BEST OF SPECTACLE 2017

Every year we go through an elaborate electoral process, rife with corruption and tampering, which produces the BEST OF SPECTACLE for the month of January. 2017 was best experienced in a small, dimly-lit room, as can be deduced from the 22 films below. These will be their last screenings at Spectacle for quite some time, so come relive these pleasures or freshly experience the best of the best.

(Photo of the Best of 2016 crowd)


DANCE GODDESS
dir. Hamid Khan, 1987
82 min, USA
In Urdu w/ English subtitles.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 5 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 16 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 26 – 7:30 PM

TICKETS HERE

Over the years, the Grand Ballroom at 124 S. 3rd St. has played host to many a lost musical – the nearly-mythical ROCK N’ ROLL HOTEL, the dearly melancholic DOOMED LOVE – and now, it is with great pleasure that we announce the world premiere of a film orphaned for 30 years…Hamid Kahn’s DANCE GODDESS.

After moving to America and having a successful career as a real estate attorney, Hamid found he missed the culture of India, particularly the movies and music. He dreamed of making the first American Bollywood movie, and so he wrote, produced, and directed DANCE GODDESS. Sparing no expense, he hired the best cinematographer, best dancers, and obtained permits to shoot scenes all over the city. To market the film internationally, all of the original actors dubbed their lines in both English and Urdu, and Kahn filmed alternate versions of every song in both languages. We will be presenting both versions of the film throughout the month.

The film follows Julie, who arrives at New York City’s Kahn Dance Studios from London with but a simple dream – to be the greatest dancer in the world. She has a fire in her heart and believes with the right connections, she won’t need luck. Julie immediately strikes a rapport with lead dancer Mike…much to the chagrin of Mike’s dance partner and secret/not-so-secret girlfriend and weed addict Maggie. Julie and Mike mesh so well from the jump they begin singing the film’s first song, “Dream On”, to the applause of their classmates. Has Doc (the director himself, Hamid Kahn) found his proverbial DANCE GODDESS?, he wonders aloud. Soon, Julie finds herself embroiled in a struggle between her heart’s desires (Mike) and her dreams (dance). Why can’t she have both, she wonders aloud a number of times? With the help of Doc, Julie meets up with Jack – a famous producer – who promises to get her all the way to Broadway.

DANCE GODDESS hits the ground twirling (ever twirling) around 80’s Manhattan with a huge dance sequence taking place in the middle of Times Square (“It’s the heart of New York!” Mike tells Julie), complete with gawking tourists and rubbernecking locals. Marvel at the marquees of long lost theaters advertising hits like THE LOST BOYS, DISORDERLIES, WARRIOR OF SHAOLIN, THE TORMENTORS, and more! Delight in typefaces gone by and cheer for banks that no longer exist. The fashions, the passions, and the beat of the city abound in DANCE GODDESS’ all-singing, all-dancing kaleidoscope.

We’re pleased to announce director Hamid Kahn will be on hand for several screenings for an intro and Q&A about the film.

Special thanks to the director and to David Ginn without whom this would not have been possible.

 




DARK STAR
dir. John Carpenter, 1974
83 min, USA
MONDAY, JANUARY 1 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 12 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24 – 10 PM

TICKETS HERE

Much like Dennis Muren’s almighty EQUINOX, DARK STAR was first made as a 68 minute 16mm student film by John Carpenter – with writing assistance from Dan O’Bannon, who also stars as Sergeant Pinback. Theatrical rights for DARK STAR were scooped up by Harris who provided funding for an additional 15 minutes of filming and a 35mm transfer. Upon completion he unleashed it on an unsuspecting public. The film cost a mere $60,000; in addition to gaining cult status and a seat at the throne of midnight movies, it would also launch the careers of Carpenter (VAMPIRES, GHOSTS OF MARS, THE WARD) and O’Bannon (DEAD & BURIED), alongside heavyweights like Ron Cobb (Disney’s SLEEPING BEAUTY) and Greg Jein (who won an Academy Award for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND) lending their visual and effects talents.

Only five years after DARK STAR, O’Bannon would reuse many of the ideas in what would become the sci-fi juggernaut ALIEN – including a restless game of mumbly peg, a face hugging extraterrestrial, and a claustrophobic chase scene through the air shafts.

While often tossed off as a stoner-grade spoof of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Carpenter’s film is at its core about loneliness. After spending two decades blowing up unstable planets together, this shaggy crew have grown to loathe each other, even forgetting each others’ first names. Beyond one another and the ship’s computer, their lone conversationalists are the smart bombs aboard the ship prior to their release.

Despite the cramped space and lack of real sleeping quarters after a collision with an astroid, they each manage to find isolation in their own ways. Talby retreats to the observation dome atop the ship after the death of Commander Powell, preferring the vast emptiness of space to his human companions. Lt. Doolittle slinks off to a secret nook to hone his craft on a makeshift organ of sort comprised of bottles pitched with water. Boiler takes great pleasure in bullying and antagonizing Sgt. Pinback – whose constant attempts at revelry and (albeit forced) camaraderie only serve to make him the resident scapegoat. Even the late Commander Powell, encased in ice below the hull, remarks to Doolittle (via telepathy) that it’s been so long since someone came to visit him. The film certainly has moments of humor, but even these are often solely for the amusement of the viewer, with the events happening to isolated individuals only to be relayed to the group after the fact. Everyone has stopped listening to one another, with phrases lazily repeated back and forth over tubes of liquid ham. In a rare moment at breakfast between Talby and Doolittle the men bond over their two opposite desires. Talby longs to see the fabled “Phoenix Astroids” deep within the Veil Nebula, while Doolittle pines for the California surf back on Earth. Not long after, Talby is pulled into space from out of the malfunctioning airlock and Doolittle fails to dissuade a bomb from detonating aboard the ship: in a perfect cacophony of celebration and sorrow, both men get what they want as the credits roll. For us DARK STAR comes as the bittersweet end of our humble tribute to a cinematic giant.




DAY OF THE WOLVES
dir. Ferde Grofé Jr, 1971
90 Minutes, USA
TUESDAY, JANUARY 2 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 25 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 28 – 5:00 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original Trailer from July ’17:

In this post-Western, neo-noir heist film, a cadre of bearded thieves, each identified only by number, with no name, conspire to rob an entire town. Clad in black jumpsuits and wielding submachine guns, they have little trouble taking the whole village’s populace hostage, but Sheriff Pete Anderson isn’t going to take that kind of antisocial behavior lying down. Outmanned, outgunned, and with the lives of his family, friends and constituency at risk, Anderson fights back! Starring noir veteran Richard Egan (Slaughter on 10th Avenue) and venerable Borchst Belt comedian Jan Murray (aka Uncle Raymond on “My Two Dads”).

 




THE PINK EGG
Dir. Jim Trainor. 2016
USA, 71 min.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 2 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 25 – 10 PM

TICKETS HERE

Luis Buñuel’s observation – “You can find all of Shakespeare and de Sade in the lives of insects” – was the bulb that drew chronicled Chicago-based anthropomorphic animator, Jim Trainor, to illuminate this troublingly experimental entomology, in which human actors wordlessly enact the emotional life-cycles, ever-complicated sex lives, and savage dinner plans of wasps and bees. Once quoted as saying, “If my films were live-action, I’d probably be jailed,” Trainor unearths this puzzlingly stylized depiction of nature in all her deceitful HD glory.

 




A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT (Scenes from the Third World War 1967-1977)
aka LE FOND DE L’AIR EST ROUGE (The Base of the Air Is Red)

Dir. Chris Marker, 1977/1992
France, 180 min. (in two parts with a break in the middle)
In French, English, German, Japanese, Russian, Czech, Spanish, and more with English subtitles.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 14 – 5:00 PM

TICKETS HERE

A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT is Chris Marker’s epic film-essay on the worldwide political wars of the 60’s and 70’s: Vietnam, Bolivia, May ’68, Prague, Chile, and the fate of the New Left.

The original French title is roughly translatable as “The Base of the Air is Red,” referring to the high hopes of the radicals at the time built on a foundation of air. Released in France in 1978, restored and “re-actualized” by Marker fifteen years later (after the fall of the Soviet Union), A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT is a masterpiece. Described by Marker as “scenes of the Third World War,” the film is divided into two parts, each weaving together two strands:

Part 1: Fragile Hands
1. From Vietnam to Che’s death
2. May 1968 and all that

Part 2: Severed Hands
1. From Spring in Prague to the Common Program of Government in France
2. From Chile to – to what?

From 1967 (the year Marker argues was the real turning point) on, A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT is a sweeping, global contemplation of a defining ten years’ political history.

“A film without a dogma, celebrating the promise of socialist ideas (the grin) while realizing that the brave new world they envision (the cat) remains elusive and intangible as its twentieth-century trial runs slip farther into the past… On a deeper level, A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT is an essay on historical memory itself.” —David Sterritt, Cineaste

“No scan of Marker’s redoubtable career achievement is complete without strapping oneself to this restless behemoth of a historical documentary… Along the way, Marker is a master weaver of colliding perspectives, forgotten stories and unanswered questions… the poetic questions he raises are never less than stunning.” —Michael Atkinson, Sight & Sound

“Much more than a weapon, more than a history lesson intended to provoke our revolutionary consciousness, this feature film is the result of lucid reflection and profound honesty.” — Michel Perez, Le Matin, November 25, 1977

“A beautiful poem in red, luminous with sensitivity and intelligence.” — Serge Richard, L’Unité, December 9, 1977

“This film is a mirror held up to each of us, a mirror that wanders through all the paths that we have taken or crossed (Vietnam war protests, pro-Latin America movement, May of ’68, the rise and fall of the Left) and encourages us to reflect along with it about the journey and its goal.” — Regis Debray, Rouge, December 28, 1977

“Image, imaginary, imagination, imagery… and revolution. Chris Marker delves into his enormous reservoir of images from the past ten years, both official and candid, sorts, selects, puts them into perspective, in context, into opposition, and by allowing us to re-see, to re-read our recent past, attempts to imagine the future.” — Alain Remond, Telerama, December 3/9, 1977

“A trial for the viewer: One cannot absorb four hours of so much history, kneaded, tormented, perpetually reexamined, without wondering if the end of the world is not near. To interpret the film in that way would be to betray its meaning, and that is where Chris Marker’s work becomes somewhat like a mirror held up to our awareness: not a traditional humanist awareness, but an active awareness. That is where progressivism regains meaning. And especially, that is where film now asserts itself as the possible and practically indispensable tool of awareness, to put back into perspective so many dashed hopes, so many betrayals.” — Louis Marcorelles, Le Monde, November 5, 1977

“Fifteen years later, his work as a filmmaker has the density of a Pierre Bourdieu sociological survey or a Fernand Braudel historical opus… In this thoughtful exercise in style, A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT teems with lost illusions, but no errors. Finally, Chris Marker’s film is being used rather than abused. The reason undoubtedly resides in this little phrase slipped into the second episode: ‘You never know what you’re filming. Until years later.’ In 1993, A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT accomplishes the tour de force of avoiding three potential pitfalls. It is not a likable witness to times past; it is not a summation, and still less the act of contrition of a lost generation. It is all about memory and social anthropology.” — Michel Chemin, Libération, April 1993




YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY
Dir. Sergio Martino, 1972.
Italy. 97 min.
In English
SUNDAY, JANUARY 7 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 15 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 30 – 10 PM

TICKETS HERE

Trailer from October ’17:

Made between ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK and TORSO, YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY is a misanthropic, brooding, manipulative and beautiful treatment of Edgar Allen Poe’s story “The Black Cat.” It also has a drunk (racist, incestuous, loathsome) author getting J&B shipped by the crate to his house, which might be the gialloest thing ever. Fans of Sergio Martino’s earlier film THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH (from which this film gets it name) might be thrown a bit by the subdued, sullen quality, but it’s part of a greater plan, a plan that includes commune freak-outs, slaughtered mistresses, gratuitous POV (on line with Martino’s next film, TORSO) and perhaps greatest of all, Edwige Fenech, of whom we can say nothing without getting the vapors. With a storyline that’ll satisfy no-loose-ends mystery fans, enough jaw-dropping cinematography and costuming to please the art crowd, and Martino’s thoughtful and visceral style (there’s also a great Bruno Nicolai score to sweeten the pot), YOUR VICE…might be Martino’s finest.

“A film with that wears its dubious morality on its sleeve, “Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key” is a tasty bit of giallo goodness. Kinky and cruel, it lives up to its purple prose title and will surely satisfy the appetites of Eurotrash fans.” -Tenebrous Kate, Love Train For The Tenebrous Empire.




SISTERS, OR THE BALANCE OF HAPPINESS
dir. Margarethe von Trotta, 1979.
West Germany. 95 mins.
In German with English subtitles
SUNDAY, JANUARY 7 – 5 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 30 – 7:30 PM

TICKETS HERE

Margarethe von Trotta’s second solo outing is intensely disquieting in the way it drifts from the moody murk of childhood fairy tales to a forebodingly stark present, tracing the pathological relationship between sisters Jutta Lampe and Gudrun Gabriel. One is domineering, the other submissive, and while its safe to say that they never reach the eponymous balance, their familiar machinations end up having melodramatic consequences, both for themselves and others pulled into their orbit.

 




SCRUBBERS
dir. Mai Zetterling
UK, 1982
FRIDAY, JANUARY 5 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 11 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 29 – 7:30 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original Trailer from Feb ’17:

Anyone who has spent any time in an all-girls education, mental or punitive institution will find that Zetterling has captured many essential elements in SCRUBBERS from 1982. SCRUBBERS was the female answer to SCUM, Alan Clarke’s 1979 graphic drama about a boy’s borstal. Zetterling’s film is more colorful and emotional, involving lesbian relationships, separation from children, pigeon-care, and self-harm. There is also plenty of fighting, swaggering, glue-sniffing and bawdy singing. The most iconic scene evokes TITICUT FOLLIES, when the borstal performs a variety show under the banner “Hellhole Bitches: Therapeutic Entertainment from the Psycho Freaks”. Featuring 80’s anarcho-pop star Honey Bane.




THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE
Dir. Walon Green, 1971. USA, 90 min.
In English.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 13 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 18 – 10 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 29 – 10 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original Trailer from April ’17:

“If any living species is to inherit the earth, it will not be man. We will face competition from a lifeform we arrogantly ignore. We will be overrun, deposed, and succeeded by battalions of mindless soldiers entering the contest with capabilities beyond our imagination. Yes… I’m talking about insects!”

The genres of documentary and science fiction rarely intersect: Documentary captures what is, while science fiction imagines what is not… at least not yet. But it’s here where we find THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE, one of the strangest films to ever win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and the perfect dark trip to take on this year’s 420.

A sort of ecological horror film, the plot documents the work of an imagined entomologist named Dr. Nils Helstrom. According to the good doctor, unless we open our eyes to the threat of insects, who are mindlessly bent on taking over the world, we will be destroyed. What follows, in stunning 1970s macrophotography, is a parade of sequences that make an argument for the cold brutality of the insect world. As African driver ants consume iguanas whole and locusts destroy fertile farmland, the audience begins to wonder if we shouldn’t declare flat-out war on these damn bugs once and for all. A perfect evening for anyone who’s ever rolled their eyes at the rose-colored classes of Planet Earth, THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE is easily the most bizarre nature documentary ever produced.



BAXTER, VERA BAXTER
dir. Marguerite Duras, 1977.
France. 91 min.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 6 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 22 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31 – 7:30 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original Series Trailer from Feb ’17:

The masterful Marguerite Duras takes a concept ripe for portentous melodrama — slimy Gerard Depardieu sells his wife (Claudine Gabay) to erase a debt —and minimizes it, radicalizes it, and chills it into droll  satire with an enrapturing cadence. Seyrig plays an unknown woman who is inexplicably drawn to Gabay’s Vera when she hears her name. She gradually interrogates Vera, and their conversation becomes entangled with Carlos d’Alessio’s omnipresent, repetitive score. Duras’ film is an exhausting, rewarding experience, and truly one of a kind.

 




THE BEAVER TRILOGY
Dir. Trent Harris, 1979, 1981, and 1985.
USA, 83 min.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 4 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31 – 10 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original Series Trailer from July ’17:

“A rivetingly strange, multilayered inquiry into celebrity, obsession, and serendipity.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

The Beaver Trilogy is a series of three pieces about the same subject: a young man from the small town of Beaver, Utah who is obsessed with Olivia Newton-John. The first piece,”The Beaver Kid” is a documentary. The second piece, “Beaver Kid 2″ is a dramatic work based on the documentary. The third piece,”The Orkly Kid” is yet another dramatic work based on the documentary.

Real life and fiction intersect.

“Yes, this gets the full ten stars. It’s plain as day that this fill is genius. The universe sent Trent Harris a young, wonderfully strange man one day and Harris caught him on tape, in all that true misfit glory that you just can’t fake. Too bad it ended in tragedy for the young man, if only an alternate ending could be written for that fellow’s story. The other two steps in the trilogy do retell the story, with Sean Penn and Crispin Glover in the roles of the young men, respectively. The world is expanded upon and the strangeness is contextualized by the retelling, giving us a broader glimpse into growing up weird in vanilla America. Recommended for anyone and everyone!” — IMDB user ‘afkeegan’

Check out this episode of This American Life about ‘re-runs’ that includes the Beaver Trilogy.


RUBIN AND ED
Dir. Trent Harris, 1991.
USA, 82 min.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 4 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 19 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24 – 7:30 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original Trailer from July ’17:

“More psy­che­del­ic fun than a bar­rel of mon­keys on mush­rooms!” – Details Magazine

“Quotable, hi­lar­i­ous, and, yes, even moving, writer-director Trent Harris’ bud­dy picture like no other yearns for an audi­ence and cult-classic status. Like, im­me­di­ate­ly.” – Film Comment, Film Society at Lincoln Center

“No reasonable person could deny the genius of any movie involving two republicans, bell­bottoms, a water-skiing cat, a pyramid scheme, Mahler and a squeak-mouse.” – Bamboozled

A real-estate salesman (Howard Hesseman) and a hippie (Crispin Glover) hit the road on a mission to bury a frozen cat in the desert.

What could go wrong?

“I definitely enjoyed the weirdness and quirkiness of the movie… but… jeez, even for a person who enjoys weirdness and quirkiness like me, even for me this movie was pushing my limits. I thought that the non-desert scenes were MUCH better than the desert scenes. Unfortunately, the desert scenes make up the majority of the movie. For people who enjoy odd movies, I’d recommend that they watch this movie, but I’d tell them to hit the pause button and take a few breaks in the middle. It’s a very fun and interesting movie, but it gets to be a bit too much for one sitting. Seriously, this is the weirdest movie ever.” — IMDB user ‘garbuhj’




THE SCARLET SCORPION (a/k/a: O ESCORPIAO ESCARLATE)
dir. Ivan Cardoso, 1990
90 min, Brazil
In Portuguese w/English subs.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 11 – 10 PM

FRIDAY, JANUARY 19 – 7:30 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original Series Trailer from July ’17:

Opening with a faux national news reel, THE SCARLET SCORPION, is Cardoso’s vision crystalized and funneled through one of the countries most beloved pop-culture icons – The Angel.

A billionaire playboy who fights crime, The Angel was all over comics and radio dramas. In fact, in THE SCARLET SCORPION, the news reel ends with the country at a standstill as the announcement of a new Angel show comes over the airwaves. As the story continues the events of the radio show inspire the work of a copycat – none other than Angel’s archival – The Scarlet Scorpion himself! Angel must match wits with Scarlet Scorpion in order to save the love of his life – a fashion designer by the name of Gloria.

Though not horror by any stretch – THE SCARLET SCORPION is nothing if not thrilling (and hilarious). Cardoso would continue to make films into 2013 with one still listed at “in post-production” on IMDb but THE SCARLET SCORPION caps off our Summer series with a bang.




THE EXCLUDED
Dir. Franz Novotny, 1982.
Austria, 93 min.
In German with English subtitles.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 9 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 18 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 – 7:30 PM

TICKETS HERE

A forgotten gem of Austrian miserablist cinema, THE EXCLUDED is a prime example of agit-prop farce, the same strange brew stewed by Godard in LA CHINOIS and Fassbinder in THE THIRD GENERATION. This is the story of four bourgois would-be revolutionaries, attempting to smash the 1950s Austrian state—if they can overcome their own egos long enough to pull it off. The lead, Peter, is played with smarmy, wet-mouthed pretension by the great Paulus Manker, a regular collaborator with Michael Haneke. We’ve all met someone like Peter before: that poetry-writing, Camus-spouting punk, peeking above a black turtleneck long enough to spew half-baked Maoist homilies about the kind of violent political action he’s a teensy bit too scared to carry out himself. Surprisingly, Peter manages to form his own private fraktion of bored teenagers, and the cell happily engages in beatings, bombings, and shock tactics against “slaves of social convention.”

That is how post-war Austria looked to then-33-year-old director Franz Novotny—an urban underclass, politically at odds with the values of Austria’s hypocritical “Second Republic,” unable to share its wealth, and eager to enforce violent punishment for its fascist past. His film, based on the 1980 novel by Nobel winner Elfriede Jelinek, is a cynical portrait of Austria’s doomed, post-war youth, whose undirected political energy ultimately finds a conclusion with an explosion of meaningless violence.

 




LA GRANDE BOUFFE
dir. Marco Ferreri, 1973
Italy/France, 135 min.
MONDAY, JANUARY 8 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 16 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 23 – 7:30 PM

TICKETS HERE

After an innocuous opening in which four longtime friends (Marcello Mastroianni, Ugo Tognazzi, Philippe Noiret, & Spectacle-favorite Michel Piccoli) meet at a country villa for a “gastronomic seminar,” it is revealed that their ulterior motive is to commit collective suicide through overeating. Joined by a schoolteacher (Andréa Ferréol) who turns out to be surprisingly open-minded to their plans , they feast on pizza Provençal, goose pâté, crêpe Suzette, and more early-70s Franco-Italian delicacies. As the film progresses, it becomes increasingly decadent, crude, and macabre as these upper-middle class libertines literally stuff themselves to death.

LA GRANDE BOUFFE is like 120 DAYS OF SODOM, but with food instead of sex (though there’s also sex). The protagonists’ inexplicable dedication to their absurd task is reminiscent of Luis Buñel’s classic dinner party satire, THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL. A film that is somehow intellectual in its approach to fart jokes, LA GRANDE BOUFFE scandalized audiences when it premiered at Cannes, but nonetheless took home the FIPRESCI critics’ prize.

So, while Williamsburg’s foodies are enjoying their gourmet groceries and bottomless brunches, grab some epicurean eats and join us for the feast to end all feasts. Because, as Michel Piccoli muses midway through the film, “besides food, all is epiphenomenal.”

 



HISTORY LESSONS
dir. Barbara Hammer, 2000.
70 min, USA
In English
MONDAY, JANUARY 1 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17 – 10 PM

TICKETS HERE

The final installment in Barbara Hammer’s groundbreaking “lost queer trilogy,” HISTORY LESSONS imagines a world in which lesbians are as omnipresent as white heterosexual cis men. Manipulating everything from Eleanor Roosevelt studded newsreels to analog skin flicks, Hammer rewrites history with this reclamation of an almost always marginalized demographic.

“Radical sexual politics in a jester’s surprise package of impudent humor and Situationist-style found-footage monkeyshines” – Variety




4D MAN (aka MASTER OF TERROR)
Dir. Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. (1960)
USA, 85 min.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3 – 10 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 8 – 10 PM

SUNDAY, JANUARY 21 – 5 PM

TICKETS HERE

Harris’ sensational followup to THE BLOB saw him working again with director Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., this time on a Faustian tale of prismatic fraternal jealousy. In 4D MAN, mutton-faced 20something scientist Tony (James Congdon) develops a technique that allows one object to pass through another (cf: the fourth dimension), while his older brother Scott (Robert Lansing) has coincidentally just invented a metal called Cargonite – so dense it can’t be penetrated. Tony’s recklessness and Scott’s pathological resentment double-helix vis-a-vis the latter’s girlfriend Linda (Lee Meriwether), instantly drawn to the younger brother’s devil-may-care attitude while furthering Scott’s descent into bitterness.

It doesn’t take an orthogononical physicist to figure out what happens next: incapable of stopping himself, Scott co-opts Tony’s experiment and turns himself 4D, tripling (or is it quadrupling?) down on the radiation exposure that was already giving him hellacious headaches – and, as it happens, accelerating his own aging in the process. Oscillating between unstoppability and death’s door in his solid state, Scott reaches out to suck up the lifeforce of a litany of victims including his old boss, as well as a little girl (played by Patty Duke!) – bringing Yeaworth’s narrative to a bitter interdimensional boil better seen than blurbed. From beginning to end, 4D MAN muxes a fine 1950s line between trenchant sci-fi boilerplate (ala print) and big-screen drive-in schlock-a-rama: the impossible object of earthly satisfaction drives both men to different dooms in a poetic crosshatch. You won’t believe your eyes when you see the film’s matte-intensive SFX (breathtaking in their lo-fi conviction), nor your ears from the first trill of Ralph Carmichael’s swingin’ jazz soundtrack!

Upon 4D MAN’s original release, Famous Monsters of Filmland published a full-page spread with the following edict/ultimatum: “In this exciting story you will watch a man cross the threshold into the Fourth Dimension; you will watch him perform feats that may seem totally unbelievable – but: what the 4D MAN does can be done! Jack H. Harris, the dynamic producer of THE BLOB, now amazes the world with his announcement of ONE MILLION DOLLAR CASH AWARD to the person who successfully performs the feats attributed to the 4D MAN… Find out from your local theater manager when he will be playing 4D MAN, and Remember: your admission ticket could be worth ONE MILLION DOLLARS!” As part of 98 YEARS: JACK HARRIS, Spectacle offers same.




BUMMING IN BEIJING
( 流浪北京)
dir. Wu Wenguang, 1990
70 minutes.
In Mandarin with English subtitles.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 13 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 23 – 10 PM

TICKETS HERE

“In 1990, Chinese documentaries were almost exclusively stodgy, didactic talking head affairs broadcast on state-run media. Then Wu Wenguang’s BUMMING IN BEIJING came out, kicking off an entire independent documentary scene in the country. Shot directly before and after the Tiananmen Square Massacre on cameras taken from a government TV station, BUMMING IN BEIJING follows five broke bohemians (including future art stars like Zhang Dali, long before they found fame) in grimy late 80s Beijing. Shot in a vérité style that would soon be adopted by a new generation of filmmakers, the movie includes an onscreen mental breakdown, a time-capsule view of the emergence of the country’s avant-garde, and proof that the hippest place in China used to be KFC.” – Aaron-Fox Lerner, Time Out Beijing Film Editor

“The prolonged moments of near silence in BUMMING IN BEIJING produce the aesthetic effect of outlasting the remembered roar of government tanks.” – Ernest Larsen, Art In America

Aaron Fox-Lerner is the Film editor for Time Out Beijing and Shanghai. His writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The PuritanBound Off, Indie Wire, and other publications.




THE SECRET OF THE MUMMY (a/k/a: O Segredo da Múmia)
dir. Ivan Cardoso, 1982
85 min, Brazil
In Portuguese w/English subs.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 26 – 10 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original trailer from July ’17:

A tale as old as time: Dr. Vitus, a disgraced scientist (Wilson Grey who would go on to be one of Cardoso’s go to character actors for the majority of his career) devotes his dying days to the reconstruction of a map that had been divided into 8 parts and scattered to the winds with their owners meeting most mysterious deaths.

On a trip to Egypt he finds a mummy, Runamb, and brings it with him back to Brazil. You aren’t going to believe this – but it comes to life and wreaks havoc on all in his path obsessing over Nadia, a dancer who had scorned him when he was alive – well, more alive anyway.

Fleshing out his vision after NOSFERATO IN BRAZIL, Cardoso again takes advantage of the countryside and finds juicy roles for the legendary José Mojica Marins – better known as Coffin Joe – and Regina Casé (THE SECOND MOTHER).



THE RIDER OF THE SKULLS
(aka EL CHARRO DE LAS CALAVERAS)
dir. Alfredo Salazar, 1965
80 minutes. Mexico.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 9 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 12 – 10 PM

MONDAY, JANUARY 15 – 10 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original Series Trailer from April ’17:

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.



JOHANNA D’ARC OF MONGOLIA
Dir. Ulrike Ottinger, 1989.
Germany. 165 min.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 21 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 28 – 7:30 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original Series Trailer from Feb ’17:

Seyrig’s last screen role found her fittingly re-teaming with Ulrike Ottinger for a tri-lingual adventure epic with an all woman cast. Ottinger plays with the genre trappings of train triptychs and biblical epics in her most ambitious work, in which seven female voyagers are captured by a band of Mongolian woman. Ottinger’s goal isn’t to pit cultures against each other or exploit them, but to tell an extensively details ethnographic tale of multicultural harmony.

“A fabulous three-course blend of myth, spectacular visions of an ancient land and frisky song-and-dance. A quixotic and ebullient leap of the imagination. Breathtaking.” – Judy Stone, San Francisco Chronicle




DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS
Dir. Harry Kümel, 1971.
Belgium. 100 min.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 6 – 10 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 22 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 – 10 PM

TICKETS HERE

Original Series Trailer from Feb ’17:

Belgian director Harry Kümel’s high gothic vampirization of the story of famed murderess Elizabeth Báthory has retained its cult legacy due to its effervescent style and Seyrig’s carnal lead performance. The camera glides through lush colors and haute hotel rooms like in a Fassbinder or Sirk melodrama as Seyrig’s bloodthirsty queer countess preys on a pair of newlyweds. By contemporizing the vampire into a decadently erotic queer demagogue, Kümel paved the way for Tony Scott’s THE HUNGER more than a decade later.

 

 


BEST OF SPECTACLE 2016

January 2017 at Spectacle is a curated selection of all the best in 2016 that you may have missed or need to see again. No need to pick and choose; all of the best is right here.



DoomedLovebannerDOOMED LOVE
Dir. Andrew Horn, 1984.
USA, 70 mins.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 6 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 12 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 – 10 PM

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Made in piecemeal payments while director Andrew Horn (THE NOMI SONG) 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.

“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. Spectacle is pleased to resuscitate this no-wave classic for its first NYC repertory run in years-if-not-decades.



the_mansion_of_madness_bannLA MANSION DE LA LOCURA (THE MANSION OF MADNESS)
Dir. Juan López Moctezuma, 1973.
Mexico, 99 min.
In English

FRIDAY, JANUARY 6 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22 – 5:00 PM

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Based on Poe’s story The System Of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, in which a reporter visits an asylum to discover the system by which the roles of the insane and the caregivers have become a bit muddled, we enter into a film where political satire and surrealist horror blend into a truly astonishing mixture, a place out of time where a man becomes a chicken, the body becomes a musical instrument, and nothing is ever as it seems. Director Juan Lopez Moctezuma (ALUCARDA, MARY MARY BLOODY MARY) was a member of Mexico’s Panic movement alongside Alejandro Jodorowski and Fernando Arrabal: the three worked together on FANDO Y LIS, which should give you some idea of what you’re in for. With a cast led by the great Claudio Brook (CRONOS, THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL) in a dual role as the mad Dr. Maillard as well as Raoul Fragonard, the film is as a dream, a ritual, a series of living tableaux. Describing the plot would be to cheapen the film, but it’s worth noting no less than Leonora Carrington served as art director. We are honored to present this film in its longest known cut, with the original English dialogue, miles from public domain cuts. Those expecting cheap horror will be disappointed; those expecting clarity will be confused, those with eyes to see will behold a revelation.



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CYBERPUNK
Dir. Marianne Trench, 1990
USA. 60 min.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 6 – MIDNIGHT
SUNDAY, JANUARY 8 – 7:30PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 24 – 7:30PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27 – MIDNIGHT

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Itself an artifact of the time and aesthetic being documented, CYBERPUNK is a fun, highly stylized sampler capturing its eponymous subculture still coalescing. Featuring interviews with William Gibson, Timothy Leary, founder of VPL Research/inventor of the Data Glove Jason Lanier, and encompassing musicians, animators, plastic surgeons, crafters, and self-proclaimed hackers, the movie shows and tells simultaneously with talking-head interviews overlaid and interspersed with then-cutting-edge CG animation and graphic effects. Reflecting the range of its subjects’ motivations, sometimes this is practical, masking coders casually chatting about illegal data access, and sometimes it’s purely for visual flair.

The documentary’s timing places it at a unique juncture – there’s talk of phone phreaking, VR potential and research, body modification, warez trading, database hacking, but no concrete mention of the internet as we know and use it today. AOL for DOS was released February 1991, Windows in 1992; CYBERPUNK just missed the radical breakthrough that was readily accessible dial-up, existing in a world where text-based intranets with node points were the closest equivalent. Of all people it’s a computer theorist outlining the blind spot most clearly; speaking to the (assumed) main fear of technology being how small and powerless it makes the average person feel and citing the military-industrial complex as example, the idea of complete personal connectivity and power doesn’t even occur. And yet the possibility is present in the film – one hacker tells how a 14-year-old poking around an AT&T database for kicks had the FBI knocking on his door after he’d inadvertently nudged a satellite out of orbit. In a present with unlimited texting on readily available handheld computers, it’s tempting to giggle at one hacker bragging “I make free phone calls…everywhere. You name it…Europe, Asia…..The United States…”, but hindsight’s 20/20 – CYBERPUNK is a snapshot of those excited for a future they nearly saw coming.



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CHEBARUSKA, GENA THE CROCODILE and SHAPOKLYAK
Dir. Eduard Uspensky, 1969, 1971, and 1974.
USSR, 69 min (total).

SATURDAY, JANUARY 7 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 30 – 10 PM

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Just a regular story of a pipe-smoking, besuited Crocodile who posts a “seeking roommate” ad and pairs up with a unknown creature that came out of a crate of oranges. The friendship of Cheburaska and Krokodil Gena flourishes into connections with other lonely souls, and the misfits have adventures both poignant and adorably funny. Based on children’s stories by Uspensky, this puppet-animation from Soyuzmultfilm Studios had a wide appeal with kids growing up throughout the Soviet empire. It is something of a timeless artifact, having a foundation of subtle humor and painstaking craft. The crocodile has a lovely singing voice, and at the end of the third episode he croons: “even if giving up on the past is a bit sad, everything the best is still to come – like a carpet, like a carpet, a long road unrolls ahead”.



CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37
Dir. Monte Hellman, 1978.
Italy/Spain, 102 min.
In English.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 7 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17 – 7:30 PM

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Fabio Testi plays Clayton Drumm, on his way to the gallows when he’s offered a chance to live in exchange for killing Matthew Sebanek (Warren Oates), a miner who refuses to sell his land to the railroad. The arrangement becomes complicated when Clayton and Matthew become friends, and more complicated still when Clayton and Matthew’s wife Cather (Jenny Auguttter), fall for each other. With the railroad’s gunmen hot their heels, enemies become friends, then enemies again, then uneasy friends again, then ambiguous frenemies in this western from Monte Hellman, director of TWO-LANE BLACKTOP, COCKFIGHTER, THE SHOOTING and RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND. Featuring a rare acting role for WILD BUNCH director Sam Peckinpah.



SEVEN WOMEN SEVEN SINS
Dirs. various. 1987.
Various. 101 min.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 7 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 16 – 10 PM

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As wide-ranging an omnibus film as there has ever been, a group of some of the most important international filmmakers of the last few decades – all of them female – take on each of the biblical vices. Bette Gordon, Chantal Akerman, VALIE EXPORT, Maxi Cohen, Laurence Gavron and more contribute a contemporary celluloid sin. The result is a thoroughly unpredictable introduction to each filmmaker’s work; encapsulating devious narratives and experimental collages, film and video.

Special thanks to Women Make Movies.



FANGS a.k.a. Anyab
Dir. Mohammed Shebl, 1981.
Egypt. 100 min.
In Arabic with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 7 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 – MIDNIGHT

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The Arab Spring and aftermath has yielded an accompanying wave of essential social realist film documents. But where, you ask, are all the Middle Eastern disco vampires now? Those occupied a special part of the early 80s — namely the exhilarating Egyptian ultra-camp triumph that is FANGS.

The premise — a young couple attempt to shelter from a storm at a creepy castle only to have their lives changed forever — may have been lifted straight from THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (along with the dance numbers, professorial framing device, and disembodied lips intro sequence). But however much director Mohammed Shebl may have worn his love of that cult icon on his sleeve, his ambitious and wildly imaginative attempt to transcribe it into contemporary 1981 Egypt makes for something wholly his own. Black magic, singing vampires in spangles, Egyptian pop cameos, awkward climbing Dracula sequence, implausible fog machine deployment, a shockingly banging original electrofunk soundtrack by the film’s co-writer (fleshed out with bizarre soundtrack cues lifted directly from American movies of the time), kinetic on-screen animation effects — it’s all here.


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GRUPO DE CALI: 1971–1978
Total running time: 68 minutes

SUNDAY, JANUARY 8 – 5 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 16 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26 – 10 PM

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OIGA, VEA!
aka See, Hear!
Co-directed by Carlos Mayolo.
1971. 27 min.

Made in the style of a straight-shooting As The World Turns… style mini-documentary, OIGA, VEA! serves as psychic exposé of Cali upon the arrival of the 6th annual Panamerican Games in 1971. Shooting with a handheld 16mm camera “borrowed” from Carlos Mayolo’s ad agency workplace, the film finds wobbly panoramas on spectacular assemblages, but always from the outside – an exteriority which defines itself fuller in the film’s cockeyed dissection of the Games’ pomp and circumstance. Rallies of military might serve only to demonstrate their planners’ unmistakable Cold War anxieties, and proprietary feats of infrastructural know-how – like a new railroad track, received by some shantytowns like manna from heaven – exposed for the limited-time-only publicity perks they are. Ospina and Mayolo steal glimpses at once officially decorative and incisively marginal; by the film’s end, the bitterness engendered by the project has been transferred in total from the shantytowns outside the Games’ encampment, and directly into the audience.

CALI: LA PELICULA
aka Cali: The Movie
1973. 13 min.

The frantic, colorful CALI DE PELICULA is antithesis to the sort of pedantic ‘misery porn’ Mayolo and Ospina would mock in AGARRANDO PUEBLO. Like a Mondo movie without the voiceover, Ospina and Mayolo frame bullfighting as silent slapstick, turn voyeuristic girl-watching ominous with a horror heartbeat, and capture life at street level, a pagan carnival churning by. Dancing, so vital to social life in the area, is shown in all its movement and color, but capturing faces without smiles or real joy – even enjoying themselves Cali’s citizens are cautious.

AGARRANDO PUEBLO
aka The Vampires of Poverty
Co-directed by Carlos Mayolo.
1978. 28 min.

This program concludes with AGARRANDO PUEBLO, widely recognized as the Group’s masterpiece. Mayolo and Ospina star as effigies of themselves, wielding Bolexes and Nagras on a mission to make the perfect cine de sobreprecio (“surcharge film”) for German television – skewering a then-commonplace of Colombian cinema dictated by the Committee for Quality Control, a government-supported bureau intended to help foster a national cinema but a de facto organ of censorship. Retitled THE VAMPIRES OF POVERTY in English, “Agarrando Pueblo” mistranslates a number of ways along the lines of “the clutching of poverty” and “the tricking of the people” – Ospina described it as a popular regional phrase at the time. The certainly film gives away as much (if not more) of its antiheroes’ sleazy postcolonial errand as it does the poverty they seek. Who is clutching whom? While the filmmakers are obviously the supposed vampires, the film is also explicit in the way their exposure to an impoverished zone gets their minds going about the potential windfall for their own careers (aided, inevitably, by a few lines of blow back at the hotel.)


The Fantasy of Deer Warrior
Dir. Ying Chang, 1961.
Taiwan, 87 min.
In Min Nan with English subtitles.

MONDAY, JANUARY 9 – 7:30PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 14 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, JANUARY 20 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, JANUARY 23 – 10:00PM

GET YOUR TICKETS!

THE FANTASY OF DEER WARRIOR is best described in this 2014 post over at Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill!


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HE WALKED BY NIGHT
Dir. Alfred Werker (credited) and Anthony Mann (uncredited), 1948.
USA, 79 min.

MONDAY, JANUARY 9 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29 – 5 PM

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The template for Dragnet and a direct inspiration for dozens of police procedurals, HE WALKED BY NIGHT is based on the story of Erwin “Machine Gun” Walker, a WWII vet who began a series of burglaries which resulted in multiple gunfights with police, leading to his arrest in 1946. That role is played in the film by a young Richard Basehart, whose ice-cold performance became his breakout role. Charming at times, brilliant at others, but with a deep sociopathic core, Basehart’s move from vet to safecracker to mad-dog killer prevents the docudrama angle from bogging down. Hunted down by Scott Brady (SHOTGUN SLADE, a million westerns, and a final role as the sheriff in GREMLINS!) and Roy Roberts (basically *every* tv show in the late 50s-60s), we get a look at the details of detective work more in line with Homicide/L&O/CSI than most films of the time, from false leads to confused witnesses.
It’s Alfred Werker’s name as director, but most film historians put the bulk of the work on the shoulders of Anthony Mann (EL CID, WINCHESTER ’73. THE FAR COUNTRY), and fans of his earlier docudramas RAW DEAL and T-MEN will be able to see his influence right away. Fans of LA noir will find a lot to love here, with a dramatic chase through the Los Angeles sewers (later a key location for the film THEM! among a million others), absolutely stunning lighting by cinematographer John Alton, and none other than Jack Webb as lab tech Lee Whitey. Overlooked by too many for too long as an early film with “promise”, HE WALKED BY NIGHT is actually as deeply tense, dark and ambiguous a noir as one could ask for. If that doesn’t sell you, note that chunks of this film were later used in the Lon Chaney Jr. sleeper creeper THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN!


mandico2-banner-aBertrand Mandico has outlined his filmmaking aims in his “Incoherence Manifesto”: artifice, irrationality, and the inherent magic of aging film stock and analog effects. But a certain affinity for genre, plot, and character, at least as starting points for distortion and unpredictable development, keeps most of his works oddly engaging. Take his most elaborate to date, Our Lady of the Hormones, in which two aging actresses take a long weekend in the countryside to practice their latest roles, but become side-tracked when they fall into a violent love triangle with a purring oozing organ discovered in the woods. Here the familiar, the imagined, and the wildly hallucinatory merge into a cinema resolutely true to its own logic alone.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 10 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 15 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28 – 10 PM

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DEPRESSIVE COP
2015, Scotland / France, 13 min.

A noir: on a remote Scottish island, a mask-visaged police officer helps a mother seek a vanished teen daughter. But both mother and daughter — or conceivably even all three principles — are played by Löwensohn, pointing the film into an absurdist maelstrom of eyes, sex, and confused identities. Genre conventions, here, provide just enough of a spine for film to mutate at will.

OUR LADY OF THE HORMONES
AKA Notre-Dame des Hormones 
2015, France, 31 min.

Two aging actresses take a long weekend in the countryside to practice their latest roles, but become side-tracked when they discover a purring oozing organ alone in the woods. This organism quickly becomes the object of their games and fascinations, and an inevitable love triangle develops. But among actresses, can even the grand guignol confrontation that awaits be taken at face value? Narrated by Michel Piccoli, whose words of explanation just add another layer to the increasing disorientation, and shot in dazzling color photography whereby every bit of artificial nature, human furniture, and deer-with-breasts explodes hallucinatorily onto the screen.

PREHISTORIC CABARET
2014, Iceland / France, 10 min

Somewhere in Iceland a surrealist, colonoscopic nightclub act offers a biological portal into the past.

SALAMMBÔ 
2014, France, 8 min

Against a stark and empty landscape a young women taunts one much older, through gorgeously overlaid 16mm film. Could these apparitions be those of memory, of her own past, or of something more arcane?

TRT: 62 minutes.


The Witch’s Mirror
Dir. Chano Urueta, 1962.
USA. 72 min.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 10 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29 – 7:30 PM

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“A melody straight from hell!”

THE WITCH’S MIRROR is one of those films whose imagery will crawl deep into a crevice of your mind and live there forever. Every tempestuous night, billowing night gown and thick swell of fog will remind you of Sara and her goddaughter Elena. The film begins with the plight of Sara who through a pact with the devil has found out that her goddaughter will be murdered by her husband Eduardo. After pleading with the devil to intervene, she is told that destiny must run its course, but that doesn’t mean that Sara cannot avenge the death of her goddaughter.

THE WITCH’S MIRROR benefits from the talents of Carlos Enrique Taboada (THE BOOK OF STONE) and Alfredo Ruanova (THE CURSE OF NOSTRADAMUS) who both are prolific horror screenwriters, and the direction of Chano Urueta who is responsible for many other Gothic Horror films such as THE BRAINIAC (1961) and THE WITCH (1954). Their collaboration endues the film with a very soft nightmarish quality that resembles early surrealist film.

What makes THE WITCH’S MIRROR a unique entry into the Mexican Horror genre or for that matter the Horror genre in general is that unlike many other films concerning the occult there is no “rectifying” moral ending. An example is the 1962 film ESPIRITISM which tells the story of a woman who turns to the occult to help her family. By the end of the tale her alliance with the occult has caused the destruction of her family. Right before the end credits begin to roll the camera pans over to a closeup shot of Christ on the cross and a voiceover begins
to say that if this film can turn just one soul away from the occult the makers of the film have done their duty. Taking this into account it is absolutely fantastic that a
film like THE WITCH’S MIRROR exists. Throughout the entire film it is made very
clear that Sara and Elena are dealing with the devil. Whether favorable or unfavorable certain events take place and in the end both Sara and Elena are vindicated. There is absolutely no punishment element except for that individual who should be punished i.e. Elena’s husband. Long live the infernal powers!



GUEST FROM THE FUTURE
Dir. Pavel Arsyonov
USSR, 1985

SATURDAY, JANUARY 14 – 6PM-11PM
**SPECIAL EVENT! ALL EPISODES BACK TO BACK!**

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A Young Pioneer (mandatory, Communist version of a Boy Scout) named Kolya is waylaid by his curiosity while on his way to pick up buttermilk. His concern for spilled cultured milk are soon replaced by a sense of wonder, as he time travels from the 1980s to a world of optically printed special effects, and beautifully Soviet era retro-future sci-fi sets. While exploring the future, he meets Alisa Seleznyeva who is being pursued by space pirates. Alisa attempts to evade the pirates by blending in as a schoolchild back in Kolya’s time. The series was wildly popular in the USSR and inspired loads of spin offs, including “Mystery Of The Third Planet”, as well as dirty, folksy versions of the theme song.


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THE LITTLE MERMAID
aka Malá morská víla
Dir. Karel Kachyňa, 1976
Czechoslovakia, 86 min.
In Czech with English subtitles

BRAND NEW HD RESTORATION!

SUNDAY, JANUARY 15 – 5 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27 – 10 PM

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Two daughters of the Sea King are playing in the depths of the sea – the little mermaid and her elder sister. The Sea King has just sunk a ship as a birthday gift for his elder daughter. The little mermaid rescues a prince from drowning and falls for him. She makes a trade with an evil sorceress: her voice for a chance to live on land…

Featuring a captivating orchestral / electronic score, psychedelic swirls, and tech assists from Czech New Wave regulars like cinematographer Jaroslav Kucera (DAISIES, MORGIANA, FRUITS OF PARADISE), editor Miroslav Hájek (LOVES OF A BLONDE, THE FIREMAN’S BALL) and set decorator Ester Krumbachová (VALERIE & HER WEEK OF WONDERS), Karel Kachyna’s adaptation of Hans C. Anderson’s classic is a vision that could’ve only come from 70s Czechoslovakia.


SZINDBÁD
Dir. Zoltán Huszárik, 1971.
Hungary, 90 min.
In Hungarian with English subtitles.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 30 – 7:30 PM

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SZINDBÁD is a wildly sensuous reverie, justly regarded as one of the great movies of the Hungarian Sixties.” —J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books

A singular work of unparalleled, intoxicating beauty, SZINDBÁD is one of cinema’s greatest hidden gifts.

The titular character is a charming, dying casanova reflecting on his romantic escapades with various women. As he inches closer and closer to the oblivion, every past love ignites a different memory.

Driven more by atmosphere than a linear narrative, the film is told through a series of flashbacks that interweave and overlap in a gorgeous tapestry of colors, seasons, and moods. Utilizing his experimental film background, Huszárik creates something wholly original in narrative cinema that effectively predates the elliptical editing of Nicholas Roeg and the ornate visual romanticism of Terrence Malick. Indeed, the film is loaded with so much rich symbolism and lush imagery that it takes several viewings to unpack its mysteries and majesty.

Above everything, though, SZINDBÁD taps into a deeply romantic, deeply personal sensibility that simply envelops the viewer into its own unique universe.

The phrase ‘lost masterpiece’ tends to get thrown around a lot in repertory film circles, but we’re going to go out on a limb here and proclaim SZINDBÁD a lost masterpiece. We think you’ll agree. Hyperbole be damned.



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FEHÉRLÓFIA (SON OF THE WHITE MARE)
Dir. Marcell Jankovics, 1981
Hungary. 81 min.
In Hungarian with English subtitles.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 17 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28 – 5 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 31 – 10 PM

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A glorious work of unparalleled brilliance, FEHÉRLÓFIA melds ancient legends of the Steppe people into a kaleidoscopic rumination on the cyclical nature of time and space. Originally combining several existing folktales on time’s recurrence, Jankovics was forced to write an original story after his first script was deemed anti-Marxist (according to Marxism, time is irreversible). Raised hidden by his mare mother in the World Tree, immensely strong Fehérlófia must venture forth to find the Underworld’s entrance and, with his brothers’ help, defeat the dragons who seized power from the ancient Forefather and Progenitrix. The constantly morphing concentric images, looping back on and mirroring each other, perfectly fit a film dedicated to the early nomads. Only the second film to come out of Pannónia Studios, FEHÉRLÓFIA is a masterwork of color and story.



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PURPLE RAIN: TERROR BEYOND BELIEF
dir. John Wiese, 2014.
USA, 90 min.
English

FRIDAY JANUARY 27 – 7:30 PM

Having brought to our audience such spectacular single-work détournements like THE SHINING FORWARDS AND BACKWARDS and TOUGH GUYS, we are now pleased to premiere Los Angeles-based artist John Wiese’s 2014 effort PURPLE RAIN: TERROR BEYOND BELIEF.

Described by Wiese himself as “a new edit of PURPLE RAIN where Prince murders Apollonia and gets away with it,” PR:TBB shines a darker shade of purple on the “greatest music movie of them all.” If “Darling Nikki” was all it took for Tipper Gore to start the PMRC, one wonders what PR:TBB might have done for the MPAA.

Unlike other works of appropriation which selectively reorganize “bites” into a new decontexualized construct, PR:TBB pushes an existing, diegetic act of violence a few cinematic degrees further, and then lets the third act play through (albeit without Apollonia’s presence). This is PURPLE RAIN as you have seen it before (yet not).

BIO:
An artist and composer living in Los Angeles, John Wiese is a highly respected figure, both in contemporary sound art as well as the international experimental music underground. Wiese is also known for his influential grind/noisecore band Sissy Spacek, extreme electronics unit LHD, and for numerous collaborations. He is also an accomplished visual and graphic artist, with a long list of international exhibitions and printed materials.

www.john-wiese.com



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DON’T LET THE DEVIL IN (NY Premiere!)
dir. Courtney Fathom Sell, 2016
80 min, USA
In English

SATURDAY, JANUARY 28 – MIDNIGHT

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAr9eiiSqf0)

After suffering a miscarriage, Newlyweds John and Samantha Harris relocate from New York City to a small Appalachian town where they become wrapped up in a nightmarish tapestry of evil.

Sell’s film eschews conventional genre and instead hops gleefully around – owing as much to the backwoods horrors of last years standout MIDNIGHT as it does to Satanic Panic mainstays like ROSEMARY’S BABY. Aided by the rolling hills and picturesque backdrop of rural West Virginia, the film lures the viewer into an expansive wilderness and then manages to trap you in it. Also featuring Ed Wood/Mark Pirro player Conrad Brooks!