Category: Uncategorized

SIX-STRING SAMURAI


SIX-STRING SAMURAI

dir. Lance Mungia, 1998
United States. 91 mins.
In English.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1 – 7PM
SATURDAY, AUGUST 4 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 – 7:30PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 20 – 10PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30 – 7:30PM

OFFICIAL SELECTION – 1998 SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

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

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

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

THREE BY ANDREW HORN


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

( poster by Tom Henry )

THE NOMI SONG
dir. Andrew Horn, 2004
97 mins. In English.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5th – 7:30 PM
WITH FILMMAKER Q&A! (This event is $10.)
FRIDAY, AUGUST 10 – MIDNITE
TUESDAY, AUGUST 14 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30 – 10PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER!
dir. Andrew Horn, 2014
135 mins. In English.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8th – 7 PM
WITH FILMMAKER Q&A! (This event is $10.)
TUESDAY, AUGUST 21 – 7:30 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JULY 2018 MICRO-FUNDRAISER

The reaper of death is a silicone brain, and it has come for our projector. And as it dies a slow and painful L-C-D-eath, we’re humbly asking for your help in replacing it and keeping the burning S aflame.

Please consider making a donation of any amount to help maintain the theater’s infrastructure and continuing ability to bring the weird to Williamsburg and Brooklyn. But the good weird, not the current “is this an outdoor mall now?” weird. 


We strive to screen films that are under-appreciated and difficult to find, and have been doing so for eight years. Whether we are sourcing rare films, screening VHS dubs, or playing high resolution files from the filmmakers themselves, they are not being well served by our current projector. And that’s not good for anybody!

Please help up out with this tiny fundraising push! It won’t take much and the rewards will be all for you.

Thank you!


YEAR PASSES AVAILABLE: 



GET REEL 2


GET REEL is a comedy show for movie lovers (and movie haters, alike). It features clips from well-known films, appropriated into comedic routines by New York’s HOTTEST (physically and career-wise) comedians.
This month’s theme is SLUMBER PARTY. Playing murderous, backstabbing tweens at the worst sleepover ever, hosts Joe Castle Baker and Max Wittert will present an array of clips dubbed over live, by [hot] comedians. In accordance with the theme, Joe and Max will be presenting filmic moments of secrets, seances, spooky stories, and makeovers!!! We can’t wait to find out who will be dead by morning! Come see it on Friday, July 20th at 8 pm!
Hosted by Joe Castle Baker and Max Wittert, this month’s theme is SLUMBER PARTY, featuring famous filmic moments of late-night storytelling, makeovers, and backstabbing! Grab a sleeping bag, some Tang, and a splatter guard for the blood. Just kidding, there won’t be any blood. Or at least we don’t think so…

COSMIC, RAVING, LUMPEN CINEMA: THE FILMS OF FERNANDO BIRRI

The hindered visibility of filmmakers working in Latin America and other countries belonging to what used to consist the “third world” comes as no surprise to those who find themselves compelled to seek it out, but this makes it no less remarkable when one comes across a major figure in the history of a national cinema whose reputation in the US is functionally nil. Such is the case with Fernando Birri (1925-2017), who had been making films for 65+ years prior to his passing away last December, and is frequently cited as “the father of the New Latin American Cinema.” An intractable streak of leftist radicalism and collaborative efforts run through his work, which perhaps comes to us at a most opportune moment, when the need for alternative trajectories of thought and action is sorely felt.

A polymath, Birri worked as a puppeteer, actor, and poet before going to Rome in 1951 to study at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia di Roma, skills that would be actively incorporated in his films throughout his career. Watching the early shorts made during this time elucidates Birri’s interest in cities, their people, the history of their pictorial representation and fine arts. In tandem with these qualities is the conviction in providing a realistic, organic and ethical depiction of those oppressed in his native Argentina, spurring Birri’s tendencies as a theorist to develop documentary methods that would be both collective and radical. To this end, Birri founded the first Argentinian film school at the Universidad del Litoral, the students of which would be his collaborators on the documentary shorts to come. With the breakthrough one-two punch of TIRE DIÉ (1960) and LOS INUNDADOS (1962), Birri gave a voice to those communities that had been summarily ignored in their own homeland, demonstrating the need for resistance and radical militancy in the face of bureaucratic corruption and oppression. That Birri was exiled shortly thereafter only further confirms the urgency of his cinema. Birri’s return to Italy signaled the beginning of new forms of aesthetics and influence on his work, with 1968 marking the starting point on production for what would become his magnum opus, the three hour, relentlessly experimental ORG (1979).

Following this exile, Birri would return to Latin America triumphant and more prolific than ever, and like a select number of auteurs before him, he viewed the medium of television as a site of untapped potential for a possible multiplicity of cinemas, and in 1986 co-founded the Escuela de Cine y Televisión de Tres Mundos (EICTV), with none other than Gabriel García Márquez—whose A VERY OLD MAN WITH ENORMOUS WINGS would be adapted into a film by Birri and played at the Sundance Film Festival in 1988. Birri continued to make films until 2011, and with this near-complete retrospective, which features several new digital restorations, Spectacle aims to reinject Birri’s manifold, radical, and utopian cinema into the discourse and conscience of film culture, where his brand of eccentric thought is sorely needed.

Programmed in collaboration with Eric Barroso; Special thanks to Maria Pincolini, Silvina Cornillon, and Juan Manuel Cassinotti of INCAA, Augustina Lumi of CINE.AR, and Patricia Figueroa of Brown University.


SHORT FILMS: 1950-1959 (PROGRAM 1)
Total running time: 75 mins.
All shorts in Spanish with English subtitles.

SUNDAY, JULY 1 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, JULY 10 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JULY 22 – 8:30 PM
MONDAY, JULY 23 – 7:30 PM
SELINUNTE
1951. 10 mins.

SELINUNTE marks Birri’s first cinematic effort, made during his years studying at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia di Roma, and announces his conviction in the depiction of reality as a perpetual interweaving of the mythic and the mundane that would stand firm throughout his career. This short documentary resembles landscape filmmaking in its exploration of the ancient Greek ruins of Selinunte, located on the island of Sicily, as its camera roams the space containing left-over fragments, remnants of a past infused with mythology and strife, while Birri provides poetic ruminations on these histories through voiceover. Ethnographic observances of the current inhabitants are contrasted with the figures trapped on ancient frescoes, while a balletic dancer wanders through the remains to impart the inextricable relationship between a location’s history and its present.

IMMAGINI POPOLARI SICILIANE SACRE 
1954. 9 mins.
IMMAGINI POPOLARI SICILIANE PROFANE 
1954. 11 mins.

With this pair of educational shorts, Birri again demonstrates his interest in tying a city’s representational history to the lives of its people. Made in collaboration with Mario Verdone – film critic and director of Centro Sperimentale – IMMAGINI seeks to find the reflections and similitudes between the popular tradition of painting and the Sicilian people, as well as the different ways such traditions are incorporated into day-to-day life. Marionnettes, street paintings and frescoes are all under an egalitarian gaze that implies the potential within the nexus of these forms to reify a new, organic way of life.

LA VERDADERA HISTORIA DE LA PRIMERA FUNDACION DE BUENOS AIRES
1959. 45 mins.

After his student years in Italy (a country for whom he held great affinity, and to which he would return to live after his exile), Birri returned to his native Santa Fe to apply the techniques and theoretical precepts he acquired there to create a militant, collaborative new cinema that was attentive to and representative of the oppressed classes of Argentina. As such, LA VERDADERA HISTORIA DE LA PRIMERA FUNDACION DE BUENOS AIRES represents the first step in this direction, as well as a showcase for Birri’s polymathy; the film is constructed entirely of isolated frames from Argentinian cartoonist Oski’s painting of German Landsknecht (conquistador) Ulrich Schmidl’s 16th century chronicle of his time in Argentina. Birri navigates the landscape of the painting with comic deftness, highlighting the absurdity of colonial enterprise while acknowledging its entangled relationship to the country’s widely accepted creation myth. Singular for its time and intractable in its wit and irreverence, LA VERDADERA HISTORIA DE LA PRIMERA FUNDACION DE BUENOS AIRES deserves rediscovery as much as any of the films included in this retrospective.



SHORT FILMS: 1960-1967 (PROGRAM II)
Total running time: 75 minutes.
All films in Spanish with English subtitles.
MONDAY, JULY 2 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, JULY 5 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, JULY 21 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JULY 23 – 9:30 PM
BUENOS DIAS BUENOS AIRES
1959. 20 mins.

As one may gather from the title, this short falls in the lineage of city symphonies common in Europe throughout the 1920s, albeit with a significantly different focus within a markedly divergent context. Defiantly resisting glamorization, the Buenos Aires in Birri’s film belongs to the early risers, drunks, vagrants, lovers, street animals and workers, indispensable in their role of making the city move and look the beautiful way that it does.

LA PAMPA GRINGA
1963. 10 mins.

“My life was the same as that of thousands of gringos: I plowed and sowed the land, and went to the bar on Sunday.” Such is the refrain throughout LA PAMPA GRINGA, which endeavors to relate the sense of community built by the European settlers who in 1865 first colonized the town of Esperanza, located in Birri’s native province of Santa Fe. Largely consisting of juxtaposed daguerreotypes from the period and newspaper printings, LA PAMPA GRINGA exhibits Birri’s ability to weave narratives out of historical documentation in deft, admirable form.

CASTAGNINO DIARO ROMANO
1967. 12 mins.

Equal parts philosophical treatise and artist’s portrait, this short follows the thoughts and methods of Argentine artist Juan Carlos Castagnino, whose commitment to utopian thinking and radicalism mirror Birri’s own. “Living up to date is living one day in advance”, says the painter, as Birri will go on to pair Castagnino with both the Beatles and Argentine folk songs, cluing one in to his notion of keeping ties to the cultural and the radical present.


TIRE DIÉ
(aka THROW ME A DIME)
33 mins. 1960.

TIRE DIÉ was Birri’s international breakthrough, and it isn’t difficult to see why: Devoted to  the slums of Birri’s native city of Santa Fe, TIRE DIÉ was shot over a period of three years, in collaboration with the students from the Cinematic Institute at Universidad Nacional del Litoral, founded by Birri. The neorealist-influenced documentary focuses on the poverty in the aforementioned slums, crystallized by the eponymous ritual, during which children will run on the tracks alongside the daily train, begging for dimes. At once a stark and brutal indictment of the conditions run by the anti-Peronist military dictatorship and a portrait of an ignored community’s unjust techniques for survival, TIRE DIÉ  is credited with helping to kick off the New Argentine Cinema, and is no less an eye-opening document today.


LOS INUNDADOS
(aka THE FLOODED)
1962. 83 mins.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
TUESDAY, JULY 3 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JULY 9 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JULY 18 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25 – 7:30 PM

Birri’s first feature represents a sustained interest in bringing visibility to Argentina’s impoverished and marginalized communities, following a slum that finds itself flooded out of the bajo. They’re forced to move downtown, manifesting the visibility of their own group as well as the confrontration between the oppressed and the bourgeois city folk. As it unfolds in a loosely driven quasi-narrative, LOS INUNDADOS aims for the throat with its comic depictions of bureaucratic ineptitude and the brutal consequences inflicted on the undeserving migrants. However, not all is not bleak and cynical, as the lower Argentine class are present here in full vitality—some characters are based off the interviewed subjects in TIRE DIÉexperiencing the full spectrum of life’s vicissitudes in the social and communal space. What results is a major entry into New Latin American Cinema and a work of radical solidarity and vitality.

(Please note: in addition to being included in the first shorts program, TIRE DIÉ screens before LOS INUNDADOS.)



ORG
1968-77. 177 mins.
In Italian with English subtitles.
SATURDAY, JULY 21 – 4 PM
SUNDAY JULY 22 – 5 PM
SUNDAY JULY 29 – 8:30 PM

Cinematic behemoths aren’t exactly hard to come by, but rarely do they come this abstract and inspired. Described by Birri as “a nightmare with closed eyes”, ORG is the result of a ten-plus year exile in Italy (his second), and contains the highest concentration of Birri’s talent for envisioning utopian images and proposing aesthetics. Based off the same Indian legend that inspired Thomas Mann to write his novella “The Transposed Heads”, ORG combines leftist radical theory, mythopoetic imagery, and any found footage Birri can use to create this kaleidoscopic utopian vision of cinema. Boasting over 26,000 cuts and 700 audio tracks, ORG proves a vital rediscovery not to be missed!

Largely screened in an abridged 104 minute version since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 1979, Spectacle presents ORG here in a digital restoration of its full, 177 minute premiere cut.

A WEEKEND WITH MAGGIE HADLEIGH-WEST

For one weekend only, Spectacle is thrilled to host firebrand documentarian Maggie Hadleigh-West whose film WAR ZONE burned down the house as part of our MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS: CINEMA AGAINST STREET HARASSMENT program in 2015!  Our brief retrospective of her three features will include WAR ZONE, PLAYER HATING: A LOVE STORY (her deep-dive into Crown Heights hip-hop) and the NYC premiere of Hadleigh-West’s latest, SICK TO DEATH! – a startling and compassionate dissection of the modern healthcare crisis in America. Maggie will be here at all screenings for Q&A – not to be missed!

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WAR ZONE
1998. 72 mins.

THURSDAY, JULY 26 – 7:30 PM
(WITH FILMMAKER Q&A! – This screening is $10)
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

Maggie Hadleigh-West’s incendiary direct cinema documentary, WAR ZONE, is a battle cry for anyone who’s been harassed, catcalled, and assaulted while rightfully claiming their slice of public space. Twenty years ago, West videotaped herself and other women in cities across America as they idly walked down the street. The zip codes may change, but not the trash on the sidewalks: an unending array of men openly propositioning these women, commenting on their appearances and trying to cut them down to size. Camera in hand, West returned fire, confronting them about their wonton disrespect and forcing them to explain their disgusting behavior. The results are cathartic, at times terrifying, and enraging above all.

WAR ZONE is about sex, power and what happens when men—either knowingly or unknowingly—threaten a woman’s right to walk undisturbed on the streets. What exactly do catcalls, leers or a whole litany of other behaviors mean to a woman? And why do men engage in these behaviors? Shot all over the US, Hadleigh-West turns her camera on men in the same way that they turn their aggression on her. WAR ZONE is 76 minutes of explosive footage as the filmmaker places herself in very real danger by daring to ask the men on the streets why they are treating a complete stranger in a sexual way…

“Shrewdly building a canny tale of humor, hostility, and, ultimately, physical violence.  War Zone is a charged 76 minutes that asks the questions on the mind of every woman who knows the anger and frustration of not being able to walk down the street undisturbed.” – Hazel-Dawn Dumpert, LA Weekly

“Everything she shows is fascinating, revealing and provocative.”Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

PLAYER HATING: A LOVE STORY
2011. 95 mins.

FRIDAY, JULY 27 – 7:30 PM
(WITH FILMMAKER Q&A! – This screening is $10)
ONLINE TICKETS HERE

PLAYER HATING: A LOVE STORY follows Brooklyn rapper Half-a-Mill and his crew The Godfia Criminals, as they struggle to launch Milion, in an effort to attain money, success and recognition through music. PLAYER HATING delves intimately into the lives of young “thugs”, and takes the viewer into an underground world of poverty, alienation, gangs, violence and music that most audience members have an inkling of, but few rarely see—unless they’ve lived it.

“Player Hating– Someone else is about to shine, and you’ll do anything to keep that motherfucker from getting his cheese — it can be as subtle as negative flow (lyrics) or as extreme as trying to clap (shoot) him.”– Trent Bond, Half’s Manager and former NYPD Detective

“With intimate handheld cinematography and a rough naturalism that matches her story’s tough urban environs, the director charts the ups and downs of Half-a-Mill and a few of his many crew members, all of whom boast loyalty to their violent neighborhood…”Nick Schager, Village Voice

“Hadleigh-West’s documentary about Crown Heights rapper Half-a-Mill, his crew, and their desperately poor milieu is less about the music biz and celebrity culture than it is about the economic and emotional war zone of the projects.” – New York Magazine

“PLAYER HATING: A LOVE STORY sidesteps any handwringing or moral pronouncements about the gun- and drug-saturated “thug life,” instead presenting an intimate portrait of this tight-knit group that speaks for itself…”Sara Stewart, New York Post


SICK TO DEATH!
2017. 85 mins.

(BOTH SCREENINGS WITH FILMMAKER Q&A! – This event is $10)
SATURDAY, JULY 28 – 5 PM – ONLINE TICKETS HERE
SATURDAY JULY 28 – 7:30 PM – ONLINE TICKETS HERE

After drinking radioactive iodine to kill her overactive thyroid, Hadleigh-West catapults into illness only to run smack into the medical corruption that is shredding the fabric of American life.

In SICK TO DEATH!, Hadleigh-West exposes her own disturbing, yet determined, thirty-year struggle to regain her spiraling health. After seeing hundreds of doctors who either disregarded her symptoms, misdiagnosed or under treated her, Maggie discovers that her life-long thyroid problem was a fully understood medical issue as early as 1914, yet it’s been obscured by systemic medical corruption, pharmaceutical greed and physician negligence, leaving more than 750 million people sick and suffering world-wide.

Follow her as she brazenly uncovers the medical corruption and negligence that obscures medical practice – only to find yet another disturbing personal revelation. SICK TO DEATH! is both a call-to-action and a quirky film, which seeks to understand and change this disturbing medical reality.

SATANIC SVMMER 2

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that Summer 2018 will be hot, muggy, and fully Satanic. These offerings dig deeper into the devil’s work than you might have thought possible. We have a direct line to the source, what can we say.
Happy Solstice to you, and welcome to the second installment of SATANIC SVMMER.

EVILSPEAK!
Dir. Eric Weston, 1981
USA, 97 min.
In English, no subs
TUESDAY, JULY 3 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JULY 6 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, JULY 14 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, JULY 21 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25 – 10 PM

Remember the little kid you used to pick on? Well, he’s a big boy now.
Clint Howard plays Stanley Coopersmith aka “Cooperdick”, a bullied orphan “welfare case” who’s sent off to Military School, where he’s bullied relentlessly by students and teachers alike. After finding a diary detailing satanic rituals, he uses his computer-skills to initiate a digital Black Mass to take vengeance on his tormentors.
If you want to see a bunch of men’s-rights-activists in training get offed, this is the movie for you. A satanic riff on a gender-bent Carrie you didn’t know you needed, screening in its uncut non-domestic form.



ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK (Tutti i colori del buio)
Dir. Sergio Martino, 1972
USA, 94 min.
In Italian w english subs
MONDAY, JULY 2 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JULY 12 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JULY 20 – MIDNIGHT

MONDAY, JULY 24 – 10 PM

They exist. They bear the Mark of the Devil inside them. They may be your neighbors. They may be your wife, husband, sweetheart. They may even be your children. Their time has come.
Fans of Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, take note! Sergio Martino directs this Giallo-riff on satanic panic starring Edwige Fenech.
Jane (Fenech) lives in London with her boyfriend Richard. Her mother was murdered when she was young, she recently lost a baby in a car crash, and she’s plagued by nightmares of a knife-wielding man. Richard thinks that the cure is vitamins, while Jane’s sister recommends psychiatric help.
A new neighbor promises that if she participates in a Black Mass, all her fears will disappear, but instead it just seems to bring her nightmares to life. Is there any way out for her short of death or a living hell??


MESSIAH OF EVIL
Dir. Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz, 1973
USA, 90 min.
In English
SATURDAY, JULY 7 – MIDNIGHT
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11 – 10 PM

FRIDAY, JULY 20 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, JULY 28 – MIDNIGHT
SUNDAY, JULY 30 – 10 PM

They’re peering around buildings at night, and they’re waiting. They’re waiting for you. And they’ll take you one by one, and no one will hear you scream. No on will hear you SCREAM!
Co-directed by the husband and wife team behind the scripts for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Howard the Duck, this bad acid-trip of a zombie movie takes you into a Lovecraftian beach town where things are very, very off.
When Arletty stops hearing from her estranged father, an artist and painter living in the beach town of Point Dune, she makes a trip to see him despite his prior warnings to stay away.
Come and join the cult of the blood moon as we burn bonfires on the beach and wait for the arrival of the dark stranger. Featuring elaborate and eye popping production design by Jack Fisk (Badlands, Phantom of the Paradise) and a killer electronic score by Phillan Bishop (Kiss of the Tarantula).

LOST IN LIVING

LOST IN LIVING
Dir. Mary Trunk, 2013
USA, 113 min.

FRIDAY, JULY 6 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11 – 7:30 PM

THURSDAY, JULY 19 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, JULY 24 – 7:30 PM
Behind the domestic curtain of motherhood, where the creative impulse can flourish or languish, are four women determined to make a go of it. LOST IN LIVING confronts the contradictions inherent in personal ambition and self-sacrifice, female friendship and mental isolation, big projects and dirty dishes.
Filmed over 7 years, LOST IN LIVING follows four remarkable women, all artists as well as mothers. Best friends Kristina, a filmmaker, and Caren, a painter, embark on a journey that takes them through difficult career choices, challenges in their friendship, turning 40, parenting struggles, rejection and acclaim for their work and a redefinition of their feminist ideals. Merrill and Margie, both with adult children and many years of child-rearing experience, recall their triumphs and mistakes. Merrill is a writer with three adult daughters. She published more than 25 books before deciding to quit altogether. Margie’s late-life success as a painter saves her from the deadening dullness of being a housewife and mother and the strains of an unhappy marriage. These four women’s stories illustrate the internally driven desire to explore their deeply held conflicts and passions. For them art competes with other passions in their lives and the richness of their lives enriches their art. Through intimate scenes, and in-depth interviews, the complex realities of family life unfold in this funny and poignant documentary film about the messy intersection of motherhood and artistic expression.

CHICAGOLAND SHORTS VOL. 4

CHICAGOLAND SHORTS: VOLUME FOUR
Various Artists, 2014-2017
Dir. Various, 81 mins.

FB EVENT


SATURDAY, JULY 4 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JULY 12 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JULY 16 – 10 PM (WITH Q and A!)
THURSDAY, JULY 26 – 10 PM (WITH Q and A!)
Chicagoland Shorts corrals the best of narrative, experimental, documentary, and observational short filmmaking on the Third Coast into a traveling anthology show that centers the work of gender non-conforming filmmakers and filmmakers of color. Now in its fourth iteration, this year’s program features an exciting array of subjects and styles, from sine waves to skates, songbirds to burgeoning Sapphic love. The filmmakers included here have screened at such august festivals as Rotterdam, Berlin, Sundance, and Tribeca – and we, at Spectacle, are honored to screen their work in collaboration with Full Spectrum Features for the fourth year in a row!
Distributed by Full Spectrum Features, Chicagoland Shorts: Volume Four is programmed by Raul Benitez, with curatorial work by Lori Felker, Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, and Sarah Rubin.
Solar Pulse
Dir. Dena Springer, 2014
Experimental, 3 mins.
Solar Pulse is an experimental film that abstracts images from real life with modular synthesizers.
4 Things to Remember
Dir. Hannah Kim, 2016
Narrative, 9 mins.
An unreliable voice(s) travels through association and uncertainty, struggling to remember details of their childhood and events unfolding around them.
The Lingerie Show
Dir. Laura Harrison, 2015
Animation, 8 mins.
Drug-addict Lorraine and her boyfriend Caesar are having a nightmarish 24 hours until Lorraine calls up her sister, CiCi, for help.
The Magic Hedge
Dir. Frederic Moffet, 2016
Documentary, 9 mins.
The Magic Hedge explores a bird sanctuary located on a former Cold War Nike missile site on the north side of Chicago.
Veracity
Dir. Seith Mann, 2015
Narrative, 19 mins.
A popular African American student, Olivia, is outed by her friends after she acts on feelings for a new girl at her high school.
On the Rink
Dir. Benjamin Buxton, 2017
Documentary, 8 mins.
There’s nothing like a good skate.
And You The Bell
Dir. Elisabeth Hogeman, 2017
Observational, 9 mins.
A woman carries out elements of a daily routine, moving back and forth between habit, memory, and hallucination.
Every Ghost Has An Orchestra
Dir. Shayna Connelly, 2017
Documentary, 7 mins.
Paranormal researcher and experimental composer Michael Esposito straddles the line between spiritual and material, asking the audience to reflect on our purpose, legacy and what our actions say about who we are.
Something to Move In
Dir. Latham Zearfoss, 2017
Experimental, 4 mins.
This musical manifesto remixes late 1960s political dialogue with modern dance to resuscitate a bygone revolutionary thrust.

EBONY IVORY AND JADE


EBONY, IVORY & JADE
(aka SHE-DEVILS IN CHAINS)
(aka AMERICAN BEAUTY HOSTAGES)
(aka FOXFIRE)
(aka FOXFORCE)
dir. Cirio Santiago, 1976
Philippines. 80 mins.
SATURDAY, JULY 7 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JULY 13 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, JULY 21 – MIDNIGHT

FRIDAY, JULY 27 – MIDNIGHT
“I can’t believe I made eye contact with someone in the process of renting this movie.” – sllaw_hguorht, IMDB

Bundled from disparate threads of history (specifically the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre and the Patty Hearst kidnapping) EBONY, IVORY & JADE is a thoroughly offensive work by 2018 standards – a brutal and yet, aside from its murky nightclub scenes, mercilessly watchable kung-fu blaxploitation combo from drive-in trash journeyman Cirio H. Santiago (T.N.T. JACKSON, the original EXPENDABLES, BLOODFIST 2050). It follows a team of Olympic gymnasts from the States who are kidnapped and sold into slavery by drug runners, as well as an intrepid and fed-up black detective who, with CIA supervision, flies out to Hong Kong in search of them. Beyond Manila’s resolute failure to stand in for Hong Kong, what’s intriguing is the film’s incipient anti-Americanism: Black Power gets multiple boosts from the porkrub-salty screenplay, and it’s later revealed the kidnapping was arranged by one of the athletes’ evil-ass WASP stepfathers.The action sequences are bone-crunching, while Santiago’s occasional lapse into arthouse formalism (against a backdrop of martial artists in formation, one routine exchange between characters becomes a single-take epiphany) keeps you on your toes – as do the endless backdrplugs for Milo, a popular European malt beverage who either put up some of the cash for EBONY, IVORY & JADE, or ..

(And if those ellipses don’t convince, check out the original quotes from the back of an old FOXFIRE VHS:)

You’re better off dead when they start blasting lead! Ebony, Ivory, and Jade! Killing is their trade! With fist, foot, and blade, they can lick any man ever made! 3 foxy mamas who’ve got what it takes and know how to use it! 3 masters with a thousand ways to kill! Jump back, Jack, fo’ yo’ skull is cracked!

Skin of bronze! Muscles of iron! Fists of steel! The ultimate gladiators in the final arena! Angels of vengeance on a massacre marathon!

Lusting bursting babes ripe with the fruits of desire! In slaughter or seduction they score!

FOXFORCE! They turned them loose! Three sisters got soul they can’t control! Back to back they face death! When their blood gets hot you’re on the spot! Skirting disaster! Flirting with fate! Dancing with death!

FOXFORCE! 3 spittin’ kittens on a roaring rampage of revenge! Whipped into a blazing frenzy of violence! A raging ride through hell! From olympic contenders to bloody defenders! From the first burst to the last blast! .38 caliber kittens spitting death as they claw their way to freedom!

Warm hands! Cold triggers! Blazing death! They’re women! They’re warm! They’re wildcats! FOXFORCE! Rapid fire frenzy erupting in a .45 caliber climax! Flashing fists of fury strike like vipers of vengeance! You haven’t a prayer when they leap through the air! Ebony, Ivory, and Jade can lick any man ever made!