Category: Uncategorized

I LOVE A MAN IN UNIFORM (BANG BANG YOU’RE DEAD)


I LOVE A MAN IN UNIFORM
aka A MAN IN UNIFORM
Dir. David Wellington, 1993
Canada. 97 min.
English

Some ideas deserve more than one film, and more than one author, they should knock around the collective canon of cinema for awhile in work that is not so much derivative as conversational. I LOVE A MAN IN UNIFORM makes no secret of its debt to TAXI DRIVER and indeed uses the shadow of the latter work as just another border marking the alienation of its main character. In this Canadian film from 1993, Tom McCamus plays Henry Addler, a bank clerk trying to make it as a full time actor. Henry has just landed a reoccurring role on a TV police drama. To get into the part he takes his police uniform home and begins to walk the streets of Toronto looking for real life at its worst – and the goodness that only authority can sustain. Eventually, he also acquires a gun.



Crazed Cop (aka One Way Out)
Dir. Paul Kyriazi, 1986
United States, 83 minutes
English

Ivan Rogers (Ballbuster, Karate Commando: Jungle Wolf 3) wrote and stars in this Indianaoplis-lensed crime flick as Detective Joe Weeks, a suicidal cops reeling from the murder of his wife while trying to take down the drug dealers who killed her. Crazed Cop (aka One Way Out) splits the balance between ultra-intense and moody psychological noir and off-the-wall insane 80’s exploitation flicks, balancing Rogers’ steely intensity but bizarre flourishes such as a gang of breakdancing assassins.




THE GUARD FROM UNDERGROUND (aka SECURITY GUARD FROM HELL)

Dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1992
Japan, 96 min.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

Back from our Tidepoint Pictures Series last October!
Unfairly derided as a generic slasher flick ground out before Kiyoshi Kurosawa moved on to better-known and -received works, including CURE and PULSE, THE GUARD FROM UNDERGROUND features all Kurosawa’s signatures in nascent form – loneliness and isolation amid the everyday, dingy, banal locations made haunting, terror stemming from the gloom and nihility of human existence rather than shock or gore. Art historian Akiko begins her new job at a corporation the same day as an immense security guard, who happens to match the description of a murderous sumo wrestler released due to an insanity plea. The outsized antagonist is a true void – stating no one truly believes people like him can exist and repeatedly telling people not forget him, he’s a walking warning monsters are real and around us.
Kurosawa’s penchant for layering on social commentary is also present – Akiko’s corporation is so large it outsources and doesn’t control its own security, and her department, hastily thrown together to buy and sell art as commodity, technically doesn’t exist. All this housed in a sallow, sickly building constantly trapping its occupants even without the help of a vicious killer. Kurosawa once named Hitchcock and Ozu as his influences, and GUARD FROM UNDERGROUND’s direct blend of moody atmosphere and meat-and-potatoes suspense lands squarely between them.

THE KILLING OF AMERICA


THE KILLING OF AMERICA

Dir. Sheldon Renan & Leonard Schrader, 1982.
USA/Japan, 90 min.

ALL OF THE FILM YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE IS REAL. NOTHING HAS BEEN STAGED.

So begins the 1982 shockumentary THE KILLING OF AMERICA, (returning to Spectacle courtesy of the American Genre Film Archive) a film that, even among its mondo movie contemporaries, stands out as one of the grimmest and most infamous films ever produced.

If violence is the disease, then THE KILLING OF AMERICA is the microscope. Compiled almost entirely from news broadcasts, security camera footage, etc, THE KILLING OF AMERICA chronicles nearly every major violent incident of the era, from the JFK assassination onward. The America presented here is land characterized by widespread burnout and disillusionment. Add to that the increasing pervasiveness of the mass media, as well as an obscene overabundance of firearms, and you are left with a sobering portrait of a sick society, in which insanity and paranoia breed easily. Meanwhile, 25 years later…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

SEPTEMBER MIDNIGHTS



Camp Motion Pictures presents: SATAN’S BLACK WEDDING

dir. Nick Philips, 1975,
61 mins, USA
English

Mark travels to California to unravel the mystery surrounding his sister’s death. He learns that she had been writing a novel about Satanic worship and spent a good deal of time at an abandoned church outside of town. When Mark begins seeing her in the company of a creepy looking priest, he goes to the old church and learns that Satan himself has chosen him and his sister to be wed in unholy matrimony…and become the proud vampire parents of the Antichrist!


HEADLESS EYES
Kent Bateman, 1971
78 min, USA
English

You know how it is for starving artists, right? I mean, look at your clothes. Anyway, it used to be even harder! So hard that some of them turned to a life of crime. This is especially true in the case of Arthur Malcolm. Down on his luck, Arthur is caught robbing an apartment and loses his eye in the process. Once he’s healed he’s out on the streets and, brother, he is HEATED. Arthur sets about on a mad killing spree, gouging out the eyes of his victims with a spoon. He collects the eyes for his artwork, you see. This continues for some time with mixed results.

This film was directed by Kent Bateman, father of Jason and Justine, in the streets of a now long gone version of NYC. According to this film, it was a time when a hooker would approach a man covered in blood in the middle of the day in order to turn a trick. The good old days. In addition to this movie being totally batshit insane with a FIERCE mutant soundtrack, it’s a veritable snapshot of a city as nasty as they come. The performances are hammy and intense, like Easter dinner in a mental institution.

 


MESSIAH OF EVIL



Messiah of Evil

dir. Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz, 1973
90 minutes, USA
In English.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3- 5:00PM

In anticipation of the season finale of Twin Peaks: The Return, Spectacle is proud to present this psychedelic 1973 horror film by the writers and directors of America Graffiti and Howard the Duck, featuring Mariana Hill and Joy Bang with classic character actor legends Royal Dano and Elisha Cook, Jr., plus- in a small role- future The Warriors filmmaker Walter Hill. The art direction if by Jack Fisk, who would go on to appear in David Lynch’s Eraserhead, direct episodes of Lynch’s short lived Twin Peaks follow up, On the Air, and provide production design for Lynch’s Straight Story (starring Fisk’s wife, Sissy Spacek) and Mulholland Drive. While Messiah of Evil is a more straightforward horror film than Lynch himself has ever attempted, there is what appears to be some influence on his work to be found in it, or at least some serendipitous similarities between the two, whether it’s the ominous, odd secondary characters along the periphery of the action, or the films reliance on mood and tone (both also ominous) over story. Whether Lynch was directly influenced by Messiah of Evil or not, fans of his films will certainly find something to sink their teeth into in it. We’ll be presenting this at 5:00pm, following our mystery horror matinee Blood Brunch at 3pm, leading up to the season finale of Twin Peaks: The Return.

8BALL TV: COMP USA LIVE

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

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

BUMMER, MAN: HIPPIE DOWNERS

 


Katherine
dir. Jeremy Kagan, 1975
USA, 96 minutes
English

After her heartbreaking turn in Terence Malick’s Badlands and before achieving icon status in Brain DePalma’s Carrie, Sissy Spacek (who early in her career had recorded a novelty song about the shamefulness of Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s nudity on the cover of Two Virgins) played the title role in this made-for-TV movie about a wealthy debutante who heads down a self-destructive spiral of drugs and dire circumstances as she embraces the revolutionary counterculture of her time.

In additon to Spacek, the film stars Art Carney (known mainly as the sidekick on the Honeymooners, but in fact a terrific actor), a pre-Fonzie Henry Winkler, Julie Kavner (a star on the show Rhoda at the time and later the voice of Marge Simpson) and Jane Wyatt (Lost Horizon, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home).
Director Jeremy Kagan would go on to somewhat lighter fare, including the noir comedy The Big Fix, the Hassidic drama the Chosen, the sequel to the Sting and childhood favorite the Journey of Natty Gann.


In Search of America
dir. Paul Bogart, 1971
USA, 75 minutes
English

College dropout Mike Olsen (Jeff Bridges, mere months away from the Last Picture Show and Fat City would cement his status as one of the greatest actors of his generation), a college dropout, convinces his family to pack up a refurbished Greyhound bus and go off in search of what’s “going down” in the “real America” (apparently Mike also dropped out of Easy Rider before seeing the last scene). They don’t make it very far, but, hey, who does?

Originally made for TV, In Search of America has a fantastic cast including Bridges, Vera Miles (The Searchers, plus the Wrong Man and Psycho with Hitchcock), Kim Hunter (A Streetcar Named Desire, Planet of the Apes), Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause and later Escape from the Planet of the Apes with Kim Hunter), Tyne Daly (who went from this to the Susan Sontag scripted Play It As It Lays to the Dirty Harry sequel the Enforcer to a long stint as Lacey on TV’s Cagney & Lacey), Gylnn Turman (later in Cooley High and Bergman’s The Serpent’s Egg, then on A Different World and The Wire) and Tom Baker (of Warhol’s “I, A Man”).
Director Paul Bogart was a TV stalwart who made a number of interesting films including the post-noir Marlowe (with James Gardner as Raymond Chandlers titular detective), the socially conscious race drama Hall of Anger (with Bridges and Calvin Lockhart), and the inexplicably popular religious comedy Oh God,You Devil, starring Bob Denver and George Burns.
Screenwriter Lewis John Carlino seemed to specialize in post hippie bummers- his other credits include Frankenheimer’s Seconds, The Mechanic (possibly the best Charles Bronson film) and the relentlessly downbeat 1970s adaptation of Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea.


Maybe I’ll Come Home in the Spring
dir. Joseph Sargent, 1971
USA, 74 minutes
English

After her stints as Gidget (great show btw) and the Flying Nun, Sally Field took on a more serious role as Dennie, a hippie burnout who tires of eating garbage (literally) with her boyfriend David Carradine (a year before his breakout role on Kung-Fu) and returns to her disapproving suburban family, only to find her younger sister starting to stray down the same path of hippiedom that can only lead to eating garbage (literally) with David Carradine. The square parents are played by Jackie Cooper (once a Little Rascal, later Perry White in Superman: The Movie) and Eleanor Parker (The Sound of Music). Director Joseph Sargent was a TV vet (Star Trek, The Man from UNCLE, Larry Cohen’s the Invaders) and would go on to make the superior technothriller Colossus: The Forbin Project. Sally Field would go on to appear with Jeff Bridges in a breakthrough role in Stay Hungry in 1976, going on to win two Oscars and three Emmys throughout her long career. Despite appearing in The Long Goodbye and Death Race 2000, as well as numerous blockbusters and cult films, things would not work out as well for the impulsive David Carradine.

HAMID KHAN’S DANCE GODDESS

DANCE GODDESS
dir. Hamid Kann, 1987
82 min, USA
In English.
In Urdu w/ English subtitles.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 – 7:30 PM – In English
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 – 7:30 PM Urdu
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 – 10 PM English
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22 – 7:30 PM Urdu
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 29 – 7:30 PM Urdu
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 29 – 10pm English

DANCE GODDESS
dir. Hamid Kann, 1987
82 min, USA
In English.
In Urdu w/ English subtitles.

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 (TBA) 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.

MATCH CUTS PRESENTS: JACK WATERS’ THE MALE GAYZE

TUESDAY AUGUST 22ND

ONE NIGHT ONLY – 7:30 PM

Jack Waters in attendance

GET YOUR TICKETS

MATCH CUTS PRESENTS and Spectacle Theater present a trio of works by visual artist, filmmaker, writer, media artist, choreographer and performer Jack Waters.

THE MALE GAYZE
dir. Jack Waters, 1990.
USA, 11 min.

THE MALE GAYZE presents an individual’s observation of sexuality and power relations between men, a young African American dancer’s reminiscence of his encounter with a famous Dutch choreographer. Approached from a personal perspective, the story is told in a casually direct voice-over that is read by the author/director. Issues of authority clash in a pedagogical combat zone. The depiction of seemingly random home movie-esque visuals cause the structures of text (“masculine”) and image (“feminine”) to form a contrapunctual relationship of identities. Waters constructs a theater where Black/White, European/American, Younger/Older; Experience and Beauty interact. Platonic in the original sense, the movie invites the viewer to engage in the process of experience itself, where one must make one’s own reactive decisions.

Like gender role playing itself, some viewers determine the postulation of form and content in THE MALE GAYZE as competitive. Others sense the image/text relationship as complementary whereby the descriptive narrative can be absorbed unimpeded by undue intellectualization.

INTRODUCING MR. DIANA
dir. Jack Waters, 1996.
USA, 27 min.

A video short documenting the arrival of controversial comic book artist and illustrator Michael Diana – the hottest astral flame to scorch New York City’s creative underbelly – to New York City.

DIOTIMA
dir. Jack Waters, 1993.
USA, 30 min.

A cinematic essay on the great pornography debate. A classically stylized setting expounding the contrasting views of noted scholars, with the inclusion of text generated and delivered by the cast.

Thanks to Visual AIDS and the Film-makers’ Co-op

MATCH CUTS is a weekly podcast centered on video, film and the moving image. Match Cuts Presents is dedicated to presenting de-colonialized cinema, LGBTQI films, Marxist diatribes, video art, dance films, sex films, and activist documentaries with a rotating cast of presenters from all spectrums of the performing and plastic arts and surrounding humanities. Match Cuts is hosted by Nick Faust and Kachine Moore.

IT’S NOT THE HEAT… IT’S THE HUMANITY

Boy, it’s a hot one. This August, Spectacle is pleased to celebrate (?) the dog’s-breath days of summer by exhibiting three unsung classics of criminality in the (dehydrated, varicose) vein of 2013’s OUT IN THE STREETS series. Shove the money under your mattress, grab a jumbo seltzer and put your halfway-broken piece of crap phone in airplane mode – because in the words of a longtime Spectacle volunteer: it’s not the heat… it’s the humanity.


KEEP COOL
dir. Zhang Yimou, 1997
China. 90 mins.
In Mandarin with English subtitles.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 6 – 5 PM
TUESDAY, AUGUST 15 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, AUGUST 25 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, AUGUST 27 – 7:30 PM

A tale of luck, hate and perhaps also love in a hot place, KEEP COOL straddles the distance between Zhang Yimou’s early arthouse and later crowd-pleasing sensibilities – a deranged pop-romance shot entirely on location in the sweltering, hypermodernizing streets of Beijing. Jiang Wen (an accomplished filmmaker himself, and mainland China’s biggest movie star at the time) stars as Shuai, a real-life bookthug whose ambitions are way above his overhead. After falling in love with a gangster’s moll named An Hong (played by Qu Ying), Shuai hatches a scheme to win her over – but only before An Hong mysteriously vanishes. Making the first non-historical film of his career, you’d never guess this is the same director who would square Matt Damon off against goblins two decades later on THE GREAT WALL: KEEP COOL ping pongs from scabrous black comedy to biting, insistent humanism. Every sensation tingles: the revving of a motor scooter, the striking of a match, the splash of a bucket of icewater dumped from a twenty storey apartment building. Even though it was censored by Chinese authorities and probably owes a little something to Wong Kar-Wai’s collaborations with Christopher Doyle, what really sticks is the antic nature of Zhang’s camera – free-wheeling yet moored by consequence, the characters’ fortunes shifting on a dime.

“Cutting is jagged, asymmetric, and discontinuous, not the serene conventional pattern Yimou heretofore employed. Imagine David Lean taking ten tabs of acid and turning himself into Richard Lester in his Beatles period and you have some notion of how astonishingly risky this new film is. What amazes most about KEEP COOL is finally how funny and human it is.” – Larry Gross, BOMB



DOG DAY
(aka CANICULE)
dir. Yves Boisset, 1984
France/United States. 100 mins.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 17 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 21 – 19 Pm

Lee Marvin probably looked weatherbeaten from womb to tomb – but in one of his very final roles, Hollywood’s last no-bullshit leading man crawls to the finish line with his dignity just-barely intact. DOG DAY (or CANICULE/”heatwave” in its language of origin) is a wild, gnarly piece of work – a European financed crime thriller starring Marvin as Jimmy Cobb, a bank robber-flaneur on the run in Normandy with one last job’s worth of greenbacks. What’s interesting is the way Cobb recedes into the background as his farm-family keepers begin to debate over what to do with him: the mashing up of hard-boiled noir tropes (vis-a-vis Marvin, who more than a few critics presumed got a hefty tax break for his trip to France) and rural ensemble drama (embodied by Jessica, a bored young sexpot played my the inimitable Miou-Miou) will keep you guessing what kind of film DOG DAY wants to be. The answer, in the end, is a bloodbath: Cobb’s inevitable trudge towards death approaches the seriocomic as nearly everybody else is massacred, giving the film a ruthlessness that would never make it out the gate of a Hollywood studio.



PIZZA BIRRA FASO
dirs. Adrián Caetano and Bruno Stagnaro
Argentina. 93 minutes.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 10 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, AUGUST 15 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 28 – 10 PM

“Four friends. One city. One single exit.” Adrián Caetano and Bruno Stagnaro’s extraordinary PIZZA BIRRA FASO (translating roughly to PIZZA, BEER AND SMOKES – but what kind of smokes?) is a major work of Spanish-language cinema, a cornerstone of New Argentine cinema that was sadly never released in the states. Shiftless teens Pablo, Frula, Magabom and El Cordobés eke out a living committing pick-up robberies on behalf of a cab driver (who then docks their pay) in the slums of Buenos Aires; the film chronicles their attempts to survive hand-to-mouth, and Cordobés’ flirtations with going straight – moving to Uruguay and starting his own small-time crime syndicate. If you can believe it (this being a film with the balls to straight up restage a sequence from Buñuel’s LOS OLVIDADOS), fate has other plans.

Like Victor Gaviria’s RODRIGO D: NO FUTURO and Teresa Villaverde’s OS MUTANTES, PIZZA BIRRA FASO debut sees the spirit of neorealism gone neoliberal: the film diagnoses a particular strain of disenchantment among teenagers in the shadow of congolomeratized capitalism, trapped in poverty while their home cities only get richer. Made when Caetano and Stagnaro were only just in their early twenties, PIZZA BIRRA FASO uses a lightweight handheld camera to create a fast-paced atmosphere that’s itinerant, jittery, claustrophobic. This is a tough, depressing film whose listless aesthetic embodies its characters’ dissatisfaction in total, only to belie the humanism held, until the unforgettably bleak finale, by the filmmakers at arm’s length.

DARNA VS. THE PLANET WOMEN

DARNA vs. THE PLANET WOMEN
dir. Armando Garces, 1975
Philippines, 101 minutes
Tagalog with English subtitles

SAT AUGUST 5 – 10:00 PM
SAT AUGUST 12 – 7:30 PM
WED AUGUST 16 – 10:00 PM
FRI AUGUST 25 – MIDNIGHT

GET YOUR TICKETS!

Darna is the Philippines’ most celebrated superhero. Appearing in comics, films and tv series siunce 1950, she is the Filipino Wonder Woman- a deceased extraterrestrial warrior magically manifesting herself through a human girl from Earth, named Narda. After Narda swallows a magic white stone, she transforms into the mighty warrior by shouting “DARNA!”. As Darna, she stands up for those who cannot fend for themselves. She fights against both common criminals as well as greater forces of evil, often accompanied by her younger brother, Ding.

1975’s Darna Vs. The Planet Women, directed by Aramando Garces (who made more than 140 features between 1952 and 1980), is the ninth Darna movie, and the third starring Vilma Santos (aka the Grand Slam Queen, one of the Philippines most beloved actresses, now a popular politician), who would come to personify the character in Filipino popular culture. In the film, Vilma’s Narda is portrayed as a disabled teenager who has been given a magical stone from the planet Marte which allows her to transformer into the powerful Darna. The Planet Women (Noche, Elektra, Orang, Maia and Kara) are a band of bikini-clad space amazons, each coded with a different shade of primary-hued body paint. They arrive on Earth armed with a shopping list of Earth scientists whom they plan to abduct, so it’s up to Darna and her dorky brother Ding to save the world from their evil scheme!