ADDICTED TO MEDIOCRITY: THE FILMS OF FRANKY SCHAEFFER


The film career of Franky Schaeffer has largely faded from public mind, but nonetheless remains a curious and inscrutable chapter in ‘80s genre B-movies. Francis “Franky” Schaeffer, Jr. grew up as the son of noted Evangelical theologian and pastor Francis Schaeffer, known as the founder of the Swiss alp spiritual center L’Abri in 1955, an influential philosophy seminar and commune hybrid that attracted bohemian spiritual seekers and rigid neo-Calvinists alike. A lover of Christian art and texts, Schaeffer Senior honed a strict presuppositionalist approach to theology and ethics, developing a worldview highly cautious of attitudes and art trends he deemed “post-modern” (especially directing his ire towards John Cage and Andy Warhol, et al), meanwhile preaching a brand of Christian Reconstructionism that sought to reinvigorate evangelical participation in official state politics.

In the years leading up to Ronald Reagan, Schaeffer Senior was a critical figure in the burgeoning Protestant Right—particularly on the issue of abortion, which prior to his influence was primarily the domain of the Catholic Church. With the help of former White House chaplain, and personal spiritual counsel to born-again Gerald Ford, Billy Zeoli, Schaeffer Senior was able secure funds (in part from Amway billionaire Richard DeVos) to adapt his book and lecture series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? into a 10-episode television show directed in part by his then-25-year-old son Franky. (It was post-produced by evangelical pastor Mel White, later an out gay man and LGBTQ advocate, as well as father of SCHOOL OF ROCK scribe Mike White.) The program was a history of Western civilization told from the Christian point-of-view, designed to assert the necessity for a new dominion; and indeed, it did fire up a young generation of right-wing Jesus freaks, among them Tea Party firebrand Michele Bachmann who noted it as a core influence. Later, in 1979, Schaeffer Senior co-penned a notorious anti-abortion screed titled Whatever Happened to the Human Race?—conspicuously, with soon-to-be Reagan Surgeon General D. Everett Koop.

Following his TV show production credit, Schaeffer Jr.’s interest in the entertainment industry would only grow. In 1981, the aspiring filmmaker penned a fascinating diatribe titled Addicted to Mediocrity, drawing in part from his rigorous education at L’Abri. He argues that Christian art once reigned supreme in craft and complexity but was by the 20th century losing out to secular artistic endeavors, and that it was up to a new generation of Christians to re-emphasize cultural production. Schaeffer Jr. imagined a world in which dyed-in-the-wool conservative Christians would make prestige art on par with Fellini and Bergman, a culture war with its eye on capital-C culture.

The films he eventually made were perhaps another story. Shortly after his father passed away three years later, in 1984, Schaeffer Jr. distanced himself from the ministry and cancelled further speaking engagements, instead burrowing himself on the edge of the film industry with hopes of making elevated sci-fi films on par with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BLADE RUNNER, or REPO MAN. Reception was poor. One former devotee, inspired by Schaeffer Jr. to continue to soldier on in the film world despite it conflicting so drastically with his evangelical life, wrote in the LA Times: “Yes, I was indeed “blown away” by WIRED TO KILL. That someone as literate as Schaeffer could write such a dull-witted and thudding rehash of tired old themes and then presume to pass this off as a committed Christian making a philosophical statement is appalling.”

For Christians, the films weren’t explicit enough; for audiences at the time, they were simply mediocre. But for Spectacle’s audiences, watching now with over three decades of hindsight, these films might reveal something else. They are a snapshot of a religious right refuge in the thick of the Reagan years, capturing Schaeffer in increasing doubt before he left Protestantism entirely and disavowed his politics. (He was a diligent Obama supporter, appearing as a talking head on network news often in the ‘00s; today he describes himself as a “Christian atheist” and is affiliated with the Orthodox church.) They’re crypto-Christian oddities, unsure of whether they want to ooze into the pop-cultural membrane as popcorn action flicks or philosophizing high art. But most of all, they’re pretty good B-movies, filled with good bad synth leads, suspect practical FX, set pieces pulled off to varying degrees of success, and of course the schlock and sheen of the Me-First decade and its discontents.




WIRED TO KILL (a.k.a. BOOBY TRAP)
Dir. Francis Schaeffer, 1986
96 min, USA

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2 – MIDNIGHT
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, AUGUST 13 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 24 – 7:30 PM

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Taking place in an alternate 1998 in which famine has transformed society into a wasteland of miscreant gangs and deindustrialized clutter, Schaeffer was perhaps trying to channel ROBOCOP (one particularly Verhoeven-ian throwaway gag has a hospital dispatcher reminding patients that if they wish to sue their doctor, there’s a round-the-clock toll-free number) but instead taps more into the proto-militia movement survivalism of John Milius’s RED DAWN. Steve (Devin Hoelscher) lives a quiet life with his law-abiding suburban family, moonlighting as an electrical engineer in his spare time, toying with primitive robotics and perfecting his own synth pop rig. When a gang murders his family and leaves him legless, he and Rebecca (Emily Longstreth of PRETTY IN PINK) conspire to exact revenge. Per the film’s seething tagline—“If you want to make history, you gotta make your own”—it’s got a creeping soft Nietzschean undertone that might pass for Christian allegory. Co-produced by future Christian right-wing radio personality Paul McGuire. Schaeffer says he “laced” WIRED TO KILL “with what [he] would describe as small Felini tributes”… but if you can guess how or where, you deserve to be refunded the price of admission!




HEADHUNTER
Dir. Francis Schaeffer, 1988
91 min, USA

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9 – 10 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 12 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, AUGUST 16 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, AUGUST 24 – 10 PM

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Schaeffer’s first with Gibraltar Entertainment, the ‘80s cheapie studio headed by VALLEY GIRL writer Wayne Crawford, HEADHUNTER follows cop Pete Giuliani (Crawford) as he trails a voodoo ritual serial killer who has beheaded a Nigerian immigrant in Miami. (In actuality, it’s South Africa, which leads to roughly the same feel as RUMBLE IN THE BRONX’s Vancouver-Bronx). As many reviews have noted, the movie attempts to fuse its cop-procedural-slasher with a rather ‘deliberately paced’ domestic drama, as Giuliani is coping with a recent divorce due to his wife taking a female lover—a reminder that Ari Aster didn’t invent melodrama-occult-horror hybrid. Notable is its climax, which juxtaposes the final encounter with the killer with a television broadcast of THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON.




RISING STORM (a.k.a. REBEL STORM, a.k.a. REBEL WAVES, a.k.a. SHIP OF THE DESERT)
Dir. Francis Schaeffer, 1989
95 min, USA

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 24 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 30 – 10 PM

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Made in the thick of several high-profile televangelist scandals (Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart in quick succession), RISING STORM imagines a world in which the bunk TV preachers have taken over, a zany Terry Gilliam-esque dystopia of Reagan-Bush proportions. It’s 2099 in Los Angeles and Joe (Gibraltar’s Wayne Crawford) has just gotten out of prison, reuniting with brother Artie (Zach Galligan of GREMLINS). America has become some sort of post-nuclear barren wasteland crossed with the twin influences of supreme spectacle (WWE wrestling and archaeological digs for ‘80s pop culture ephemera) and biblical repression (citizens are allotted one act of intercourse a month). The brothers lead an underground resistance against the tyrant president Reverend Jimmy Joe II, teaming up with a pair of affable blonde women. Schaeffer’s most cynical—and personal?—film, it’s relentlessly down on the merchandise frenzy and mediatized religious fervor of the late ‘80s.

MATCH CUTS PRESENTS: MIKE KELLEY’S DAY IS DONE


DAY IS DONE
dir. Mike Kelley, 2006.
USA, 169 min.
English.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21st – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

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DAY IS DONE is a carnivalesque opus, a genre-smashing epic in which vampires, dancing Goths, hillbillies, mimes and demons come together in a kind of subversive musical theater/variety revue. Running over two-and-a-half hours, this riotous theatrical spectacle unfolds as a series of episodes that form a loose, fractured narrative. The video comprises parts 2 through 32 of Kelley’s multi-faceted project Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions, in which trauma, abuse and repressed memory are refracted through personal and mass-cultural experience. The source material is a series of high school yearbook photographs of “extracurricular activities,” specifically those that represent what Kelley has termed “socially accepted rituals of deviance.” Kelley then stages video narratives around these found images.

In DAY IS DONE, these restagings take the form of “folk entertainments” that Kelley memorably subverts. Featuring characters such as Motivational Vampire, Morose Ghoul and Devil/Barber, much of the action—antic song-and-dance numbers and dramatic scenes, with Satan as emcee—takes place in a generic school gymnasium and a wooded landscape.

Writes Kelley: “For this project, I limited myself to specific iconographic motifs taken from the following files: Religious Performances, Thugs, Dance, Hick and Hillbilly, Halloween and Goth, Satanic, Mimes, and Equestrian Events. Many of the source photographs are of people in costume singing or dancing, so the resulting tapes are generally music videos. In fact, I consider Day Is Done to be a kind of fractured feature-length musical…. The experience of viewing it is somewhat akin to channel-surfing on television.”

The video reconstructions were originally seen within an ambitious, sprawling exhibition of video/sculpture installations, photographs, sets, props and drawings at the Gagosian Gallery in New York in 2005; the videos were incorporated into 25 sculptural viewing stations. Writes Kelley, “My intention was to create a kind of spatialized filmic montage: a feature-length film made up of multiple simultaneous and sequential scenes playing in architectural space.”

– text courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix

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.

SCUM IN THE SUN PART TWO: JON MORITSUGU

Scummer’s not over til it’s over.




PIG DEATH MACHINE
dir. Jon Moritsugu, 2013
82 mins. United States.

*Preceded by the short MOMMY MOMMY WHERE’S MY BRAIN (1986)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 17 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, AUGUST 19 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28 – 10 PM

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If you joined us for July’s selections, you know by now that Jon Moritsugu has a thing with meat, especially in raw form. In MOD FUCK EXPLOSION London walks through 800 pounds of the stuff, and MY DEGENERATION features a punk band sponsored by the beef industry. PIG DEATH MACHINE explores the supernatural power of rancid pork, which transforms the lives of two women who consume it. Amy Davis has a sudden spike in brain power, her IQ rising faster than temperatures in the New Mexico desert. Hannah Levbarg, a punk plant-lover, develops a psychic connection with the local flora that includes their screams for water and attention. This film was shot digitally, adding to the garish putridness of the whole operation. All of this is bookended by a mysterious pig-mask love affair, hinting at the origins of the shipment of magic meat.




FAME WHORE
dir. Jon Moritsugu, 1997
73 mins. United States.

*Preceded by the shorts BRAINDEAD (1987) and DER ELVIS (1988)

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2 – 10 PM
SATUDAY, AUGUST 17 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 22 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 26 – 10 PM

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They say fame comes at a price. For the psychos found in the last gem of Moritsugu’s 16mm empire, that price is sanity. Told in triptych, FAME WORE examines three unrelated eccentrics lost in total delusion within their profession, all taking place on a day where each get smacked hard with reality checks that force consideration for saner perspectives.

One story follows that of Jody George (Peter Friedrich)—a ruthless bro whose blessed tennis prowess has earned him the #1 rank in the field worldwide. But once rumors spreading through the newspapers put his straightness into question, his several investors begin to drop him one by one, throwing him on a infantile rampage in his SF hotel suite. Another tale peers into the office of a milquetoast animal lover (Victor of Aquitaine) whose dignity is continuously trampled on at his New Jersey dog adoption agency. All the intensely bottled up repression and isolation naturally lead him to manifest an imaginary friend (a sauced St. Bernard who offers half-hearted advice).

But frankly it’s Amy Davis who steals the show as the true Fame Whore, Sophie: a seriously talentless, bong ripping New Yorker, who lives in a business suit but can’t seem to file her own taxes. Tormenting her unnecessary personal assistant, J (Jason Rail), with endless self-obsessed and hyper-judgmental confab while her headshots go unautographed, Sophie’s fate unlikely holds fame and glory, but rather a doomed personal esteem, void of substance or meaning.




SCUMROCK
dir. Jon Moritsugu, 2002
79 mins. United States.

*Preceded by the shorts CRACK (1999) and SLEAZY RIDER (1988)

TUESDAY, AUGUST 6 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 17 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, AUGUST 20 – 10 PM

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Youth is forever fading, but sleaze will never die… In this departure from celluloid, Moritsugu and Davis probe at juvenescence on its deathbed, as a cast of all too familiar drifting personalities tussle with not just the imminent death of their 20s, but the existential perils of preserving creative and offbeat livelihoods in the face of daunting adulthood, chilling reality, and personal failure.

Trashing and thrashing through the streets of a yet to be tech gentri-fried San Franciscan milieu, a no-budget underground filmmaker (sound familiar?) writhes his precarious sanity in order to hopefully yield a cinematic opus, while on a vaguely non-linear beaten course, a pissed miscreant (none other than Amy Davis) fumes and flounders to stubbornly keep her lowly punk band from being swallowed into the abyss of obscurity (and not the cool kind either).

Pressing on the perishability of the proverbial salad days, SCUMROCK is a tenderly relevant meditation for the aging hipster with chronic slacker-depression, which should inspire all of us to ask ourselves “What do I have to show for all my avant-gardness?”




MOD FUCK EXPLOSION
Dir. Jon Moritsugu, 1994
67 min. USA

SUNDAY, AUGUST 25 – 7:30 PM **Q&A WITH DESI DEL VALLE [M16]**
SUNDAY, AUGUST 25 – 10 PM **PHONE Q&A WITH JON MORITSUGU & AMY DAVIS**
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 – 7:30 PM **Q&A WITH CINEMATOGRAPHER TODD VEROW**
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 – 10 PM **PHONE Q&A WITH JON MORITSUGU & AMY DAVIS*

ALL SCREENINGS ON 16MM!
*THIS EVENT IS $10*

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The Nipponese bikers have leather jackets and London, a broken-family blonde, wants a leather jacket more than anything. Her sister Nasty has one, but she’s a post-Quaalude comic artist and won’t give it up. London’s brother is a dumb wannabe mod, clinging to a style that is just nativism with thick-framed glasses. Top Mod Madball sums up their situation with a joke:

“Why did Hitler kill himself?”

“To get to the other side!”

All London has to do is party with the bikers and tell Kazumi that he has a great bod, but instead she’s in love with death-obsessed M-16. Cleopatra, the supernatural succubus and queen of feces, tries to give London some T-R-U-T-H but she won’t hear it! Everything is leading in a fucked-up, not-knowing-how-to-fuck direction not to mention the ultimate showdown between the pale mods and a powerful biker gang.

DOUBLE THE PUPI, DOUBLE THE FUN



THE HOUSE WITH THE LAUGHING WINDOWS
(LA CASA DALLE FINESTRE CHE RIDONO)
dir. Pupi Avati, 1976
110 mins. Italy.
In Italian with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 8 – 10 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 12 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, AUGUST 27 – 7:30 PM

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Stefano, a young painter, is sent to a rural town to restore a fresco depicting the execution of Saint Sebastian begun by a local artist who committed suicide before its completion. As Stefano dives into the work, he finds himself drawn deeper into the strange web of stories surrounding the original artist and his more sinister proclivities.

Regarded by some as one of the best giallos ever made (including, ugh, Eli Roth), THE HOUSE WITH THE LAUGHING WINDOWS has mood for days, favoring a long, slow burn and a more naturalistic approach over the lurid colors and psychedelic freakouts of genre masters like Argento and Bava.

What it lacks in standard bonkers giallo fare (the body count is relatively low, and the “sex scenes” are almost laughably chaste for the genre), it more than makes up for in pure dread, building a thick mood of uncertainty and paranoia, leading up to a shockingly strong ending.



ZEDER (REVENGE OF THE DEAD)

Dir. Pupi Avati, 1983
100 mins. Italy.
In Italian with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, AUGUST 9 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23 – MIDNIGHT
TUESDAY, AUGUST 27 – 10 PM

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The story follows a novelist (also named Stefano) who discovers the writings of a scientist named Zeder still legible in the ream of an old typewriter. He slowly becomes obsessed with the details of his research at the mention of something known as the ‘K-zone’, a specific area of land that has the power to return the dead to life.

Marketed in the US as REVENGE OF THE DEAD, ZEDER is a heady slow-burn freakout, grossly underseen given the number of things that have lifted from it (looking at you, Pet Semetary). Don’t expect your average schlocky zombie thriller, but a more unique blend of and riff on sci-fi zombie-mystery-and-giallo tropes.

LONG WEEKEND


LONG WEEKEND
dir. Colin Eggleston, 1978
97 mins. Australia.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, AUGUST 10 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, AUGUST 30 – MIDNIGHT

ONLINE TICKETS      FACEBOOK EVENT

“Their crime was against nature. Nature found them guilty.”

Given the crushing heat waves and our full throttle race to planet-death, it seems as good a time as any to give LONG WEEKEND another look. Safe to say its aged entirely too well.

Peter and Marcia are going through a bit of a rough patch, so the natural solve is, of course, go camping. Marcia wanted to go away for the weekend with their good friends, but Peter is set on a long weekend of camping on a remote beach. Thinly buried resentments quickly bubble to the surface as they take out their frustrations on the natural world around them in increasingly egregious ways.

One of the best when nature attacks films ever made, it has some of the spirit of Daphne du Maurier’s original short story of THE BIRDS, diving full on into the existential dread of man’s ignorance and impotence in the face of nature’s wrath.

PAYDAY


PAYDAY
dir. Daryl Duke, 1973
100 mins. United States.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 15 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, AUGUST 18 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 – MIDNIGHT

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

“If you can’t smoke it, drink it, spend it, or love it… Forget it.”

While it’s not possible to honor the passing of every fallen hero of ours at 124 South 3rd Street, we’re thrilled to salute the departed Elmore Rual “Rip Torn” Jr. (1931-2019) by shining a light on one of his absolute greatest performances, as Maury Dann – a hellraising honeydripper outrunning his past one 95-mile-per-hour at a time in the underrated 1973 drama PAYDAY, directed by Daryl Duke (who made the phenomenal THE SILENT PARTNER a few years later, with Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland.)

Having achieved a measure of fame with a minor hit single, Dann’s life is a string of saloon gigs and one-night stands, propelled by bourbon and propped up by pills; while he’s making arguable headway in the music business, his problems keep piling up on the margins. His manager McGinty (Michael C. Gwyne) and girlfriend Mayleen (Ahna Capri), both long-suffering, bear witness to his bouts of rage and capriciousness, yet stay the course from one Alabama tussle to the next. Dann is certainly a character the performatively woke film critics of 2019 would call “unsympathetic”, yet Torn’s signature tortured charisma makes it make sense: in this decrepit economy of also-rans, hangers-on and the earnestly pure of heart, Maury is the most exciting thing anybody’s got going on.

Not for the faint of stomach, PAYDAY spans 36 hours in the life of a man who can’t stop hurting others (or himself), a classic story rendered in unforgettable Alabama texture. Produced by pioneering rock critic Ralph Gleason, with songs written by Shel Silverstein and an endlessly quotable screenplay by the great novelist Don Carpenter (Hard Rain Falling), PAYDAY never got a proper national release despite widespread critical acclaim; it’s exactly the kind of offbeat 70s slice-of-life cinema that attracted the interest of restless, status-quo bucking artists like Rip Torn. “You only pass through life once… Might as well be in a Cadillac.

“PAYDAY holds you in fascination. The totality of Rip Torn’s inspiring portrait is overwhelming.” – Judith Crist, New York Magazine

“Brilliant. Impressive. Awesome. Extraordinary.” The New York Times

“PAYDAY is a great fucking movie.” – Nick Tosches, Creem

Special thanks to the Saul Zaentz Company.

MUBI PRESENTS: JAMILIA

MUBI PRESENTS: JAMILIA
dir. Aminatou Echard, 2018
84 mins. Kyrgistan/Russia.
In Kyrgyz with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 1 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 5 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

MUBI presents Aminatou Echard’s lovely documentary, which compassionately uses a literary classic as a cultural passkey to allow women to talk about their feelings, frustrations, and hopes of love in Kyrgyzstan. Filmed in the diary-like warmth of Super 8, this is a remarkably intimate encounter with perspectives too often unheard.

Jamilia is the heroine of the classic Kyrgyz novel about a young woman who, having been forced to marry, fled with her lover. Fifty years later, the director meets several generations of Kyrgyz women, resulting in portraits reflecting both the novel’s candor and the strength of today’s Jamilias.

JAMILIA is available to stream exclusively on MUBI as part of their ongoing Undiscovered series. Watch here.

A message from MUBI’s curators:

“We discovered Aminatou Echard’s documentary Jamilia at the Berlin International Film Festival and were completely smitten. Here was a film that tackled a challenging subject—the marginalized voices of Kyrgyz women in a conservative and frequently repressive society—with an approach that was intimate, compassionate, and open-minded. Watching it felt like being embraced. Using Chinghiz Aitmatov’s classic 1958 novel Jamilia—widely known throughout Kyrgyzstan—as a discussion topic, Echard provided a way for these women to express their personal feelings about love, marriage, and personal liberty through the lens of a famous literary heroine.

In a country where the kidnapping and forced marriages of women are still common, speaking about desire, romance, and happiness is still often considered taboo. Aitmatov’s Jamilia provides an emblematic character for women to admire, long to be, and emulate—or even reject as immoral. By varying the ages of its subjects, the film is remarkably able to offer insight into female perspectives that arc from the era of the USSR, when female literacy was widespread, into the post-Soviet present, when such literacy is shrinking. This scope may be large, but Echard’s style is one of individual character and warmth. Shooting on beautiful and grainy Super 8 film, and weaving between portraiture and anecdotal details of each woman’s life, the film has the personal touch of a diary film. And it is by separating the soundtrack of women’s voices from the images—which was partially a production necessity that allowed the director greater access into Kyrgyz households—that we are allowed to imaginatively roam between the fictional Jamilia, what women see in her, and how they see themselves.”

— Daniel Kasman, Director of Content at MUBI

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.

THIS MAGNIFICENT CAKE

THIS MAGNIFICENT CAKE!
dir. Marc James Roels & Ema de Swaef, 2018
44 mins. Belgium.
In Dutch, French, Aka, and Malinke with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 16 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 29 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS       FACEBOOK EVENT

An official selection at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Toronto International Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival, THIS MAGNIFICENT CAKE! (CE MAGNIFIQUE GÂTEAU!) is an unforgettable work of stopmotion animation exploring the bitter milieu of Belgium-occupied Congo.

In the late 19th century, keen to compete with other European imperial powers on the continent, King Leopold II of Belgium proclaimed, “I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake.” The subsequent occupation of the Congo would come to attract a contingent of servants, merchants and miscellaneous bourgeois driven by everything from insatiable greed to existential fear. From the intimate stories of these characters — many of whom pass through a luxury hotel in the middle of the jungle – emerges a greater narrative concerning the imperialist mentality.

In a film by turns surreal, darkly comic and brutal, directors Marc James Roels and Emma de Swaef ultimately turn their critical gaze on the colonists themselves in a work of stunning, mysterious beauty.

Presented by GKIDS.

playing with:
THE BURDEN
Niki Lindroth von Bahr, 2017
14 min., Swedish w/ English subs

OH WILLY…
Marc James Roels & Emma de Swaef, 2012,
17 min., No dialogue

Festivals and Awards: Quinzaine des Réalisateurs – Cannes 2018, Telluride Film Festival – 2018, TIFF – Special Jury Mention, Annecy Animation Film Festival, Animafest Zagreb – Best Feature Film Grand Prix, Ottawa Animation Film Festival – Feature Grand Prix

BURNING FRAME: A Monthly Anarchist Film Series


Acts and Intermissions
Abigail Child, 2016
58 mins, USA

TUESDAY, JULY 23 – 7:30 PM

“Never so relevant as now: a history of protest for fair wages, free speech and birth control. In the early 20th century, Emma Goldman was viewed as the Most Dangerous Woman Alive and her legacy continues. She believed in the anarchistic ideal of individualism and ultimately, non-violence, yet she also felt beauty, art, fun itself, were part of the freedoms for which she was fighting. This conflict between revolutionary purity and personal freedom underlines the continuing conflict between law and justice, and foregrounds Goldman’s strong feminist stance. Blending archive, contemporary observational views, re-enactment and text, the overlapping of present and past events expand narrative dimensions. ACTS & INTERMISSIONS looks at core issues of our times, inequalities most starkly in play in the past but that don’t go away in the present. Whereas the despots of the 20th century wore uniforms, the despots of the 21st wear suits.”

Poster by Ian Thomas!

TWICE DEAD


TWICE DEAD
Dir. Bert L. Dragin, 1988
USA, 86 min

FRIDAY, JULY 5 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, JULY 13 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, JULY 19 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, JULY 27 – MIDNIGHT

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After the Leave-it-to-Beaver-esque Cates family inherits the old mansion of a deranged stage actor from a dead uncle, they happily decide to pack up and move, sight unseen. Upon arrival they find a gang of street-punks squatting at the deserted (and possibly haunted) house, and they don’t want to leave.

Tonally all over the place, TWICE DEAD ping-pongs from slapstick comedy to gross-out horror to unrequited teen-romance and back again. Features a chase scene with a hearse, exploding mirrors, suicide by cop, and at least one mid-orgasm death by electrocution.