das Gold der Liebe
dir. Eckhart Schmidt, 1983
West Germany, 86 min.
SATURDAY, JUNE 2 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JUNE 8 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JULY 13 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JULY 18 – 10 PM

Schmidt’s follow up to DER FAN plays a bit like the same film detuned to a harsher register. The palatable pop of new wave superstar “R” is replaced by the raucous tremors of actual rock band D.A.F. (Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft), whom teen Alexandra Curtis (yes, half-sister of Jamie Lee) harbors an unhealthy obsession. While the horror of Der Fan came from its chillingly slow descent towards a maniacally bleak outcome, the follow-up pretty much starts in a post-punk underworld with no hope of escape — tears of blood run down the protagonist’s face within the first half an hour, after she finds herself without any cash to gain entry to D.A.F.’s show. The rest of the film chronicles her attempts to see the group at any possible cost, traversing a zonked-out, eternally nocturnal Vienna in the process.



LOFT
dir. Eckhart Schmidt, 1985
West Germany, 81 mins
THURSDAY, JUNE 7 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JUNE 29 – MIDNIGHT
TUESDAY, JULY 10 – 9 PM
FRIDAY, JULY 27 – 10 PM

The final film in a trilogy in which the only throughlines are German Expressionist-tinged punk nihilism, gruesome murders, neon-lit underworlds and banger soundtracks, LOFT maintains the ramshackle lo-fi minimalism of its predecessor in some ways (ie its one-location setting), but with pretty much everything else turned up to an electrifying extreme. Set in a post-apocalyptic maybe-future/maybe-present, a high society couple visits a dingy, industrial art gallery only to find themselves trapped. It is soon made explicit that more value is placed on the art than on human lives.

JUNE MIDNIGHTS 2018


DIGITAL MAN
Dir. Philip J. Roth, 1995
Nevada, 91 min.
In English.
SATURDAY, JUNE 2 – MIDNIGHT
SUNDAY, JUNE 3 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, JUNE 8 – MIDNIGHT
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

In memory of Philip Roth, we are bringing back Philip J. Roth’s DIGITAL MAN, all June 2018!

Spectacle offers up this late-night cyberwar curio fielded from the pixelated precipice between Atari and The Matrix. Starring an Altmanesque corps of noteworthy surnames, Philip Roth’s Digital Man concerns a glitch in national security so cruel, it’d be divine if it weren’t so damn digital: a time-traveling supercyborg touches down in the small-town Southwest just in time to hijack an apocalypse’s worth of nuclear launch codes.

Fresh off a realm too insane in its violence and punishment for mere humans  to enter, the Digital Man must be stopped – and it’s up to a motley crue of wisecracking heavyweights (some military experts, some shotgun-toting salt of the earth) to take him out, analog style. Tons and tons and tons and tons of fireball explosions (replete with slo-mo backflips and brutal, spaghetti-worthy shootouts) ensue, culminating in one night you can’t merely “attend” while on your laptop.

Digital Man is a very entertaining movie, with good acting, excellent photography and outstanding F/X. It does suffer from a mediocre script however. A very good, overall effort from a bunch of actors who fall  into the category of “where have I seen them before?” A rating of 8 out of 10 was given. – VCRanger, IMDB

“lets get down to brass tax where can we get this movie someone upload cmon it cant be ilegal look at it buying it would be a magor crime” – Jamie Mcfayden, YouTube

“I’ve seen Digital man almost a decade ago when it came to video. My dad rented me this movie to watch over the weekend since he was leaving with my mom. I loved it so much that I’ve watched it five or six times in 48 hours !!!” – thebigmovieguy, IMDB

“Don’t just settle for T2 ,experience this equal ,yet lower budget Sci-Fi action outing,with martial arts giant Matthias Hues in the lead.” – “A Customer”, Amazon

“I rented this when it came out on video. I remember thinking the special effects and costumes were pretty cool back then. And in the early-to-mid-1990s computer animation was a novelty, so that added to the movie’s appeal. (And back then CGI looked cooler with those smooth surfaces.)” – felicity4711, YouTube



THE HANGING WOMAN (La orgía de los muertos)
Dir. José Luis Merino, 1973
Spain, 95 minutes
SATURDAY, JUNE 9 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, JUNE 16- MIDNIGHT
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Akin in spirit and substance to the Italian atmosphere-heavy Gothic horror of the late 60s, THE HANGING WOMAN (known in its home country as La orgia de los muertos) takes that template to Franco-era Spain. There’s a genuine mystery at the heart of the film, but director José Luis Merino takes the inspector-investigating-a-crime-at-a-spooky-castle theme and adds a bit of, well, everything: a secret laboratory for the maddest of science, nightgown-clad midnight strolls by candlelight, schemes and double-crosses over the inheritance of a mysterious Count, a crypt with fog machines on full blast, devil worship, reanimated frogs and none other than El Hombre Lobo himself, Paul Naschy, in a supporting role as a necrophiliac gravedigger! In an excellent restoration thanks to our friends at Troma, THE HANGING WOMAN is the perfect film for sweaty June midnights.