FAMILY LIFE

FAMILY LIFE
(FAMILIENLEBEN)
dir. Rosa Hannah Ziegler, 2018
Germany, 97 min.

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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3 – 5 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12 – 10 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – 7:30 PM

“First, you need to figure out what your life is worth to you and what you want to do with it.”

Denise and Saskia live with their mother, Biggi, and her ex-partner, Alfred, on a run-down farm in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The two sisters, one of them recently back from a foster home, are hindered by bouts of anxiety and depression, as well as a shared love interest. Alfred and Biggi try to give them stability, but they have their own demons- their dreams for the farm seem impossible without sufficient funds. Soon, their bucolic idyll of horses and dogs feels like the end of the world.

This somberly-shot, poetic documentary, directed by Rosa Hannah Ziegler, creates a close, sensitive relationship while allowing the protagonists the time and space to express their vulnerabilities, brokenness, and almost insufferable isolation.

“On the face of it, there is little to suggest that FAMILY LIFE is more than an observational portrait film. But this would understate how profoundly generous and affectionate Ziegler is in her depiction of this German family. Against all odds, Alfred, Biggi, Denise, and Saskia strive and aspire—and they have formulated a loving and caring family life to battle these odds. The film notes how humanity may have lost its capacity to provide accommodating (dare one say equal?) opportunities for all, even as it shows the resilience and courage of individuals living in precarious contexts.” Sander Holsgens, Cultural Anthropology

ROSA HANNAH ZIEGLER was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1982, and studied directing at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. She won the German Short Film Award in Gold for her documentary CIGARETTA MON AMOUR – PORTRAIT MEINES VATERS (2006). She followed this with multi-award-winning short films ESCAPE (2011) and A GIRL’S DAY (2014) which both screened at numerous international festivals. In 2017 she made the television film DU WARST MEIN LEBEN which was nominated for a Grimme Award. FAMILY LIFE is her first feature-length documentary.

ROCKUARY 2019

The genesis of Rockuary has faded into legend, however it remains a February institution of music in film, music on film, the country love letter, and the occasional rock opera at Spectacle.

This Rockuary features Sarah Minter’s must-see punk dramas, the return of HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS (along with H.H. REVISITED), and Jim Wolpaw’s Rhode Island epic, IT’S A COMPLEX WORLD. THE THE’s INFECTED is screening alongside Too $hort’s classic era videos. You have one night to catch psych-rockers The Taj Mahal Travellers, Les Rallizes Dénudés, and D.C. rock legend Butch Willis!

I want to rock! (Rock!)
I want to rock! (Rock!)
I want to rock! (Rock!)
I want to rock! (Rock!)

Special thanks to Graham Leader, Emiliano Rocha Minter and Claudia Bestor of the UCLA Hammer Museum.



AMATEUR ON PLASTIC
dir. Mark Robinson, 2019
77 min.

ONE NIGHT ONLY! FILMMAKER IN PERSON!
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 9 – 5:00 PM *THIS EVENT IS $10*
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 9 – 7:30 PM *THIS EVENT IS $10*

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BUTCH WILLIS is a Washington, D.C. rock legend. Born and raised in Beltsville, Maryland, Byron Henry “Butch” Willis came of age in the late ’70s post-hippie subculture of Takoma Park. After sharing an apartment with infamous local music icon Root Boy Slim, Butch was inspired to become a rock’n’roll star himself.

The unique and unusual brand of “outsider music” that Butch Willis & The Rocks created captivated the local D.C. music scene beginning with their appearance at the seminal Primitive Night at the Psychedelly in Bethesda in 1984. AMATEUR ON PLASTIC chronicles Butch’s life and career from the ’80s all the way through to present day. It features a host of Butch-appointed band managers Joe Lee (Joe’s Record Paradise), Jeff Mentges (No Trend), Jeff Krulik (Heavy Metal Parking Lot), and director Mark Robinson (Unrest/Teen-Beat). Also co-starring is Al Breon, the Rocks’ innovative “throat guitarist.” The film combines archival footage, interviews with Butch, and performances of his hit songs “Drugs,” “The Garden’s Outside,” “TV’s From Outer Space,” and “The Girl’s on My Mind.”



THE TAJ MAHAL TRAVELLERS ON TOUR
dir. Matsuo Ohno, 1972
Japan, 102 min.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

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A travelogue of the most expansive and mind-manifesting sort, Matsuo Ohno’s documentary follows the gargantuan yearlong 1972 tour of his fellow experimental-music frontiersmen, the Fluxus-associated action-artist Takehisa Kosugi’s acid-ambient ensemble Taj Mahal Travellers, as they set out from their native Japan with a rune-inscribed VW Minibus for Scandinavia, meander through Alpine Europe to Rome, Greece and Istanbul, traverse the Middle East via Iran, Kabul and Pakistan to end, finally, at the glittering palace of their namesake, the Taj Mahal itself! Along the way, the band plies its otherworldly improvisational art at areas of intense natural beauty, state-sponsored museums and ancient holy sights – ecstatically fulfilling their self-styled commitment to “play where ever there is a power-source.”

Kosugi’s rambling, spontaneous and worldly compositional method is perfectly matched by his open-ended touring approach, with a heavy emphasis placed on pure immersion in local culture and music. The resultant cinema-verite of the sticklike ebullient longhairs taking in the sights, trying the local fare, jamming on seaside cliffs and hanging with historic heavies like Don Cherry makes for a meditative and mimetic biopic of the entire touring experience, replete with an ever-shifting language-barrier. Ohno, a longtime mentor and collaborator of Kosugi famous for his own pioneering electronic music, proves to be the optimal observant eye for a performance-centric film about, ultimately, the joyous negation of sonic, cultural and music-business protocol.



LES RALLIZES DÉNUDÉS
dir. Ethan Mousiké, 1992
France, 88 min.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – 7:30 PM
ONE NIGHT ONLY!

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Left behind in a legacy of bootleg destruction stands this “ambient documentary” on the mythical Japanese political psych-noise pioneers Les Rallizes Dénudés, the ultimate revolutionary cult band whose bass player was a member of the Japanese Red Army “terrorist group” and part of the faction that hijacked a plane with samurai swords and pipe bombs and got away with it, achieving refugee status in Commie North Korea, thus sending the unsuspecting guitarist, leader, auteur and songwriter, Takashi Mizutani, into a paranoiac downward spiral and eventually into hiding, wherefrom he would emerge every half-decade to demolish adoring crowds with sheets of noise, feedback and naive songcraft.



THE THE: INFECTED
dir. Tim Pope, 1987
UK, 47 min.

with

TOO $HORT: BORN TO MACK
dir. Various, 1988-1995
USA, 50 min.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – 10 PM

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In celebration of THE THE’s comeback tour, Too $hort’s release of The Pimp Tape, and Tim Pope’s plan to direct a new documentary on THE CURE, we present a special program for your tired eyes: TOO INFECTED.

In the words of Matt Johnson, “I tried so hard to be myself, I was turning into somebody else”. THE THE got an enormous budget from CBS Music and permission to work with Tim Pope, which turned into a 45 minute music video travelogue between Bolivia, the American desert, NYC, and the UK. Johnson is trapped, or rather, infected by his position in the world and experience of being a Westerner, a pale British man in the big 80’s. This collection of videos was only released to VHS, so you can’t find it anywhere else!

“If you live my life, you’ll be fighting to live.” – Too $hort, from “Life is… Too Short”

The music videos of Too $hort take you through the highs and lows of life, from house parties, to car rides, to police harassment, to the ghetto during the crack cocaine epidemic. Where Matt Johnson wants to tear down the myth of his identity, Too $hort (Todd Anthony Shaw) is trying to build it up. He’s a true player, he rapped with the heavies, and he’s a survivor. His music was always bass heavy and dirty as hell, and this selection showcases the best of the best.


HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS
dir. James Szalapski, 1976
United States. 90 mins.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13 – 7:30 PM- (Producer Graham Leader in person for Q&A! ONE NIGHT ONLY!)
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24 – 5 PM

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In 1976, producer Graham Leader and director James Szalapski documented the outlaw singer/songwriter scene that extended from Austin and Nashville. Included were then relative unknowns Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and John Hiatt, plus their musical mentors Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. Born was HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS, a cult classic film among fans of the genre. In the relaxed manner of the handmade documentary, we’re given a tour of Townes Van Zandt’s backyard, where we see dogs running loose while he is chugging whiskey and shooting guns. Townes picks up a guitar and sings the poignant “Waitin’ Around To Die” in his kitchen, an elderly neighbor breaks down in tears. We follow David Allan Coe to the Tennessee State Prison to watch a performance; we see Charlie Daniels on a small stage in front of a crowd of near-riotous fans. A gang of buddies, including Rodney Crowell, gathers around a table at Christmas time to sing and pick guitars, showing us some very early work by Steve Earle. The structure of the film is very loose; at times almost surreal, especially viewed through the fish-eye lens of time. There is no real story to the movie, only the tales which are told in the lives of people who love music and make it not for a living.

HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS REVISITED
dir. Wayne Price, 2017
United States. 87 mins.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – 5 PM

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Fans of HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS can rejoice! More than 40 years after the original, director, Wayne Price, has taken up the mantle, and created another chapter. HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS REVISITED is focused on exploring  the current alt country community of musicians inspired by outlaw country in Nashville. Following the same intimate & loose non-structure, HH Revisited ambles from musician to musician, while we listen to their stories and songs. In HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS REVISITED, the filmmakers reunite with HEARTWORN originals Guy Clark, Steve Young and David Allan Coe while focusing on the next generation of “outlaws”: John McCauley, Jonny Fritz, Josh Hedley, Justin Townes Earle, Shovels & Rope, Langhorne Slim, Robert Ellis, Andrew Combs, Shelly Colvin, Phil Hummer and others who honor the traditions of their predecessors while forging a highway all their own.


NADIE ES INOCENTE
(NO ONE IS INNOCENT)
dir. Sarah Minter
55 mins. 1985-87.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10 – 5 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25 – 7:30 PM

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No hay
no hay futuro
No hay
No hay amor
No hay
No hay cemento
Yey yey
Los mierdas soy yo

Sarah Minter’s no-future classic NADIE ES INOCENTE is a fictionalized document of the chavos banda (youth gang) punk community in the slums of Mexico City’s Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl (also known as Neza York) shot on Betacam over a number of years. Minter structures the film around bad trip of a reformed punk named Kara as he takes the train from Neza back to the main city; delivered in both flashback and voiceover monologue, his memories serve as desolate testimony from an apocalyptic adolescence. NADIE ES INOCENTE was written and performed in collaboration (Minter would later say, complicity) with the young Mierdas Punks who play themselves onscreen, and betrays Minter’s extraordinary access. The film also repurposes 16mm concert footage from her collaboration with Gregorio Rocha SABADO DE MIERDA (SATURDAY OF SHIT), using slow motion and inventive sound editing to give big-screen gravitas to handheld shots of desert throwdowns as Kara’s self-extinguishing memories. Shown and distributed locally on VHS in New York City by Karen Ranucci’s Downtown Video for years before it was seen in, NADIE ES INOCENTE is a remarkable and unsentimental depiction of teenage life and urban displacement.

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SAN FRENESI
(SAINT FRENZY)
Dir. Sarah Minter and Gregorio Rocha
34 mins. 1983.

In Spanish with English subtitles.

Starring Maribel Mejia as a young woman who goes on a road trip reeling from a string of heartbreaks and bad relationships, Minter’s early collaboration with her then-partner Rocha feels more apiece with the French New Wave influences of a successive generation. (She spoke admiringly about Godard in an interview, but described her later ideas as more directly influenced by Dziga Vertov.) There isn’t a ton of evidence of the staccato editing that would mark NADIE ES INOCENTE, but one prolonged sex scene – in which a furiously edited sequence of sound effects takes center stage over abstracted imagery – can only hint at the individual liberation to follow.


ALMA PUNK
dir. Sarah Minter
56 mins. 1991-92.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17 – 5 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – 7:30 PM 

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Part-improvised and starring a cast of nonactors led by real-life punk Ana Hernandez (as Alma, which also means “soul”), ALMA PUNK traces the tortuous path of a young riot grrl from the Mexico City punk scene as she moves north to Tijuana and, eventually, towards the United States. It confidently breaks with the rules of staging docudrama with an unsparing look at Alma’s love life, unfakeable scene bohemianism and extensive location footage of Mexico before NAFTA and after the 1985 earthquake. “I feel like no one is supporting me,” Alma says. “Guys want everything and give nothing in return. Isn’t that so?” Like NADIE ES INOCENTE, this film uses the intimacy and flexibility of video (this time, 3/4″) to wring innovation in the editing room, this time to give Alma a similarly alienated and jittery headspace.

(screens with)

SABADO DE MIERDA
(SATURDAY OF SHIT)
dirs. Sarah Minter and Gregorio Rocha
25 mins. 1988.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

Bookended with snippets of This Heat’s classic 1979 slow-burn “Twilight Furniture”, SABADO DE MIERDA is a classic rockers-versus-punks story set in a near-autonomous version of Neza York in the year 2000, lorded over by teenage punk gangs. The movie plays at once like riveting docudrama and sprawling music video: capturing one massive crowd scene, Minter and Rocha paid off police officers to stage an intervention that sends dozens of punks scattering between the floodlights. The desert depicted is at once a Mad Max-influenced arena of brawling moshpits and mob rule, but also a permanent freedom from the rules and demands of society.

 

SARAH MINTER (1953-2016) was a pioneering video and installation artist, a photographer, curator and avant-garde theater performer from Mexico. She spent her early 20s collaborating with Juan Carlos Uviedo, an exiled Argentinean theater director who had migrated to Mexico City after many years heading the Living Theatre at La Mama in the East Village. Her contemporaries included her longtime partner Gregorio Rocha (co-director of two of the films in this series), the cinematographer Emmanual “Chivo” Lubezki (THE NEW WORLD, CHILDREN OF MEN) and video producer and theorist Pola Weiss (who once said “For me, film would be the epic; television, the novel; and video art, poetry.”) Minter’s video works are bitter, unforgettable dispatches from the margins of society, drawn in opposition to the tropes and food chains of TV documentary and theatrical distribution; she later experimented with looped installations shot over the course of many years. This is how she described her approach to video as opposed to film:


“I learned to edit and resolve things technically on my own. Creative and financial independence are very important to me, especially if we remember that in the 1980s there was practically no existing support of any kind. I saw people trying to get things done and it took them ten years to make their next movie. That was basically the panorama. They were all failed attempts, and on top of all that, independent film was totally hermetic… If you got money to film, you had to do it with a high percentage of union workers, and if not, you had to pay replacement fees. And once you’d pulled it off it wasn’t easy to show your work. There weren’t festivals in the same quantity as there are today; in Mexico there were hardly any at all, and there were very few in the rest of the world—it wasn’t easy even for famous people. The only kinds of film that kept getting made were Mexican sex comedies and totally commercial movies, which controlled
< everything.”


INTREPIDOS PUNKS
dir. Francisco Guerrero, 198?.
92 min. Mexico.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – MIDNIGHT

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Even without our presentation of Mexican video artist Sarah Minter’s VHS-era punk docufictions NADIE ES INOCENTE and ALMA PUNK, there’s never a bad time to resuscitate Francisco Guerrero’s jawdropping midnight movie epic INTREPIDOS PUNKS, (nor its irrepressible sequel LA VENGANZA DE LOS PUNKS).  This was the original pitch from when INTREPIDOS PUNKS played Spectacle in August 2012:

Described in INTREPIDOS PUNKS is about a sexy apocalyptic biker gang led by a ruthless luchador pushing drugs, racing choppers and killing the police who are helpless to stop them. And partying. Featuring the song “Intrepidos Punks” along with an unabashed rip-off of “Sweet Emotion” that improves significantly upon the original.

“I found this VHS in a box of tapes someone left on the sidewalk. I was surprised it was a cool movie.” – Anonymous, The Internet

“It’s 99.9% certain that this is the most gleefully assaultive display of a misappropriated cultural movement in history, which is by no means a criticism. […] This film isn’t recommended… it’s MANDATORY.” Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film

“It wouldn’t be entirely beyond the pale to say that my entire life has been leading up to the moment I first heard of, then tracked down and watched this overwhelmingly fantastic slice of punk rock exploitation. […] INTREPIDOS PUNKS is a colossal juggernaut, a true giant striding across the landscape of sleazy movies. If you have not seen it, you will notice there’s probably a little hole in your soul. A hole shaped exactly like a busty blonde in a chainmail bikini, sporting gigantic hair and a grenade launcher. Let INTREPIDOS PUNKS plug that hole and finally make you complete.” Teleport City




IT’S A COMPLEX WORLD
dir. Jim Wolpaw
1991, USA
81 minutes

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – 7:30 PM *With Director Q & A!*
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – 10 PM

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It’s a complex world—so hard for a casual guy like me—or so goes the dead-pan hook of The Young Adults’ signature 1979 single, a local Rhode Island hit that encapsulates the mid-’70s art-school wastoid scene from whence, say, the Talking Heads (whose David Byrne once auditioned to be a member of the band) emerged. “Complex World” doubled as the unofficial theme song for the first Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, a popular nightclub destination in downtown Providence, and one of the few dive bars in America legendary enough to have an anarchic feature-length comedy made in its honor.

In the vain of regional cinema (like a madcap cousin of Eagle Pennell’s LAST NIGHT AT THE ALAMO) and ’80s New Wave midnight movies, IT’S A COMPLEX WORLD the film takes place over the course of one night at Lupo’s as the whims of a hostile terrorist folk-singer (Stanley Mathis), a neo-fascist presidential candidate (Bob Owczarek), a mercenary biker gang (lead by Captain Lou Albano), street preachers, and more intersect, soundtracked by local color The Young Adults. Keep your eye out, too, for appearances by NRBQ and Roomful of Blues.

Though The Young Adults are not quite a household name outside of the Ocean State, their influence was significant. The Fabulous Motels, an earlier incarnation, launched the career of Charles Rocket (of Saturday Night Live and DUMB AND DUMBER) while Rudy Cheeks was cast in the Farrelly Brothers’ later Rhode Island picture ME, MYSELF AND IRENE. A documentary about the group’s 9-day sold-out stint as the backing band for Bo Diddley is captured in the 1978 short COBRA SNAKE FOR A NECKTIE—it will screen alongside COMPLEX WORLD on February 16th, following a Q&A with director Jim Wolpaw.

Special short for 2/16 screening:
COBRA SNAKE FOR A NECKTIE: BO DIDDLEY AND THE YOUNG ADULTS
dir. Jim Wolpaw
1978, USA
28 minutes

B-SCHEMES FROM SOUTH AFRICA (PART 2)

In partnership with Gravel Road Distribution, Spectacle is thrilled to exhibit a handful of deep cuts from the heyday of South African blaxploitation cinema, excavated and restored by Cape Town-based Retro Afrika Bioscope. Many of these were developed under a government subsidy spearheaded by one Tonie van der Merwe, the white owner of a construction company who realized there was an opportunity to produce and screen inexpensively made genre films in impoverished Black townships. (In a 2015 Guardian interview, van der Merwe said, “We used all of my equipment as props. My diggers. My airplane. My cars.”)

The ensuing “B-Schemes” are complicated: they star entirely Black casts, yet the movies are apolitical genre thrillers, melodramas, adaptations of South African novels – Van Der Merwe himself is estimated to have worked on nearly 400 of them, a quarter of what was produced until the end of the white-supremacist regime in 1990. Here’s how Bevis Parsons, director of CHARLIE STEEL described the “B-Scheme” pipeline:

“Distribution was informal to say the least in that a film copy was supplied to an independent (Black) distributor who drove into the countryside far from large cities with a small pick-up truck with a projector, a generator and a portable screen. Posters were usually put up at the rural school and films were generally shown for one night only before moving on to the next venue. I know this sounds primitive but at the time there was little or no infrastructure to do otherwise. Ticket stubs were returned to us to claim subsidies on each movie and these returns were carefully audited by the Department of Information, which oversaw the B-scheme subsidy.”

Retro Afrika Bioscope is dedicated to saving, restoring and distributing these films worldwide, including making each of them available streaming on their website.



UMBANGO
(THE FEUD)
dir. Tonie van der Merwe, 1986
68 mins.
In Zulu with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9 – 10 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – 10 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25 – 10 PM

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The 1986 western UMBANGO is a lovingly crafted spaghetti-style epic, and probably the most ambitious B-Scheme in this series; van der Merwe’s pulse-pounding closeups on hands gripping revolvers and eyes squinting in harsh desert sunlight demonstrate him as a keen student of filmmakers like John Sturges and Sergio Leone. Such as it is, the plot follows a ruthless cowboy-businessman with a Hitler moustache named Kay Kay, who wages total war on two drifters named Jet and Owen after mistakenly accusing them of killing his brother. The two friends – heretofore inoffensive cowpokes – must defend themselves against KK’s cadre, but at what cost? Like Moustapha Alassane’s 1966 short film THE RETURN OF THE ADVENTURER – wherein a young African man returns to his home village with a trunk full of gallon hats, leather chaps, pistols and bandanas, upending centuries-old tribal dynamics in a few broad Western strokes – UMBANGO plays like a dispatch from another world.



CHARLIE STEEL
Dir. Bevis Parsons, 1984
80 mins.
In Afrikaner English with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2 – MIDNIGHT
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 – 10 PM

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Building on the momentum of JOE BULLET, Bevis Parsons’ CHARLIE STEEL plays like a page-turner in the spirit of E.M. Crumley or Charles Willeford, staring Sol Rachilo as a down-but-never-out private dick named CHARLIE STEEL. When the daughter of Charlie’s friend Dlamini is kidnapped by small-time hoods working under a mobster named Sonny, Charlie must infiltrate their inner circle in a daring attempt to bust her out – leading to a nailbiting showdown-cum-road trip in the forest outside Sonny’s headquarters. CHARLIE STEEL’s best moments are triumphs of no-frills, on-the-fly genre filmmaking. Despite some rough-hewn line deliveries and Parsons’ near-claustrophobic reliance on a handful of locations, the film plays it straight – climaxing in shocking acts of violence (ala JOE BULLET & BULLET ON THE RUN), AND buoyed by an unforgettable psych-rock soundtrack that screams out for a vinyl rerelease.



LOLA
Dir. Brett Owen, 198?
75 mins.
In Xhosa with English subtitles.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 17 – 7:30 PM

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Brett Owen’s LOLA is the quietest of the B-Schemes presented in this series, concerning a volleyball team and its star player Lola (Constance Shangase) who must address a challenged proffered by a rival team. Shangase’s warm performance and the lilting group dynamics of the volleyball team make for a warm slice-of-life dramedy about a kind of social circle (complete with agonizing group discussions and a great makeshift nightclub scene) perhaps never before depicted onscreen, all-the-while asking a foundational question: Can LOLA have it all?



FRIDAY’S GHOST
dir. ????, 19??
72 mins.
In Zulu with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – 10 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – 10 PM

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A paranormal chiller-comedy in the tradition of TRULY MADLY DEEPLY, THE LAKE HOUSE, WHITE NOISE, GHOST, FREQUENCY, STIR OF ECHOES and BEETLEJUICE, (director unknown)’s FRIDAY’S GHOST follows three friends – Simon, Friday and Ntombi – who come to terms with the fact that the house formerly owned by Simon’s late father is haunted by a ghost (albeit a genial-enough one, who kinda just looks like the deceased, albeit in facepaint and a bedsheet.) A local thug named Rufus with an unbeatable wardrobe becomes obsessed with Ntombi, and the trio must inevitably conquer their fear of the ghost in order to unlock an important lesson from the other side to preserve the family home and/or Ntombi’s dignity.

( poster by Tyler Rubenfeld )



JOE BULLET
dir. Louis de Witt, 1973
79 mins.
In Afrikaner English.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – MIDNIGHT

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The first South African film with an all-Black cast, JOE BULLET was shown twice before it was banned by government censors – producer Van der Merwe would later say that “in those days, it was taboo for a black man to have a firearm.” Anchored by the steely yet mega-charismatic performance of Ken Gampu, JOE BULLET is an apartheid-era answer to SHAFT and SUPERFLY, a must-see for any connoisseur of international action cinema. Gampu plays Joe as a karate master with a cocky sneer, an indefatigable wardrobe and an uncanny grip on logistics; his supervision of the safety of the neighborhood soccer team (The Eagles) runs him afoul of mobsters who want to bump off the top players, thus preventing the team from winning the championship. A number of run-ins ensue, dazzling miniature set pieces blending wooden acting with hushed asskicking (martial arts and otherwise), and fascinating snatches on-location naturalism. Among Gampu’s claims to fame was convincing the racist Afrikaner government to allow a stage performance of OF MICE AND MEN; he would later star in films including ZULU DAWN, Cornel Wilde’s THE NAKED PREY and THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY.



BULLET ON THE RUN
dir. Tonie van der Merwe, 1982
90 mins.
In Afrikaner English.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – MIDNIGHT

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This time, Bullet stakes his reputation on the line by infiltrating one of South Africa’s toughest prisons to unfold the mystery of a police corruption ring lorded over by a mob boss known only as “Snake”, with whom Bullet has deep – and bitter – roots. What initially starts as a funky shoot-em-up goes full courtroom drama, crime procedural and finally becomes an archetypal prison film, as Bullet must band together with other ripped-off inmates to fight Snake’s minions. BULLET ON THE RUN expands the world of the first film, including more elaborate stunts, and setting Joe up with a bashful folk singer named Patience (Thandi Mbongwe). As in JOE BULLET, the blood is neon-fluorescent while every moment of violence (including car chases, a dam crossing, one character getting sand thrown in their eyes, another falling backwards and hitting their head on a rock) lands with jarring brutality.

THE JACKSON BOLLOCKS

THE JACKSON BOLLOCKS
Dir. Hanna Utkin, 2018
USA, 18 minutes

THURSDAY, JANUARY 24 – 7:30 PM

“We were just having an argument about whether it’s important to know the words.”

Join The Jackson Bollocks, made up of Robert Leslie and Edward Pankov, for the world-premiere of THE JACKSON BOLLOCKS, a short documentary directed by Hanna Utkin, following the band as they prepare for their first (and last) show.

Program followed by a discussion of music and memes with the band.

B-SCHEMES FROM SOUTH AFRICA (PART 1)

In partnership with Gravel Road Distribution, Spectacle is thrilled to exhibit a handful of deep cuts from the heyday of South African blaxploitation cinema, excavated and restored by Cape Town-based Retro Afrika Bioscope. Many of these were developed under a government subsidy spearheaded by one Tonie van der Merwe, the white owner of a construction company who realized there was an opportunity to produce and screen inexpensively made genre films in impoverished Black townships. (In a 2015 Guardian interview, van der Merwe said, “We used all of my equipment as props. My diggers. My airplane. My cars.”)

The ensuing “B-Schemes” are complicated: they star entirely Black casts, yet the movies are apolitical genre thrillers, melodramas, adaptations of South African novels – Van Der Merwe himself is estimated to have worked on nearly 400 of them, a quarter of what was produced until the end of the white-supremacist regime in 1990. Here’s how Bevis Parsons, director of CHARLIE STEEL (coming February), described the “B-Scheme” pipeline:

“Distribution was informal to say the least in that a film copy was supplied to an independent (Black) distributor who drove into the countryside far from large cities with a small pick-up truck with a projector, a generator and a portable screen. Posters were usually put up at the rural school and films were generally shown for one night only before moving on to the next venue. I know this sounds primitive but at the time there was little or no infrastructure to do otherwise. Ticket stubs were returned to us to claim subsidies on each movie and these returns were carefully audited by the department of Trade and Industry, which oversaw the B-scheme subsidy.”

Retro Afrika Bioscope is dedicated to saving, restoring and distributing these films worldwide, including making each of them available streaming on their website. The favored masterpiece is 1986’s Zulu-language desert western UMBANGO – THE FEUD – coming to Spectacle in February.



JOE BULLET
dir. Louis de Witt, 1973
79 mins.
In Afrikaner English.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 2 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY JANUARY 10 – 10 PM
MONDAY JANUARY 14 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY JANUARY 17 – 10 PM
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 16 – MIDNITE

The first South African film with an all-Black cast, JOE BULLET was shown twice before it was banned by government censors – producer Van der Merwe would later say that “in those days, it was taboo for a black man to have a firearm.” Anchored by the steely yet mega-charismatic performance of Ken Gampu, JOE BULLET is an apartheid-era answer to SHAFT and SUPERFLY, a must-see for any connoisseur of international action cinema. Gampu plays Joe as a karate master with a cocky sneer, an indefatigable wardrobe and an uncanny grip on logistics; his supervision of the safety of the neighborhood soccer team (The Eagles) runs him afoul of mobsters who want to bump off the top players, thus preventing the team from winning the championship. A number of run-ins ensue, dazzling miniature set pieces blending wooden acting with hushed asskicking (martial arts and otherwise), and fascinating snatches on-location naturalism. Among Gampu’s claims to fame was convincing the racist Afrikaner government to allow a stage performance of OF MICE AND MEN; he would later star in films including ZULU DAWN, Cornel Wilde’s THE NAKED PREY and THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY.


BULLET ON THE RUN
dir. Tony van der Merwe, 1982
90 mins.
In Afrikaner English.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 20 – 5 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 24 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 28 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30 – 10 PM
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 23 – MIDNITE

This time, Bullet stakes his reputation on the line by infiltrating one of South Africa’s toughest prisons to unfold the mystery of a police corruption ring lorded over by a mob boss known only as “Snake”, with whom Bullet has deep – and bitter – roots. What initially starts as a funky shoot-em-up goes full courtroom drama, crime procedural and finally becomes an archetypal prison film, as Bullet must band together with other ripped-off inmates to fight Snake’s minions. BULLET ON THE RUN expands the world of the first film, including more elaborate stunts, and setting Joe up with a bashful folk singer named Patience (Thandi Mbongwe). As in JOE BULLET, the blood is neon-fluorescent while every moment of violence (including car chases, a dam crossing, one character getting sand thrown in their eyes, another falling backwards and hitting their head on a rock) lands with jarring brutality.

BEST OF SPECTACLE MIDNIGHTS



DEAD GIRLS
dir. Dennis Devine, 1990
105 min, USA

FRIDAY, JANUARY 4 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, JANUARY 12 – MIDNIGHT

Lucy Lethal, Cynthia Slayed, Nancy Napalm, Randy Rot and Bertha Beirut are all members of the metal band Dead Girls. These girls are not fucking around either. All their songs are about murder, suicide, death, and carnage. This whole schtick comes back to bite them in their collective ass when a fan tries to commit suicide while listening to their latest single aptly titled YOU’VE GOT TO KILL YOURSELF on repeat. No ones ass is more bitten however than lead singer Bertha when she discovers this fan is none other than her younger sister.

After repeated attempts at getting the girls to switch it up and go in a direction that’s less gore and more Leslie Gore, Bertha decides the Dead Girls are in need of a vacation. So to hit the reset button the band high-tails it out of town to a cabin in the woods for some sun and fun.

Little do they know that lurking in the shadows is every woman’s nightmare – a man in a fedora. He also has a skull mask, but still. The band members are picked off one by one in manners related to some of their more ghastly tunes. Who is this masked killer???




THE HANGING WOMAN (La orgía de los muertos)
Dir. José Luis Merino, 1973
Spain, 95 minutes

SATURDAY, JANUARY 5 – MIDNIGHT

Akin in spirit and substance to the Italian atmosphere-heavy Gothic horror of the late 60s, THE HANGING WOMAN (known in its home country as La orgia de los muertos) takes that template to Franco-era Spain. There’s a genuine mystery at the heart of the film, but director José Luis Merino takes the inspector-investigating-a-crime-at-a-spooky-castle theme and adds a bit of, well, everything: a secret laboratory for the maddest of science, nightgown-clad midnight strolls by candlelight, schemes and double-crosses over the inheritance of a mysterious Count, a crypt with fog machines on full blast, devil worship, reanimated frogs and none other than El Hombre Lobo himself, Paul Naschy, in a supporting role as a necrophiliac gravedigger! In an excellent restoration thanks to our friends at Troma, THE HANGING WOMAN is the perfect film for sweaty June midnights.




BIGFOOT: THE MYSTERIOUS MONSTER
Dir. Robert Guenette, 1975
USA, 90 min.
English

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19 – MIDNIGHT

“The facts that will be presented are true. This may be the most startling film you’ll ever see.”
Schick began a series of paranormal expose’ style films with THE MYSTERIOUS MONSTERS, in which Peter Graves (not to be confused with James Arness) visits isolated tribes, watches hypnosis, considers digital voice frequency analysis (in 1975!), and asks people around the world: is Bigfoot real?




DIVINE EMANUELLE: LOVE CULT (Die Todesgöttin des Liebescamps)
Dir. Christian Anders, 1981
West Germany/Cyprus, 98 min.
In dubbed English

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, JANUARY 11 – MIDNIGHT
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25 – MIDNIGHT

Before you get too worked up about the professed Emmanuelleness of this film, note the one E — that title is just a bit of bait and switch because Laura Gemser of the Black Emmanuelle films is our co-star, along director/writer/actor/composer/martial artist Christian Anders, who here presents a breezy sex romp/retelling of the Jonestown massacre.

Still with us? There are great bombastic disco-pop songs, karate expos, hypnosis headtrips, and best of all Gemser in her most Femme Domme Babylon role: if Anders is the pie-eyed naif, Gesmer is the enforcer, playing her role to the hilt.

AN EVENING WITH COURTNEY FATHOM SELL

ONE NIGHT ONLY
JANUARY 3RD
7:30PM

This screening is dedicated to the Philosophical Research Society.

A film school drop out after his first semester, Sell began traveling the country with nothing but a bag of clothes, a few dollars, a laptop and his beloved Hi8 camera. Covering 42 of the 50 states in a whirlwind Kerouac-esque style, Sell obsessively and extensively documented his travels and the people he met along the way before he even turned 22.

From sleeping in parks, graveyards and the many floors of his friends apartments, Sell would shoot and edit simultaneously on his broken laptop wherever he could and present the works wherever they would have him. Previously being distributed on DVD by small labels, these early short documentaries never gained much public attention but were recognized for their gritty style. Fans of SHRIEK SHOW 6’s DON’T LET THE DEVIL IN take note – presented here are some of Sell’s earliest and rarest works.

* THE HOLE (2010) // 10 min.
Co-Directed by Billy Feldman
A look at a mysterious neighborhood on the Brooklyn/Queens border known for being a mafia body dumping ground, thirty feet below sea level and the home of the Black Cowboy Federation.

* WHITE CLOVER (2007) // 9 min.
A day in the life of New Orleans resident ‘Squirrel’ which includes driving through the city with a loaded gun and dealing with elements of drugs months after Hurricane Katrina.

* MY DYING DAY (2007) // 10 min.
An award-winning short documentary based around an the Rev. Bradly Sell’s struggle with an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

* AN AFTERNOON WITH WALT CURTIS (2013) // 12 min.
A portrait of poet Walt Curtis – the inspiration behind Gus Van Sant’s first film MALA NOCHE.

* LIVING LIKE A KING (2013) // 10 min.
A portrait of the “Lower East Side Minister of Information” John King.

GET REEL: ORPHAN’S WISH

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14 – 8:00 PM

GET REEL is a movie-clip based comedy show, where comedians voice over movie clips live. This month’s theme is ORPHANS’ WISH. Holiday cheer, the spirit of giving, and joyous blessings. Hosted by two horny orphans, Perky Swallows & Thimble Tauthole, this month’s episode will put you in a mood so merry, you may just break out into song. Or sores.

Featuring:
Rob Haze
Drew Anderson
Jo Firestone
Marcia Belsky
Andrews Govea
Eudora Peterson

Hosted by:
Max Wittert & Joe Castle Baker

$5 @ Spectacle Theater
124 S. 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(Williamsburg)

HAVE A HOLLY, GIALLI CHRISTMAS



SCALPEL
dir. John Grissmer, 1977
USA, 95 min.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 3 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14 – MIDNIGHT
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19 – 8:00 PM
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21 – MIDNIGHT

ONLINE TIX

“A demented version of Pygmalion, with a dash of FRANKENSTEIN and EYES WITHOUT A FACE thrown in.” — The Bloody Pit of Horror

He lost the face of the woman he love…so he gave it to someone else. T.V. staple Robert Lansing (Star Trek, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone) stars as a deranged surgeon in this exemplary slice of Southern-fried gothic from BLOOD RAGE director John Grissmer and celebrated cinematographer Edward Lachman (KEN PARK, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES).

Lansing plays Dr. Phillip Reynolds, a man whose daughter Heather (Judith Chapman, As the World Turns, General Hospital) has run away from home a year prior following the suspicious death of her boyfriend. When he happens across a young woman one night, her face beaten beyond recognition, the unhinged Reynolds sees his opportunity to put his trusty scalpel to use — hatching a plan to “reconstruct” her face in the image of his missing daughter, and so claim her sizeable inheritance.




SILENT NIGHT BLOODY NIGHT
dir. Theodore Gershuny, 1972
USA, 81 min.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TIX

On Christmas Eve, Wilfred Butler returns home to his house/mental institution and is promptly set on fire and burned to death. The mental institution is shut down, leaving it’s inhabitants to wander aimlessly out. Years later, after inheriting his grandfathers estate, Jeffery Butler decides to sell the old place. When he gets to town to seal the deal and open the house back up, he learns some secrets are best left behind closed doors.

A black gloved killer, breathy whispers, a grip of Warhol players including Mary Woronov/Ondine/Candy Darling, John Carradine, scenic Oyster Bay, a co-producer credit for a young Lloyd Kaufman – this one will really stuff your stocking! Though the film was shot in 1970 and takes place in Massachusetts, it bears a startling resemblance to the Staten Island based Cropsey urban legend later popularized by THE BURNING in 1981 and the 2009 documentary CROPSEY.




DON’T OPEN TIL CHRISTMAS
dir. Edmund Perdom, 1984
UK, 86 min.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15 – MIDNIGHT
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23 – 5 PM

ONLINE TIX

In foggy London town someone is offing all the Santa’s and it’s getting out of hand. This calls for Scotland Yard’s finest – Inspector Ian Harris (played by director Edward Purdom, best known by some as “The Dean” in Juan Piquer Simon’s PIECES) in a valiant effort to crack the case before it becomes the new holiday tradition. Harris teams up with a plucky reporter named Giles to get to the bottom of things like Kris Kringle dropping down a chimney.

A ghastly Christmas cavalcade of inventive and grisly death like your Santacon Massacre fantasy come to life but with less puke on the subway. Traditional giallo tropes and winks abound in this UK entry to our holiday festivities.

BEST OF SPECTACLE 2018 🍾

Start the new year catching up on what you missed last year – the hand-picked 🍾 Best Of Spectacle 2018! 🍾 This year’s titles span some of December and the whole month of January, giving ample time to catch these unmissable now-classics.



THE WIND IS WHISTLING UNDER THEIR FEET
Dir. György Szomjas, 1976.
Hungary. 95 min.
In Hungarian with English subtitles.

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

ONLINE TIX

Original trailer from 2014:

György Szomjas brings exquisite style and pacing to this elegiac gallows western about a betyár — a kind of highwayman popular in 19th century Hungarian balladry — set amid the Great Hungarian Plain in 1937. It follows the path of a brooding, aging outlaw newly escaped from prison whose personal revenge quest dovetails with the interests of the landless herdsman who oppose the state’s building a canal through the fields on which they work their trade. He becomes an unlikely hero to unwashed vagabond workers while facing down a mutually-admiring adversary in the form of a forthright squire who had captured him before. Meanwhile, an opportunistic youngster attempts to work both sides to his benefit. As ditches are dug for canals and corpses alike, the state puts increasing pressure on the wistful squire, who realizes the social order is changing and his fortunes are in decline; and yet he remains dutifully attached to his mission.

Though carefully paced and based on historical documents, THE WIND IS WHISTLING UNDER THEIR FEET aims squarely for populist appeal. The autumnal palette, period imagery, and sudden outbursts of hysterical grotesquery recall Andrzej Żuławski’s THE DEVILS. Yet most of all it brings to mind the unlikely grouping of Woody Guthrie, Miklós Jancsó, and Akira Kuroswawa — or maybe Béla Tarr meets Sergio Leone. Whatever the comparisons, THE WIND IS WHISTLING UNDER THEIR FEET is a stirring, forgotten gem in classic Spectacle tradition.


LUMUMBA
dir. Raoul Peck, 2000
115 mins. In French and Lingala with English subtitles.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 6 – 5 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 11 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 26 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 29 – 7:30 PM

“In the infinite nighttime beauty of the African savannah, two men have been given the task of cutting up three dead bodies. Then burn them. And then bury them. So ends Patrice Lumumba’s life, the man who was the first Prime Minister of the newly independent Republic of the Congo for just three months. But this is also where his story begins…”

On the occasion of Raoul Peck’s new THE YOUNG KARL MARX – to say nothing of a Black History Month celebrated under the most aggressively white-supremacist-friendly White House in at least one generation – it might be prudent to reexamine LUMUMBA, Peck’s breakthrough 2000 biopic of the Congolese pan-Africanist leader kidnapped and murdered by a CIA-backed Belgian death squad in 1961. Played by a fire-and-brimstone Eriq Ebounay, this Lumumba is a figure both complicated and heroic, whose oratory finesse sees him rising from mail clerk to beer salesman to Prime Minister by the age of 36; Lumumba narrates from beyond the grave, a radical flourish that only hints at the movie’s bigger analysis. Smeared as a symbol of Leftist impotence after failing to quell a separatist movement in his newly unified country’s rare-earth-mineral rich Katanga province to the north, Lumumba’s death sentence was carried out with the willful complicity of John F. Kennedy’s State Department (and a young Prime Minister named Joseph Kasa Vubu, played here by Maka Kotto.) His untimely death became the touchstone for U.S. interference in Africa in the name of anti-Communism, while Kasa Vubu would be overthrown by Army Commander Mobutu Sese Seko, who then lorded over Congo (then renamed as Zaire) with full American support for over three decades.

After making the 1992 documentary LUMUMBA: DEATH OF A PROPHET, Peck drew on newfound historical evidence to make LUMUMBA, which tackles the kind of backroom machinations typically left to Oliver Stone and Gillo Pontecorvo with the same red-hot, righteous anger that makes signature Peck’s later works like MOLOCH TROPICAL and I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO. Shot on location in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Belgium, this is a sweeping biopic whose keen attention to detail and location-shot lushness initially appear to fit the mold of its Hollywood contemporaries – but to draw the comparison is to expose the milquetoast politics typical of big-budget, traditionally accessed narratives of power. Upon release, LUMUMBA was so incendiary that U.S. diplomat (and covert CIA officer) Frank Carlucci threatened to sue if his name was not removed from it, a challenge to which Peck rose by conspicuously bleeping mention of Carlucci out of an otherwise normal dialogue scene.


“It’s a flat-out thrill to see a movie about African politics that doesn’t condescend to audiences by placing a sympathetic white African at the center. Mr. Peck makes no plea for crocodile tears; his ambitions are as wide and encompassing as those of his subject. He’s out to make a film that exposes the ugliness of cold war politics and knee-jerk imperialism…
Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

“Ten years ago, Peck made a documentary, LUMUMBA: DEATH OF A PROPHET, tracing the history and intrigue that he revisits in the feature film, which he describes as a “political thriller” rather than a biography, capturing Lumumba’s speedy rise and fall with deft narrative strokes and riveting, beautifully composed scenes, shot by Bernard Lutic to create not only a sense of urgency, but also a heightened sensitivity to emotional details, light and shadows work together in a kind of sublime tension.” – Cynthia Fuchs, Nitrate

“While he seems to know precisely what type of martyr Lumumba was, Peck resists a full, absorbing summation of who he may have been as a mortal… The film feels like bare- bones docu-fiction, though, resisting the attendant drama until the bitter, grisly end.”
– Wesley Morris, San Francisco Chronicle

Special thanks to Zeitgeist Films.

Poster for the Original Dates:

(poster by Tom Henry)



STUNTS
Dir. Mark Lester (1977)
USA, 89 min.
In English

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 4 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25 – 10 PM

ONLINE TIX

Director Mark Lester (CLASS OF 1999, COMMANDO, FIRESTARTER) blends murder mystery and stunt reel in a film that sits comfortably next to HOOPER and STUNT ROCK. Featuring Robert Forster (MEDIUM COOL, TWIN PEAKS) and Ray Sharkey (a great back-to-back run on CRIME STORY and WISEGUY) as a stuntman and a reporter trying to figure out who is murdering film’s greatest stuntpeople, it’s got everything from slow-motion footage of cars flying end-over-end, a breezy drive-in vibe, multiple helicopter gags, dirtbikes for days and did I mention STUNTS?




WE’RE GOING TO EAT YOU
Dir. Tsui Hark, 1980.
Hong Kong. 90 min.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 4 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23 – 10 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 31 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TIX

“It didn’t turn out good.” – Tsui Hark on WE’RE GOING TO EAT YOU


A grim fantasy about Mainland China, Hark’s second directorial effort took the form of a sort of Hong Kong New Wave version of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. While on the surface, the film is much simpler than Hark’s densely plotted debut, it dips into multiple genres while working as a steely anti-communist allegory that probes the relationship between Hong Kong and China.

The films follows Secret Agent 999 of the “Central Surveillance Agency,” as he pursues a mysterious thief named “Rolex.” The hunt leads him into a cannibalistic village, where residents subsist on visitors they capture and cook. The film is part horror, part Kung Fu, and part slapstick comedy, and Tsui’s most overtly anti-communist film (although it treats religion, intellectuals, and bourgeois romanticism with equal satirical acridity).

Poster for the Original Dates:




GANG GIRL TRILOGY
Dir. Katrina del Mar, 1999-2010
US, TRT 87 mins

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2 – 5 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 12 – 10 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 21 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 28 – 10 PM

Filmmaker and photographer Katrina del Mar has been documenting the streetwise toughgirls of Manhattan and Brooklyn for going on two decades. Her unheralded butch opus the GANG GIRL TRILOGY imagines the city as an escapist playground free of men, where rival gangs of lesbian bikers, boarders, surfers and skaters call the shots. Del Mar draws from Russ Meyer and John Waters, but with a commitment to a distinctly personal sort of chaos. The films also unconsciously acts as a showcase for a rapidly changing Manhattan — an attempt to abscond from the concerns of the city and into a daydream of queer solidarity, leather, and raucous, wall-to-wall punk soundtracks.

Poster for the Original Dates:


GANG GIRLS 2000
Dir. Katrina del Mar, 1999
US, 27 mins

“A world without men featuring four Dangerous and Foxy gangs!”

The Glitter Girls, The Sluts, The Blades, and The Ponies… four female gangs wreak havoc upon the Lower East Side in Katrina del Mar’s first film. Filmed “in GlitterVision” on a borrowed 8mm camera, GANG GIRLS’ arch voiceover performances recall 60s JD films, while the filmmaking has the visceral edge of 80s and early 90s experimental and riot grrrl filmmakers. Featuring a climactic oceanside battle and music by Fugazi, Lunagirls and many more.


SURF GANG

Dir. Katrina del Mar, 2005
US, 25 mins

“GREY GARDENS meets THE WARRIORS.” – the filmmaker

Del Mar’s frenetic Rockaway-set sequel led her to cast Kembra Pfahler of glam rock group The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black (the only person she knew who could surf) as a young woman who paddles out and vanishes in the waves, leading her younger sister to start an ultraviolent gang of Ruffnecks.

HELL ON WHEELS GANG GIRLS FOREVER
Dir. Katrina del Mar, 2010
US, 35 mins

ALL WHEELS ALL THE TIME…

A massive ensemble cast brings the Gang Girl trilogy to a cacophonous close. HELL ON WHEELS takes place in a very different New York than GANG GIRLS did in 1999 — this time in HD. The same ribald energy pulses through this third chapter though, as it voyages between roller derbies and motorcycles and bare-fisted brawls.

Special thanks to Katrina del Mar and Kristen Fitzpatrick.





WHO IS BOZO TEXINO?
Dir. Bill Daniel, 2005
USA. 57min

THURSDAY, JANUARY 10 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 19 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 27 – 5 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 31 – 10 PM

ONLINE TIX

Shot in 8mm and 16mm over 16 years, the infamous WHO IS BOZO TEXINO? is an experimental documentary searching for the identities and stories behind the ubiquitous and yet esoteric art of hobo graffiti found on the sides of boxcars, grainers and train bridges spanning North America from coast to coast. Landing somewhere between outsider art and subculture minutiae—utilizing the conjecture, half-truths, tall tales and mythology that occupies the jungles and campfires—Daniel interviews an array of old timers, hobos and rail workers as well as streak and moniker heavyweights like Herby, The Rambler, and Colossus of Roads.

Bill Daniel is a filmmaker, photographer and installation artist based in the Gulf coast of Texas. Bill is currently touring on his newly released book of photos Tri-X Noise, and will have copies and other goods for sale at the screening.

Poster for the Original Dates:



PROPERTY IS NO LONGER A THEFT (LA PROPRIETÀ NON È PIÙ UN FURTO)
Dir. Elio Petri, 1973
Italy, 126 min.
In Italian with English subtitles

MONDAY, JANUARY 1 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 7 – 7:30 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 20 – 7:30 PM

This is a stark and theatrical film that circles around two opposing characters: The Butcher, a rapacious capitalist, and Total, a self-proclaimed “Mandrakin Marxist”. Flavio Bucci (the pianist from the Argento’s SUSPIRIA) is Total, a low-level accountant with the look of a hangdog-Stallone and a physical allergy to paper money. Ugo Tognazzi (also in LA GRANDE BOUFFE) is The Butcher, a spokesperson for the potency of wealth and the wisdom of fully insuring your property. Total claims to steal only what he needs, but he has a psychological need to infuriate The Butcher with petty theft.

Ennio Morricone’s subtle score is accompanied by groans and conjugations of the verbs “to be” and “to have”, to an effect that is not as existential as it is surreal. Total summarizes the point: “I would like to be and to have, which is impossible. Property is no longer a theft… it’s a disease.”

Poster for the Original Dates:


Poster and typeface by Benjamin Tuttle



HOBO
Dir. John T. Davis, 1992
UK. 90min

MONDAY, DECEMBER 10 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 5 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 11 – 10 PM

ONLINE TIX

Irish director John T. Davis follows Beargrease, a vietnam veteran and father, as he travels and philosophizes from Minneapolis to Seattle via freight train. HOBO is a powerful portrait of the American poor and working class, using the train line as a means to get from town to town, meeting the depressed and marginalized along the way in the soup kitchens, unemployment offices and jungles at the sides of the tracks. With scenes of hobos reading newspapers, listening to the radio news programs and slandering politicians, the documentary shows the hobo not as an out-of-touch outcast from society, but an engaged yet struggling worker trying to make ends meet with what is at their disposal; chancing the risk of arrest or even death for a free ride to the next town. HOBO addresses subjects of homelessness, class disparity, alcoholism, and even sex-workers’ rights through Beargrease’s conversations with his traveling partners and land-locked friends along his route.



SEX WORK IS WORK is an ongoing benefit series exploring sex work in film, programmed in protest of the SESTA/FOSTA law. All proceeds from this event will go to Lysistrata Mutual Care Collective and Fund.

WORKING GIRLS
Dir. by Lizzie Borden, 1986
USA, 93 min.

ONE NIGHT ONLY!
SATURDAY, JANUARY 12 – 7:30 PM

WORKING GIRLS follows Molly (Louise Smith), through one long day working at an upscale brothel in Manhattan. She’s ambivalent about her job; she likes the flexibility it affords her, but the stigma associated with it wears her down, and she lies to her live-in girlfriend about what she does for a living. She’s also often at odds with her madam Lucy (Ellen McElduff), an uptight Southern belle who micromanages the brothel.

In preparation for the film, director Lizzie Borden (BORN IN FLAMES) spent six months interviewing sex workers about their working conditions and how they felt about their occupation. Informed by these experiences, WORKING GIRLS goes beyond the tired stereotypes of sex work in favor of a frank, nuanced, and often funny workplace drama that is relatable to anybody who’s ever had a job—even if navigating other people’s sexual quirks wasn’t part of it.



THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
(EL TRIANGULO DE ORO)
(aka LA ISLA FANTASMA)
dir. Jairo Pinilla, 1984
Colombia. 93 mins
In Spanish with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16 – 10 PM

An ostensibly straightforward mystery thriller riffing on a bygone generation’s worth of toxic whispers about the Bermuda Triangle, this film (also released as LA ISLA FANTASMA) uses the Panama Canal Zone as a jumping-off point, from whence a young girl and her father vanish out on the high seas. Jack Mendelson, her swollen uncle (who may also be a mercenary/private detective?) decked out in a leather vest and ripped bell-bottom jeans, goes searching for them, with the remaining nephew in tow. Their axes form a puzzle, leading them to a moss-ensconced island housing a mythic miniature pyramid made of solid gold – but the triangle is treacherous, and exposure to it begins to cost Jack his sanity.
Well before a man-eating plant has taken center stage, you’ll agree that EL TRIANGULO DE ORO is one of the wildest and most imaginative horror movies ever made, including at least one set piece that should be legendarily famous: a showstopping martial arts throwdown between Jack and a cadre of shady characters in a seaside cantina. The bar patrons’ horrified reactions teeter between tragedy and farce, another example of Pinilla’s surprisingly un-rushed editing style: Pinilla builds mystery through gorgeous location photography, decking each scene out with more telephoto zooms than you’ll find in most contemporaneous Hollywood thrillers. Speaking of which: both films in this series betray Pinilla’s penchant for overlaying snatches of music from overhyped American movies of the day. An insaniack final twist (complete with flashing strobes and bedraggled first-person long takes tiptoeing through walls of ivy, reeking with death) adopts the perspective of a child, played by Pinilla’s real-life son Jorge, to dreamy, haunting and hilarious effect.



LABYRINTH OF DREAMS
Dir. Sogo Ishii, 1997
Japan, 90 min.
In Japanese, English subs

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 8 – 10 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 27 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30 – 7:30 PM

Ishii’s Hitchcockian tale of romantic obsession and aggression begins in a surrealist mixture of dream, memory, and rumor. When bus conductor, Tomiko (Rena Komine), gets assigned to work with bus driver Niitaka (Tadanobu Asano, Ichii the Killer and Bright Future), not only does she think that he looks like the man from her dreams, but that he also might be the man who married and killed her friend and co-worker. Determined to get revenge, Tomiko seduces him. But when she finds herself irresistibly attracted to him she gets obsessed with testing the sincerity of his murderous desires. Shot in dreamy black and white, Ishii melds many of the guttural DIY techniques of his early punk years with moody expressionist compositions reminiscent of Maya Deren to create a film both aggressive and disorienting as well as melancholic and contemplative.



SKYSCRAPER
dir. Raymond Martino
1996, 96 min.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 15 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18 – MIDNIGHT




THE GOLD OF LOVE
aka Das Gold der Liebe
dir. Eckhart Schmidt, 1983
West Germany, 86 min.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 10 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 1 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18 – 10 PM

ONLINE TIX

Schmidt’s follow up to DER FAN plays a bit like the same film detuned to a harsher register. The palatable pop of new wave superstar “R” is replaced by the raucous tremors of actual rock band D.A.F. (Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft), whom teen Alexandra Curtis (yes, half-sister of Jamie Lee) harbors an unhealthy obsession. While the horror of Der Fan came from its chillingly slow descent towards a maniacally bleak outcome, the follow-up pretty much starts in a post-punk underworld with no hope of escape — tears of blood run down the protagonist’s face within the first half an hour, after she finds herself without any cash to gain entry to D.A.F.’s show. The rest of the film chronicles her attempts to see the group at any possible cost, traversing a zonked-out, eternally nocturnal Vienna in the process.



THE SCENIC ROUTE
Dir. Mark Rappaport, 1978
United States, 76 min.
In English

SUNDAY, JANUARY 13 – 5 PM **INTRO WITH ACTOR RANDY DANSON!**
THURSDAY, JANUARY 17 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 29 – 10 PM

“I wouldn’t even tell you a lie, much less the truth.”

Estelle (Rappaport regular Randy Danson) spends most of her time cruising for strangers and chancing upon murder victims in public places (yet somehow none of them are related to the double-barrel shotgun killer we keep hearing about). She gets involved with a man named Paul, but leaves him once her sister, Lena, returns home from the insane asylum (Lena killed a former boyfriend of Estelle). Once Lena starts bringing men to the house it isn’t long before Lena brings Paul over and a love triangle develops.

Like the ever-changing array of wallpaper in Estelle’s apartment (gold stars against American-flag blue, a 16th century painting, a blown up photograph of Lena and Paul kissing), THE SCENIC ROUTE is a meld of styles and forms that never quite settles into any one direction across its 75 minute runtime. Self-consciously staid framing, recurring references to the orpheus myth through painting and opera, and repetitive unreliable voice-over are just a few of the devices Rappaport uses to capture the romantic malaise that haunts the characters.

Mark Rappaport on THE SCENIC ROUTE:

“Two sisters. And the man who is caught between them. Love, jealousy and revenge. All the standards components of melodrama – but a very dry melodrama. Expectations are thwarted and rechanneled. Instead of explanations and motivations, visual counterparts are offered. The film slides back and forth between passion and an irony which redirects it but doesn’t dilute it. A film about myths and mythmaking, about the Madame Bovary in each of us, about delusions and romance in a fragile world where violence erupts randomly and unexpectedly. The film was made very cheaply in and around New York where violence is a way of life and everyone always talks of going away.”

SCREENING WITH:

POSTCARDS
Dir. Mark Rappaport, 1990
United States, 25 min.
In English

Set against kitschy green-screened images taken from the backs of postcards, Rappaport’s first experiment with digital video shows the director taking his fascination with artifice and canned emotion into new aesthetic dimensions to tell a story of two lovers separated by the American highway system.


ANIMATION PROGRAM
dir. Ivan Maximov, 1989-2007
Russia, 60min.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 6 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, JANUARY 15 – 7:30 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 26 – 7:30 PM

Originally part of a live score last April with drone-masters TELAH, we are reshowing the anatomically unusual animations of Moscow-based Ivan Maximov with their original sound. In his animated shorts, creatures both globular and mammalian partake in peregrinations of form and mood. Many of these shorts don’t follow a logical storyline, but are nonetheless as captivating as a tank of bizarrely-behaved tropical fish. Between animations will feature some quotes from the artist on the creative process, distaste for puppets, and the superiority of children.

Ivan Maximov’s work has earned him many animation awards in Russia, Germany, Italy, and Hungary.



DR. BENDERFAX
Dir. Tom Hosler, 1997.
USA. 85 min.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9 – 7:30 PM
MONDAY, JANUARY 14 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 19 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, JANUARY 26 – MIDNIGHT

Special thanks to director Tom Hosler!

The titular Dr. Benderfax (Nigel Hazeldine) is an esteemed researcher (read: mad scientist) willing to go the extra mile for his experiments investigating a rare psychic phenomenon known as the “Telefaximial Field.” Unfortunately for the good doctor and his lovely assistant Nurse Clench (Caroline Hazeldine), many of the “volunteers” end up in the morgue. Actually on brief reflection, it’s probably more unfortunate for the patients. After some finagling the medical duo end up in a local nuthouse and use this fresh batch of patients to further their research. Just as they’re on the verge of a major breakthrough, in saunters Dr. Andrew…

Fresh out of college in 1992 Tom Hosler decided to make his “first and only feature script worthy of production.” Armed with a savings account and several credit cards, the film was shot over the course of many weekends. After multiple years of post-production, the film finally saw the light of day in 1997. Fans of last year’s Joe Sherlock double-up MONSTER IN THE GARAGE/DIMENSION OF BLOOD take note – DR. BENDERFAX is a true-blue Shriek Show entry if there ever was one, and it’s chock full of schlock, gore, yuks/yucks, and a genuine feeling of fun.


A FEAST OF MAN
Dir. Caroline Golum, 2017.
United States. 82 min.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 8 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18 – 7:30 PM

Caroline Golum’s rosé-refracted debut feature A FEAST OF MAN is a hilarious drawing-room comedy that pushes its audience to ask unspeakable questions of itself, performing a ruthless re-exhumation of THE BIG CHILL by way of Whit Stillman, Henry James and a pinch of Bette Gordon. Laurence Joseph Bond stars as Gallagher, a wealthy ne’er-do-well sitting on preciously guarded millions; when Gallagher dies in an untimely accident (kept mysteriously offscreen), his valet James (Zach Fleming) summons the late aristocrat’s closest friends (a murderer’s row of a cast including Frank Mosley, Marleigh Dunlap, Chris Shields and Katey Parker) to the family home in upstate New York, where he presents them with Gallagher’s final will and testament via videoconference. It’s revealed that the tony young codger will bequeath his fortune to the group, split evenly, but only if they agree, unanimously, to eat his corpse. A weekend of flashbacks, double-crosses and coastal-elite hand-wringing ensues: some characters retreat further into forced juvenilia while others, remembering all the slights and jealousies of their near/post-adolescent years, find an opportunity to avenge their lost youth. But throughout, the clock ticks with one question: will they go through with it?

A FEAST OF MAN is not like other movies: Golum’s screenplay (co-written by the prolific Dylan Pasture) is at once laden with one-liners and hijinks, yet keeps the audience guessing how blackened its heart really is, how low its comedy of rich people’s poor manners can, and will, go.

CAROLINE GOLUM is a filmmaker, programmer, and critic living in New York. Her work has screened in venues from Birmingham, Alabama to Brisbane, Australia. As a writer she has contributed to Variety, Little White Lies, the now-defunct alt-weekly L Magazine, and Bright Wall/Dark Room. She is a senior correspondent for Screen Slate and her weekly radio feature, “The Movie Minute,” can be heard every Friday morning on WFMU’s drive time morning show, “Wake and Bake with Clay Pigeon.” Her next film, about 14th-century mystic Julian of Norwich, will begin production in 2019.

Poster for the Original Dates: