Author: Spectacle

KINET PROGRAMS 01-05: SELECTIONS

FRIDAY, MAY 19 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY MAY 25 – 10 PM

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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.

Since Kinet’s inception in July 2016, five unique film programs have been published for free viewing. Pursuant this selection films from past programs, Spectacle will host the premiere screenings of future Kinet programs prior to their online release.

For the inaugural screening the following works have been selected:

RÉPUBLIQUE
dir. Alexandre Galmard, France
2016. 12 mins.

This movie was mostly made in Paris in the span of a year, from the attacks of November 2015, the refugee crisis to the protests of early 2016 against several reform projects.

This movie was set in motion by a collaborative neighborhood art project (with Angelina Battais and Victoria Linhares) which was followed by the occupation of Place de la République referred to as “Nuit Debout” that started the night of March 31st, after hours of protest under the rain.

République does not cover all the converging struggles associated with living in Saint-Ouen and in the proximity of such procedures but works through the fragmented forms that were drawn from it. His aim is not to recollect and sum up all of the activities undertaken this year but stands as a remainder for future formalizations.

UNTITLED (CAMERA ROLL)
dir. 
Douglas Dixon Barker, United Kingdom
2017. 2 mins.

Archiving iPhone images to 35mm film. digital and analogue distortions. In this case the colour blue.

OCEAN FALLS
dir. Ryan Ermacora & Jessica Johnson, Canada
2015. 13 mins.

A lyrical study of the nearly abandoned company town west of Bella Coola that all but withered and died once its existence no longer made financial sense. Ryan Ermacora and Jessica Johnson invite us to marvel at the stark contrast between the vibrant coastal forests and the manmade structures that have fallen into ruin. An almost spectral presence is on hand to impart tales of a rebellious past and we’re left to consider the grim fates that sometimes befall grand schemes.

_______
dir. Karissa Hahn, US
2016. 4 mins.

a piece of my cinematic tension series, one leaning toward release

making a pot of tea, listening to the radio,
a sculpture of pose, a gesture incomplete
– no relief
a tea kettle boiling to silence is a petrified thought
air mattresses are the worst to fold up

TALES
dir. Saskia Gruyaert, Raya Martin & Antoine Thirion, France
2010. 20 mins.

After the death of her boyfriend, a young woman leaves for the countryside in the south of France, seeking nature, spirits and the forest.

VIGIL, SPLIT
dir. Isaac Goes, US
2017. 3 mins.

A shot-for-shot in-camera recreation of an iPhone movie. Filmed over the course of 1 day from sunup to sundown.

Constraint:
Each individual shot in the iPhone cut (filmed and edited one month prior) was timed and each location mapped. Because the film was edited sequentially in-camera, physical movement through space was required in mimicking the cuts of the digital version – an unfolding of montage in real environments. The iPhone movie was constructed so as to form a map, the 16mm film is the traversing of the points plotted. Periodic shots of empty skies mark the passage of time through color.

The film’s digital counterpart has been deleted.

GOODBYE PHILIPPINES
dir. Miguel Mantecon, US/Philippines
2016. 25 mins.

If to obtain a legacy one must diminish their self, then life, the embodiment of living, must evaporate only to be spread about, felt elsewhere by others, often unknowingly. But not known, is a legacy contested? Goodbye Philippines surveys an undead landscape, textured by phantoms. It is as if this feeling of a legacy regards tradition and cultural custom as memories repossessed by the setting. Here a family less acts and instead sets the scene for departure, in preparation for some entrance, whether it is into a room or a different realm. But is entering here where even the most banal tasks are elucidated and no longer customary, rather made a part of mythology.

Jessica Johnson is an experimental filmmaker living in Vancouver, B.C. She works predominantly with 16mm film making short experimental works that intend to shift perspectives on landscape. Her films have played at Canadian festivals such as VIFF, DOXA, Festival du Nouveau Cinema and WNDX.

Ryan Ermacora (1991) is an award-winning artist and filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. His work investigates the visible and invisible ways in which humans have engraved themselves into natural spaces and is informed by an interest in avant-garde depictions of landscape. His style is defined through a self-reflexive and structural approach to cinema. His work has been chosen for screenings at DOXA Documentary Film Festival, WNDX, The Vancouver International Film Festival and international festivals.

Born in Paris with both French and Canadian nationalities, Alexander Galmard is a 24 years old moviemaker (aka Aleph Cinema) and electronic music composer (aka Kanthor, aka Jeune Galois), co-founder of QTY (with Isiah Medina) and co-founder of Hisolat Records (with Angelina Battais, aka Abhr).

Karissa Hahn is a visual artist based in Los Angeles.

Douglas Dixon-Barker is an experimental filmmaker from Stockton-on-Tees and currently based around London. His work covers various formats and explores how cinematic forms understand and represent space(s). He is currently working on a new film (IN YOUR ARMS), a book (Spirit Levels), and has recently released a recording of Michael Pisaro’s Add Red on Don’t Drone Alone.
Isaac Goes is a Bay Area born filmmaker and the co-founder of Kinet. He currently lives in Queens, New York and makes movies under the production company Quantity Cinema (QTY).
Miguel Mantecon is a filmmaker based in the Bay Area.
Antoine Thirion was a film critic at Cahiers du cinéma (2001-2009), then at Independencia, an online publication he has founded in 2009 and directed until 2013. He organized retrospectives in France of the works of James Benning and Lav Diaz at the Jeu de Paume, and of Hong Sang-soo and Roger Corman at FID Marseille. With Raya Martin, he conceived two performances at the Asian Arts Theatre (Gwangju, South Korea), How He Died is Controversial (2015) and UNdocumenta (2016). He’s currently writing a feature film with Alain Della Negra and Kaori Kinoshita.

Born in 1984 in the Philippines, Raya Martin has already directed several features and short films. In 2005, he participated in the berlinale talent campus. His film NOW SHOWING was screened at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2008. One year later, the feature film INDEPENDENCIA, which was supported by the Berlinale World cinema Fund, as well as the feature film MANILA were both shown at the Cannes Film Festival 2009. Martin’s latest film, BUENAS NOCHES, ESPAÑA premiered at the Locarno Film Festival 2011, where he was also part of the jury for the international competition. Raya has also been a recipient of the prestigious 13 Artists Awards in the Philippines in 2009. A retrospective of his works have been featured in Paris, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Las Palmas de Gran Canarias. In 2012, Raya’s films were presented at documenta in Kassel, Germany, and a retrospective of his films was screened at the Korean Film Archive, South Korea, and the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, USA.

CLODIA – FRAGMENTA


CLODIA-FRAGMENTA

Dir. Franco Brocani, 1982
Italy, 116 min.
In Italian with English subtitles.

MONDAY, MAY 8 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, MAY 17 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, MAY 27 – 7:30 PM

TUESDAY, MAY 30 – 7:30 PM

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In 1896 Marcel Schwob published Imaginary Lives, a work of what we’d now call biographical fiction which became a primary influence on Jorge Luis Borges (he used it as a model for his book A Universal History of Iniquity) and Roberto Bolaño. It’s out of print in English, which is a god damn tragedy. Among tales of Captain Kidd, Burke & Hare and Lucretius we find the story of Clodia, an “impure woman”, whom we know about primarily from the writings of Cicero (who called her the Medea of the Palantine). Clodia was many things: a poet, a philosopher, a potential murderer, and a public drunk, but more than any of this she was known for her many, many, many affairs, which led to a tawdry court case. This could easily turn into an E! True Rome Story, but Schwob (who wrote the absolutely masterful The Book of Monelle, which IS in print) brings his severe erudition and Symbolist tendencies to the fore.

Fast forward to 1982 – when experimental director Franco Brocani (NECROPOLIS) released this meditation of Schwob’s tale of Clodia’s scandal, taking cues from the films of Alain Robbe-Grillet (and maybe a little Jean Rollin?). Often consisting of an empty red screen as the narrator recounts Schwob’s tale, intercut with languid tableaux reminiscent of Peter Greenaway or Raul Ruiz, CLODIA-FRAGMENTA is ultimately a film about desire transgressing the mores of society and the rule of law. Perfectly capturing the Symbolist nature of the source material, it’s a film that requires patience but pays back that investment tenfold. Never released on VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray anywhere, it’s a film that resists plot summary. Spring is in the air at Spectacle!

REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2016)

REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2016)
dir. Taralyn Thomas & Jean-Luc Unger
2016, 93 min.

¡! BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND ¡!

SUNDAY, MAY 7 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, MAY 13 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, MAY 15 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, MAY 23 – 7:30 PM

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73QU13M 4 4 D734M is a ballz2thewall, no-budget, feature-length “remake” of REQUIEM FOR A DREAM; part crowd-pleasing avant-comedy, part vitriolic attack on hollywood & mainstream american “culture,” part mind-bending technical experiment in sound and image! Filmed in 3 days and edited over 2 years, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2016) is a farcical, hard-hitting drug drama and genuine DIY meltdown.

REQUIEM has previously screened at Dynasty Center and Memphis Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.

MILESTONES


MILESTONES
dirs. Robert Kramer and John Douglas, 1975
United States of America. 195 mins.

MONDAY, MAY 1 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, MAY 11 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 21 – 5 PM
MONDAY, MAY 29 – 7:30 PM

Warning: This film contains a scene of graphic sexual assault that may be triggering for some viewers.

MILESTONES Excerpt from Icarus Films on Vimeo.

MILESTONES is a lilting, free-associative masterpiece that follows dozens of characters — including hippies, farmers, immigrants, Native Americans, and political activists — as they try to reconcile their ideals with the realities of American life. In intimate discussions of subjects from communal living to parenting, pregnancy to family, Vietnam to Cuba, city life to country life, and the workplace to the bedroom, the film’s diverse protagonists negotiate jealousies, relationships, and the logistical challenges of their rapidly changing world.

Shot in vivid color 16mm, using innovative, layered sound design and editing techniques as well as slides and archival footage, MILESTONES tracks its subjects through scripted and unscripted moments. It follows them as they share their emotions and dreams, their idealism and disillusionment, their triumphs and defeats of the past, as well as the possibilities for the future.

In a 1976 interview with Jump Cut, Kramer put it like this: “If you ask what’s the political significance of the film, we might say we make no claims for its political significance, because the space that it grew out of was the space in which that was the basic question – what is the political significance of our lives? And that’s the guilt that basically everyone in the film experiences at one level or another… And the clear politics that grew out of the 70’s couldn’t be carried forward because of our own limitations. It’s the responsibility of revolutionaries to claim all the good things in the world, in the revolution, not to make lives that rule it out, not to say, you can’t have beautiful films, for example. You can have beautiful films and be a revolutionary.” To which Douglas added: “The openness of the dialogue in the film, the dialogue between two people, constantly could be almost a dialogue between the two filmmakers because of their isolation.”

Official Selection: Director’s Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival 1975, Berlin Film Festival 1975, New York Film Festival 1975

“MILESTONES traverses the entire nation and marks the passing of an era… Kramer’s most unforgettable expedition.”Melissa Anderson, Artforum

“As sad and compassionate a movie as I have ever seen… An attempt to keep alive one of the noble, impossible promises of its time.”  A.O.Scott, The New York Times 

” A monument of committed American cinema.” – Kieron Corless, Sight & Sound

“Above all else it is brave. The intensity of the commitment evinced by the film’s characters, the unapologetically mixed-up quality of these commitments, and the sheer force of the emotions that come pouring off the screen make it unlike anything else I know of in that too-lauded period of American cinema.” – Jerry White, Cinema Scope

“MILESTONES is an epic snapshot of our nation at a specific point in time in a brilliant and orginal mash-up of documentary and fiction.” The Flip Side

Special thanks to Icarus Films.

AN EVENING WITH 8BALL TV

SATURDAY, MAY 6 – 730 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

In March, online public access station 8Ball TV traveled to São Paulo to attend the fifth annual edition of the international independent publishing fair, Plana Festival.

The goal was simple: Recreating 8Ball’s “DIY TV” studio environment for a completely different set of artists, filmmakers, and anyone who wanted to make a video. This program represents the videos created in São Paulo, and the submissions given by locals: PRETXS is a documentary web series that delves into the lives of Sao Paulo’s LGBTQ+ youth; PIXO is a film about the purveyors of “pichação” a uniquely Brazilian style of graffiti; PROJECTING NANCY FLOWERS archives the work of 95-year-old visual anthropologist Nancy May Flowers and her encounters with the Xavante people of Mato Grosso Brazil; OCUPADO is a short documentary about the work of “professional occupier” Careca, shot and produced in Sao Paulo by 8 Ball TV; and finally, artist Diego Fernandes told us to store his film “in a cool, dry place, or a hairy naked chick.”

SPECIAL DISCOVERIES FROM MUBI

In May, MUBI’s Special Discovery series juxtaposes youthful fantasy and stark reality, pairing João Nicolau’s ode to adolescence JOHN FROM with OVER THE YEARS, Niklaus Geyhalter’s epic documentary tracing the devastating repercussions of economic recession in eastern Austria.

JOHN FROM
Dir. João Nicolau, 2015
Portugal. 100 mins.
In Portuguese with English subtitles.

TUESDAY, MAY 16 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 28 – 7:30 PM

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Rita has everything. 15 years and a whole summer ahead of her; a future ex-boyfriend and a best friend to braid her hair. But then, she visits an exhibition from a known neighbor, and her perfect world crumbles around her.

João Nicolau has become one of the main voices of contemporary Portuguese cinema, next to the likes of Miguel Gomes and João Pedro Rodrigues. Shot in 16mm, Nicolau’s second feature is an original, enchanting ode to adolescence and fantasy.

Official Selection: Torino Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, Cine Europeo, Belfort Entrevues Film Festival, Angers Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival

JOHN FROM will be available to stream exclusively on MUBI starting May 12. Watch here.

OVER THE YEARS
Dir. Nikolaus Geyhalter, 2015
Austria. 188 mins.
In German with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, MAY 20 – 3PM
WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 – 7:30 PM

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Taking the demise of a textile factory in Austria’s Waldviertel region as its starting point, with antiquated manufacturing plant initially shown in full operation, this film poses the question of what work means for people’s self-image and character.

OVER THE YEARS is an epic exploration of the repercussions of economic recession in eastern Austria. True to its name, this doc directed by Austrian documentary maverick Niklaus Geyhalter (HOMO SAPIENS) was filmed over the course of 10 years.

Official Selection: IDFA

OVER THE YEARS will be available to stream exclusively on MUBI starting May 26. Watch here.

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. 

ALBERT SERRA: ICONO-CLASSICIST

Parallel to the stateside release of Albert Serra’s brain-bending THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV, Spectacle is pleased to exhibit two early works by the divisive young Catalan auteur. Serra’s 2006 debut HONOR OF THE KNIGHTS is a naturalistic refraction of Don Quixote, while 2008’s BIRDSONG depicts the quest of the Magi as a corporeal buddy comedy suffused with a tranquil beauty that calls to mind Ozu, Bergman, Pasolini and Straub. This pair of inverse-monumental works (both of which will be preceded by Serra’s rarely exhibited, Fassbinderian 2013 short CUBALIBRE) invite their viewers to reconsider cinematic apparatuses of space and time, alongside the shibboleths of history as we have retold it to ourselves across the ages.

Special thanks to Andergraun Films and The Cinema Guild.


HONOR OF THE KNIGHTS
(aka HONOR DE CAVALLERIA)
dir. Albert Serra, 2006
100 mins.
In Catalan with English subtitles.

MONDAY, APRIL 3 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, APRIL 11 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 14 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19 – 7:30 PM

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Serra’s first feature reimagines Don Quixote soot and all: the interplay between Sancho (Lluís Serrat) and Quixote (Lluís Carbó) is less rhetorical than familial, both tender and eerie in its meandering, inviting the viewer to project their own histories onto the speaker/listener relationship that once undergirded Cervantes’ text – as well as teasing out radical redefinitions of both honor (companionship?) and knightdom (serfdom? au pair-dom?). This Quixote is at once a doddering old man and a sage tumescent with life wisdom in his undying pursuit of chivalry… but does anyone (beyond the bumbling Sancho, anyway) care? HONOR OF THE KNIGHTS features a cast assembled of non-actors from Serra’s hometown of Banyoles, while cinematographer Jimmy Gemferrer’s not-quite-HD camera luxuriates in the Catalan countryside.

On the eve of release for THE STORY OF MY DEATH – which performs a similar intervention upon Dracula and Casanova – Serra told Cinema Scope Magazine: “With these characters you have more or less all the information and, well, then I can do whatever I want, I am free, and I don’t care about being more or less faithful to the original source or character that comes from literature or history.”



BIRDSONG
(aka EL CANT DELS OCELLS)
dir. Albert Serra, 2008
92 mins.
In Catalan with English subtitles.

MONDAY, APRIL 3 – 7:30PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 14 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 29 – 7:30 PM

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Serra’s sophomore feature revels in the unknowability of its chosen subjects: the Three Wise Men indicated here (Lluís Carbó, Lluís Serrat Batlle and Lluís Serrat) are at once the hallowed sages indicated by Christmas lore and yet, furthermore, bumbling and oafish to a point of extreme lovability. Serra’s locations (Iceland, the Canary Islands) lend an otherwise titter-worthy comic travelogue with unspeakable, sacrosanct beauty. Also featuring legendary Canadian film critic Mark Peranson as Josef!

“Serra’s emboldened enough to puncture his formalism with humor, and knows how to elevate his material control to the level of the ineffable.”Jeff Reichert, IndieWire

“In a manner reminiscent of Tarkovsky’s insistence that the ‘dominant, all-powerful factor of the film is rhythm, expressing the course of time within the frame’, Serra elongates our sense of duration, liberating filmic time from the abstraction of intensified continuity or montage. Movement is slowed to a stage at which it becomes barely perceptible, and our intermittent awareness of the modulation of mise-en-scène marks the passage of time within the shot. Dramatic time is halted and reclaimed for us to engage with and reflect on our sensitivity to light and sound.” Matthew Flanagan, 16:9

SPECIAL DISCOVERIES FROM MUBI

In collaboration with MUBI’s Special Discovery series, Spectacle is pleased to present a double feature dedicated to French auteur Bertrand Bonello (SAINT LAURENT, NOCTURAMA) and the cinema of art. The first, directed by Bonello, envisions an impossible opera forged from electro music, dance, and a firearm heiress. The second, starring Bonello, has the filmmaker searching for cinematic inspiration in paintings of the monstrous.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12th – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, APRIL 17th – 7:30 PM

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SARA WINCHESTER, PHANTOM OPERA
dir. Bertrand Bonello, 2016
France. 24 Minutes.
In French with English subtitles.

Official Selection: New York Film Festival, San Sebastian, FID Marseille, Mar del Plata Film Festival and Torino Film Festival

A musician and stage director, played by Reda Kateb, is standing facing his console, making some sound tests. He is rehearsing in the auditorium of the Opéra de Paris. From there, he is directing prima ballerina Marie-Agnès Gillot for an opera entitled Sarah Winchester, which is inspired by the life of this American woman whose fate was so peculiar.

SARAH WINCHESTER will be available to stream on MUBI starting April 7. Watch here.


ROUGE
dir. Antoine Barraud, 2015
France. 58 Minutes.
In French with English subtitles.Official Selection: Côté court Festival

A famous filmmaker works on his next film, which will focus on monstrosity. He is obsessed by the idea of finding a painting that will be central to the film and will crystallize all the power and beauty of monsters. But what he doesn’t show to anyone, not even his wife, is the mark on his back that keeps getting bigger. This red mark worries him, upsets him, and seems to want to tell him something… Starring Bertrand Bonello in one of his few acting roles, this rare work is the alternative and almost never-seen-before version of the feature-length “Les Dos Rouge” (Berlinale 2015).

ROUGE will be available to stream on MUBI starting April 21. Watch here.

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. 

SOLZHENITSYN’S CHILDREN… ARE MAKING A LOT OF NOISE IN PARIS

SOLZHENITSYN’S CHILDREN… ARE MAKING A LOT OF NOISE IN PARIS
dir. Michael Rubbo, 1979
France/Canada, 96 mins.
In French with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, APRIL 1 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, APRIL 4 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, APRIL 23 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 28 – 10 PM

Special thanks to the National Film Board of Canada.

From veteran documentarian Michael Rubbo (who would go on to direct 80s cult classic THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION – a Spectacle favorite!) comes the latest in our series of glimpses at paths not taken on the brink of apocalypse, political or otherwise: the 1979 philosophical travelogue SOLZHENITSYN’S CHILDREN… ARE MAKING A LOT OF NOISE IN PARIS.

Alongside Canadian journalist/interloper Louis-Bernard Robitaille, Rubbo considers the so-called “New Philosophers” who were castigated by Gilles Deleuze for their career opportunism after renouncing their respective Marxisms in the long decade after May 1968… wherein anti-gulagism became a cause celebre on the French left, following the betrayed Prague Spring and the first European publications of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO.

Along the way, hilarious and haunting contortions are exposed – chief among them the disparity between militantism and the bourgeois life of the mind, to say nothing of the efficacy question undergirding public intellectualism at large. When Rubbo floats the test-balloon idea that these recondite Maoists might have influenced the election of 1978, it’s left to the viewer whether he’s probing a rich irony for all the material it’s worth, or making a severe allegation – a tension that haunts Rubbo’s film as a twin portrait of a peculiarily pained Paris.

For its dogged before-and-after 1968 comparison, SOLZHENITSYN’S CHILDREN stands alongside its more famous contemporaries – William Klein’s MAYDAYS and Chris Marker’s A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT come to mind – as methodical and withering indictment of a particular first-world hubris.

The National Film Board of Canada describes SOLZHENITSYN’S CHILDREN thusly: “a somewhat unconventional look at a serious subject: an intellectual political movement in France that may alter the face of Communism in Europe. The New Philosophers, as they are called, are former leftist activists whose thinking has been radically changed by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Filmmaker Rubbo and the Paris-based correspondent for Montreal’s La Presse, Louis-Bernard Robitaille, speak to some of them prior to the French national elections. They have abandoned their former pro-Marxist ideology. Will they now decisively influence the electorate?”

Or as Rubbo put it himself to PBS in 2003: The French are able to switch. I made a film in the ’70s called SOLZHENITSYN’S CHILDREN – which was actually on PBS, by the way – and it was about the French Left, about all the intellectuals who had been rampant Marxists. Then, they read Solzhenitsyn and they all did a 180-degree switch. Not just privately, but very publicly. People like Bernard-Henri Levy, Andre Glucksmann, all staged a public mea culpa. Why? I guess France is like that, more volatile, and also they profited mightily from their change by writing instant best-sellers on their new position and becoming the darlings of the press, probably getting more attention than they had ever had as Marxists.”

SOUTH OF HEAVEN: SUPERNATURAL WESTERNS

This April, Spectacle is pleased to present a collection of throwbacks on horseback from down Mexico way. Four supernatural westerns covering everything from witches to werewolves, from the devil to Dracula: it may still be chilly in NYC, but here at the Goth Bodega it’s Spring Break.


THE LIVING COFFIN
(aka EL GRITO DE LA MUERTE)
dir. Fernando Mendez, 1959
72 minutes. Mexico.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, APRIL 7 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, APRIL 16 – 5 PM
THURSDAY, APRIL 27 – 10PM

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Lawman Gaston and his partner Crazy Wolf saunter into town to investigate an attempted murder. When they arrive, the family tells a harrowing tale of haunting and mischief that’s been keeping them up at night. Can the duo solve this mystery and release the family from their terrible curse? Are the tombs beneath the residence truly housing the dead? Has the Crying Woman returned to exact a terrible revenge? Will they escape the deadly swamp?

While the legend of The Crying Woman was done many times before and after this film, EL GRITO DE LA MUERTE (the original title, translating to “The Cry of Death”) owes as much to the gothic offerings of Poe as it does to the tropes of Scooby Doo.

Gaston Santos (a well known bullfighter turned actor) teams up once again with director Fernando Mendez, writer Ramón Obón and cinematographer Víctor Herrera who all earlier that same year made the beautiful and shadowy Spectober favorite THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M.

THE RIDER OF THE SKULLS
(aka EL CHARRO DE LAS CALAVERAS)
dir. Alfredo Salazar, 1965
80 minutes. Mexico.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

SUNDAY, APRIL 2 – 5 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 8 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 15 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, APRIL 20 – 10 PM

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A masked rider (not Zorro) arrives in a sleepy Mexican villa in the midst of a slew of vicious werewolf attacks during what seems like a solid month of full moons. The Rider is given lodging by a señorita and her young son – Perico – who appear to be the next targets of the flannel-clad lycanthrope. The Rider, with the help of a local witch dispatches of the monster who turns out to be the boys father. As he rides off into the sunset with Perico by his side one may expect the credits to roll but don’t rise from the opulent comfort of your seat just yet, viewer, this adventure is far from over. The Rider (now taller and with a different mask) along with the help of a new boy and their manservant Cléofas (the films “comic relief”) fight a vampire in some highly unconvincing day for night photography. It’s worth mentioning that the vampire not only has the giant head of a bat but also has the power to change into an equally unconvincing rubber bat and flies off. Finally, The Rider faces his deadliest foe yet when he teams up with a woman in possession of the cabeza of none other than the Headless Horseman and his two robed skeleton henchmen leading to a machete fight at sunset.

Director Alfredo Salazar is best known for his contributions to Mexican horror in the form of many, many Santo/Blue Demon movies as well as penning such psychotronic fare as THE NIGHT OF THE BLOODY APES and the should-be classic THE MAN & THE MONSTER (produced by and starring his brother Abel). Star Dagoberto Rodríguez had a 30-or-so year career in Mexican film and television, which is more than likely the reason he removes his mask and reveals his identity in the middle of the film. Due to its “monster of the week” feeling and suspicious change of companions/mask/location/etc the working assumption is that THE RIDER OF THE SKULLS is actually three episodes of a serial stitched together to make it feature length. Nevertheless, Salazar wears his love of classic Universal monsters on his sleeve and creates a film unlike any other.

GHOST TOWN
(aka EL PUEBLO FANTASMA)
dir. Alfredo B. Crevenna, 1965
80 min, Mexico
In Spanish w/ English subtitles

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, APRIL 13 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 15 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26 – 10 PM

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The Rio Kid bursts onto the screen promising to lay waste to anyone claiming to be a faster gunslinger than he! Little do the townsfolk know that the reason The Rio Kid is so quick with the pistolero is because he’s been alive for 200 years and drinks the blood of his victims. Enter El Texano (clearing his family name) and his partner Don Nestor (fresh out of prison) – both vowing revenge!

More black and white genre blending from mid-60’s Mexico: while this film features more singing than the others in our series, it also has one of the more sympathetic antiheroes of the group. While The Rio Kid is in fact a literal monster, he also comes off as somewhat of a folk hero when he stops the assault of a young woman. In the end though, the duo save the town but cannot save the subtitles – that one’s on us.

THE DEVIL HORSE
(aka EL CABALLO DEL DIABLO)
dir. Federico Curiel, 1975
88 min, Mexico
In Spanish w/ English subtitles

SATURDAY, APRIL 1 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 22 – MIDNIGHT
WEDNESDAY APRIL 26 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 29 – 10 PM

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More songs, more comedy, and tons more fistfights and bar brawls than one might expect from a Faustian western but here we are. When a young man dies he makes a deal with the devil in exchange for his soul (classic) and returns to Earth. Despite being considerably more evil and taking it out on animals and family, no one seems to have a problem with him until the aforementioned Devil’s Horse gallops in.

Curiel like Salazar contributed to the seemingly never-ending avalanche of Santo films throughout the the 60’s and 70’s and 1968’s THE EVIL ONES but is most well known for his vampire films including – EMPIRE OF DRACULA and THE VAMPIRE GIRLS.