Author: Spectacle

HUBLEY FAMILY PORTRAIT


“We just wanted to make small, good films and raise a family. A terrific life.”
Faith Hubley

This August, animator and filmmaker Emily Hubley will be at Spectacle for three discrete presentations of moving image work. The first is a selection of short films by her parents, the legendary animators John and Faith Hubley; the second is a survey of Faith’s solo works, spanning from 1975 to 2001. Finally, Emily will present a selection of her own animations, many of them made in collaboration with her mother and siblings. All three screenings will be followed by Q&A.

John Hubley was an art director at Disney who would do innovative work in Hollywood before being blacklisted and moving East; like Theodore Geisel, he worked on some 1940s cartoons which are, in hindsight, jawdroppingly progressive: he produced and storyboarded Chuck Jones’ United Automotive Workers’ short HELL-BENT FOR ELECTION (1944), which features a burly laborer not dissimilar from the ones in Russian Constructivist murals, and production-designed United Productions of America (UPA)’s THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN (1946), an anti-racism PSA that would later serve as evidence that the company was steeped in “un-American” politics. But it was Hubley’s partnership with his wife Faith (herself a lifelong feminist and antifascist who had worked a number of jobs in Hollywood) that would result in some of the most beguiling alternative cartoons to emerge from the postwar period. Their careers straddled old-guard animation under the protectorates of Disney and Warner-size studios, and the emergence of avant-garde, experimental forms; their style was suffused with the kind of flat, jazzy modernism those same companies would ape in later years in order to save money on animation.

Working as a team, the Hubleys’ collaborators included Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Carter, Herb Alpert, and Garry Trudeau and Ella Fitzgerald; they designed segments for Sesame Street and The Electric Workshop, and fielded a number of Academy Awards (as well as nominations.) Frequently casting their children as voice actors (notably in 1959’s MOONBIRD, 1967’s A WINDY DAY, and 1972’s COCKABOODY – animated around audio recordings of the kids), the Hubleys strove to push animation ahead of what John called “pigs and bunnies”. They continued to do that even after his untimely death at the age of 62 – in the middle of working with him on A Doonesbury Special, which would be finished by Faith and broadcast on NBC the following year. Faith Hubley would continue the family business, but with a style that broke off from the collaborations with her late husband. Her solo credits – starting with 1975’s W.O.W. (WOMEN OF THE WORLD) – bundle together international forms and ancient mythologies. She would make 25 films between John’s death and her own in 2001, including the metaphysical feature THE COSMIC EYE in 1986.

Much of it hand-drawn, Emily’s animations pick up her parents’ thread of drawing inspiration from everyday life: while her most famous work is probably the “Origin of Love” sequence in John Cameron Mitchell’s HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, her 2009 feature THE TOE TACTIC toured nationwide and she has done music videos for her sister Georgia’s band Yo La Tengo (“Before We Run”) as well as Kate Vargas (“Call Back The Dogs”). Her shorts from the 80s and 90s betray a punk sensibility, but with a wry tenderness that’s consistent with the movies she collaborated on as a child. We’ll be showing a selection curated by Emily herself, plus her latest, BRAINWORM BILLY (made in collaboration with Max Rosenthal.)

( from MOONBIRD, 1959 )

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10 – 7:30 PM
Q&A with Emily Hubley
(This event is $10)

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

ADVENTURES OF AN *
10 mins. 1956.

MOONBIRD
10 mins. 1959.

COCKABOODY
9 mins. 1973.

UBRANISSIMO
6 mins. 1966.

ZUCKERKANDL
15 mins. 1969.

EGGS
10 mins. 1970.

THE HOLE
15 mins. 1962.

THE TENDER GAME
6 mins. 1958.
Total runtime: 82 mins

( from MY UNIVERSE INSIDE OUT, 1996)

SHORT FILMS BY FAITH HUBLEY
SUNDAY AUGUST 19 – 5pm
Q&A with Emily Hubley
(This event is $10)

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

W.O.W. (WOMEN OF THE WORLD)
9 mins. 1975.

HELLO
9 mins. 1984.

TIME OF THE ANGELS
9.5 mins. 1987.

TALL TIME TALES
8 mins. 1992.

MY UNIVERSE INSIDE OUT
25 mins. 1996.

WITCH MADNESS
8.5 mins. 1999.

NORTHERN ICE GOLDEN SUN
6 mins. 2001

Total runtime: 75 mins

( from BRAINWORM BILLY, 2018 )

SHORT FILMS BY EMILY HUBLEY

SUNDAY AUGUST 19 – 7:30 pm
Q&A with Emily Hubley (This event is $10)

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

DELIVERY MAN
7.5 mins. 1982.

THE TOWER
10.5 mins. 1984. made with Georgia Hubley.

ENOUGH
5 mins. 1993.

HER GRANDMOTHER’S GIFT
4.5 mins. 1995.

ONE SELF: FISH/GIRL
10 mins. 1997.

PIGEON WITHIN
4.5 mins. 2000.

SET SET SPIKE
6 mins. 2002.

OCTAVE
7 mins. 2006.

HAIL
3 mins. 2011.

WRITE BACK
5 mins. 2013.

CALL BACK THE DOGS
4 mins. 2016.

PARAFFIN
5 mins. 2017.

AND/OR
5.5 mins. 2012.

BRAINWORM BILLY
2.5 mins. 2018. made with Max Rosenthal.

SIX-STRING SAMURAI


SIX-STRING SAMURAI

dir. Lance Mungia, 1998
United States. 91 mins.
In English.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1 – 7:30PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 4 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 – 7:30PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 20 – 10PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30 – 7:30PM
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 1998 SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

Nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be. Remember dystopian Spectacle classics like STEEL DAWN, NEON CITY and DIGITAL MAN (RIP Philip Roth)? They’re all left in the dust by Lance Mungia’s irrepressible SIX STRING SAMURAI, a breakout chopsocky-musical that effectively hip-swayed stage left at the end of its theatrical run two very long decades ago. Featuring music by the notorious Siberian surf rock band The Red Elvises, SIX-STRING SAMURAI takes place in an alternate U.S.S.A. (like, alternate to this one) where the Russians dropped The Big One in 1957, leaving spotty electricity and a radioactive desert hellscape in their wake. Vegas is the last holdout of American civilization, and Elvis its supreme ruler – until Buddy, a lone swordsman patterned off of Buddy Holly and Ogami Ittō, hears on the radio that “Vegas needs a new king”.

A long travelogue ensues, dotted in encounters with Death (a metalhead patterned after Slash) and an extremely irritating Kid (Justin McGuire, iconic) who affixes himself to Buddy in classic adventure-movie fashion. Apart from the shredding tunes (which crescendo into a battle of the bands that’ll flash-fry your eardrums) and the uncannily prescient depiction of a post-wet America abandoned by the side of the road, Mungia’s spectacular action scenes are what make SIX-STRING SAMURAI stick – anchored by the full-body performance of leading man Jeffrey Falcon, a bona fide Kung Fu master who appeared as weibo heavy in many a Hong Kong actioner from the 80s and 90s.

“Married to punkified STAR WARS plot by way of THE ROAD WARRIOR, Messrs. Mungia and Falcon have successfully reworked the same bedrock myths (fathers and sons, journeys, destiny, yadda yadda yadda) with unassuming giddiness and funked up style, served up so effortlessly that you never think about these mythic foundations through this grunge journey.” – Sean Axmaker, Nitrate


( poster by Jake Armstrong )

THREE BY ANDREW HORN

This August, Spectacle is thrilled to host filmmaker Andrew Horn for reprise showings of his classic no-wave musical DOOMED LOVE, plus the documentaries THE NOMI SONG and WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER! About the unlikely linkage between the latter two, Horn had this to say:
“Believe it or not, WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER! was born out of a scene in THE NOMI SONG. Actually out of one line. In the Nomi film, Twisted band leader Jay Jay French describes the almost riot that ensued when, believe it or not again, Klaus Nomi opened for them at the Soap Factory in New Jersey. “This was NYC performance art done in a blue collar suburban bar”, he explained. I knew almost nothing about Twisted at the time but I knew enough to know this was a hilarious confluence. But then after the NOMI film was finished Jay Jay started to explain to me what Twisted was doing doing onstage with their club audiences back then which struck me as very much it’s own kind of performance art, just dedicated to that whole other crowd. So it was the performance art idea that got me into it, little realizing that there was story there that was just as epic as NOMI’s.
Interestingly, both stories take place in almost the same time in almost the same geographical area, but they may as well have been in parallel universes. On the surface, TWISTED and NOMI couldn’t be more different – but at the same time, I came to realize there was a great similarity between the two. Each had their vision of who they were and what they wanted to do and they both had the courage to just ram it home no matter what. Both flew in the face of the establishment music scene, but both had their dedicated audiences that were ready to follow them anywhere. And both were able to meet each fallback and turn it into the next step forward. A review of the Twisted film said, ‘Stardom is interesting, but the long road that leads there is fascinating’ and that’s what appealed to me about both stories – the roller coaster of getting there is what it’s all about.”


DOOMED LOVE
dir. Andrew Horn, 1984.
USA, 70 mins.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5 – 5 PM
WITH FILMMAKER Q&A! (This event is $10.)
TUESDAY, AUGUST 13 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 23 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, AUGUST 31 – MIDNITE

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Made in piecemeal payments while director Andrew Horn was working as a graphic artist in Koch-era Manhattan, DOOMED LOVE is a delectable hunk of sunken downtown treasure ripe for rediscovery. Painter Bill Rice (SUBWAY RIDERS, THE VINEYARD) stars as Andre, an aging professor of romantic literature who decides, in the film’s doleful introductory passage, to commit suicide after losing the love of his life. Andre is tragicomically unsuccessful, but the attempt leads to a new acquaintance with a psychiatric nurse named Lois (Rosemary Moore), with whom he uncorks a kind of under-acknowledged romance of the soul. Whatever margins that once separated Andre’s work as an academic and his reasons for going on (or not) have completely dissolved; Rice’s monologues – scripted by the great playwright Jim Neu – set a tone of droll monotony and piercing repetition. During a slide show of pre-Raphaelite paintings, Andre provides a clue to what Horn and his collaborators are up to:

“You can say what you want about the past / I think that’s true / But, not to pay attention is not to be immune / I think that’s true/ It may be finished / But it isn’t over / Where have I seen that before?/ Believe me / Many of our most cherished dreams… / Believe me / Many of our most cherished dreams have a life of their own/ Where have I seen that before? Look around / Look around / Believe me / I could really let myself go / The world history of emotion / You don’t know the names / But you remember the stories.”

“Life goes on, so to speak:” Horn’s vignettes from Andre and Lois’ – trapped in a state of paralyzing reverie, and newly married to Bob (Allen Frame), respectively – play against jawdropping 2-D backdrops mounted in the Lower East Side’s Millennium Film Workshop where DOOMED LOVE was filmed. Amy Sillman and Pamela Wilson’s muslin and cardboard “sets” make Horn’s film a dourly sweet exercise in epic theatre, a self-reflexive essay on Western amativeness, buttressed by an sparkling minimalist score from Evan Lurie (of The Lounge Lizards.), with original songs by Lenny Pickett. This summer, Spectacle is pleased to resuscitate this no-wave classic for its first NYC repertory run since it played Spectacle in 2016.

“DOOMED LOVE was my first feature film. It was made in the midst of what was then New Wave Cinema, but instead of the East Village I was taking my cues from Daniel Schmid and Werner Schroeder. I wanted to make an opera – without much knowledge of what opera was – and it became a musical. I wanted to make something mythic and only later discovered just how personal it was. I wanted it to be on a grand scale, which could only play out in a confined and artificial space. In those days we perversely wanted to alienate the audience and dare them to leave. In that I (thankfully) failed miserably.” – Andrew Horn

“Steeped in bittersweet camp, 19th Century imagery and free floating Jungian equivalences. Undeniably sensitive… goes beyond romantic angst.” – J. Hoberman, Village Voice

( poster by Tom Henry )


THE NOMI SONG
dir. Andrew Horn, 2004
97 mins. In English.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 5th – 7:30 PM
WITH FILMMAKER Q&A! (This event is $10.)
TUESDAY, AUGUST 14 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30 – 10PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

“The way I look is part of it. It sounds affected but I do see myself as a piece of living art. People do accuse me of being just decorative or an escapist. Well, I am. That’s what I do. So long as they realize that I am other things as well. I do kind of transcend the song and give it a different meaning. But satire would be too simple. There are moments in my show which are very moving as well as amusing. People should allow me to be many things, really give me room to put things in another dimension.”

Looks like an alien, sings like a diva – Klaus Nomi was one of the 1980s’ most profoundly bizarre characters. He was a cult figure in the New Wave underground scene, a genuine counter tenor who sang pop music like opera and brought opera to club audiences and made them like it. He was a performer with a “look” so strong, that his first audiences went wild before he even opened his mouth. Klaus presented himself as “the perfect video star” yet his star burned out just before the mass explosion of MTV. On the verge of international fame as a singer, he became instead one of the first gay artists to die of AIDS. In the end, his recorded output consists of re-reissues, in various forms, of only two LP’s and a live album. For those who do know him, the reaction he provoked was so strong, that he is still unforgettable, even 20 years after his death. Even now, Klaus is somehow still winning new fans among those too young to have known him when he was alive. And a quick check of the Internet reveals that all his records are still being sold.

Part documentary, part music film, part sci-fi, THE NOMI SONG is a “non-fiction film”, or maybe even an oral history. It’s not just the tale, it’s the telling. But it is also visual, partly because Klaus himself was so visual, someone who’s main concern was putting forth an image of himself in everything he did – literally illustrated by the photos, films, videos and artworks that go with it and featuring many never before seen live performances. However, there are also the images that the stories conjure up, images that no actual picture could capture, that emerge out of impressions, memories and even exaggerations, fermenting in somebody’s brain for twenty years. It’s like a novel with a whole cast of characters and supporting players – revealing themselves as much as (and sometimes more than) they do Klaus – with subplots, background stories, flashbacks and contradictions.

What unifies the various elements of interviews, performance and various visual elements is Klaus himself, not only the all-pervasive image he put out, but, more importantly, his effect on others. It’s a story that grows out of a group of people who influenced him, loved him, idolized him, felt pity for him and felt guilty because of him; people who felt used, cheated yet, over all, inspired by him. It’s a story of love of music and love of performing and a time when it seemed as though everyone was struck by a sense of urgency to make something – or anything – and the feeling that “somewhere in the great cosmic plan we all knew that we only had a finite amount of time together and we had to make the most of it.”

Nomi is, of course, a manufactured personality. But by all accounts the character he created for himself was clearly more significant, more “real” than the man behind it. If he was a mystery, he was completely open about it. He constructed his own myth out of elements so completely “wrong”, yet so deliberate, that it all seemed oddly possible. And right up to the end, it almost was. He was as much a genuine talent as he was – however naively – the engine of his own destruction. He was an alien amongst the outcasts and an obviously tortured soul who, at the same time, radiated optimism at a time when optimism was “officially” out of fashion. His appeal is not easy to explain in words. He has to be seen – and heard – to be believed. Whether you knew him personally, saw him perform, discovered his music or even just saw his picture, one has to admit, he is pretty unbelievable.

Featuring the music of Wire, The Marbles, The Bongos, Pylon, The Mumps, Chi Pig, and, of course, David Bowie, not to mention numerous live Klaus Nomi performances, many never before seen, and including Klaus’ ultimate performance of The Cold Song with full orchestra.

“ILLUMINATING AND MOVING! Offers a wealth of information about Klaus Nomi’s career, the construction of his space-alien persona, and the new-wave scene he sprang from. With Klaus Nomi as the focus of our attention, all conventional notions (and notions of convention) are altogether burned away. Dazzling!” – Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly

“Andrew Horn’s strange and fascinating documentary about the late New Wave singer and art object, Klaus Nomi, gives off a rich whiff of the New York punk bohemia of the late 1970s and early ’80s.” – Kurt Loder, MTV

“A strange personage – sad clown to some, incomparable genius to others. (…) He deserves a special mention in the annals of rock history as the first who dared sing an operatic aria to the habitués of Max’s Kansas City.” Le Matin, 1983


WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER!
dir. Andrew Horn, 2014
135 mins. In English.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8th – 7 PM
WITH FILMMAKER Q&A! (This event is $10.)
TUESDAY, AUGUST 21 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

The Beatles’ trial by fire was those two years playing in the bars in Hamburg. For Twisted Sister, it lasted for 10.

Back then, they were the Grand Funk of Glam and the NY Dolls of Metal. Some considered Twisted Sister a joke, others called them the greatest bar band in the world. While the microcosm of Punk and New Wave was taking over downtown New York in the mid 70s – early 80s, Twisted Sister was battling their way to the top of a vast suburban, cover-band bar scene that surrounded Manhattan in a 100 mile radius, yet existed in a parallel universe.

The film follows them from their beginnings as a cross-dressing glam band, playing cover songs for 4 shows a night, 6 nights a week – from New Jersey bowling alleys and Long Island beach bars, to the suburban mega-clubs of the late 70s/early 80s, and on to their bust-out appearance on the UK rock TV show, “The Tube”. Through it all, Twisted stood ready to do or die, not just for the music, but also “the show”. They refused to play the usual bar band role of  “human juke box for drunk and horny teens”. Every night, the band would give their all to the crowd, and mounted a full frontal attack on anyone not participating. They were going to force you to pay attention – and you were going to have fun whether you liked it or not.

They regaled their audiences with comedy rants, dragging them on stage for vomit inducing drinking games, engaging them in fits of disco record smashing and, at their most extreme, whipping them into club-destroying frenzy. The performances were low on style and heavy on the humor and attitude – but behind it all, always smart and full of self awareness. Spinal Tap may have been clueless but Twisted Sister knew exactly what they were doing.

It was both a great living and a dead end because once you reached the peak – headlining clubs attracting audiences of 2, 3 or 5 thousand a night – there was nowhere left to go. As big as Twisted got on that circuit, in the eyes of the world, ie the music business establishment, they were nothing but a bar band.

If you’re expecting a tribute film recounting the well known events of Twisted Sister’s rock star career, be prepared for something very different. This is not about their  hit songs, the MTV videos and their massive stadium shows, rather it’s the untold story of how they became that band – one full of strange, and often hilarious, twists and turns. It’s a story of Rock ‘n Roll and the business of Rock ‘n Roll. It’s about perseverance and things blowing up in your face. It’s about finding yourself, finding your audience and doing literally anything, however wild, to connect with them. And even though we know how it ends, the roller coaster ride of getting there is what it’s really all about. A mesmerizing, and wickedly funny story of a 10 year odyssey to overnight success.

Twisted guitarist, Jay Jay French, sums it up, “the history of Twisted is really those 10 years in the clubs. The years we spent clawing our  way through the bar scene. It was learning how to make order out of chaos and how to win in bad situations. And it was unique to Twisted. I talk to hundreds of bands and nobody’s ever gone through what we went through. It’s who we are, and it’s why we are, and why we do what we do.”

“‘One of the most surprising movies I have seen in quite some time.(…) a film for everyone, not just fans, one which [imparts] a deeper understanding of and respect for the men who lived it.”Pamela Glasner, Huffington Post

“Hilarious and revealing interviews (…) as well as plenty of riotously entertaining footage from the band’s Seventies Tri-State club heyday. Immensely compelling.”Dan Epstein, Rolling Stone

“The time flies by, director Andrew Horn concocting a compelling, take-no-shit tale of Twisted Sister’s stuttering rise to stardom.”Geoff Barton, Classic Rock Magazine

“I’m not a Twisted Sister fan and, in fact, knew very little about their scene in general—but this is a fascinating documentary.”David Hudson, Fandor

“Noise, mayhem, pathos, endless reversals and plenty of uproarious comedy.”The Independent (UK)

DRAMATIC ESCAPE

DRAMATIC ESCAPE
dir. Nick Quested, 2015
90 mins. United States.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24th – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!
This event is $10.
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Nick Quested’s DRAMATIC ESCAPE is a documentary transporting viewers into the lives of maximum security prisoners at Sing Sing in Ossining, NY, as they mount a stage production of A Few Good Men. From auditions through curtain call, the men reveal their personal stories, their everyday struggles and the importance of the arts in their journeys. Sing Sing is a maximum security prison on the east bank of the Hudson River, 30 miles north of New York City.

The film is hopeful and inspiring, despite the gritty reality of maximum-security prison. Meet the self-described street thug in his second prison term. “Not convinced” by the short sentence in his previous bid, he immediately returned to crime, and is now serving 16 years. Meet a gang leader whose people thought he was crazy for giving up violence, or an RTA member in an “Aha!” moment, as he catches himself reacting angrily to an innocent situation and realizes that acting on impulse is exactly what landed him in prison. Witness their everyday struggle with what they have done and listen as they contemplate whether redemption is ever achievable either to themselves or to the outside world.

The mission of RTA is to use the transformative power of the arts to develop social and cognitive skills that prisoners need for successful reintegration into the community. Rehabilitation Through the Arts also seeks to raise public awareness of the humanity behind prison walls. Most importantly, RTA reduces recidivism. Nationally, the recidivism rate is more than 60%. In NY, it’s 43%. With a twenty one year history behind them, RTA’s is 7%!

Following DRAMATIC ESCAPE, Charles Moore and Clarence Maclin – both alumni of RTA in Sing Sing – will join the audience for a live Q&A. (Clarence is the central focus of the documentary, and Charles is RTA’s first formerly incarcerated staff member.)

DOUBLE PINILLA

In keeping with our presentations of clásicos tropicales góticos by Luis Ospina and Ivan Cardoso, Spectacle is pleased to exhibit two Eighties rarities by living legend Jairo Pinilla, the so-called “Ed Wood of Colombia”. Also reigning from Cali (Ospina’s hometown, as well as the late Carlos Mayolo’s), Pinilla pioneered a form of acerbic camp cinema in constant struggle with Fono Cine, the government agency providing funding for some of his movies. While the films are well known among cineaste circles of Colombia, little is published in English about Jairo Pinilla. His most notorious works (like the temporary-death medical thriller 27 HORAS CON LA MUERTE, or AREA MALDITA – about a marijuana crops protected by a monstrous, weed-addicted python) remain sadly unavailable on these dark shores. We hope this series begins a bigger inquiry into Pinilla’s work which, despite its languorous pace and phantasmagoric theatrics, retains the innocence of the best zero-budget cinema of the macabre.

Last December Pinilla told The Miami Herald that ‘“You have to have a good ending first,” he said, taking a deep drag on a cigarette. “Then you start stacking all the other elements behind it like a funnel.”’ The funnels capping both THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE and EXTRAÑA REGRESIÓN must be seen to be believed – affirming Pinilla’s late night tales as low-key pulp masterpieces.



THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
(EL TRIANGULO DE ORO)
(aka LA ISLA FANTASMA)
dir. Jairo Pinilla, 1984
Colombia. 93 mins
In Spanish with English subtitles.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6 – MIDNIGHT
THURSDAY, APRIL 12 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 21 – MIDNIGHT
SUNDAY APRIL 22 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 27 – 10 PM
ONLINE TICKETS HERE


An ostensibly straightforward mystery thriller riffing on a bygone generation’s worth of toxic whispers about the Bermuda Triangle, this film (also released as LA ISLA FANTASMA) uses the Panama Canal Zone as a jumping-off point, from whence a young girl and her father vanish out on the high seas. Jack Mendelson, her swollen uncle (who may also be a mercenary/private detective?) decked out in a leather vest and ripped bell-bottom jeans, goes searching for them, with the remaining nephew in tow. Their axes form a puzzle, leading them to a moss-ensconced island housing a mythic miniature pyramid made of solid gold – but the triangle is treacherous, and exposure to it begins to cost Jack his sanity.

Well before a man-eating plant has taken center stage, you’ll agree that EL TRIANGULO DE ORO is one of the wildest and most imaginative horror movies ever made, including at least one set piece that should be legendarily famous: a showstopping martial arts throwdown between Jack and a cadre of shady characters in a seaside cantina. The bar patrons’ horrified reactions teeter between tragedy and farce, another example of Pinilla’s surprisingly un-rushed editing style: Pinilla builds mystery through gorgeous location photography, decking each scene out with more telephoto zooms than you’ll find in most contemporaneous Hollywood thrillers. Speaking of which: both films in this series betray Pinilla’s penchant for overlaying snatches of music from overhyped American movies of the day. An insaniack final twist (complete with flashing strobes and bedraggled first-person long takes tiptoeing through walls of ivy, reeking with death) adopts the perspective of a child, played by Pinilla’s real-life son Jorge, to dreamy, haunting and hilarious effect.



EXTRAÑA REGRESIÓN
dir. Jairo Pinilla, 1985
Colombia. 98 mins.
In dubbed English with Spanish subtitles.
SATURDAY, APRIL 7 – MIDNIGHT
THURSDAY, APRIL 12 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 20 – MIDNIGHT
SUNDAY, APRIL 22 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 27 – MIDNIGHT
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

A beautiful medical student named Laura is orphaned in two fell strokes of awful fate: first her father dies, then her jeweler’s mother is murdered by her sociopathic cousin Rodolfo (alongside his equally free-spreeing sister, who soon uses her witness status as a cudgel against the culprit.) Laura becomes obsessed, both with seeking vengeance for her mother’s murder, and with the idea of reoccupying her still-fresh corpse – egged on by her compatriots, whose are only interested in modern medicine for the promise of a ramshackle bridge to the other side. Soon Laura has decided to be killed so her spirit can commingle with her mother’s, but her boyfriend Ray disapproves – and Rodolfo, by now moved into Laura’s empty family home with his deadbeat father, may have other designs.

Finding Colombian audiences disdainful of his Spanish-language movies, Pinilla sought to disguise EXTRAÑA REGRESIÓN as an American production, and thus dubbed it in English – giving a ludicrous innocence to the overdubbed line readings during on-campus discussions of science, morality and life after death. EXTRAÑA REGRESIÓN becomes a hypernatural revenge thriller in its final act, stacked with double-crosses and uncanny coincidences than a telenovela: a hyperintelligent baby is born to host Laura’s soul, tracking down both Rodolfo and her old boyfriend Ray (now played by Pinilla) for a reckoning from the other side – sure to haunt the hell out of Rodolfo, Ray, and perhaps also the captive audience.

(poster by Tom Henry)

TWO LAWS

TWO LAWS
dirs. Carolyn Strachan, Alessandro Cavadini, and Borroloola Aboriginal Community, 1981
Australia. 140 mins.
In English, and Aboriginal with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, APRIL 6 – *9:00 PM*
SUNDAY, APRIL 15 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18 – 6:30 PM (WITH FILMMAKER Q&A! – This screening is $10)
SUNDAY APRIL 29 – 5 PM
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

The Borroloola Aboriginal Community is made up of four language groups from the gulf region of the Northern Territory. The people live within a tribal structure and all decisions concerning this film were made within this structure.

The opening words of TWO LAWS are spoken by Leo Finlay, a prominent member of the Borroloola community:

“I suppose you know these two, Alexander and Caroline. Last year was in Sydney and asked them to come down to make film in Borroloola for our own people. They’re here in Borroloola now and we’re glad that they came to make this film. They been apply to the government to get some money to make this film which was real good. So its our film and we’re going to make really good film out of it.”

TWO LAWS is not a conventional documentary – it comes from a different perspective, from Aboriginal community commitment, and in doing so it also challenges notions of filmmaking practice, of history, of ethnography, of objectivity.

The Aboriginal people of Borroloola have a traumatic history of massacres, institutionalisation and dispossession of their lands. Reflection upon this history is increasingly part of the Borroloola people’s basis for action and the consolidation and definition of aims. The request for this film to be made is part of this process.

The film is divided into four parts but although this arrangement is roughly chronological. TWO LAWS is not a straight linear narrative, nor are its four parts kept entirely distinct from one another: interconnections between past and present are dealt with through an investigation of both history and its construction, storytelling and its processes.

“The way Aboriginal people approach history is very different from the way we see history as located firmly in the past. People talk about history in the present tense, use the first person, employ dialogue, reenact events. In everyday life people tell stories that happened yesterday or happened one hundred years ago.”Carolyn Strachan and Allesandro Cavadini

“TWO LAWS has scripted moments and re-enactments but is entirely transparent in its presentation; much of it is shot, wide-angle, from a seated position among a circle of people, in visual sync with Indigenous storytelling traditions. I haven’t seen anything like it in honesty of feel or form, though it’s an obvious precursor to the sleeker fictional drama TEN CANOES (Rolf de Heer, 2006).”Lauren Carroll Harris, Realtime

“So substantial in achievement that it makes breathless praise undignified.” Meaghan Morris, Financial Review

“No other documentary has come anything like as close to uncovering the richness and the everydayness of modern aboriginal life, without every romanticising it.” – John Hinde, ABC

“A breakthrough of major significance in ethnographic film.”James Roy McBean, Film Quarterly

Special thanks to Facets Multimedia.

PICTURE THINKING: An Evening With Ricky D’Ambrose

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Please note admission for this event is $10. ONLINE TICKETS HERE

In advance of his feature debut NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE playing New Directors New Films, Spectacle is thrilled to host filmmaker and critic Ricky D’Ambrose for a special screening of his early works followed by a Q&A.

These four short films—draft variations on a theme or two, made between 2011 and 2016—anticipate NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE. (Ricky’s earliest, THE STRANGER, has never been shown publicly before!)

“D’Ambrose suggests that he’s searching for a way to make films that break with the dominant mode of independent filmmaking. In order to construct his own cinematic future—and the era’s—he’s trying to reconstruct its past.”The New Yorker

“SIX CENTS IN THE POCKET is framed around Clyde’s errand for a woman named Risa. The less you know about what happens in the next 14 minutes, the better. Suffice to say, this seemingly low-budget Brooklyn chamber drama, is actually more like a classic city symphony from the 1920s. What to call it: Arch-minimalism? Sensational Bressonianism?”BOMB

THE STRANGER
2011. 32 minutes.
An anonymous young man appears in the apartment of a young couple, promising the two graduate students a better, less insular life with him in Berlin. Attracted to what they consider the man’s political and artistic preoccupations, the couple withdraws from school, quits their jobs, destroys their belongings, and waits impatiently for the return of the stranger, who never returns.

PILGRIMS
2013. 14 minutes.
In a city afflicted by increasingly violent protests, a dying young man is visited in his apartment by a refugee, a political radical, and a priest.

SIX CENTS IN THE POCKET
2015. 14 minutes.
A young man with a small, diminishing supply of money drifts in and out of the New York apartment of a couple traveling overseas.

SPIRAL JETTY
2017. 16 minutes.
An applauded New York intellectual hires a young archivist to whitewash her late psychologist father’s reputation by eliminating a forbidding, potentially incriminating paper trail.

Total runtime approximately 76 minutes.

Ricky D’Ambrose was born in Livingston, New Jersey, United States in 1987. He studied English Literature and Cinema Studies. Since 2013, he has shot and edited a series of video-recorded directors’ talks for the online film magazine MUBI Notebook, and written film reviews and essays. Following these shorts, NOTES ON AN APPEARANCE is his first feature film.

DEEP CUTS: An Evening With Frances Bodomo

FRIDAY, MARCH 9 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Longtime Spectacle comrade Frances Bodomo will join us for a presentation of her work, her way: student films, unfinished exercises, completed shorts (including BONESHAKER and EVERYBODY DIES!) alongside excerpts from commissioned works, bits and bobs of inspirational filmic DNA, and audiovisual supplements to the feature-length version of her short AFRONAUTS, about the Zambian mission to conquer the moon.

In the hopes of revealing the wrong turns, false starts and experimentation that go into the launching of an ostensibly successful short film, Bodomo will also describe the compromises and glories of a burgeoning career in independent film – before turning the mic over to the audience for a (per-usual) no-bullshit Q&A.

MACC presents: SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd – 7:30 & 10PM

Spectacle is pleased to host the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council for a ONE NIGHT ONLY screening of Robert Kramer and Philip J. Spinelli’s classic documentary SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE IN PORTUGAL.


SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE IN PORTUGAL
dirs. Robert Kramer and Philip J. Spinelli, 1977
85 mins.
In English, and Portuguese with English subtitles.

“The main thing that I learned in Portugal is what it means for the left to be marginalized. It makes me wonder why we’ve done as well as we have. People are fed by a mass struggle. A mass struggle is like life blood. You can actually see the difference between a group of people who’ve been sitting in an office all day in Lisbon—doing necessary but bureaucratic political work for the Party, let’s say—and people who’ve just come back from a successful struggle of a tenant’s commission. It’s really like one person looks healthy and is standing up straight and has a positive perspective on what’s happening, and the other person is sort of dragging around and has a lot of negative criticism. My films, more than probably any others, reflect that marginalization.” –Robert Kramer in conversation with Thomas Brom on December 9th, 1975

INVENTION x CONVENTION: Four Nonfictions By Hernán Khourian

This September, Spectacle is thrilled to collaborate with Antennae Collection to present four nonfiction works from Argentine film and video-maker Hernán Khourian.

Hernán Khourian was born in 1972 in La Plata, Argentina. He graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at Universidad Nacional de La Plata with a degree in Visual Communication, and continued his studies in Spain, where he received his Master of Arts in Documental de Creación at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona). His work has received support from the Fundación Antorchas (Argentina) and the Jan Vrijman Fund (The Netherlands). Over the years he has received various prizes and grants on an international level. among his work, the following films have been exhibited internationally: ÁREAS (2000), LAS SABANAS DE NORBERTO (2003), PUNA (2006), ESPLIN O ERRAR O SIN EMBARGO (2007), MEMORIA (2010) and LOS SILENCIOS Y LAS MANOS (2014). He teaches at the Masters Degree in Documentary Filmmaking (Universidad de Cine Buenos Aires, FUC), in the National University of La Plata (UNLP) and the Masters in Journalism Documentary at the National University Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) in Buenos Aires.


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 – 10:00 PM
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 – 10 PM

ÁREAS dir. Hernán Khourian, 2000
Argentina. 86 mins.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

ÁREAS could be described on the surface as a documentary video about “work” in Argentina. It is an open piece that must be completed by the viewer, constantly recast in his mind, nourished by his own experience and subjectivity. (Enrico Kahn)

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LAS SABANAS DE NORBERTO dir. Hernán Khourian, 2003
Argentina. 45 mins.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

LAS SABANAS DE NORBERTO is a documentary that centers the philosophical universe of Norberto Butler, marked by a life of physical immobility. Khourián constructs prostration as a state of a superlative dream power: mental flashes that trigger a hypnotic and stylistically vivacious transfer. (Diego Trerotola/FIDBA)


TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 – 10 PM
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 – 7:30 PM

PUNA dir. Hernán Khourian, 2006
44 mins. Argentina.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

PUNA is a personal essay on the Puna (the plateau that covers part of Bolivia and Peru, and the extreme north of Chile and Argentina). Khourián invokes the hallucinated soul of a culture torn apart by the sun, transfigured by a spiritual experience shifted to the viewer. (Instituto Cervantes, Berlín)

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LOS SILENCIOS Y LAS MANOS
dir. Hernán Khourian, 2014
58 mins. Argentina.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

LOS SILENCIOS Y LAS MANOS is a singular portrait of Telma Palavecino, an elderly mystic woman. Khourián attempts to meet Telma without ever exhausting her secrets and always respecting her mystery. (Diego Maté/Bafici)