Church of Film

March 19, 2015


PRESENTED BY MISSISSIPPI RECORDS at the HOLLYWOOD THEATRE, with live music accompaniment from Marisa Anderson, Jason Bokros, Dragging an Ox Through Water, Michael Hurley, and Millions of Brazilians! The program will be a film collage prepared by the curatorial team at the Church of Film with live soundtrack by some of Mississippi Records favorite musicians! The film is a winding piece of madness – weaving together all kinds of scenes from all kinds of films on themes like nature, death, sex, war and much more. Not for the faint of heart or spirit…

March 16, 2015


AT THE HOLLYWOOD THEATRE! Monday, March 16th. 9:30pm. $5. A dreamy blend of Russian fairy-tale and Pushkin's "Queen of Spades," THE SCARLET FLOWER is a unique and enchanting telling of the traditional Beauty in the Beast tale. Featuring phantasmagorical photography, beautiful baroque set design, and a haunting folk soundtrack, it stands apart from other film adaptations of the material, even as it occasionally evokes Jean Cocteau and the Czech New Wave.

March 11, 2015


Part One, 8pm. Part Two, 9pm (after Intermission). Part One will feature two shorts, SILENT SNOW DEADLY SNOW (1966), adapted from Conrad Aiken's story, and Jack Clayton's Oscar-winning THE BESPOKE COAT (1956), based on Gogol. Part Two: Made during the celebrated heyday of English social-realist cinema, influenced by Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave, THE PUMPKIN EATER is a brilliantly crafted treatment of angst among the sophisticated metropolitan bourgeoisie. Directed by Jack Clayton, scripted by Harold Pinter, based on Penelope Mortimer's novel about love, sex, marriage, infidelity, reproduction and parenthood, and all the good and evil inherent in each. Anne Bancroft as the well-kept wife with the unkempt psyche gives the most subtle and sensitive performance of her career, (won best actress at Cannes for it), with Peter Finch as the philandering husband and James Mason as (always) a wonderfully sinister creep. It’s a remarkably honest film, mesmerizing to watch and damn hard to shake off afterward.

March 4, 2015


KABAM! POW! PLOP! WHIIIZ! A night of ultra-pop, Swinging Paris madness! Your emcee for the evening is French composer, chanteur, and provocateur extraordinaire, Serge Gainsbourg! Part One will whisk you through Serge's music videos, brimming with bizarre video art collages and comic book camp. The centerpiece will be his 28 minute HISTOIRE DE MELODY NELSON video, with Jane Birkin! Part Two presents ANNA (1967), a full-length modern fairy-tale musical busting at the seams with Jacques Demy-style fantasy and color, and starring Anna Karina. Also featuring Marianne Faithfull and Serge himself, who wrote, starred, and composed the entire film! Bonnies bring your Clydes, Clydes your Bonnies!

February 16, 2015


AT THE HOLLYWOOD THEATRE! A deeply personal work by prodigious avant-garde writer and director Shuji Terayama, PASTORAL: TO DIE IN THE COUNTRY 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 reverie, it is one of the most profound and arresting artistic accomplishments of the Japanese New Wave!

February 11, 2015


Celebrating the cinematic world of Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges! Besides being one of the 20th century's most prodigious and innovative writers, Borges was also a deeply committed cinephile (in spite of being almost entirely blind!). Part One features shorts based on Borges's life and stories, including SPIDERWEB (1975), THE WAIT (1983), and BORGES '75 (1975). Part Two presents Hugo Santiago's INVASION, the lost masterpiece of Argentinian cinema and a film Borges considered one of the crowning achievements of his life. In the fictional city of Aquila, a mysterious group of heroes work night and day to thwart the never-ending attempts of unnamed invaders from breaching the city's gates, from land, sea, air and from within! A chic paranoic thriller following agents with sword and cloth discipline and Samurai-like honor as they make a deadly and doomed effort to protect their modern-day Troy. INVASION was banned and seemingly destroyed after the 1976 coup, but was miraculously and painstakingly restored with the help of brilliant cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich!

February 4, 2015


Inspired largely by the films of Bresson and Tarkovsky that trickled into India, a small group of filmmakers briefly staged an ambitious attempt to bring arthouse to the land of Bollywood. Leading the charge was the brilliant Mani Kaul, whose works blended poetry, music, Hindu mysticism and theory. This program celebrates the noble and short-lived Indian New Wave! Part One explores Kaul's beautiful, sensual and erotic short film work and documentary with the Nomad Puppeteer (1974), Before My Eyes (1987), and the Cloud Door (1994). Part Two presents Kaul's most celebrated feature, DUVIDHA (1973), an elegant story of a ghost who falls in love with a young bride, and takes the form of her husband while he travels on business. What happens when the woman learns to love the dead more than the living?

January 28, 2015


A beam of light shoots through the darkness and fog, dogs are baying in the distance, a lone figure walks slowly toward freedom. Or another prison. It is the cinema of Georges Franju! An outcast in the era of the French New Wave, Franju defied both the new order and the old guard. His cinema was delicate, understated in its surreality, passionate in its longing. This program celebrates French cinema's dark horse and his myth. Part One explores the subtle, moody and brilliant shorts that established Franju's name, Hotel Des Invalides (1952), Les Poussières (1954) and La Premier Nuit (1958). Part Two is his rarely seen THERESE DESQUEYROUX, his fourth collaboration with composer Maurice Jarre (a breathtaking series of films that included Eyes Without a Face and Judex). Therese explores the dark story of a woman who would give anything to obtain her freewill in a world ruled by the customs of men and money, even destroy herself... even as she doubts the value of what she struggles for. Therese Desqueyroux both challenged fashionable existentialism in its portrayal of a woman trapped, and redeemed it by showing her suffering for the goal of self-determination. An atmospheric and powerful lost masterpiece of cinema!

January 19, 2015


AT THE HOLLYWOOD THEATRE! 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!

January 14, 2015


Madness from the Canadian Archives! Once upon a time, The National Film Board of Canada issued the mandate for filmmakers to "interpret Canada for Canadians," and funded a vast number of documentary and experimental filmmakers to meet the challenge. For many of them, in the midst of a wildly experimental climate, that mandate was worded vaguely enough to interpret very unconventional visions and perceptions of their native land... such as they might have been under the influence of the, err, 60s (wink, wink). Part One of our program features a slew of experimental shorts, by boy genius Arthur Lipsett and others! Part Two features Quebecois filmmaker Jean Beaudin's hallucinogenic masterwork, VERTIGE (1969), a bizarre pseudo documentary that imitates an acid trip as it explores the drugged-out hippie club scene in Montreal. We'll follow it with Arthur Lipsett's N-ZONE (1970), one of his brilliant collage mash-ups that is a dizzying, out-of-body whirl through Canadian media and pop culture!

January 7, 2015

BERLIN UNDERGROUND: A Program of Berlin Punk & Fashion

Presenting Berlin in the late 70s and early 80s, through a glass darkly -- several glasses of whiskey. The first part of our program features BERLIN NOW (1985), a rare document of the punk underground, featuring inset video pieces with Matador, Blixa Bargeld, Einsturzende Neubauten, and a half dozen other bands from Germany's punk/post punk scene! Part Two will be TICKET OF NO RETURN (1979), by feminist art, fashion and film genius Ulrike Ottinger, who constructed a carnivalesque madcap of lesbianism, feminine rebellion, couture and alcoholism on a wild bar-hop through the seedy underbelly of the fractured German capital. A woman only described as "She" (played by model Tabea Blumenschein) leaves her life of luxury and privilege in La Rotunda, and purchases a one-way ticket to Berlin to pursue her life's goal: a drinking binge to end them all. Merry-making and self-destruction at its finest and best-dressed! Featuring Eddie Constantine, Magdalena Montezuma, a young Nina Hagen, and the a who's who of the German avant-garde -- it's a towering achievement of renegade film art!

DECEMBER 14, 2014


At The Hollywood Theatre! Based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, THE SNOW QUEEN is a surreal and sinister film focusing mainly on the young girl Kerttu’s journey to rescue her brother Kai from the evil Snow Queen. Kerttu travels through beautiful and hostile lands, meeting various strange and threatening characters on the way – befriended and helped by some, waylaid and trapped by others. A rarely seen landmark of Finnish cinema, and a wintry fantasy epic! Finland, 1986.

DECEMBER 10, 2014


DECEMBER 3, 2014


NOVEMBER 24, 2014


AT THE HOLLYWOOD THEATRE! Adapted from the folk tales of Nikolai Gogol, in which a young man, Piotr, makes a deal with the satanic demon Basavriuk in order to achieve the wealth he will need to marry his beloved. THE EVE OF IVAN KUPALA is one of Soviet cinema’s greatest secrets; a film abounding in images of extraordinary strangeness and intoxicating potency. Director Yuri Ilyenko had already established himself at the head of Russia’s avant-garde by photographing Sergei Parajanov’s classic Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. But this rarely seen masterpiece, with its bewildering and fantastical episodes, is a piece of arthouse legend! "With imagery that makes Dali’s surrealism look like a kids’ coloring book—pig-riding demons, bleeding bread, slain children—and enough psychedelic color washes to give Dario Argento a seizure, Soviet director Yuri Ilyenko’s The Eve of Ivan Kupalo left my mouth agape and my brain swirling." - AP Kryza, Willamette Week

NOVEMBER 19, 2014

Surrealism in the Low Countries

Surrealist Shorts of the Low Countries! Henri Plaat, Franz Zwartjes, & more!

NOVEMBER 12, 2014


NOVEMBER 5, 2014


Mavka, a water nymph, falls hopelessly in love with Lukash, a country youth. But their happiness is brief when their love disturbs the relationship between the world of mortals and that of divinities. MAVKA is a poetic tragedy directed by the brilliant Yuri Ilyenko (The Eve of Ivan Kupala), and based on the works of Ukranian writer and feminist pioneer Lesya Ukrainka. A late masterpiece of the Ukranian poetic cinema movement that began with Sergei Paradjanov's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (a collaboration with Ilyenko), every shot in MAVKA is so beautifully composed that it could be framed and hung in a museum! PRESCREEN: Shorts by avant-garde Armenian director, Artavazd Pelechian!

OCTOBER 29, 2014


OCTOBER 23, 2014


Special Event at the Hollywood Theatre!

OCTOBER 22, 2014

The Mansion of Madness

Mexican producer and long-time Jodorowsky collaborator Juan Lopez Moctezuma (Alucarda) borrowed the cast and crew of El Topo to craft his first feature, THE MANSION OF MADNESS. Loosely based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe, Moctezuma's film is a strange and surreal spectacle that owes much to his relationship to the avant-garde Panic Theater and European cult art cinema. When a journalist seeks the secluded castle-asylum of the radical Dr. Tarr to investigate his methods of curing madness, he insteads finds the asylum may be run by the patients... Misunderstood as a run of the mill B exploitation-horror film at the time of its release, MANSION OF MADNESS never found the right audience or achieved the cult status it deserved, unlike its Midnight Movie contemporaries. But that doesn't mean we can't appreciate is baroque-psychedelic madness now! PRESCREEN: A Night of Poe Shorts!

OCTOBER 15, 2014


FREE. Wednesday, October 15th. 8pm Prescreen. 9pm film. Czechoslovakian New Wave hero Juraj Herz brings his brand of super fun surrealistic imagery into the horror genre with THE CREMATOR. Karl Kopfrkingl works at a crematorium in Prague, in the 30’s, during German occupation. Because of his beliefs in Tibetan religion, he believes he is not just cremating the dead, but liberating the souls of the departed. A Nazi convinces Karl he has German blood in him and that his wife and children are Jewish. so he nuts up and goes on a rampage to kill his family (but, er, Dali Lama inspired rampage?). He wants to save the world by turning it into one big crematorium in this disturbing (yet comical) story inspired by Nazi atrocities (not comical). This cult classic of black comedy horror was banned after it’s premier for 20 years — cuz if it ain’t been banned, we ain’t showin' it! PRESCREEN: YUGOSLAVIAN HORROR SHORTS! Masque of the Red Death & The Ward!

OCTOBER 8, 2014


OCTOBER 1, 2014


September 24, 2014


Mary's sister, Jacqueline, has gone missing. As she searches for clues to her disappearance, she finds herself closer and closer to a shadowy group, the Palladists, followers of an ancient Satanic cult. Producer Val Lewton's chilling film is one of the most enigmatic riddles of 1940s Hollywood -- a film that broke so many taboos that studio heads didn't know what to think: Satanism, Lesbianism, suicide... and yet, it is not shock cinema, but rather a somber and majestic cinematic poem about a woman's descent into self-destruction, and the solace that some may find in death. PRESCREEN: Shorts by the great MAYA DEREN!

September 17, 2014


After nearly a decade as American Vogue‘s most subversive fashion photographer, William Klein made WHO ARE YOU POLLY MAGGOO, a wonderful and scathing satire of Parisian haute couture, starring Dorothy McGowan as the American supermodel in Paris followed by a French television crew and Grayson Hall as Miss Maxwell, a fashion magazine editor modeled after Diana Vreeland. A hip and fun pseudovérité spoofing all the glamorous bullshit of the fashion world. But who cares about satirizing the cultural pretension -- the clothes in this film are totally fabulous! PRESCREEN: We have an amazing collection of shorts that cast their needling critical gaze at Americana, from Broadway and Times Square to Dallas and Houston! Including William Klein's first short, a collaboration with Resnais and Chris Marker, Broadway on Lights!

September 10, 2014


Produced toward the end of WW2, in the twilight of Nazi Germany, OPFERGANG (aka THE GREAT SACRIFICE) was a solemn melodrama intended as a piece of escapism for a war-weary and gloomy public as it acknowledged inevitable defeat. Set in the German countryside, it's the story of Albrecht, a nobleman who, although married, falls helplessly in love for his neighbor, an adventurous and free-spirited Swede named Äls. But his feverish passion is troubled by a sad truth - that Äls is terminally ill. A masterpiece of ill-fated love and death, heavy with ponderous Nietzschean undertones, OPFERGANG is a haunted film of rare and exceptional beauty. An incredible piece of film art and film history, it is very seldom seen! PRESCREEN: Experimental animation in the Weimar era! Rare shorts by Walter Ruttmann, Lotte Reniger, and Oscar Fischinger!

September 3, 2014


August 27, 2014


The world of late Chilean director Raoul Ruiz was an unstable and shifting mixture of dreams, conspiracies, games, coincidences and symbols. Perhaps his most widely regarded film, THE HYPOTHESIS OF THE STOLEN PAINTING is a re-imagining of Pierre Klossowski's novel The Baphomet, and develops the complex and intertangled story of six 19th century paintings. As the viewer wanders through elaborate tableaux-vivants of the paintings and notices fascinating idiosyncrasies and errors, a strange and horrible historical conspiracy coded into the works begins to emerge -- and perhaps the truth lies hidden in an unknown, stolen seventh painting that serves as the missing link! As a primer for Ruiz's amazing puzzle, this screening will be preceded by one of Ruiz's best short films from the period, DOG'S DIALOGUE. It's gonna be fun, frightening, dreamy, and mind-pretzling, so don't miss it! PRESCREEN: ZIG-ZAG & VOYAGE OF A HAND!

August 20, 2014