Category: Uncategorized

ALBERT SERRA: ICONO-CLASSICIST

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

Special thanks to Andergraun Films and The Cinema Guild.


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

APRIL MIDNIGHTS

APRIL MIDNIGHTS
(MOST OF WHICH ARE ALSO SCREENING AT REGULAR TIMES!)


THE BIG TURNAROUND
dir. Joe Cranston, 1988
98 minutes, USA

SATURDAY APRIL 8 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY APRIL 10 – 10 PM
SUNDAY APRIL 14 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY APRIL 21 – MIDNIGHT

GET YOUR TICKETS! (Some discrepancies on dates may exist: please refer to the above list)

More than a decade before Bryan Cranston cemented his place among the pantheon of popular culture as the beleaguered, cash-strapped father willing to do anything to keep his family afloat on Malcolm in the Middle, the Might Morphin’ Power Rangers and Seinfeld star was a struggling actor, headlining this oddball crime thriller directed by his dad, Joe.  Cranson joins Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine in the Big Turnaround, a tale about a group a ragtag misfits who come together to take on a crime lord’s drug trafficking operation on the US/Mexico border, which sounds vaguely like another Bryan Cranston project, the name of which we can’t remember…





THE PHANTOM KID

dir. Peter Hammond, 1977
85 minutes, UK/ISREAL
English.

FRIDAY, APRIL 7 – MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, APRIL 10 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 28 – MIDNIGHT

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“Good guys, bad guys- they’re all kids at heart in the wild, wild west!”

A pair of gunslinging vigilantes take on a mission to stop a gang of train robbers in this wacky western starring all children.  For fans of Hawk Jones, Bugsy Malone and seeing kids shoot each other.



WEREWOLF SHADOW
Dir. León Klimovsky, 1971
Spain, 95 min.

SATURDAY, APRIL 1 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, APRIL 14 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, APRIL 29 – MIDNIGHT

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April’s installment of NASCHY AS II WANNA BE is WEREWOLF SHADOW, aka NASCHY incarnation of Waldemar Daninsky #5! Though he’s at home as a cult leader or necrophiliac gravedigger, this is where PAUL NASCHY’S bare-chested hairy bravado really shines.

THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE

THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE
Dir. Walon Green, 1971. USA, 90 min.
In English.

THURSDAY, APRIL 20 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 21 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, APRIL 25 – 7:30 PM

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“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.

 

SPECIAL DISCOVERIES FROM MUBI

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

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

GET YOUR TICKETS!


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

MUBI is a curated online cinema, streaming hand-picked award-winning, classic, and cult films from around the globe. Every day, MUBI’s film experts present a new film and you have 30 days to watch it. Whether it’s an acclaimed masterpiece, a gem fresh from the world’s greatest film festivals, or a beloved classic, there are always 30 beautiful hand-picked films to discover. 

98 YEARS – JACK HARRIS TRIBUTE

JACK H. HARRIS: November 28, 1918 – March 14, 2017

 

As Jack Harris passed away last month at the grand age of 98, Spectacle is bringing back EQUINOX and presenting UNKISSED BRIDE. The latter is the only directing credit from the producer, actor, and champion of things blobby, creatury, and other-worldly. See below for thorough synopses and context.

Spectacle is also excited to announce a special double feature on Saturday 4/22 with Harris’ granddaughter and others to present!!

 


EQUINOX
(a/k/a: The Beast, The Equinox… A Journey Into the Supernatural)
Dir. Dennis Muren / Jack Woods, 1970
80 mins, USA

THURSDAY, APRIL 13 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, APRIL 17 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 22 – *7:00 PM* (SPECIAL Q&A!)
TUESDAY, APRIL 25 – 10 PM

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In 1965 a young Dennis Muren had a choice to make. He was 17 and could use the money his grandfather had set aside for him to either go to college or do something sensible and make a feature length genre defining, effects pioneering film. Having made the right choice, Muren and friends David Allen and Mark McGee set about making their vision come to life and over the course of the next two and a half years THE EQUINOX…A JOURNEY INTO THE SUPERNATURAL was born. Among their support group was none other than Forrest J. Ackerman (famed/revered/beloved editor of FAMOUS MONSTERS – who would also lend his voice to the film in an uncredited cameo!) who helped the gang to snag Fritz Leiber in the role of Dr. Waterman. Muren and Allen headed up the technical side and dove headfirst into the special effects. Monsters abounded, winged demons poured out the ether, and giants stomped around the screen with terrifying voracity. And all reportedly to the tune of less than $7,000!

With the film completed, Muren set out to show it to the world but that proved to be difficult. Initially trying for a TV release, Muren ended up shopping it around Hollywood. The premise and eye popping special effects grabbed the attention of Jack H. Harris. Harris had been the man who picked up THE BLOB (and later DARK STAR, SCHLOCK, FEAR OF A BLOB PLANET, DINOSAURUS, 4D MAN, etc). He shortened the title to EQUINOX and hired Jack Woods to beef up the run-time. Rehiring the original actors and casting himself as in the role of Asmodeus, Woods (with Ed Begley Jr on ass’t camera duties) retooled the creature feature and soon 35mm prints were stuck! The film was unleashed on the world and in the coming years would help mold the very essence of the “cabin in the woods” subgenre. Without EQUINOX arguably, there would be no EVIL DEAD series.

In the wake of EQUINOX many of it’s creators would flourish. Dennis Muren continued down the path of effects work and would soon have a wheelbarrow full of Acdemy Awards for his efforts on films like the STAR WARS trilogy, ET, JURASSIC PARK, DRAGONSLAYER, CAPTAIN EO, and more recently SUPER 8. David Allen also pretty much changed the game in terms of effects while working on films like WILLOW, HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS and became responsible for all things good in the world of Full Moon features with work on DOLLS, OBLIVION, and the PUPPET MASTER films to name a few. While this is Jack Woods only directing credit, he would end up with a lengthy sound department resume with titles like PHANTASM II and the STAR TREK franchise.

Spectacle is humbled and honored to (re)present this film (a favorite around the Goth Bodega) with the kind permission of Jack H. Harris’s granddaughter, who will be in attendance on April 22nd.


THE UNKISSED BRIDE
(a/k/a: Mother Goose A-Go-Go)
Dir. Jack Harris, 1966
USA, 82 min.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 15 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, APRIL 22 – 10 PM

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The almighty Jack H. Harris’s only turn as director, UNKISSED BRIDE is the age-old story of a young couple named Ted and Margi (Tommy Kirk and Anne Helm) who have been saving it for their honeymoon, only to discover Ted has erectile dysfunction at the suggestion of nursery rhymes. It may seem like that’s an easy thing to avoid, but no matter how our randy paramours try, Mother Goose is always there to block the proverbial shot. Instead of turning that into a kink, Ted visits a psychiatrist (the great Danica D’Hondt in one of her last roles) who prescribes a hallucinogenic spray (I’m not kidding) and we’re off to the races.

It’s important to note Tommy Kirk (here tellingly billed as Tom Kirk) was trying to break free from his history as a child star (SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, OLD YELLER, the Mickey Mouse Club Hardy Boys series), mostly via a bunch of beach movies (MST3K fans know him from CATALINA CAPER and VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS). As a star who was fairly unceremoniously released from Disney (presumably but not officially due to Kirk’s homosexuality), he might seem an odd choice for a film about a man having difficulties having sex with a woman.

This is compounded when Ted squares off against ultra-lothario Jacques Bergerac (LES GIRLS, GIGI, but *especially* THE HYPNOTIC EYE!) who, as a guy married to both Dorothy Malone and Ginger Rogers, has little trouble flinging some woo. Madcap hijinx ensue (some of which are pretty much guaranteed to offend), and it’d be a mistake to give away the plot, but you just know this is a film with featured songs (including Kirk singing one himself), lots of great LA locations (our couple go to the Troubador at one point), speeding-up-the-film Benny Hill style, Henny Youngman AND Joe Pyne: to put it simply, it’s a gas.

 

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

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

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

Special thanks to the National Film Board of Canada.

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

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

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

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

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

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

STEWART HOME: FILMS (1986-2016)

STEWART HOME: FILMS (1986-2016)

Spectacle is pleased to present a survey of artist Stewart Home’s moving image works on the occasion of his cult classic, Defiant Pose, being put back into print by Penny-Ante Editions. Named the “Best Book of the Year” in 1991 by The Gay Times, today Chris Kraus describes Home’s “proto-porn pageantry” as “timely (and) timeless… a satirical masterpiece, as funny twenty-five years later as when it first appeared.” With STEWART HOME: FILMS (1986-2016) it is our hope that those familiar and unfamiliar with “cult writer” Stewart Home will gain new insight into his artistic practice.

AN EVENING WITH STEWART HOME – FRIDAY APRIL 7 – 7:30 PM
SCREAMS IN FAVOUR OF DE SADE – FRIDAY APRIL 21 – 7:30 PM
SHORT WORKS – SATURDAY, APRIL 8 – 7:30 PM & FRIDAY, APRIL 28 – 7:30 PM

Copies of Defiant Pose will be available at the screening on the 7th.

STEWART HOME is an English artist, filmmaker, writer, pamphleteer, art historian, activist, and internationally-acclaimed author. Home’s writings include Pure Mania (Polygon, 1989), Defiant Pose (Peter Owen, 1991), Slow Death (Serpent’s Tail, 1996), 69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess (Canongate, 2002), Tainted Love (Virgin Books, 2005), and Memphis Underground (Snowbooks, 2007). Between 2007 and 2010, Home was the commissioning editor of Semina, a series of acclaimed experimental novels from London art publisher Book Works, to which he contributed, Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie (2010). In 2013, Stewart Home released Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane (Penny-Ante Editions), named one of the “Best Paperbacks of the Year” by the Guardian, followed by The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones published by Test Centre in 2014. He was born and continues to reside in London. (www.stewarthomesociety.org)

Thanks to Rebekah Weikel & Penny-Ante Editions, Sukhdev Sandhu & The Colloquium for Unpopular Culture, and Triple Canopy.


AN EVENING WITH STEWART HOME

FRIDAY APRIL 7 – 7:30 PM
*ARTIST IN ATTENDANCE – ONE NIGHT ONLY*

GET YOUR TICKETS!

Stewart Home will be hosting and speaking on a selection of past short works such as TV FREAK and BAKED BEAN JUNKIE GROSS OUT, as well as his latest, 2016’s RE-ENTER THE DRAGON.

Copies of Defiant Pose will be available at the screening.

RE-ENTER THE DRAGON
dir. Stewart Home, 2016.
UK. 41 min.

In RE-ENTER THE DRAGON, Stewart Home uses found cinematic imagery and a dissociated soundtrack influenced by 1950s Lettrist cinema as a means of exploring cultural hybridity. The genre of martial arts films known as ‘Brucesploitation’ is theoretically dissected while onscreen an actor hyped as ‘the Bruce Lee of the Philippines’ explodes into action. ‘Brucesploitation’ deployed underhand marketing devices such as using actors with stage names including Bruce Le and Dragon Lee, to trick the unsuspecting into thinking they might be watching a film by Bruce Lee, a man who died before most of these super-cheap exploitation flicks were made. RE-ENTER THE DRAGON is where action cinema has a nervous breakdown and discovers that hypermasculinity inevitably finds itself tipping over into the feminine.


SCREAMS IN FAVOUR OF DE SADE (2002)
dir. Stewart Home, 2002.
UK. 72 min.

FRIDAY, APRIL 21 – 7:30 PM

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English language color remake of Guy Debord’s avant-garde classic from 1952. Like the original this film has no images, but whereas Debord’s consisted of black with silence and white with dialogue in French, Home employ black with silence and TV color bars with dialogue in English. The original dialogue is translated and in a number of places also rewritten. However, while Debord had five voices reading his script, Home uses one voice with an additional spoken indication of which voice is speaking.

The periods of blackness and silence in Debord’s film are strictly adhered to, with the final twenty four minutes being entirely black and silent. Although Debord never explained his original film in this way, Home’s intention is to transform cinema in theatre, turning the audience into actors rather than treating them as passive spectators. If this is the case, then it should matter little to viewers whether they watch Debord’s original or Home’s remake, what’s important is what happens amongst the audience, not what is on screen, which in a classical gesture of avant-garde iconoclasm is essentially nothing.


STEWART HOME: SHORT WORKS (1986-2004)
dir. Stewart Home, 1986 – 2004.
UK. 85 min.

SATURDAY, APRIL 8 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, APRIL 28 – 7:30 PM

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A survey of past short works by Stewart Home, including 2004’s THE ECLIPSE & RE-EMERGENCE OF THE OEDIPUS COMPLEX. Full screening list is as follows:

THE EIGHTIES
1986, 4 min.

“This is an edit of a durational piece made in May 1986, which originally lasted one hour and only had incidental ambient noise on the soundtrack. It is more hardcore ‘art’ as it was originally made but this is the YouTube generation recut 21 years down the line. Other hour long durational pieces made in the eighties include a fabulous video of Pete Horobin and I taking afternoon tea that begins with a five minute static shot of the table before we sit down at it. We really knew how to make fun films back then… I love them, but YouTube doesn’t carry hour long works, so you got this instead. My song on the soundtrack was also composed in the eighties, although this particular version was recorded in the nineties. But this static record of my head being shaved from a curly mop sums up the eighties for me. Immediately prior to this a friend in Hackney used to do my hair for me, and she also worked on Mel & Kim’s barnets (so I met them a couple of times before they were famous when I headed down to Shakespeare Walk to get my hair cut)… and since I first put this up I have been getting a lot of comments about how much Britney Spears looks like me… don’t forget I did this 20 years before her…” (Stewart Home)

I WANNA DIE IN THE TV

1986, 1 min.

The screen is pure surface, it has no depth, and where there is no life there is no death….. The voices on the soundtrack belong to Stewart Home and Pete Horobin

TV FREAK
1986, 2 min.

“An oldie but goldie video piece from May 1986, but this is the length I always intended it to be. Looks just about perfect to me now I’ve added the titles, which I didn’t manage at the time I made it 21 years ago.” (Stewart Home)

BAKED BEAN JUNKIE GROSS OUT
1986, 7 min.

“The avant-garde art of boredom taken to new extremes back in 1986! A Neoist anti-classic! I performed for the camera and immediately after shooting I recorded the voice over in one take, sounding about as sincere as a snake oil salesman. Pete Horobin shot this and nearly all the edits are in camera because we didn’t have free access to proper edit suites at the time and tried to minimize whatever time we paid for. Any visual edits we made to what we did were crashed between a domestic machine and the camera, cruder than editing Super 8, hence our preference for in camera editing – and not even a master of multi-tasking like me was able to perform and simultaneously do in camera editing. That said VHS film was cheaper to the superior looking 8mm celluloid and enabled us impoverished dole queue ‘aesthetes’ to shoot a lot more ‘film’. As a result we didn’t title this piece or much other material at the time, the titles and credits were added just before I put this up here, but the rest of the visuals are exactly as we left them 21 years ago. I didn’t bother showing this anywhere at the time, but on reviewing it recently I realized I was making YouTube type shorts a couple of decades before most of you; it just looks different because we had clunky VHS cameras then, not digital… but the ‘spirit’ is the same. And please note the sacrifices I make for aesthetic effect; I even drink a can of Coke in this (well it looks like I did, but actually I poured the crud inside the can away and replaced it with water – couldn’t have got away with that using a bottle). And dig the Wm Low baked bean tin, a supermarket that could be found around Scottish north east back in the eighties but that disappeared a decade or probably more ago…” (Stewart Home)

REFUSE
1988, 5 min.

By Stewart Home, Andy Hopton, Art In Ruins, Denise Hawrysio, Ed Baxter and Simon Dickason at Galleriet Läderfabriken Malmö, October-November 1988.

“Note the sound on this was played at volume on a tape loop throughout the show; the lighting was ambient and while this couldn’t be captured on camera, video effects were used in an attempt to replicate this. Please note that the quality reflects both the video technology of when this was done (1988) and tape decay (the colors have faded considerably and there are other faults). It is presented here as a historical artifact to give something of the flavor of the site specific installation work I was doing in the eighties.” (Stewart Home)

TURN ON, TUNE IN, FREAK OUT

1989, 13 min.

Made with Neil Aberdeen, featuring Stefan Szczelkun, Gabrielle Quinn, Dick Arlen.

NO PITY
1993, 4 min.

Promo video for short story collection “No Pity” by Stewart Home (AK Press, 1993), made with Nick Abrahams and Mikey Tomkins and featuring music by Bloodsausage

RED LONDON
1994, 7 min.

Promo for Stewart Home novel Red London made with Nick Abrahams and Mickey Tompkins in 1994. Digitized from a VHS copy.

UT PICTURA POESIS
1997, 1 min.
“This was made as part of the Arts Council funded Blipvert Project in 1997, so it was one of six commissioned pieces cut into the ads at independent cinemas and was seen in that context by an audience of something like three quarters of a million people. It was shot at 50 Beck Road in Hackney (since I appear in it, Nick Abrahams was operating the camera) and edited at Artec at Highbury Corner. It was intended for cinema screening and the ‘alienation effect’ that is integral to it doesn’t work outside that context, so it is placed here as a curiosity. This was an attempt to distill the lettrist cinematic experiments of the early 1950s (and in particular the feature length pieces “Has The Film Already Started”, “Anti-Concept” and “Screams In Favour Of De Sade”) into 45 seconds. Proletarian post-modernism lives on…” (Stewart Home)

THE ECLIPSE & RE-EMERGENCE OF THE OEDIPUS COMPLEX
UK. 41 min.

Made by Stewart Home while in Melbourne as visiting artist at the Victorian College of the Arts in May 04. In the movie avant-garde techniques and the avant-garde obsession with death interweave with reflections on the life and death of his mother Julia Callan-Thompson. Images of his mum working as a fashion model and club hostess during the sixties are cut against and at times deliberately dissociated soundtrack that uses stories about her to explore the limits of documentary cinema. This is simultaneously an expression of love and loss and an attempt to draw out the ways in which the avant-garde Lettrist cinema of the early fifties in France was commercialized in the later work of Godard, Marker and Resnais.


RULE #1: BELIEVE THE AUTOCRAT

RULE #1, BELIEVE THE AUTOCRAT: DOCS FROM MARXFILM

Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule #3: Institutions will not save you.

So go the first of six rules of survival according to Masha Gessen from her article in the New York Review of Books two days after the election results in the US. Her experiences as a loud critic of Vladimir Putin grant her authority: she was a dissenting journalist through the rapid monopolization of the media and the subsequent erosion of the judiciary system. A decade out and still under Putin’s rule, the resistance leaders featured in these three documentaries have a far narrower range of motion. These are on-the-ground accounts of the 2012 protests after the re-election of Putin and the Euromaidan Revolution in Kiev. As documents of chaotic and dangerous moments, these films do not attempt to craft a primer for action but broadcast an ongoing experience that requires in-depth coverage.


MY FRIEND BORIS NEMTSOV
Dir. Zosya Rodkevich
2016, 71 min.
In Russian with English subs.

TUESDAY, APR 11 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, APR 18 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, APR 23 – 7:30 PM
THURSAY, APR 27 – 7:30 PM

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“An intimate portrait of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov—once Deputy Prime Minister and ‘an heir of President Yeltsin’, later an uncompromising adversary of Putin—that was assassinated near the Kremlin in February 2015. Election campaigns and hotel beds, protest rallies and office routine, train compartments and courtrooms, night walks and police vans –you have never seen any politician so close. This is a story how a journalist assignment turns into a genuine friendship.”

Very big thanks to Antipode Distribution.


KIEV/MOSCOW (PART 1 and 2)
dir. Elena Khoreva
2015, 60 min + 75 min (205 min total).
In Russian/Ukrainian with English subtitles.

THURSDAY APR 6 – 9:00 PM
MONDAY APR 24 – 9:30 PM **Q&A WITH MAX TUULA OF MARXFILM**
SUNDAY APRIL 30 – 7:00 PM

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This doc drops you directly into the 2014 Euromaidan uprising in Kyiv. It is cold January and the initial anti-corruption crowds have crystallized into an overall siege. Between new restrictions on assembly and the Berkut police force, protest faces deadly risks. Soon Russia annexes Crimea: Khoreva embeds with armed Russian units in Donetsk and then appears in the middle of nationalist protests in Moscow. The action jumps around a lot: this is a crash-course in history as it occurs.

The setting is very much KIEV/MOSCOW, but this film brings out the universal quality of attending a protest in any county with a highly militarized police force. Kiev looks like a war zone, heightened by building takeovers, constant explosions, and many tragic deaths. Poroshenko is helped onto a plow truck, where he pleads with protestors to stop thrashing around, unsuccessfully. Oleg Tsaryov (Yanukovych’s former top deputy) slides through the halls of power, shifting to his next phase of leading the separatist movement in Western Ukraine.

It is not only revolutionary young professionals who hold the banner of anti-corruption: nationalist groups in both Kiev and Moscow tap into popular support. Part 2 of KIEV/MOSCOW follows workers in various sectors in both cities, providing the context that creates democratic reformers, hardline nationalists and many shades in between.


THE TERM
Dirs. Alexey Pivovarov, Alexander Rastorguev, Pavel Kostomarov
2014, 83 min.
In Russian with English subtitles.

THURS APR 6 – 7:30 PM
TUES APR 18 – 10 PM
MON APR 24 – 7:00 PM **Q&A WITH MAX TUULA OF MARXFILM**

SUN APR 30 – 5 PM

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This documentary follows the 2012 protests in Moscow following the re-election of Vladimir Putin. It opens on doomed romance: that of Solidarnost activist Ilya Yashin and Putin’s goddaughter Ksenia Sobchak. THE TERM gets close to many of the major opposition leaders in the streets, spending the most time with 2018 presidential hopeful Alexey Navalny. We share a car cabin with anti-Putin politician Ilya Ponomarev debating with Sobchak on the urgency of Putin’s overthrow. Sergey Udaltsov rides the subway, confidently joking that he will be the new president by the next stop. At a rally, far-right nationalist Alexander Potkin explains that Navalny can be trusted to a skeptical member of Russkiye. These are snapshots of the landscape leads up to the Bolotnaya Square protest: an event that resulted in jail sentences and exiles for some of the activists featured here — and harsher penalties for many who are not.

THE TERM also features moments with Pussy Riot, Yoko Ono, and Madonna. For MarxFilm’s trailer, click here.

NOTE: If you have not watched Alexey Navalny’s Youtube Channelor if you enjoy expert use of 3D title graphics, check it out. For deeper Navalny context see Masha Gessen’s thorough article for the New Yorker last year.

 

SOUTH OF HEAVEN: SUPERNATURAL WESTERNS

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INDIE BEAT: A MORNING LIGHT

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A MORNING LIGHT
dir. Ian Clark, 2016
82 minutes. USA.

THURSDAY, MARCH 16 – 7:30 PM – ONE NIGHT ONLY!

In collaboration with The Playlist’s Indie Beat podcast, Spectacle is pleased to present a one-night-only special screening of Ian Clark’s A MORNING LIGHT. Clark’s film is an atmospheric, sci-fi thriller focused on Zach and Ellyn—who begin to sense a strange presence has embedded itself in the forest. As they immerse themselves in the surrounding wilderness their experiences become progressively more bizarre. Do the sounds and light phenomena affecting them come from somewhere else, or is this merely an invention of their perception?

Starring ZACH WEINTRAUB • CELIA ROWLSON-HALL • AUSTIN WILL • DUSTY DECKER
Music by ELEH • Colorist SEAN WELLS • Wardrobe Design BRONWYN LESLIE
Produced by BENJAMIN WIESSNER • JIM CUMMINGS • IAN CLARK
Written, Directed, Edited, Photographed by IAN CLARK
Made with Support from BORSCHT • OREGON ARTS COMMISSION • NW DOCUMENTARY • STRAHLEN • SNOWGHOST

“A cinematic approximation of the metaphysical.” — Kevin Rakestraw, FILM PULSE

“Visually stunning and sonically unsettling.” — ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL