Filmed in the Summer of '68, Slovakian director Elo Havetta's CELEBRATION IN THE BOTANICAL GARDEN is an unrestrained, uncomplicated expression of joy, freedom and the need for miracles. A mosaic of stories and episodes set in a small village flutter about, merge and collide until a stranger comes to town and touches everything with a bit of anarchy and magic. And then it's party time! A banquet of folk art, colors, comedy and magic, it's a visually saturated ode to the enchanting spell of cinema and, well, just a fun piece of Summer Saturnalia to enjoy over a few drinks! Prescreen of Elo's shorts, Forecast:Zero and Saint Joan!
The third feature by prodigious avant-garde writer and director Shuji Terayama is a beautiful, hallucinogenic attempt to recapture his own childhood. But in the midst of his tale of a young boy grappling with his nascent sexuality and struggling with an overprotective mother, the filmmaker attempts to seize control of his own narrative and creation. Can cinema reorder our memories and reinvent our past? An exploration of the powers of film and a Fellini-esque circus of images and poetic revery, PASTORAL is one of the most profound and arresting artistic accomplishments of the Japanese New Wave. Come early for a prescreen of GRASS LABYRINTH (1979) & BUTTERFLY (1973)
Come sink into LA VIE DE BOHEME, Aki Kaurismaki's 1992 film based on the fiction of Henri Murger. A sweet and woeful tale of three outcast bohemians, a writer, painter, and composer, the most polite, elegant, and genteel down and outers you'll ever meet, trying to make their way and make their art in Paris. Kaurismaki deftly combines sublime melancholy with pure and innocent sentimentality with his very unique style of deadpan humor, illuminating a world where the ideals of the artist barely persist -- but they must persist! Special appearances and cameos by Jean-Pierre Léaud, Louis Malle and Samuel Fuller!
Controversial director Peter Watkins employed his signature docudrama style in his first feature, PRIVILEGE, to follow Britian's future pop star, played by Manfred Mann frontman Paul Jones. Shorter is a sado-masochistic musical sensation cultivated by the government to skillfully channel public anger and to distract from national issues. Suffocated by handlers and fans, programmed by the authorities and commercial interests, Shorter's world dwindles in a vacant haze of terror and ego. It's a paranoid yet horribly prescient vision of mass media and politics! Preceded by the classic doc of David Bowie, CRACKED ACTOR!
Jacques Rivette's noir-infused fantasy follows the Goddess of the Moon (Juliet Berto) and the Goddess of the Sun (Bulle Ogier) as they battle over a mystical jewel that will allow them to remain on Earth for longer than the 40 days of Carnivale. And in the midst of their violent intrigues, several ordinary Parisians are entangled and destroyed. Oh no! An ambitious follow-up to Celine & Julie Go Boating, DUELLE remained unreleased and relished in obscurity, while critics and film scholars championed it as a lost masterpiece. A deconstruction of cinema and a warped recreation of Celtic myths with a Feminist twist!
"A journey through peekboxes of naked tableaux, theatres of mechanical dreams, feasts of monsters and piles of humanity..." Yeah. We'll be showcasing the filmwork of Dali protégé and Prince in the Court of Miracles, Steven Arnold, including his mind-shattering Midnight Movie masterpiece LUMINOUS PROCURESS. Projected upside-down, rightside-up, sideways and every other way at its premiere at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, for such luminaries as Dali & Warhol, we'll only be projecting it one way. But to make up for it, we will also throw in Arnold's beautiful short films, THE LIBERATION OF MANNIQUE MECHANIQUE, MESSAGES MESSAGES, & VARIOUS INCARNATIONS OF A TIBETAN SEAMSTRESS. It's gonna be monstrous and wild!
Cult film maestro Mario Bava tackled Italy's most celebrated comic strip with panache -- a wild array of dizzying set pieces, costumes, and psychedelic madness, paying homage to the silent serials of the past with the tale of an anti-capitalist hero willing to fight evil with evil... and the woman who loved him. DANGER DIABOLIK combines 60s spy camp with an informed love of early cinema, the portmanteau fluidity of Italian genre flicks, and a winking & colorful counter-culter flare. Featuring one of Ennio Morricone's greatest soundtracks! If you didn't see him, he was there!
A classic of the Yugoslavian Black Wave, Zivojin Pavlovic's WHEN I AM DEAD AND WHITE is a hilarious, dark, and unrelenting portrait of Jimmy Dingy, a vagabond from the backwaters who survives on wallet-snatching, seasonal labor, and, most of all, women. Although Jimmy cannot carry a tune, along the way he unwittingly finds himself an up-and-coming folk singer. Until he reaches Belgrade and, like most things in the Balkans, things go awry...
Věra emerged from her long banishment from the film industry with a series of savage satirical comedies, including THE VERY LATE AFTERNOON OF THE FAUN. A return to the frenetic energy of Daisies, Faun follows a fading Lothario and bureaucrat as he plies his rapidly diminishing charms on Prague's young women, and in the process confronts the spectre of Death! Never before screened in the United States!
Věra Chytilová's third feature, following her classic Daisies, is a bold mixture of avant-garde film technique and narrative allegory, exploring the theme of Adam and Eve in a spectacular visual cyclone. What better way to follow up a film banned for wasting food than a film about forbidden fruit? FRUIT OF PARADISE bewildered audiences, critics and censors on its release and, hey, it's still as bewildering and beautiful as ever!
The late Věra Chytilová's masterwork, and the crown jewel of the Czech film miracle of the 60s, DAISIES is the purest expression of the uncontained, joyful anarchy of its times. As irreverent and nasty as it is playful and spirited, DAISIES follows two lawless heroines as they wreak havok on the staid, male-driven world of the bourgeois. It doesn't break all of the rules of polite society and proper film-making; it doesn't stop long enough to even acknowledge them.
A Church of Film Special Event! Italian ambient artist and performer ESTASY will be coming to perform a live score for Eiichi Yamamoto's BELLADONNA OF SADNESS! A beautiful and lush animated film inspired by Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt, and classic Tarot illustrations, Belladonna is the tale of a young peasant girl accused of witchcraft. Set to the intricate, psychedelic soundscapes of Estasy!
We're paying homage to Miklós Jancsó, who passed away this year, by showing his breakthrough masterpiece THE ROUND UP. One of the towering figures of 60s world cinema, Jancsó was a radical formalist and a master of long-take shooting. The Round Up shocked audiences at Cannes with its kafkaesque world of authoritarian power, prison and isolation contrasted with the breathtaking scope of its choreographed shots on the wide Hungarian plains. It is widely considered Hungary's greatest film, so don't miss it!
Police Inspector Glebsky answers an anonymous distress call from a remote mountain hotel, but finds the place untroubled when he arrives. However when an avalanche snows him in, he gets to know the hotel's strange guests a little better, and something -- or many things -- are not quite right... are they terrorists? Robots? Aliens?! This stylish glam-inflected, spaced-out, sci-fi neo-noir is a weird and wild mystery yarn based on a novel by famed Soviet sci-fi writers Boris and Arkady Stugatsky, and features an amazing ambient space-rock soundtrack by Estonian synth pioneer Sven Grunberg!
Marcell Jankovic's second animated feature is psychedelic bath, a swirling trip of Hungarian folklore, Sigmund Freud, and anxieties, dreams and fears about industry and technology. The White Mare's sons may be the only ones who can close the lid on Pandora's Box once it's been opened under the dragon tree, at the gates of Hell...! A kaleidoscopic monument to Hungarian animation that may short-circuit brains, so be sure to check them at the door!
Yuri Ilyenko, lifelong friend and collaborator of Sergei Paradjanov, pulled out all of the stops for this film, which is easily the most psychedelic and bizarre movie to come out of the Soviet Union! Based on a story by Nikolai Gogol, Eve of Ivan Kupalo is a folk tale about a young man who strikes a deal with a demon to obtain wealth and the woman he loves. But at what cost? A feast of stylized visuals from beginning to end, don't miss this rare piece of Soviet avant-garde!
Calling all angry young men! And all women who love angry young men! Come see a young and irresistible Albert Finney in his first starring role as the middle-class working stiff who only wants to raise hell and drink as many pints as humanly possible. Will he break the bonds that chain him to a predictable and unfulfilling life through illicit sex and alcohol? Or will we all find out that we cannot escape our grim reality through illicit sex and alcohol??? Oh god no! Based on Alan Sillitoe’s first novel, and Morrissey’s favorite film!
Robert Enrico's feature-length triptych of Ambrose Bierce stories was shown briefly before being stripped for parts. Its last segment, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, achieved lasting acclaim, but the rest of the film has languished in obscurity. So we're piecing back together the entire flick! It's a beautiful, dreamlike tribute to poetic realism that transports you right into the grim and ghostly world of Bitter Bierce!
Jerzy Skolimowski's coming-of-age story about a boy's obsession with his older co-worker (Jane Asher) at a bathhouse caught audiences off guard with its blend of gallows humor, surreal flights of fancy, and plainly aberrant psychosis. Critics adored it, but the public abhorred it, and it disappeared for decades while its cult and legend grew. Now here it is, restored at last! Featuring a soundtrack with songs by Cat Stevens and Can.
Cats! Poison! Jewels!! Come see Morgiana, a gothic tale based on a story by Alexander Grin, the Russian Poe. The story of jealousy between two sisters, and the stately kitty cat caught in the fray, just trying to get to his water dish! Directed by Czechoslovak New Wave alum Juraj Herz (The Cremator, Beauty & the Beast), shot by the brilliant Jaroslav Kucera (Daisies, Cassandra Cat, everything cool ever), and scored by Lubos Fiser (Valerie & Her Week of Wonders). And starring a cat!
Jane is worried that she may be crazy. Also, she's worried that strange men are trying to follow her and kill her. Therapy isn't helping, nor are the strange electric blue vitamin drinks her husband gives her. So she does what anyone would do: she joins a orgiastic devil-worshipping cult. But is the cult she joined the same cult that's following her? What? Okay, maybe plot isn't the strong point in this dizzying psychedelic giallo by Sergio Martino, which features an incredible score by Morricone comrade and understudy Bruno Nicolai.
Jaromil Jireš's surreal gothic fairy tale about a young girl lost in a kaleidoscopic dream of vampires, aunts, earrings, and a lot of people taking baths in public fountains (maybe it's a Czech thing). A beautiful and colorful blend of horror and fantasy with a great score by composer and Czech New Wave maestro Luboš Fišer. It's an 80 minute Saturnalia of the senses!
Come watch Miša Radivojević's 1981 youth genre film, The Promising Boy, which showcases the Belgrade punk scene! Slobodan Milošević bumbles his way through life as the son of well-to-do nomenclatura, until a triste with a Western tourist and a blow to the head transform him into a misfit punk rocker. Featuring music by Idoli, Azra, Pekinska patka, and others.
We'll be playing NIGHT TIDE, the first feature by American avant-garde wunderkind Curtis Harrington. A baby Dennis Hopper plays a sailor who has serious doubts that his new girlfriend may belong to an ancient cult of murderous mermaids. Before the feature we will play three of Harrington's experimental shorts, Fragment of Seeking (1946), The Assignation (1953), and The Wormwood Star (1955). It's gonna be weird. And fun. So don't miss it!
OLESYA is a lost treasure of Ukrainian Poetic Cinema, directed by Boris Ivchenko. Shot in the elegant tableaux style made famous by Ivchenko's colleague Sergei Parajanov, OLESYA is a haunting pastoral romance. A tale of love and witchcraft in 19th century Russia, never before screened in the United States.
For our opening night we will be screening F.W. Murnau's SUNRISE - A Song Of Two Humans (1927). We begin with this impressionistic masterpiece because to us it illustrates the power and beauty of film in its purest form, exploring themes of love, marriage, seduction, horror, tragedy and redemption with an emotional depth that has rarely been matched in the 80+ years since its release. The film is gorgeous! Thrilling! Soul-stirring! Transformative!