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)

MUBI Special Discoveries: THE EVENT & BROOKS MEADOWS AND LOVELY FACES


THE EVENT
dir. Sergei Loznitsa, 2015
Netherlands. 74 mins.
In Russian with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 – 7:30 PM

In August 1991 a failed coup d’état led by a group of hard-core communists in Moscow ended the 70-year-long rule of the Soviets. In Leningrad thousands of confused, scared, excited and desperate people poured into the streets to become a part of the event, which was supposed to change their destiny.

Sergei Loznitsa has made an astounding documentary from restored footage of the dramatic cavalcade of events during the collapse of the Soviet Union 26 years ago this month: government dissolution, Gorbachev gone missing, and a coup d’etat. Like today, we only know what is presented to the public.

Read more about the film at The Notebook here.
Official Selection: Venice, Rotterdam, Belfast
Winner: “Best Documentary” by the Russian Guild of Film Critics, “Best Film (New Waves Non-Fiction Award)” at the Seville European Film Festival



BROOKS, MEADOWS AND LOVELY FACES
dir. Yousry Nasrallah, 2016
Egypt. 115 mins.
In Arabic with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 – 7:30 PM

With his sons, Refaat (a passionate cook) and Galal (a womanizer), chef Yehia manages a wedding caterer. Karima, Yehia’s niece, is promised to Refaat, but he loves Shadia, without knowing that Karima loves also someone else. Over the course of the wedding, Karima finds a way to reveal her feelings.

Egyptian auteur Yousry Nasrallah deftly weaves between drama, comedy and subtle political insight in this warm and colorful social tapestry. Romantic, business and sexual relationships swirl around a wedding, a grand, music and food-filled event touching all types of people, wealthy and working.

Official Selection: Locarno, Toronto, Istanbul, Göteborg, Busan

8BALL TV: COMP USA LIVE

SATURDAY, AUGUST 19TH- 7:30PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

COMP USA Live is an experiment in digital performance. The COMP USA Live team tells stories that take place on the desktop computer itself and explores relationships between actor, audience, environment, and computer user. Utilizing a desktop armed with custom software, talented actors, the Internet, and a well hung green screen, COMP USA Live creates a stage unlike any other that came before.

KINET.MEDIA PROGRAM 06

SATURDAY, JULY 15th – 7:30 PM – ONE NIGHT ONLY!

GET YOUR TICKETS!

kinet.media is an online publishing platform catered to the dissemination of new and boundary pushing avant-garde cinema.  Aiming to expand the potential of the internet as a space for cinematic exchange, the site provides a localized space wherein works exhibiting a wide range of emerging formal tendencies can come together in dialogue.

 The site’s latest program will make its theatrical premiere at Spectacle preceding its online release.  Kinet Program 06 – July is comprised of four never before screened works by Neil Bahadur, Jiayi Chen, and Jesse Filian.

FROM NINE TO NINE
dir. Neil Bahadur, 2016.
67 mins. Canada.

There is a dead body sitting outside of a library which an unnamed young man is arrested for.  He escapes, and wanders an unnamed city – spaces take on different meanings in handcuffs.  Featuring clips from THE AQUARIUM AND THE NATION, THE SHOOTING, MAHJONG, REGENERATION, TOO EARLY TOO LATE and INTOLERANCE.

Neil Bahadur was born on Feburary 24, 1991.

THE WORDS ARE NOT WHAT YOU MEANT
dir. Jiayi Chen, 2017.
12 mins. United States.

A stranger’s quest in Chicago, particularly Chinatown, for a sense of being in an uncertain time. It derives from experiences of translation and transportation, negotiations with foreignness and intimacy, and attempts to physically and emotionally inhabit a place.
CASE STUDY OF AN EQUATION
dir. Jiayi Chen, 2017.

4 mins. United States. Originally shot on Super-8mm.

Based on a mathematical equation, the work CASE STUDY OF AN EQUATION is made to ridicule the process of coping with fear, to quantify emotion in space and in relation to others. It is the full length of a 50 foot reel of super 8 film with in-camera editing, and is the result of an immediate investigation and spontaneous measurement of the haunting ghost from a past incident.

Jiayi Chen is an artist born in Chongqing, China, and is currently based in Chicago, IL. She works in film, video, installation and photography. She is interested in language, instructions and correspondence, exploring them in her works and also living with them.

ONE SECOND PER SECOND
dir. Jesse Filian, 2016.
9 mins. United States.
“A chronicle of some time spent with my uncle talking about his years working in factories and riding horses around Northeast Illinois with my grandfather. An attempt to reconcile the landscape they grew up on with the one I now inhabit.”
Jesse Filian is a filmmaker from Illinois.