ANNA KARINA (1940-2019): A MEMORIAL – DEEP CUTS ONLY (REDUX)

••• Previously scheduled for March 2020, this program was cut short due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. A year later we are delighted to celebrate Anna Karina and revive this series for online streaming. Full program notes below. •••

On December 14th, 2019, the film community mourned the loss of the iconic actress, director, writer, and quintessential joie de vivre of the French New Wave, Anna Karina. While fellow movie-houses paid countless tributes to the Nouvelle Vague starlet with screenings of some of her most recognizable roles, at Spectacle we decided to memorialize one of our favorite silver-screen icons with the lesser known masterworks, which together along with the Godard films, forged a career that is singular in its breadth and intercontinental impact. Anna Karina who had become the symbol for cinematic revolution in 1960’s France had an instinctual command of style, beauty, and mystique that is present in all of her performances.

This series, which selects films made from 1965-1974, is by no means absolute: but it serves to further illustrate Anna Karina’s worldwide reach and international stardom while highlighting some of her greatest works made outside the orbit of Jean-Luc Godard. Composed of four languages and produced with five countries, these films while uniquely different are unified by the dear Anna Karina, and it is to her charisma and ever-fascinating career that we dedicate this program of deep cuts and revivals.

Special thanks to: Greg Eggebeen, Cathérine Delvaux, Minerva Pictures, VITTO IT, Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, and Universal Music.

RENDEZVOUS À BRAY
(aka APPOINTMENT IN BRAY)
dir. André Delvaux, 1971
France/Belgium/Weat Germany, 86 min.
In French with English Subtitles

MONDAY APRIL 19 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com
TUESDAY, APRIL 27 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

“As much as I revere some of the Belgian films of Chantal Akerman, if I had to choose only one Belgian film to take with me to a desert island, I’d have a pretty rough time forsaking this 1971 masterpiece by André Delvaux.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum

Paris 1917: a young pianist (Mathieu Carrière) receives a note from an old friend in the Air Force to join him at his lush country estate that happens to be close to the front lines of World War I. He arrives but his friend is nowhere to be found, with only the quiet, beautiful housekeeper (Anna Karina) present. While he spends days waiting for his friend’s arrival, his mind wanders to past events. At night, the mysterious woman appears again…

Based on a short story from surrealist Julien Gracq, Belgian auteur André Delvaux marries his trademark amalgam of fantasy and reality to Gracq’s shape-shifting text. Much like the film protagonist, Delvaux got his start by playing the piano to silent films in 1950s Brussels, and his musicality is on full display in the film’s sonata-like form, weaving variations of memories and moments into an ambiguous, intriguing mood piece. Cloaked in dense Gothic atmospheres and muted colors, RENDEZVOUS À BRAY gives off a melancholy, dream-like aura, subtle in approach but haunted by unspoken desires and half-imagined nostalgia.

Working with Delvaux’s daughter, we’re honored to re-introduce this classic of Belgium cinema.


LE TEMPS DE MOURIR
(aka THE TIME TO DIE)
dir. Andre Farwagi, 1970
France. 82 mins.
In French with English subtitles.

TUESDAY, APRIL 20 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

A stylish, puzzling sci-fi mystery dealing with time travel and destiny, THE TIME TO DIE features loads of retro-cool technology futurisms and immaculate production design, but also manages to treat its subject matter with philosophical seriousness and respect. It supposes that the future is inevitable and the best we can do is hurl forwards towards our fated destiny.



LE SOLDATESSE
(aka The Camp Followers)
dir. Valerio Zurlini, 1965
Italy. 120 min.
In Italian and Greek with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, APRIL 22 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com
FRIDAY, APRIL 30 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

An intimate anti-war ensemble film about a group of prostitutes (led by Anna Karina & Marie Laforêt) who are being escorted through the treacherous mountains of Albania in order to service the Italian soldiers of World War II.

LE SOLDATESSE (aka, THE CAMP FOLLOWERS) is a Neo-Realist tour-de-force which demonstrates the futility of war and the magnitude of suffering through its black and white photography and its tragic inevitable conclusion. Filmed in a compositional mode evoking the lyricism of Antonioni, the film is also a delicate study on women camaraderie told through shared adversity and collective resistance.



ANNA

dir. Pierre Koralnik, 1967
France. 85 mins.
In French with English subtitles.

FRIDAY, APRIL 23 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com
MONDAY, APRIL 26th – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

A kaleidoscopic, energetic burst of bright colors, infectious musical numbers, and absurdly charming performances, ANNA, which played Spectacle in 2014, is a pop-art musical masterpiece that has been locked away for far too long.

Originally made as the first color film for French TV, Anna Karina stars as a shy artist who is unknowingly photographed one day and soon becomes the obsession of an advertising executive (played by French New Wave stalwart Jean-Claude Brialy).The Yé-Yé music, scored and soundtracked by French pop icon Serge Gainsbourg (who also makes several on-screen appearances), is some of the most infectious and catchy work of his career, with Karina’s vocals shining throughout,.Anna Karina also reunited with key Godard personnel, including editor Françoise Collin (BAND OF OUTSIDERS, PIERROT LE FOU, 2 OR 3 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER) and DP Wally Kurant (MASCULINE FEMININE).

Impossible to resist, the film feels like a pitch-perfect melding of Godard’s A WOMAN IS A WOMAN and Demy’s THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, with Karina’s adorable beauty and effervescent charm as the center of attention. And be on the lookout for a Marianne Faithfull cameo.The film was a hit on French television in the late 60s and received a brief Japanese theatrical run in the 90s, but has since vanished and, to the best of our knowledge, has never screened before in the US. Working with Universal Music, Spectacle is enthralled to once again revive this lost gem of 60s French cinema.



LAUGHTER IN THE DARK
dir. Tony Richardson, 1969
United Kingdom & France. 104 mins.
In English.

SUNDAY, APRIL 25 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

Adapted from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel of the same name, LAUGHTER IN THE DARK deals with the obsession of a middle-aged man (Nicol Williamson) and his younger cunning mistress Margot (Anna Karina)– think Scarlet Street meets the British new wave. Tony Richardson trades Nabokov’s 1930’s Berlin for the Swinging 60’s of London in this lustful thriller of deceit which was never released on home video and has rarely-screened since its 1969 release. Anna Karina shines in her all-English role as the charming irresistible seductress who cultivates something mysterious behind her delicate, wide eyes.



L’INVENZIONE DI MOREL
(aka MOREL’S INVENTION)
dir. Emidio Greco, 1974
Italy. 110 mins.
In Italian with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, APRIL 29 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com
Please note this stream will only appear to viewers based in the United States.

Adapted from the novella which inspired LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, Emidio Greco’s MOREL’S INVENTION is a chilling slow-burning metaphysical oddity serving as a meditation on time, mortality, and the cinema itself. Starring Anna Karina as Faustine, a sort-of Fellini-esque femme-enigma who is forever lost in the island’s haunting secrets of art-deco, socialite costume, and jazz.

THE YEAR OF THE PLAGUE


THE YEAR OF THE PLAGUE

(EL ANO DE LA PESTE)
dir. Felipe Cazals, 1979
109 mins. Mexico.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

SATURDAY, MARCH 20 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

Ten years after we showed his anti-anti-communism horror masterpiece CANOA, Spectacle is thrilled to host a one-off stream of Mexican master Felipe Cazals’ THE YEAR OF THE PLAGUE: a little-seen adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year transposed to 1970s Mexico. Working from an original idea proposed by his friend Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cazals uses the outbreak of a pandemic to diagnose the ills of Mexican society as he saw it: political corruption, snake-oil pundits on television, municipal apathy to the basic needs of lower-income citizens. The result is a bracing, terrifying vision of life out of junct 40 years ahead of coronavirus; we’re happy to show it in commemoration of the 12-month anniversary of Spectacle in exile.

“Gabo (Marquez) is known as the creator of magical realism, but there is no magic to this film. We inserted a plague to create a different reality, in order to reveal problems within society. What can change is the way authorities will react to a crisis of this nature. To hide the truth is a power move, essentially linking all forms of power together. The president must say whatever is convenient for private interests. The whole reason he is in power is to create a distorted reality. The president, the private interests—their form of reality becomes the official truth. To take the pandemic seriously would necessitate destroying preexisting forms of power.” – Felipe Cazals, Filmmaker Magazine

WOMEN’S PUNK ART MAKING PARTIES

The word “collective” brings to mind infinite potentials — an unlimited number of practices towards horizontality within an artistic ecosystem. Some of these practices are more tenable than others, but throughout history activist-minded artists have collectivized in an effort to change what the economic, social and political model of making arts looks like. From West Berlin to DC, the Second Wave to riot grrrl, we present a cross-section of female artists coming together in times of political need.

Organized in collaboration with Mary Billyou. Special thanks to Women Make Movies, Filmmaker’s Co-op, Facets, K8 Hardy and Wynne Greenwood.

UNDER THE PAVEMENT LIES THE STRAND
(aka UNTER DEM PFLASTER IST DER STRAND)
dir. Helma Sanders-Brahms, 1975
Germany. 99 mins.
In German with English subtitles.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

A sociological document on the working woman and abortion, an anti-matrimonial and anti-utopian communist manifesto, Unter dem Pflaster is an intimate chronicle of post-68 malaise and the growing schism between sexual and political revolutions. An illicit and ludic affair between two actors with a shared past in the student rebellions opens up onto the history of German revolution and fascism, the constraints of domestic monogamy and claustrophobia of private property, as they watch themselves become the very parents they mutinied against. Caught at a crux of early postmodernity, Sanders-Brahms pinpoints the exigency of a women’s movement in the stale husk of ’68 macho militancy and growing recuperation in post-Fordist women’s reformism.

WOMEN’S PUNK ART MAKING PARTY
dir. Mary Billyou, 1996.
US. 33 min.

TUESDAY, MARCH 16 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

A documentary in which a group of young women meet for an art-making party. Located at The Beehive Collective in Washington, DC, six individual episodes are loosely interspersed, allowing each participant a chance to represent themselves. Included: a feminist stripper preparing for work, a puppet show, and a music video.

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SHE HAD HER GUN ALL READY
dir. Vivienne Dick, 1978.
US. 28 min.

Vivienne Dick takes aim at reverence and power dynamics among women in one of her best known shorts, an 8mm Lower East Side-set psychodrama starring Lydia Lunch.

NEW REPORT ARTIST UNKNOWN
dirs. K8 Hardy and Wynne Greenwood, 2006
United States. 16 mins.

A collaborative project envisioning a news service in a post-feminist world, this comedic short features K8 Hardy (founder of the queer feminist art collective LTTR) and Wynne Greenwood (of Tracy and the Plastics) playing Henry Irigaray and Henry Stein-Acker-Hill, an anchor and roving correspondent for WKRH, a feminist TV news station whose tagline is “pregnant with information.”

THE ALL-ROUND REDUCED PERSONALITY
(aka DIE ALLSEITIG REDUZIERTE PERSÖNLICHKEIT)
dir. Helke Sander, 1979
Germany. 98 mins.
In German with English subtitles.

MONDAY MARCH 22 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com
WEDNESDAY MARCH 31 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

“Emancipation or not, you want to sell a story.”

Threatened by the increasing cost of living (not to mention of producing images), a women’s photography collective attempts to subvert a commission given to them by the politically and sexually repressive West German government. Drifting from private moments to Godardian accounting, urban survey to bureaucratic detentes, Sanders probes the possibility of reintegrating art into social space as a means of ending grey-on-grey capitalism and socialism, two sides of the same valueless coin.


THE HERETICS
dir. Joan Braderman, 2009
United States. 95 mins.

FRIDAY, MARCH 19 – 8PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

Tracing the influence of the Women’s Movement’s Second Wave on art and life, THE HERETICS is the exhilarating inside story of the New York feminist art collective that produced “Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics” (1977-92). On the road with her camera crew from New Mexico to Italy, Braderman reconnects with 28 other group members, including writer/critic Lucy Lippard, architect Susanna Torre, filmmaker Su Friedrich, and artists Ida Applebroog, Mary Miss, Miriam Schapiro, and Cecilia Vicuña. — Women Make Movies

Presented in partnership with Women Make Movies.

“Upbeat and affirmative…The stories these women tell envision a radically different moment in art-world history, one in which questions of career and market are barely mentioned, and philosophical arguments are firmly grounded in street-level politics.” — Ed Halter, Artforum

WOMANHOUSE
dir. Johanna Demetrakas, 1974
United States. 47 mins.

THURSDAY, MARCH 18 – 7:30 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

WOMANHOUSE is an historic documentary about one of the most important feminist cultural events of the 1970s. Judy Chicago (best-known as the creator of THE DINNER PARTY) and Miriam Shapiro rented an old Hollywood mansion and altered its interior through decor and set-pieces to “search out and reveal the female experience…the dreams and fantasies of women as they sewed, cooked, washed and ironed away their lives.”

Presented in partnership with Women Make Movies.

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EXCERPTS FROM THE A.I.R. GALLERY OPENING, 1972
dir. Hermine Freed, 1972
United States. 11 mins.

Re-edited by filmmaker Mary Billyou, this film presents footage shot at A.I.R. Gallery’s first opening, shot by Hermine Freed. A.I.R. Gallery (Artists in Residence) is the first all-female artist-owned cooperative gallery in the United States. It was founded in 1972 with the objective of providing a professional and permanent exhibition space for women artists during a time in which the works shown at commercial galleries in New York City were almost exclusively by male artists.

TAKING RESIDENCE: A SHORT HISTORY OF A.I.R. GALLERY
dir. Meredith Drum, 2012
United States. 16 mins.
This documentary was made on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of A.I.R. Gallery at Fales Library and the Tracey/Barry Gallery at New York University.

AND BESIDES, IT’S TRUE


THURSDAY, APRIL 1 – 7 PM EST only at stream.spectacletheater.com

Triple Canopy and Spectacle present And Besides, It’s True, an evening of screenings and discussion devoted to disinformation and rumor.

In the past year, we’ve desperately sought connection and copresence, whether through endless Zoom meetings or a riot at the capitol. Of course, these events are sorted into affiliations that are life-affirming or malign, the constant question in the time of social distancing and conspiracy theories being, “Why are you together?” Everyone is now both detective and skeptic: perhaps you didn’t see everything on the ground, and perhaps you’re being too credulous of someone’s online account. At the same time, this epistemology of paranoia and doubt is met with a frantic will to believe, which often devolves into casting for allegiances—the no-true-Scotsman fallacy writ large. (No true populist would ever sell Gamestock, no true constitutional patriot would actually storm the Senate chamber, no true revolutionary would cast aspersion on Xi Jinping Thought.) This contradiction of skepticism and belief is often presented as a deeply American, incredibly recent phenomenon—a framing that is both ahistorical and geographically myopic.

Considering the antecedents and global breadth of the present moment, the event will begin with a screening of Nathalie Magnan’s 1996 short film IL N’Y A PAS DE FUMEE SANS FEU, ET EN PLUS C’EST VRAI! (There’s No Smoke without Fire, and Besides, It’s True!). Magnan, a French media theoretician, translator, and filmmaker, was best known for her participation in early listservs and queer feminist mediajammer activism. Il n’y a pas de fumée sans feu, et en plus c’est vrai! is a dense refraction of the information landscape of the time that leapfrogs from French radio broadcasts to man-on-the-street prank interviews to clips from The Twilight Zone and Dr. Seuss’s World War II-era Private Snafu cartoons. Taxonomizing the symbols and stories of viral hearsay throughout human history, Magnan gives a portrait of le rumeur as both irresistible force and pre-internet manifestation of media literacy run amok.

Following Magnan’s film, artists Paige K. B. and Tiffany Sia will each give presentations of found footage and media clips, tracing the distribution of psy-ops, censored messages, and subversive appeals through such varied networks as Twitter Live and The David Letterman Show. K. B. will consider the comedic angle of American manifestations of LARPing as reality, from Andy Kaufman to QAnon; Sia will examine the Rashomoning of Hong Kong protest footage and its legal implications.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with K. B. and Sia, alongside Triple Canopy senior editor Matthew Shen Goodman and Spectacle volunteer Steve Macfarlane.

PAIGE K.B. is an artist, writer, and erstwhile editor from Los Angeles. She has been an editor at Artforum and Garage, and her writing has been published in numerous magazines and books since 2013. Her recent exhibitions include an illegal installation at 13 East 31st Street and a legal one at the Canal Street Research Association, a space run by the group Shanzhai Lyric. She is currently assembling a body of work for Documenta 13.

TIFFANY SIA is an artist, filmmaker, writer, and founder of Speculative Place, a project space in Hong Kong. She is the author of Salty Wet 咸濕 (Inpatient Press, 2019) the book-length sequel, Too Salty Too Wet 更咸更濕 (Speculative Place, 2021), which serves as the basis for her exhibition “Slippery When Wet” at Artists Space. Sia is the director of the short, experimental film NEVER REST/UNREST (2020), which has screened at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival and will have its North American premiere at MoMA Documentary Fortnight. She is also part of Home Cooking, an artist collective founded by Asad Raza, and contributes to the group’s performance and reading series Hell Is a Timeline.

This event would not be possible without the support of De la Mule au Web and Antre-Peaux for permission to screen IL N’Y A PAS DE FUMEE SANS FEU, ET EN PLUS C’EST VRAI!. In lieu of a ticket charge, attendees are encouraged to make a donation in Magnan’s honor to SOS Mediterranee.

SHRIEK SHOW X (2010-????)

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25 – ALL DAMN DAY

Well, hell, if it isn’t Halloween already. This year has been absolute dogshit by pretty much every measurable standard, but we’re not letting that stop THE SHRIEK SHOW!

Spectacle’s 10th annual SHRIEK SHOW will be presented on our Twitch channel from noon through midnight. All mystery meat, all day long. All showtimes EST.

MOVIE #1 – 12PM

A black and white late Sixties ghost thriller to kick things off. Originally conceived as the pilot of a show that didn’t get picked up, this moody shocker follows a paranormal investigator and a woman who’s convinced she’s going to be buried alive.

MOVIE #2 – 1:30 PM

An Italian vampire-adjacent chiller from the early 70’s… creepy dolls, pale Europeans and gothic horror abound!

MOVIE #3 – 3:15 PM

A Shaw-flavored early 80’s folk horror tale of betrayal and revenge featuring maggots, exploding boils, snakes, decapitations, flying heads, and much more!

MOVIE #4 – 5PM 

A long-short film from the early Nineties about a fraternity’s hazing ritual gone awry on the night of their campus Halloween celebration.

MOVIE #5 – 6PM

A telenovela on crack, this Mexican feature was filmed and initially shelved in the late Sixties, only to be unearthed and fleshed out with freshly shot horror scenes in the early Eighties before being released on TV and video. A hazy mindfuck of a film featuring every trope in the book (plus a heavy dose of melodrama.)

MOVIE #6 – 7:30 PM

Regional horror at its finest: we’re screening the special director’s cut of a late Eighties Texas horror gem about two people caught in the Lovecraftian curse of a strange house.

MOVIE #7 – 9:45 PM

Another long-short (40 minutes) – this one from Japan, a shot-on-video gross-out fest from the mid-80’s. Expect blood, guts, tentacles, and some really terrible rubber-slithering-sounds. Not for the faint of heart!

MOVIE #8 – 10:35 PM

Shriek Show X closes out with an early Nineties low budget “vampire flick”. Shot on 8mm for about $5k over the course of 2-3 years, this independent gorefest claims “the most exploding heads in a horror film ever” – and they’re not wrong. Also featuring a kickass heavy metal soundtrack and some of the best home-brewed FX ever committed to celluloid!

EVERY MOVIE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD (PART ONE)


It’s true: we just turned ten. And the party is just getting started. EVERY MOVIE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD (PART ONE) is a stab at consolidating 3,600+ nights of lost and forgotten radical repertory and contemporary cinema into a digestible (but not-too-digestible) streaming program while the world burns: hand-picked selections of Spectacle yore, dusted off by the original programmers and grown all the more magnificent in the rear-view. Keep checking this page for updates as we roll into October and beyond!

THE KILLING OF AMERICA
(aka VIOLENCE U.S.A.)
dirs. Sheldon Renan & Leonard Schrader, 1982
United States. 90 min.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 – 7PM w/REMOTE Q&A featuring filmmaker Sheldon Renan only on Twitch

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

So begins the 1982 shockumentary THE KILLING OF AMERICA, a film that, even among its mondo movie contemporaries, stands out as one of the grimmest and most infamous films ever produced.

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

Directed by Sheldon Renan & Leonard Schrader (brother of Paul Schrader), and featuring a noteworthy narration by voiceover master Chuck Riley.

Originally screened July 2014 / September 2017. Special thanks to Preston Spurlock, Sheldon Renan, Lee Percy and the American Genre Film Archive.

YOU CAN’T KEEP ME QUIET! FILMS BY SARAH JACOBSON
dir. Sarah Jacobson, 1991-1998
United States. 135 mins.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 – 7PM only on Twitch

I WAS A TEENAGE SERIAL KILLER
27 min. 1993.

MARY JANE’S NOT A VIRGIN ANYMORE
98 min. 1998.

“I consider myself a feminist filmmaker, definitely. The whole reason I got into film was because I never saw cool girls in films that I liked. I have no fear of the word ‘feminist.’ I know that that has certain negative connotations to some people, but then why should I let other people’s stupidity bully what I want to do, right? To me, feminism means that I should have an equal opportunity to do what I want to do as a woman. I don’t want to be better than men, I don’t want to shut men up. It’s like, look, you’ve got your little thing over here, you’ve got your B-movie aesthetic, and I’ve got my interpretation of it that girls can enjoy, too, so you don’t always have to watch the bimbo get raped or slashed or stalked or whatever.” – Sarah Jacobson

Sarah Jacobson (1971-2004) was an independent filmmaker who led a DIY filmmaking movement in the 90s. She wrote and directed several short films, documentaries, music videos and a feature film. She formed Station Wagon Productions with her mother and producer Ruth Jacobson, and with Ruth’s help self-promoted and distributed her films all over the country. Originally from New Jersey and Minneapolis, Jacobson studied briefly at Bard College and then at the San Francisco Art Institute with George Kuchar.

She directed I WAS A TEENAGE SERIAL KILLER in 1993 which she described as the story of “a 19-year-old girl who has a series of run-ins with various condescending men.” Jacobson’s slap-in-the-face feminist interpretation of “sexy”/violent B movies found a cult following. Jacobson went on to make her feature Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore a few years later. Too in your face to be an after-school special, Mary Jane is a movie about sex from a girl’s point of view. After a gross and unceremonious “first time” Jane learns about the joys of pleasing herself and asking for what she wants from her punky co-workers at a Midwestern movie theater (with Jello Biafra and Davey Havok cameos). Mary Jane debuted at the Chicago Underground Film Festival in 1997, and sold out at Sundance and SXSW; Jacobson promoted the film the year previous at the Independent Film Market with homemade “Not a Virgin” stickers her and her mom made at Kinko’s. Spectacle’s program will also include an early autobiographical short called Road Movie (or What I Learned in a Buick Station Wagon) (1991) which is the story of a college filmmaker who leaves Minneapolis for NYC after her professors and classmates make fun of her film (with an Adolfas Mekas cameo).

Originally screened June 2013. Special thanks to Katie Bradshaw, the Free History Project and the American Genre Film Archive. You can purchase the restored blu-rays of Jacobson’s work here

ALONE IN THE T-SHIRT ZONE
Dir. Mikel B. Anderson, 1986
United States. In English.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – 7PM w/REMOTE Q&A featuring filmmaker Mike B. Anderson only on Twitch

1986 offers up this surreal (so real) comedy/drama/dramady/fever dream. Mike (Michael Barrack) has had enough. After seeing a moderate amount of success with his “Foxy Lady” design, his career as an up and coming t-shirt artist as plateaued and is now moving along at a sludgy crawl. To make matters worse, his ex-girlfriend Jennifer (Jennifer McCasky Anderson) has moved on to greener pastures in the form of Mike’s slimy, creep of a boss who pumps motivational tapes over the PA of the t-shirt factory all day. Mike has to get out, but quickly discovers that escaping the t-shirt zone is easier said than done.

Mikel B. Anderson (KAMILLIONS, The Simpsons) has crafted a film that’s weird enough for midnights and human enough to stick with you the rest of the day. Stark, honest, desperate, scary, hilarious, and real.

Originally screened June 2011. Special thanks to Mark Freado, Jr., Junk Food Dinner and Mikel B. Anderson.

ELAINE AND OTHER SHORT FILMS BY ANDREW HORN
dirs. Andrew Horn, Robyn Brentano and John Meaney
100 mins. United States.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 – 7PM only on Twitch

Originally screened back in February 2020, this program of newly rediscovered short films by our friend Andrew Horn (1952-2019) and a staggering list of downtown-era collaborators makes a perfect complement to longtime Spectacle favorite DOOMED LOVE (1984), screening at 9P. Individual descriptions below:

CHROMA
dir. Andrew Horn, 1974
8 mins. United States.

Shot at New York University, Horn’s wordless, mindblowing student film CHROMA might be the missing link between the avant-garde cinema of the 1970s and Horn’s later dance films to follow. The silhouettes of three dancers (red, green and blue) are played off one another while the grids and ladders of the modern metropolis – another feature that’s recognizable across almost every film made by Horn – crossfade and overtake the screen. CHROMA received a special award of merit from the Academy of Motion Picture arts and Sciences; on his CV, Horn described the film like this: “real images are manipulated through special effects and printing to create an artificial dreamscape.”

ROPE DANCE TRANSLATIONS
dir. John Meaney, 1974
20 mins. United States.

Andrew Horn was technical director on this black-and-white document of Andrew deGroat’s hypnotic, swirling “Rope Dance Translations”, originally performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music by Robyn Brentano, Frank Converso, Charles Dennis, Ritty Ann Burchfield and deGroat himself. It was shot in a single day and lit by Carol Mullins (wife of Jim Neu, who would write DOOMED LOVE and THE BIG BLUE). The introductory text describes the dance as “relying on each individual dancer’s energies and response to the ropes. The ‘choreograph’ for this dance is the geometry of the ropes, the centrifugal force of the spinning from and the strict revolving patterns of solo and chorus.” The music for ROPE DANCE TRANSLATIONS was composed by Michael Galasso, who would go on to provide unforgettable string compositions for Wong Kar-Wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE.

ELAINE: A STORY OF LOST LOVE
dirs. Andrew Horn & John Meaney, 1976
30 mins. United States.
In English.

A joint thesis project of Horn (at NYU) and his longtime collaborator John Meaney (at Montclair), the crushing and tragic ELAINE: A STORY OF LOST LOVE is adapted from an obscure Guy de Maupassant novella, lifted from a paperback bought by Meaney as an undergrad for 99 cents. What’s evident is Horn’s fascination for squared-off blocking and choreography, including a glimpse at a performance of Orpheus and Eurydice in miniature. Star Adam Macadam brought on other members of Charles Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theater Company, many of whom would return to work on DOOMED LOVE.

Featuring ancient costumes on loan from the Metropolitan Opera (repurposed from early twentieth century productions of Tosca and La Traviata), ELAINE aspires to high gothic on a shoestring budget. Horn and Meaney shot at locations including the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights, the Frick, and the Carnegie Hall Cinema, then operated by Sid Geffen and Jackie Raynal – the programmers responsible for hosting the first-ever New York City screenings of films by Marguerite Duras, an influence on the filmmakers (alongside Daniel Schmid, Douglas Sirk and Alain Resnais.) ELAINE was originally screened on a quadruple-bill alongside films by Bary Shiils, Robert Mapplethorpe, Rudy Burkhardt and Neil Welliver; J. Hoberman called ELAINE “a well-crafted, if precious, vehicle for Black-Eyed Susan and other members of the Ridiculous Theater Company.”

CLOUD DANCE
dirs. Robyn Brentano & Andrew Horn, 1979
14 mins. United States.
In English.

Collaborating again with deGroat, Horn and Brentano filmed his improvised dance in “The Four-Armed Cloud,” a large cube-shaped sculpture of thousands of linen threads by the artist Lenore Tawney at the NJ State Museum in Trenton. At a time when dance film convention was to show full bodies in continuous movement, Horn and Brentano worked with de Groat to develop movement sequences for the camera. They then developed a kind of relational editing by matching incongruous movements and using blackouts to create a visual logic that resulted in a surprisingly intimate and hypnotic cine-dance. Later, they added a poem by Christopher Knowles, read by Arby Ovanessian and a violin score improvised by Michael Galasso.

SPACE CITY
dirs. Robyn Brentano & Andrew Horn, 1981
28 mins. United States.
In English.

Collaborating this time with dancer Kenneth King, Horn and Brentano’s most ambitious dance film anticipated the production value of Horn’s later dramatic features. The action begins in an 18th century attic before slowly moving through the passages of a modern metropolis’ early development, with King dancing to guide the action as the world expands – including a ghoulish and haunting superimposition of King dancing atop the Manhattan skyline.

In an interview with Millennium Film Journal, Horn pointed out that SPACE CITY put onscreen a number of personas adopted by King in his previous dance performances: “the old man, the little man that dances, the figure of the dreamer, the dancer.” Brentano described it like this: “From the moment that the artist Rick Brintzenhofe suggested that he paint the city on these folding screens and modules we knew that we wanted to do a variety of set-ups and to edit those setups together using various orders so that it was like taking a deck of cards and shuffling them all together.”

SPACE CITY takes the viewer through the thresholds of dreaming, waking, and transcendental awareness, using real and painted images of the city, a 19th century attic and outer space. King’s voice recounts a dream of space without walls, a time of childhood and ecstasy.


DOOMED LOVE
dir. Andrew Horn, 1984
72 mins. United States.
In English.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 – 9PM only on Twitch

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

“Life goes on, so to speak:” Horn’s vignettes from Andre and Lois’ – trapped in a state of paralyzing reverie, and newly married to Bob (Allen Frame), respectively – play against jawdropping 2-D backdrops mounted in the Lower East Side’s Millennium Film Workshop where DOOMED LOVE was filmed. Amy Sillman and Pamela Wilson’s muslin and cardboard “sets” make Horn’s film a dour-yet-sweet exercise in epic theatre buttressed by an sparkling minimalist score from Evan Lurie (of The Lounge Lizards), with original songs by Lenny Pickett. At every opportunity – but especially this month, commemorating our annual ANTI-VALENTINE’S program as well as celebrating Andy’s rich body of work – Spectacle is pleased to resuscitate this no-wave classic.

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

Originally screened July 2016 and beyond. Special thanks to Hisami Kuroiwa, Kai Horn, Chris Horn, John Meaney, Robyn Brentano and Christopher Knowles.


AMERICAN HUNTER

(aka LETHAL HUNTER)
dir. Arizal, 1988.
92 mins. Indonesia.
Indonesian dubbed into English with Japanese subtitles.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 – 7PM EST only on Twitch

“With the information in this study, the wrong people could start a panic on Wall Street that would bring the Western World to its knees…”

In mononymous Indonesian action maestro Arizal’s star-spangled shoot-’em-up, Christopher Mitchum, former 2012 Republican candidate for California Congressional District 24’s United States House of Representatives seat, stars as Jake Carver, an “agent” whose self-described occupation is to “fight bad guys.” As the AMERICAN HUNTER, Carver battles a multifariously evil organization over a piece of microfilm to unspecified ends. Highlights include a jeep driving off the side of one skyscraper into the window of another, a three-way motorcycle/pick-up truck/train chase, a baby being run over by a car crashing through the side of a supermarket yet miraculously surviving, an eight minute helicopter chase, an awkwardly clothed shower sex scene, one house explosion, one castle explosion, dozens of car explosions, male bondage and electrocution, and a fist fight inside a dungeon full of what appears to be cardboard boxes overflowing with shredded paper. Bill “Super Foot” Wallace stars as the bad guy whose nefariousness is conveyed through his variously keeping pet falcons and monkeys on his shoulder, and RAMBU’s Peter O’Brien drops in for an unlikely turn as a hench villain who gets the shit kicked out of him then has his legs run over then crashes through a brick wall on the hood of a car. Approximately ten of the 92 action-packed minutes have been described.

This pre-election weekend, blow off some steam with AMERICAN HUNTER, the most EXPLOSIVE and AWE-INSPIRING action extravaganza EVER MADE! Jeeps driving off the sides of skyscrapers into the sides of other skyscrapers! Babies getting run over in epic car chases yet miraculously surviving! Anglo heros arcing over flaming piles shrapnel like star-spangled ropes of jism! FISTFIGHTS IN WAREHOUSES FULL OF SHREDDED PAPER!

The American Hunter has his own vision for the future of the United States of America: PAIN!

Originally screened Election Season 2012…. and beyond. Special thanks to Jon Dieringer, C. Spencer Yeh and Chris Mitchum.


SEVEN WOMEN, SEVEN SINS
dirs. Chantal Akerman, Ulrike Ottinger, Bette Gordon, Maxi Cohen, VALIE-EXPORT, Laurence Gavron and Helke Sander. 1987.
101 mins. Various countries and languages with English subtitles.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 – 7 PM only on Twitch


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

What constitutes a deadly sin today? Seven of the world’s best-known women directors produce their own version of celluloid sin in this omnibus film. Helke Sander (THE GERMANS AND THEIR MEN) reverses GLUTTONY with her vision of Eve forcing her apples into the hands of a reluctant Adam. Bette Gordon (VARIETY, EMPTY SUITCASES) finds GREED during a fight in the ladies’ room of a luxury hotel over a lottery ticket. Strangers reply to director Maxi Cohen’s ad in a newspaper to share their litanies in ANGER. Award-winning director, Chantal Akerman, battles to overcome her SLOTH in order to complete her film, while Valie Export (INVISIBLE ADVERSARIES) strips bare notions of the skin trade in LUST. ENVY turns into murder in Laurence Gavron’s take on vice, and Ulrike Ottinger, whose work includes JOHANNA D’ARC OF MONGOLIA, illustrates PRIDE with a fantastical collage of allegory and images. SEVEN WOMEN – SEVEN SINS is the perfect introduction for those new to the world of women’s filmmaking and an interesting study in styles for those already familiar with the work of these seven innovative directors.

Originally screened in October 2012 / June 2016. Special thanks to Women Make Movies.

LES SAIGNANTES
(THE BLOOD-LETTES)
dir. Jean-Pierre Bekolo, 2005
Cameroon. 97 mins.
In French with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1 – 7PM EST only on Twitch

“We shouldn’t just be making movies, we should be changing reality.”

Director Jean-Pierre Bekolo has been making spirited, avant-garde films in and about his native Cameroon for the past twenty years. His imaginative work criticizes both his country’s dictatorship, as well as Western cinematic conventions, offering a fresh perspective of Africa, of cinema, and especially of African cinema.

LES SAIGNANTES is the best African sci-fi vampire political satire with homoerotic overtones you’ve ever seen. Best friends Majolie and Chouchou are two beautiful young women trying to get ahead in a near-future Cameroon. After accidentally killing a powerful politician during sex, the two come up with a plot to dispose of the body, and get into the glamorous wakes that have taken over the local nightlife.

As the girls tear their way through the corrupt ruling class, using their their feminine wiles and magical powers, Bekolo drops inter-titles into the film, commenting on the difficulties of filmmaking in an oppressive political climate. With a feminist subtext and cinematography like a blacklight rave, LES SAIGNANTES is a beautiful, disorienting, and truly original work.

Originally screened July 2013. Special thanks to Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Annelise Ogaard, Derica Shields and Megan Eardley.

EL DEPENDIENTE
Dir. Leonardo Favio, 1969.
78 min. Argentina.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4 – 7PM EST only on Twitch

EL DEPENDIENTE is the third feature directed by Leonardo Favio, Argentina’s own Gainsbourgian renaissance man with the dual distinction of being a ’60s and ’70s pop icon and accomplished filmmaker. Whereas his first two features bear out of the influence of his mentor, Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, and Robert Bresson (and CHRONICLE OF A BOY AONE strongly suggesting Vigo’s ZERO DE CONDUITE), EL DEPENDIENTE is another beast entirely that can perhaps only be compared to the startlingly similar ERASERHEAD in its suffocating portrayal of abject dread brutally punctuated with disturbing, absurdist humor. Walter Vidarte plays the title clerk, who works in a hardware store in a desolate provincial town. He ashamedly finds himself indulging in fantasies of the accidental death of his kind employer so that he one day might inherit the store. Each night on his way home he becomes transfixed by a gorgeous young woman lurking under the street light. His approaching her eventually leads to a string of muted nocturne encounters in the girl’s dilapidated courtyard that grow increasingly anxious under the auspices of her doting, manically overbearing mother. Filmed in a stark chiaroscuro rife with vast, empty spaces, eerie ellipses and an almost palpable sense of the forlorn curdling into a brooding menace, EL DEPENDIENTE is, despite its considerable humor and charm, an ever-tightening knot in the stomach and one of the most abstruse, perplexing anti-date movies ever made.

Originally screened Spectober 2012. Special thanks to Jon Dieringer.


FANGS

(انياب)
Dir. Mohammed Shebl, 1981.
Egypt. 100 mins.
In Arabic with English subs.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6 – 7PM EST only on Twitch

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

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

In a memorable postmodern tangent the film even turns aside into social commentary to prove the existence of the ordinary “vampires of Egyptian society”, wherein Dracula pops up in various mundane roles (price-gouging plumber, opportunistic cab driver, etc) to continue haunting the leads decades into the future. If there’s any doubt about what sort of film world we’re in, it’ll be settled in the first minutes, when our protagonists’ relationship is established via an outside-the-window-serenade, with a bunch of random joggers in knee socks and shorts leaping in as back-up dancers. All of which serves, as well, as a strange reminder of the much relaxed social climate that prevailed in Egypt 30 years ago. (In his next film, Shebl would even work in cuts from a Divine video to establish the appropriate vibe at a club scene.)

Mohammed Shebl, an iconoclastic radio personality and filmmaker who died young 20 years ago, was a bit of a glorious outlier in the Egyptian film world. Over the course of four features he fought a one-man war to jump-start the Egyptian horror film industry, which sadly never quite caught on with audiences and critics. But besides his own subsequent films, brimful of love for the likes of EVIL DEAD and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, he did manage to inspire a brief generation of surreal ghost stories and tales of the Egyptian Weird, most sadly untranslated and unseen in the west. His debut FANGS, however, has been translated and provides an ecstatic, essential window into a rarely seen side of Arabic cinema.

Originally screened June 2016. Special thanks to Nate Dorr.

THE PYX
dir. Harvey Hart, 1973
Canada. 108 mins.
In English.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8 – 7PM EST only on Twitch

“You know my name.”

Somewhere between ROSEMARY’S BABY and KLUTE, this Canadian supernatural mystery offers plenty to satisfy police procedural fans as Dr. Sgt. Jim Henderson (played by Christopher Plummer) investigates the murder of Elizabeth Lucy (Karen Black), and as the film moves back and forth between Henderson’s investigation and Lucy’s last days we learn of her connection to a cult of devil worshipers. While other films would try to drive up the tension, there’s a quiet, sullen feel to this film, from the grubby rain-soaked streets of Montreal to Lucy’s manipulative madam to the minimal orchestral score, supplemented by Karen Black’s songs, all of which build a slower sense of inescapable dread. Lucy’s conflagration of sex, heroin and Catholicism drifts through the entire film, a counterpoint to the increasing paranoia and futility of the detectives seeking to understand what remains beyond them as both storylines mirror the downward spiral of the other. Concluding with a backwards-chanting black mass and Henderson’s showdown with cult leader Keerson (Jean-Louis Roux), it’s a film that perfectly showcases the late Karen Black’s singular presence.

Originally screened May 2015. Special thanks to Darren Bauler.

YOU CALL THIS PROGRESS?! ALYCE WITTENSTEIN’S MULTIPLE FUTURES TRILOGY

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11 – 7PM EST w/Alyce Wittenstein for Remote Q&A on Twitch

Alyce Wittenstein has been called the “Queen of the New York Underground” and this May, Spectacle is pleased to play host to her and the films making up her MULTIPLE FUTURES trilogy. These films are filled to the brim with familiar faces, exquisite set pieces, snappy dialogue, and dazzling costumes. Hard to believe it’s been almost 3 years since we first showed these incredible works but here we are. Join us all month for these remarkable films in a celebration of science fiction, hilarity, character actors, and ghastly view of a not-too-distant world.


BETAVILLE
1986, 20 min.

The first in what would come to be known as the MULTIPLE FUTURES trilogy, BETAVILLE – a post-modern nightmare – finds a down and out detective Coman Gettme (played by Wittenstein mainstay Steve Ostringer) returning to his hometown after a chance meeting with The Girl (Holly Adams). Once the two arrive in Gettme’s Cadillac things immediately go from bad to worse for this gumshoe when he learns, over a slice at Stromboli’s, that High Fashion is the new law in town. Gettme becomes obsessed with The Girl and is determined to meet back up with her and “save” her from the these fashionable fascists.

BETAVILLE kicks off the trilogy in a pitch perfect send up of the French New Wave and science fiction, and turns noir on it’s ear while (literally) running through some familiar parts of NYC. Holly Adams is nothing short of dynamite and Ostringer’s distinctive production design would lay the groundwork for the look of the films to come. Years before becoming Brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery, Garrett Oliver was co-producer on the film. The short would go on to be nominated for a number of awards at festivals and play all over the world – often (unsurprisingly) alongside Godard’s ALPHAVILLE.

“Most of the detective narrator dialogue is clever, the cinematography is excellent, and I liked the (sort of) industrial music and the song by the Singing Squirrels.” – Michael J. Weldon, Psychotronic Magazine #2, 1989.


NO SUCH THING AS GRAVITY

1989, 40 min.In the not too distant future the LaFont corporation has all but taken over Earth. The company has revolutionized all elements of style, beauty, education, and housing but in the process (progress?!) has shipped many of Earth’s more “useless” inhabitants to the mysterious man made planet – and the largest scale experiment in human history – known as Nova Terra. Two scientists – Kay Zorn (Holly Adams) and Albert Leenhardt (Steve Robinson) are about to receive a prestigious award for their work on the LaFont Facelifter when they learn that Nova Terra is disrupting the Earth’s gravitational pull and will soon collide if it’s not destroyed. A headstrong lawyer and Kay’s boyfriend – Adam Malkonian (a scenery chewing Nick Zedd) – mouths off to a judge (the incomparable Taylor Mead – RIP) while defending a human teacher and is ordered to be relocated to the doomed planet. After meeting with the ambassador of Nova Terra (Emmanuelle Chaulet of Eric Rohmer’s BOYFRIENDS AND GIRLFRIENDS), Malkonian learns that perhaps the LaFont Corporation hasn’t been entirely truthful about what really happens on Nova Terra and vows to stop the destruction.Wittenstein’s first sync sound film is overflowing with amazing set pieces and incredible performances. Some scenes were shot at the New York Hall of Science – including an Ames room and a number of other dazzling optical illusions. Look out for cameos from Michael J. Anderson (TWIN PEAKS), Wittenstein’s father as the insidious Andreas LaFont, and the director herself on Nova Terra.

THE DEFLOWERING
1994, 40 min.
“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old are dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” – Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks

>The quote above opens Wittenstein’s third and final film, THE DEFLOWERING. Again featuring some of Wittenstein’s tried and true players – Holly Adams, Emmanuelle Chaulet, Taylor Mead, and more – the film concerns yet another evil corporation this time HUXLEY BIO-TECH and their means to sanitize/beautify this world of ours. This time Wittenstein (with Ostringer back on production design) takes the costuming helm as well.

The TIB (Total Immune Breakdown) virus has left the planet reeling and lethal allergic reaction are at an all time high. Huxley’s efforts to produce perfect, designer children that are immune to viruses have had the side effect of hyper-allergic reactions. Why isn’t anything being done about allergies? No one wants to fund it! With the mortality rate skyrocketing, can mankind bounce back and feel the soft caress of skin against skin ever again or will the line at the Holo-Memorial Funeral Home grow ever longer?

Originally screened September 2015. Special thanks to Alyce Wittenstein, Steve Ostringer and Mark Freado, Jr.

THREE SHORT DOCUMENTARIES
Dir: Blaine Dunlap and Sol Korine, 1978-1983.
100 mins. United States.
In English.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13 – 7PM only on Twitch

During the late 70s/early 80s, filmmakers Blaine Dunlap and Sol Korine (father of Harmony) documented the culture and people of the American south making documentaries for PBS. These are some of the first documentaries ever shot on portable analog video.

HAMPER McBEE – RAW MASH
1978. 48 mins.

A candid portrait of the Tennesse ballad singer, story-teller, and part-time moonshiner Hamper McBee. Hamper learned much lf his music from his father and friends around Monteagle Mountain and had established a reputation at folk festivals in the 1970s as an accomplished and expressive ballad singer. The film follows Hamper as he works, socializes, and talks about his music. He sings “Black Jack Davy,” “Nine Hundred Miles,” Wayfaring Stranger,” “Rye Whiskey,” and a song he wrote himself “Bill Malone,” about the local constable who routinely arrested Hamper when he had too much to drink. Hamper McBee is also a moonshiner, and Raw Mash shows him plying his trade at this nearly lost art.

MOUTH MUSIC
1981. 25 mins.

MOUTH MUSIC demonstrates the distinctive modes of the human voice, the most influential of all musical instruments, takes on in southern folk music and folk culture. These modes can span traditional a cappella performance styles as well as unique expressive vocal forms that have evolved as part of daily life, work, and play: hollerin’, jump-rope rhymes, “eephing,” nonsense songs, auctioneering, drill sergeant’s patter and others.

SOMETIMES IT’S GONNA HURT
1983. 27 mins.

Oklahoma is rodeo country. Sometimes Its Gonna Hurt is a film about the toughest of all rodeo events– bullriding, and how young riders grow up to become bullriders. The was commissioned by the PBS series, “Matters of Life and Death,” and aired in the summer of 1983.

Originally screened in April 2012. Special thanks to Troy Swain, Jay Buim, Blaine Dunlap and Ruta Abolins (University of Georgia.)

BLACK PAST
Dir. Olaf Ittenbach, 1989.
85 mins. Germany.
In German with English subtitles.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15 – 7P EST only on Twitch

Tommy is a troubled teen trying to make friends in a new town without too much luck. He is bullied by his new school mates, and even his family pokes fun at him. As if this isn’t enough, the discovery of an ancient relic seems to release an evil that threatens to destroy him, and everyone he knows. As his demonic visions grow stronger, dreams begin to confuse reality, and Tommy spirals downward. But is it all in his head, or are the nightmares real?

They are real. Everyone is slaughtered. Xtreme violence and gore.

Originally screened March 2013. Special thanks to Wilt “Legz” Stewart.

WAX, OR THE DISCOVERY OF TELEVISION AMONG THE BEES
Dir. David Blair, 1991
USA, 85 min

MONDAY, OCTOBER 26 – 7PM only on Twitch

WAX, OR THE DISCOVERY OF TELEVISION AMONG THE BEES (David Blair, 1991) from Spectacle on Vimeo

WAX, OR THE DISCOVERY OF TELEVISION AMONG THE BEES tells the surreal tale of Jacob Maker, a weapons guidance technician and part-time beekeeper whose life is overturned when his ancestral, Mesopotamian-bred bees begin taking control of his mind. A confounding, psychedelic visual collage of computer animation, video feedback textures, lo-fi home video, archival photographs, image plane manipulation, found footage and classic documentary all jumble together to form this pioneering new media experiment in narrative, all of which is delivered via insistent, unnerving voice-over in the manner of an alien essay film.

This singular film is the work of a singular man, David Blair, who completed WAX only after many years of support from a litany of arts organizations. Accordingly, it is a feat of many firsts, including: the first independent feature film ever edited on a non-linear editing system, the first film to be wholly translated into an interactive, hyper-textual online experience, and the first film in history to be streamed live over a computer network (in 1993!).

Special thanks to David Blair for all of his generous cooperation. Originally screened November 2012.

BURNING FRAME: A MONTHLY ANARCHIST FILM SERIES

CALLING ALL LEFTISTS! The past few years have been a whirlwind: exhausting, invigorating, and ripe with potential. It’s tremendously difficult, when in the thick of it, to pause, reflect, or even find a moment to catch a breath. Especially when “it” refers to the rise of fascism on a global scale, with any number of future cataclysms hovering just over the horizon. But we digress.

Join us, then, for a series that asks: if not now, when? Come for great works of radical political filmmaking, stay for the generative discussions, or even just to gossip and gripe. The hope is that this forum for authentic representations of successes, defeats, and the messy work of political action, will be thrilling, edifying, and maybe even inspire your next organizing project. To butcher the title of a great film for the sake of a moderately applicable pun: “Throw away your dogma, rally in the cinema.”

WHEN YOU PLAY ME LOUD VOL. 1: POP AGAINST COPS
dirs. Various, 1967-2020
80 mins.

SUNDAY, MARCH 22 – 7:30 PM
TUESDAY, MARCH 31 – 7:30 PM

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

“Someone afraid of dancing is somehow afraid of many other things, you know?”Claire Denis

Your friendly neighborhood anarchists humbly offer a tour of the music video and its discontents. If you love to hop, wiggle and boogie then come on by for a showcase of sound colliding with image, iconographic subversions and praxis lived to the hilt. But still you ask, why this? We’ll give Emma the final word: “I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to became a nun and that the movement should not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. ‘I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.’ Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything.”

DIE KINDER DER TOTEN


DIE KINDER DER TOTEN

dirs. Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska, 2019
90 mins. Austria/United States.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – 7:30 PM + 10 PM  w/filmmaker Kelly Copper in person for Q&A!
(These screenings are $10.)
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19 – 7:30 PM w/filmmaker Kelly Copper in person for Q&A!
(This screening is $10.)

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

The Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s first foray into feature filmmaking is a silent movie-style zombie feature based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Austrian horror novel by author Elfriede Jelinek (The Piano Teacher), using classic silent film tropes (and corpses) to critique the country’s not-so-distant Nazi past. Producer Ulrich Seidl (director of IMPORT/EXPORT and the PARADISE TRILOGY) and the New York-based experimental theatrical troupe reenvision Jelinek’s 666-page epic as a Super-8 backyard slasher from the Hinterlands, “imbued with a midnight movie spirit reminiscent of John Waters and Guy Maddin” (AFI).

ANTI-VALENTINE’S 2020

This February, Spectacle presents a wide array of dreamy, twisted, hilarious and psychedelic tales of love, lust, blood, guts and everything in between.


PSYCHOS IN LOVE
dir. Gorman Bechard, 1987
88 mins. United States.
In English.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 – 7:30 PM w/filmmaker Gorman Bechard in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – 10 PM

ONLINE TICKETS         FACEBOOK EVENT

A strip club owner and a manicurist bond over their hates and loves, quickly learning of their mutual love for bloodshed, which leads to an increasingly morbid race to one-up each others murderous accomplishments as their relationship gets more serious.
The rare horror comedy that succeeds on all fronts – managing to be funny, grotesque, and dare we say sweet, in the same beat


UNMASKED PT. 25
(aka HAND OF DEATH)
dir. Anders Palm, 1988
88 mins. United Kingdom.
In English.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9 – 5 PM
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14 – MIDNIGHT

ONLINE TICKETS         FACEBOOK EVENT

Jackson, a lonely and terribly disfigured serial killer in a hockey mask, begins to question the point of all the killing he’s been doing when he befriends a beautiful blind woman. Will he be able to stop his murderous ways and lead a normal life?  That rare horror-spoof that manages to be both funny and sincere while nonetheless delivering on the jump scares + gore, UNMASKED PART 25 is sorely in need of another look. We’re screening the film in a glistening new digital remaster courtesy of our friends at Vinegar Syndrome.


LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END STREET

dir. Roger Watkins, 1977.
77 mins. United States.
In English.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8 – MIDNIGHT
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 – MIDNIGHT

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

Following a failed career as a pornographer and a stint in prison, unpleasant man Terry Hawkins (Roger Watkins) finally finds his calling as a director of snuff films. Exhausted with workaday pornography, a cortege of weary, nihilistic members of the leisure class finance his ventures. Terry shows his gratitude by making them the subjects of his next production. With most of the budget dedicated to the procurement of methamphetamines, director Roger Watkins nonetheless fashioned a singularly repellent work pitched somewhere between the grindhouse market and the Dada repertory. Beyond a genre curiosity, LAST HOUSE employs shock in the service of a dream-like exploration of dingy environs and irredeemable personalities.

[Content warning: Scenes in this film depict graphic torture, sexual assault, degraded yuppies indulging in racist iconography, and general unpleasantness.]


LABYRINTH OF DREAMS
(ユメノ銀河)
dir. Sogo Ishii, 1997
90 mins. Japan.

In Japanese with English subtitles.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7 – MIDNIGHT
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29 – 10 PM

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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, of 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.

“A Freudian fable of the night, filled with moons, rain, dark tunnels and imminent collisions.”Tony Rayns, Senses of Cinema

OF HUMAN BONDAGE
Dir. John Cromwell, 1934
83 mins. United States.
In English.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1 – 10 PM
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3 – 7:30 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12 – 10 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26 – 10 PM

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Upper-crust scribe W. Somerset Maugham’s epic novel of class-crossed romance gets the pre-Code treatment from maestro of melodrama John Cromwell (ANNE VICKERS, SCANDAL STREET) in Of Human Bondage, arguably the classiest title in our nation’s Public Domain. Screen idol Leslie Howard stars as the club-footed narrator, whose sensitive disposition is no match for the sailor’s mouth and sloe-eyes of co-star Bette Davis. In a scathing and sympathetic turn, Davis plays against type (and her Boston Brahmin bona fides), delivering a smoldering performance that is sure to leave you begging for more. The ur-anti-Valentine picture, Cromwell’s adaptation is a pre-cursor to Pialat that delivers its uglier scenes with a side of soft Hollywood shimmer.

IT MAY BE FINISHED, BUT IT ISN’T OVER: ANDREW HORN

We were deeply saddened by the death this past August of our friend Andrew Horn (1952-2019), director of the longtime Spectacle classic DOOMED LOVE as well as the seminal 2004 documentary THE NOMI SONG, which Andy presented alongside DOOMED LOVE and his last completed work, WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER! when he last visited New York City just a year before. At that time, Andy was working on a documentary about theater director Robert Wilson’s 1970s performance enclave known as the Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds – of which he was a member, an experience which laid the groundwork for a dazzlingly rich career in the downtown scene over subsequent decades before he relocated to Berlin in 1989. Andy was relentless: beyond his exhaustively researched documentaries and Brechtian dramatic features, he was a dancer, a punctilious craftsman, a tenacious researcher, graphic designer and journalist. In the words of his longtime collaborator John Meaney, Andy had a fascination with kitsch and an admiration for Hollywood melodramas, with little interest in “realism”. A curious mixture of baroque sensibility and radical aesthetics marked his style. Andy’s love of ritual and artifice was used in his films as an acute reflection on art, and its illusions.

While Andy’s films reveal a droll and exacting mind, they’re also inseparable from a close circle of collaborators, including painters Amy Sillman and Pamela Wilson (who made the muslin backdrops of DOOMED LOVE), musicians Evan and John Lurie (of The Lounge Lizards), filmmakers Robyn Brentano and John Meaney, dancer-choreographers Kenneth King and Andrew deGroat, composer Michael Galasso (IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE) and songwriter Lenny Pickett (Tower of Power) as well as performance artist and playwright Jim Neu, who wrote DOOMED LOVE and the 1988 noir followup THE BIG BLUE. We’re thrilled to present both films as a memorial tribute, alongside a collection of newly unearthed short form works straddling Andy’s careers in theatre, dance cinema and video art.

“You can say what you want about the past / I think that’s true / But, not to pay attention is not to be immune / I think that’s true / It may be finished / But it isn’t over…”

This retrospective is possible thanks to Hisami Kuroiwa, Chris Horn, Robyn Brentano, John Meaney, Cindy Banach and Carol Mullins. Special thanks to Cindy Banach (PALM Pictures), Music Box Films, Jay Jay French and Yoram Mandel (producer of THE BIG BLUE).


DOOMED LOVE
dir. Andrew Horn, 1984
72 mins. United States.
In English.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14 – 7:30 PM w/actress Rosemary Moore and painter Amy Sillman in person
(This event is $10.)
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17 – 10 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 29 – MIDNIGHT

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

“Life goes on, so to speak:” Horn’s vignettes from Andre and Lois’ – trapped in a state of paralyzing reverie, and newly married to Bob (Allen Frame), respectively – play against jawdropping 2-D backdrops mounted in the Lower East Side’s Millennium Film Workshop where DOOMED LOVE was filmed. Amy Sillman and Pamela Wilson’s muslin and cardboard “sets” make Horn’s film a dour-yet-sweet exercise in epic theatre buttressed by an sparkling minimalist score from Evan Lurie (of The Lounge Lizards), with original songs by Lenny Pickett. At every opportunity – but especially this month, commemorating our annual ANTI-VALENTINE’S program as well as celebrating Andy’s rich body of work – Spectacle is pleased to resuscitate this no-wave classic.

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

poster by Tom Henry
screening with

PASSAGES OF TIME
dirs. Andrew Horn & Robyn Brentano, 1978
16 mins. United States.
In English.

Horn’s first collaboration with dancer Robyn Brentano shows choreographer Carter Frank performing in Jane Greengold’s “Passages of Time” exhibition of objects, images, and sounds related to our experience of time. The sound score is by Jane Greengold with reading by Ann Beckerman. While Greengold’s limbs mimic the movement of the hands on a clock, Beckerman’s voiceover narration leads a meditation on her own life’s relationship with time, mirrored by the clocks and contraptions along the wall behind her.

In their original press release for PASSAGES OF TIME, Horn and Brentano described its structure as follows: “The piece was divided into three sections: the first a minimal movement from side to side was shot three times with no cuts, each time from a different perspective in the room.  Through editing, he body remained constant while the background changed.  The second section of rising and falling movement was broken up and expanded through through the use of repetition and phasing in editing.  here the awareness of subjective time was heightened by the ellipses and the close-ups of parts of her body.  A moment is reached when time seems to cease completely.”

“To be aware that waking dreams it is not how to sleep, but another dream – and that the death that our flesh goes in fear of is that death which comes every night, and is called sleep. To see in a day or in a year a symbol of the days of man, and of his years, to transmute the outrage of the years into music, a murmur of voices and a symbol – to see in death, sleep, and in the sunset, a sad goal: such as poetry, which is immortal, and poor. Poetry returns like the dawn and the sunset.”

and

LIEBESTODT U.S.A.
dir. Andrew Horn, 1982
5 mins. United States.
In English.

Never before shown in public, LIEBESTODT U.S.A. is a brief vignette of the abortive first version of DOOMED LOVE, starring Susan Berman (SMITHEREENS) as Lois and Adam Macadam – star of Horn’s earlier short film ELAINE: A STORY OF LOST LOVE – as Andre. While the framing and blocking are near-exact in consistency with DOOMED LOVE, the result is a surreal (if not hallucinatory) contrast, a vision of what the movie would have felt like in the hands of two different actors.

THE BIG BLUE
dir. Andrew Horn, 1988
100 mins. United States.
In English.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15 – 7 PM w/director of photography Carl Teitelbaum and Andrew Horn’s longtime partner Hisami Kuroiwa for Q&A
(This event is $10.)
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – 7:30 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 – 10 PM
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – 10 PM

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Everything looks extremely unlikely,
Everything looks like it’s all the same,
You don’t know what happened
But you know it happened to you…

THE BIG BLUE follows a snoop for hire named Jack (David Brisbin) contracted by a dissatisfied housewife named Myrna (filmmaker Sheila McLaughlin, of COMMITTED and SHE MUST BE SEEING THINGS) to spy on her husband Howard, played by the film’s screenwriter Jim Neu. Myrna thinks Howard is cheating on her, but he’s actually involved in a drug trafficking deal with Max (John Erdman), a goateed East Village entrepreneur having a romance with a free-spirited and beautiful blonde named Carmen (Taunie VreNon). Problem is, Jack is surveilling Howard while having his own dalliance with Carmen (who dresses completely different every time she leaves the house), giving way to a four-way meditation on loneliness – with art director Anne Stuhler juxtaposing Horn’s tortured ensemble against a vertical maze of staggering German Expressionist-style skyscrapers.

Shot on a bigger budget than DOOMED LOVE, THE BIG BLUE also brings back Bill Rice, this time as a bored ex-cop living in the suburbs with his grandchildren, feeding Jack tips over the telephone. There’s a continued fixation on circuits and radiowaves: no less lovelorn than the ensemble of DOOMED LOVE, these down-but-not-out characters measure their lives against the people they listen to on tape and watch on screens, usually stars of classic potboilers and sun-drenched soap operas. (Horn’s fascination with variety shows and sitcoms is visible across this retrospective.) The image of Jack, shoulders hunched at a diner bar as he watches TV, forms a telltale inverse of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks – a lost soul belonging to a generation raised on detective shows.

THE BIG BLUE was not helped by the coincidence of Luc Besson’s clairvoyant dolphin epic of the same year. It’s a smoky and beguiling nesting-doll of a mystery potboiler chock full of unforgettable images, whose characters speak with Neu’s signature droll, rhyming rhetoric. Neu’s performance as Howard, whose wisecracking gentility masks a savage worldview, is the stuff of noir distilled, channeling the phantoms of Humphrey Bogart or Fred MacMurray. Sung by Soozie Tyrell (of the E Street Band), the title song was composed by Lenny Pickett (who also wrote songs for DOOMED LOVE), with lyrics by Jim Neu – it originally appeared in Neu’s live performance Straightman. In the hope that this retrospective stokes further interest in Andy’s work, we are pleased to show THE BIG BLUE for the first time since it opened over three decades ago.

poster by Tyler Rubenfeld
screening with

MUTUAL NARCISSISM (Video Excerpts)
dir. Andrew Horn, 1984
11 mins. United States.
In English.

MUTUAL NARCISSISM is the title of a 27-minute live performance written and directed by Jim Neu and sk dunn with music by Lenny Picket played by the Borneo Horns presented at The Kitchen in 1984. In video inserts made for the show, Horn applies the same flat, distancing techniques as DOOMED LOVE to the format of broadcast television, satirizing the Reagan-era obsession with self. These excerpts include a brief send-up of the notorious commercial for Calvin Klein bluejeans (starring Lydia Mahan in the role made infamous by Brooke Shields), and a bizarre spin on the late-night talk show with Neu acting opposite Roberta Levine.

ELAINE AND OTHER SHORT FILMS
dirs. Andrew Horn, Robyn Brentano and John Meaney
100 mins. United States.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16 – 5 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – 5 PM
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26 – 7:30 PM with actor Duncan Hannah (ELAINE: A STORY OF LOST LOVE) in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28 – 7:30 PM

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CHROMA
dir. Andrew Horn, 1974
8 mins. United States.

Shot at New York University, Horn’s wordless, mindblowing student film CHROMA might be the missing link between the avant-garde cinema of the 1970s and Horn’s later dance films to follow. The silhouettes of three dancers (red, green and blue) are played off one another while the grids and ladders of the modern metropolis – another feature that’s recognizable across almost every film made by Horn – crossfade and overtake the screen. CHROMA received a special award of merit from the Academy of Motion Picture arts and Sciences; on his CV, Horn described the film like this: “real images are manipulated through special effects and printing to create an artificial dreamscape.”

ROPE DANCE TRANSLATIONS
dir. John Meaney, 1974
20 mins. United States.

Andrew Horn was technical director on this black-and-white document of Andrew deGroat’s hypnotic, swirling “Rope Dance Translations”, originally performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music by Robyn Brentano, Frank Converso, Charles Dennis, Ritty Ann Burchfield and deGroat himself. It was shot in a single day and lit by Carol Mullins (wife of Jim Neu, who would write DOOMED LOVE and THE BIG BLUE). The introductory text describes the dance as “relying on each individual dancer’s energies and response to the ropes. The ‘choreograph’ for this dance is the geometry of the ropes, the centrifugal force of the spinning from and the strict revolving patterns of solo and chorus.” The music for ROPE DANCE TRANSLATIONS was composed by Michael Galasso, who would go on to provide unforgettable string compositions for Wong Kar-Wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE.

ELAINE: A STORY OF LOST LOVE
dirs. Andrew Horn & John Meaney, 1976
30 mins. United States.
In English.

A joint thesis project of Horn (at NYU) and his longtime collaborator John Meaney (at Montclair), the crushing and tragic ELAINE: A STORY OF LOST LOVE is adapted from an obscure Guy de Maupassant novella, lifted from a paperback bought by Meaney as an undergrad for 99 cents. What’s evident is Horn’s fascination for squared-off blocking and choreography, including a glimpse at a performance of Orpheus and Eurydice in minature. Star Adam Macadam brought on other members of Charles Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theater Company, many of whom would return to work on DOOMED LOVE.

Featuring ancient costumes on loan from the Metropolitan Opera (repurposed from early twentieth century productions of Tosca and La Traviata), ELAINE aspires to high gothic on a shoestring budget. Horn and Meaney shot at locations including the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights, the Frick, and the Carnegie Hall Cinema, then operated by Sid Geffen and Jackie Raynal – the programmers responsible for hosting the first-ever New York City screenings of films by Marguerite Duras, an influence on the filmmakers (alongside Daniel Schmid, Douglas Sirk and Alain Resnais.)

ELAINE was originally screened on a quadruple-bill alongside films by Bary Shiils, Robert Mapplethorpe, Rudy Burkhardt and Neil Welliver; J. Hoberman called ELAINE “a well-crafted, if precious, vehicle for Black-Eyed Susan and other members of the Ridiculous Theater Company.”

vintage poster for ELAINE by actor/artist Duncan Hannah

CLOUD DANCE
dirs. Robyn Brentano & Andrew Horn, 1979
14 mins. United States.
In English.

Collaborating again with deGroat, Horn and Brentano filmed his improvised dance in “The Four-Armed Cloud,” a large cube-shaped sculpture of thousands of linen threads by the artist Lenore Tawney at the NJ State Museum in Trenton. At a time when dance film convention was to show full bodies in continuous movement, Horn and Brentano worked with de Groat to develop movement sequences for the camera. They then developed a kind of relational editing by matching incongruous movements and using blackouts to create a visual logic that resulted in a surprisingly intimate and hypnotic cine-dance. Later, they added a poem by Christopher Knowles, read by Arby Ovanessian and a violin score improvised by Michael Galasso.

SPACE CITY
dirs. Robyn Brentano & Andrew Horn, 1981
28 mins. United States.
In English.

Collaborating this time with dancer Kenneth King, Horn and Brentano’s most ambitious dance film anticipated the production value of Horn’s later dramatic features. The action begins in an 18th century attic before slowly moving through the passages of a modern metropolis’ early development, with King dancing to guide the action as the world expands – including a ghoulish and haunting superimposition of King dancing atop the Manhattan skyline.

In an interview with Millennium Film Journal, Horn pointed out that SPACE CITY put onscreen a number of personas adopted by King in his previous dance performances: “the old man, the little man that dances, the figure of the dreamer, the dancer.” Brentano described it like this: “From the moment that the artist Rick Brintzenhofe suggested that he paint the city on these folding screens and modules we knew that we wanted to do a variety of set-ups and to edit those setups together using various orders so that it was like taking a deck of cards and shuffling them all together.” SPACE CITY takes the viewer through the thresholds of dreaming, waking, and transcendental awareness, using real and painted images of the city, a 19th century attic and outer space. King’s voice recounts a dream of space without walls, a time of childhood and ecstasy.



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

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – 10 PM
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25 – 7:30 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22 – 5 PM
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23 – 7:00 PM w/Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister) in person for Q&A!
(This event is $10.)

ONLINE TICKETS        FACEBOOK EVENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Believe it or not, WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER! was born out of a scene in THE NOMI SONG. Actually out of one line. In the Nomi film, Twisted band leader Jay Jay French describes the almost riot that ensued when, believe it or not again, Klaus Nomi opened for them at the Soap Factory in New Jersey. “This was NYC performance art done in a blue collar suburban bar”, he explained. I knew almost nothing about Twisted at the time but I knew enough to know this was a hilarious confluence. But then after the NOMI film was finished Jay Jay started to explain to me what Twisted was doing doing onstage with their club audiences back then which struck me as very much it’s own kind of performance art, just dedicated to that whole other crowd. So it was the performance art idea that got me into it, little realizing that there was story there that was just as epic as NOMI’s.

Interestingly, both stories take place in almost the same time in almost the same geographical area, but they may as well have been in parallel universes. On the surface, TWISTED and NOMI couldn’t be more different – but at the same time, I came to realize there was a great similarity between the two. Each had their vision of who they were and what they wanted to do and they both had the courage to just ram it home no matter what. Both flew in the face of the establishment music scene, but both had their dedicated audiences that were ready to follow them anywhere. And both were able to meet each fallback and turn it into the next step forward. A review of the Twisted film said, ‘Stardom is interesting, but the long road that leads there is fascinating’ and that’s what appealed to me about both stories – the roller coaster of getting there is what it’s all about.”Andrew Horn

ANDREW HORN’s work encompassed a wide range-from making films on post modern dance in New York to writing for one of German’s most popular soap operas, from film musicals to music documentaries, from Eastern Europe to the East Village.  His feature films DOOMED LOVE (1984) and THE BIG BLUE,(1988) as well as the documentary feature EAST SIDE STORY(1997) (named as one of the 10 best films of the year in Time Magazine), and his film THE NOMI SONG (2004) won the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. These, as well as his earlier short films, have been widely shown all over the world and appear in the collection of Museum of Modern Art in New York, BFI, Cinemateque Francaise, MunichFilm Museum, Deutsche Kindermatheke and the Lincoln Center of Film Library of  Performing Arts.

Born in New York, Horn graduated from New York University School of the Arts where his junior thesis film CHROMA was nominated for an Academy Award.  After living in New York as a filmmaker and graphic artist, he came to Berlin in 1989 as a Guest of DAAD Berlin Exchange Artist fellowship program, where he worked for the rest of his life as a filmmaker, writer and journalist for such magazines as Screen International, Moving Pictures and Variety, as well as an Emmy Award winning film researcher for projects for BBC, ZDF, Arte, Channel 4, PBS, HBO, The Paul Robson Foundation, Michael Moore and Spike Lee. His last film was the 2014 documentary WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER!; at the time of Andy’s death he was preparing BYRDS, a documentary about the early era of Robert Wilson’s Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds. He is survived by his son, Kai Kuroiwa.