Graciela, a young and troubled young girl, becomes obsessed with witchcraft. She befriends Fabiola, a wealthy schoolmate, and impresses her with her knowledge of the black arts. But what begins first as childish playfulness increasingly becomes more destructive and sinister, until utter mayhem erupts. One of Mexican auteur Carlos Enrique Taboada's most accaimed works, POSION FOR THE FAIRIES is an elegant, witty, and unsettling psychological horror film!
Two young lovers, Françoise and Anna, become lost while on vacation. When Anna disappears, Françoise follows a mysterious dwarf and arrives at a strange castle. There the mistress of the castle, Morgana La Fey, offers her immortality, but at a cost... MORGANA & HER NYMPHS is one of the great gems of 70s French fantastique, blending a dreamy surrealism with horror, sensuality, and stunning design. A strange and mesmerizing nightmare...!
A tennis coach accidentally knocks out the eye of one his students. Restoring her vision requires a visit to the mysterious unlicensed surgeon, Blackjack, who lives in a secluded house, and the theft of an eyeball from a ganster-run eye lab. But where does this eyeball come from? Why does it provide visions of a strange man, and evoke a tortured gothic romance? BLACKJACK is Nobuhiko Obayashi’s crazy follow-up to his notorious cult hit, Hausu!
A pilot crashes his plane in the Sahara and, stranded, meets a strange young boy whom he calls the little Prince. While he works to repair his plane, the Prince recounts his adventures journeying from his home planet, a tiny asteroid with three volcanoes and a rose, toward Earth, and all the planets inbetween. A highly-stylized adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved children’s book by Lithuanian painter-turned-director, Arunas Zebriunas, THE LITTLE PRINCE wonderfully captures the melancholy ethos of the cherished classic, with stunning set pieces and desert photography.
A destroyed earth, a desolate city in ruins. TVs still operate, cinemas still function, there is electricity, but no people. The Morning Patrol guards the empty metropolis, electronic voices warn the non-existent citizens to evacuate… but for what purpose? A lone woman sneaks in, seeking to pass through the so-called Forbidden Zone and make her way to the sea, ducking the Patrol and dodging their traps. She has no memory. THE MORNING PATROL is Greek director Nikos Nikolaidis’s somber and foreboding look at a future in ruination, and a past half remembered.
A wild, orgiastic and conspiratorial retelling of the Mayerling Affair, in which the young heirs to the Austro-Hungarian Empire conspire against their parents, plotting political revolution amidst a mad party in which all taboos are confronted. Miklos Jansco's PRIVATE VICES PUBLIC VIRTUES was roundly booed when it scandalously opened the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. Today we can judge anew the merits of its liberating commentary on the hazy mixture of free love, drugs, and revolutionary politics that had engulfed Jancso's generation. Probably not safe for younger audiences... and maybe not safe for anyone!
In one of Claude Chabrol’s strangest thrillers, a young mother flees from her husband, whose violent mental breakdown has led to the injury of her child. Unfortunately, she is a poor working woman and a former dancer, and her husband is the scion of a vast industrial enterprise. To win her freedom and secure her child’s future, she must confront a vast patriarchal conspiracy that seeks to discredit and destroy her, through illicit drugs and nefarious sexual plots. THE BREACH (La Rupture) is a paranoid psychedelic thriller unlike anything else produced by the Hitchcockian French master.
A night of Serge Gainsbourg! A successful ad man in swinging Paris falls in love with a girl in a photograph—of course, who else but Anna Karina? Part winking Godard pop and part candy-colored Jacques Demy musical, the swirling parade of pre-’68 Paris is emceed by the one and only Serge Gainsbourg, who also provides the soundtrack. It probably doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, but who cares? It’s good campy fun. Also featuring Marianne Faithfull!
Three friends return from a three month sojourn to find that an economic downturn has robbed them all of their fortunes. Undaunted, the three of them decide to open a gas station and try their hand at manual labor. When a beautiful woman appears at the station, the three of them eagerly vie for her attentions, but only one of them can win her heart. THREE GOOD FRIENDS was one of the last great comedic masterpieces of Weimar Germany, and one of the best films produced by the legendary film duo of Willy Fritsch and Lilian Harvey. Brimming with charm, humor, and those familiar Weimar tropes of gender play and role reversal, it stands as wondrous monument to an irreverent culture in the midst of catastrophic change.
Letty moves from Virginia to West Texas to stay with her cousin's family, but soon finds herself unwelcome. Forced into a marriage to a man she does not love, she is tormented by the incessant winds— the constant violent howling, her isolation and sadness, and the hostility of those around her threatens to consume her. One of cinema's great masterpieces, Victor Sjostrom's rarely seen THE WIND was both a crowning achievement for Sweden's pioneering filmmaker and for actress Lillian Gish, who delivers one of the screen's most transcendent performances.
Starring Grande Otelo as Macunaima, "a hero with no character," Joaquim Pedro de Andrade's surreal farce is one of the monumental classics of the Brazilian Cinema Novo. Macunaima is born a feckless, whiny, and guileful child in the jungle. A magical transformation turns him into a handsome white man, but does nothing to change his disposition. It does, however, change the way people see him and that makes more than enough difference. An extraordinarily colorful, madcap and surreal social satire that follows Macunaima and his cohorts as they make their way through modern day Brazil, with it's revolutionary violence, its sexual liberty, and its mad cannibal (literally…) industrialists! Based on Mario de Andrade's modernist classic novel from 1928.
A young women lives happily with her doting father, a lighthouse keeper, until a handsome stranger comes to shore. Luring her from her idyllic life in the countryside into the city, she is drawn into a life of sex, alcohol, and depravity! “Feely adapted” from a Pushkin story, THE CROSS OF LOVE is often considered Finnish mutant-melodrama maestro Teuvo Tulio’s greatest creation—a unique blend of gothic expressionism, lyricism, luridness, and of courses pinches of over-the-top, absurd high drama!
During the US bombing of Hanoi, a young girl searches for her father, a soldier, in the midst of the city rubble. A harrowing and remarkable drama, THE LITTLE GIRL OF HANOI was miraculously shot during the final year of the US invasion of Vietnam. Praised for its exquisite visual style and emotional rawness, the film was also a scathing indictment of the devastation wrought by the war, and helped Vietnam restart its film industry.
During the US bombing of Hanoi, a young girl searches for her father, a soldier, in the midst of the city rubble. A harrowing and remarkable drama, THE LITTLE GIRL OF HANOI was miraculously shot during the final year of the US invasion of Vietnam. Praised for its exquisite visual style and emotional rawness, the film was also a scathing indictment of the devastation wrought by the war, and helped Vietnam restart its film industry.
A feudal king, sensing a peasant revolt, unleashes a cruel vengeance on the villages, until a dying blacksmith uses the last of his spirit to craft a tiny iron beast, PULGASARI… As the monster gobbles iron, he becomes larger and more powerful, aiding the villagers in their battle against their oppressive overlord. A truly bizarre and amazing Godzilla knockoff, North Korean style! South Korean director Sang-ok Shin (A Thousand Year-Old Fox) and his wife had been kidnapped by cinema-obsessed DPRK dictator Kim Il Sung and forced to make films (so the story goes…), culminating in this mad monster movie!
Two young girls, Maria and Mirabella, venture into the forest, where they encounter a few troubled friends: a frog whose feet have been frozen, a firefly whose shoes burst into flames, and a butterfly princess who's too afraid to fly. They must find the Lady of the Forest and seek her help, and maybe find the true purpose of frogs on earth! Romanian animator, filmmaker, and artist Ion Popescuo Gopo's MARIA, MIRABELLA displays all of his talents as a fantasy and sci-fi filmmaker, mixing animation and live action to make a heartwarming and psychedelic fairy tale. Features an amazing pop-funk soundtrack!
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.
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. An ambitious follow-up to his Celine & Julie Go Boating, DUELLE remained unreleased and languished 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!
Chris Marker's sprawling, poignant, heart-stopping essay on the cataclysmic rise and fall of the New Left and leftist revolutions around the world, 1967-1977. Described by the director as "scenes from the third world war," A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT is both tribute and epitaph to a global revolution that never happened. A lifetime achievement culled from a decade of guerilla filming around the world, and augmented by meticulously researched found footage, Marker documents the noble and doomed attempts of labor, the non-aligned third world, intellectuals and students to upset the march towards imperialism, Fascism, and plutocratic dominion. This is their story—they may have failed, but they will rise again!
A masterless Samurai, a ronin, living in disgrace seeks to regain his stature... a common setup for a typical genre flick, but in the hands of arthouse provocateur Toshio Matsumoto (Funeral Parade of Roses), it's no swashbuckling adventure... it's an existential nightmare. DEMONS is a grim tale of the inescapable nature of evil and the darkness that dwells within man, and a consummate anti-Samurai epic. Drowning in shadows, a handful of characters try to claw their way out a world of deception, robbery, and murder, all done in the name of so-called honor. But the horror and tragedy compounds, interfuses, and then spirals out of control into metaphysical chaos. Banned in many countries for several reasons (eep!).!
Stepha, a vivacious actress from a wealthy family, is approaching her 30s and is unmarried. Her cousin Paul, an officer in the Austrian army and a shameless rogue, tricks her into marrying him so that he can settle his enormous gambling debts and assume ownership of his father’s estate. He is unable to consummate the marriage and descends into madness… OIL LAMPS is a visually sumptuous drama of the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire, told by the brilliant Juraj Herz (The Cremator, Morgiana, Beauty & the Beast)!
Marcell Jankovic's animated feature, SON OF THE WHITE MARE, is psychedelic bath, a swirling trip of Hungarian folklore, Sigmund Freud, and anxieties, dreams and fears about industry and technology. When the lid on Pandora's Box has been opened under the dragon tree at the gates of Hell, the three sons of the white mare must come together and journey into the underworld to slay dragons and set things right! A kaleidoscopic monument to Hungarian animation that may short-circuit brains, so be sure to check them at the door!
Manuel, a young child living on a strange island, is taken on a long, drifting dream with fishermen and captains, psychic chess players, a woodland demon, and many other fantastical things, while trying to grow up, fulfill his destiny—whatever it may be—and not disappoint his parents. He may have to travel through dreams within dreams, back and forth in time, and into strange fantasy worlds to do it! MANUEL ON THE ISLAND OF MARVELS is considered by many to be Chilean exile and genius director Raul Ruiz’s greatest work, and the one that best encompasses his preoccupation with psychic states, children’s stories, games, and surrealism. Originally broadcast as a three-part television series in Portugal, it was thought lost for some time, but has drifted to the surface again—as dreams will do! Presented all in one piece (150m). One of cinema’s rarest treasures!
Czechoslovakian New Wave: A mysterious young woman, Anabella, arrives in Bratislava caught in the midst of World War 2, seeking papers to authenticate her citizenship. She becomes the erotic desire and inspiration of a clique of bohemian artists, as they indulge in surreal and imaginary interactions with her. But as Anabella turns into the object of their exploitative and selfish gaze, the lines between reality and fantasy begin to blur. Only one man, a mad sculptor who makes death masks and calls himself the Raven, seeks to help her with sincerity—and at last must avenge her. Stefan Uher’s THE MIRACULOUS VIRGIN was a cornerstone of Slovakian poetic surrealism in the 60s, featuring Uher’s trademark drifting camera and elaborate set pieces and scenarios.
Czechoslovakian New Wave: A Bohemian shepherd discovers the sacred golden fern in a nearby grove, and claims it for himself. He is haunted by the fern’s guardian, a mysterious and beautiful woodland divinity, who abandons her duty once she falls in love with him. When he is drafted for war, she sews a seed from the fern into a peasant’s shirt making the shepherd immune to harm—as long as he wears the shirt. But as war takes him further and further from his home and bride, and fame and nobility entice him into increasingly daring adventures, the shepherd risks forgetting his love and the importance of her token. THE GOLDEN FERN is a Jiri Weiss’s masterfully directed and elegant adaptation of one of Czech fairy tale author Jan Drda’s most celebrated adventures!
Czechoslovakian New Wave: The familiar H.C. Andersen fairy tale as re-told by the luminaries of the Czechoslovakian New Wave! A beautiful mermaid princess rescues a human prince from a shipwreck and falls in love. To see her prince again, she sacrifices her voice and leaves her utopian undersea world in order to walk among the troubled world of mankind. But this isn't Disney. It's a story of love, silence, pain, and ultimately tragic sacfrice. Designed by the brilliant Esther Krumbachova (Daisies), with a score by Lubos Fiser (Valerie & Her Week of Wonders), and directed by Czech film elder statesman Karel Kachyna (The Ear), THE LITTLE MERMAID is one of the unquestioned masterworks of post-New Wave Czechoslovakian cinema.
Czechoslovakian New Wave: "Only a fool can be a free man!” Juraj Jakubisko, often called the Slovakian Fellini, made this colorful madcap classic as Soviet tanks were rolling into Prague. Three youths, orphaned by political violence, take refuge in a bombed out church and vow to live a life of heedless, unrestrained joy. But amidst the drunken revelry and surreal antics, an undercurrent of violence emerges, until reality at last rears its head and the spell is broken. All good things must come to an end! Banned without condition by Soviet authorities immediately upon release, BIRDS ORPHANS & FOOLS was finally released in 1989 after the Velvet Revolution, and hailed as a masterpiece of the Czechoslovakian New Wave.
Czechoslovakian New Wave: Petr, a romantic poet with a passion for daggers, pistols and roses, arrives at the strange castle-hotel The World searching for his love, Veronika. But nothing is quite right at this Art Nouveau-styled hotel, where mice, snakes, and insects abound, furniture is crooked or broken, and the staff are peculiar, hostile, and suspicious. Also, the hotel has a storied history of artists turning up dead. In a world where the only certain thing is an uncertain love, Petr finds himself in a whirlpool of personal entanglements around a lover whose feelings change every moment, and a cast of characters who may all be responsible for his eventual murder! A dark Kafkaesque comedy, Antonin Masa’s HOTEL FOR STRANGERS is one of the lost cornerstones of Czech New Wave surrealism. At the North Star Ballroom.
Czechoslovakian New Wave: A magical circus troupe arrives into a sleepy Czech town, disrupting the mundane affairs and routines of the townspeople. With them is Mokol, a cat wearing sunglasses which, when removed, exposes everyone Mokol looks at in their true colors. While the adults find the cat dangerous for revealing their hypocrisies, the children love him. Vojtech Jasný's WHEN THE CAT COMES... (aka CASSANDRA CAT) was one of the first films of the nascent Czech New Wave to become an enormous international success, with brilliant color photography and effects by the great Jaroslav Kucera (Daisies, Morgiana, the Little Mermaid).
Latin American Cinema: Presenting Hugo Santiago's INVASION, the lost masterpiece of Argentinian cinema and a film writer Jorge Luis Borges considered one of the crowning achievements of his life! In the fictional city of Aquilea, 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. A prescient parable of Fascism's insidious growth, INVASION was banned and seemingly destroyed after the 1976 coup, but was miraculously and painstakingly restored with the help of brilliant cinematographer Ricardo Aronovich!
Latin American Cinema: Blending cartoons, magazine clippings, photographs, and a host of found materials into documentary, Santiago Alvarez’s wild, nervous agitprop montage established the new revolutionary Cuban cinema as a global force! Exploding with novel technique and pop counter-culture, the films explored the crimes of imperialism and capitalism from D.C. to Hanoi. Featured will be NOW! (1964), a rousing call to action against racial oppression in the United States, LBJ (1968), a scathing, perverse takedown in images of the US President, 79 SPRINGTIMES (1969), his famous tribute to Ho Chi Minh, THE SERVANT’S DREAM (1970), beautiful short story about a Peruvian servant’s subtle revenge on his master, and THE TIGER LEAPS AND KILLS, BUT IT WILL DIE…. IT WILL DIE… (1973), a defiant eulogy to slain folk singer Victor Jara and Chile following Pinochet’s CIA-backed coup.
Latin American Cinema: A tyrannical rat poison salesman locks his family up in a large, crumbling city house. Coerced into a strict regimen of forced labor, tormented by unremitting rain, subject to imprisonment and their father's impulsive fits, prohibited from news and information, three children and their mother live in isolation and terror. A shocking, and at times witty and surreal allegory of life under authoritarian rule, THE CASTLE OF PURITY was one of the first masterpieces of Mexican auteur and Bunuel understudy Arturo Ripstein. At the North Star Ballroom.
Three tales of the supernatural! A young woman (Betty Field) yearns for love but finds herself too homely—but a mysterious purveyor of masks on Mardi Gras may provide her with the secret to beauty. A successful lawyer (Edward G. Robinson) receives a troubling palm-reading, only to discover that often prophecies are self-fulfilling. Finally, a tightrope walker (Charles Boyer) is troubled by a woman in his nightmares (Barbara Stanwyck)—meeting her, however, he falls into a doomed love. FLESH & FANTASY is an enchanting medley of tales of providence and prophecy, directed in Hollywood by French auteur Julien Duvivier during the war.
A shorts and featurettes program of love, death, and the sea! Our headline film, DAINAH LA METISSE, is an early masterpiece by French master Jean Gremillon. A strange, stylized and alluring film, DAINAH is a jazzy, nightmarish poem about racial tension and sublimated colonial guilt, set amidst the strange parties and magic-laced maskarades on an ocean liner. Also included will be Dmitri Kirsanoff's haunting experimental narrative, MENILMONTANT, and Jean Epstein's beautiful LE TEMPESTAIRE.
The girl of his dreams, literally! Denis, a philosophy student working as a night porter to pay his way through, develops a narcoleptic proclivity. Nodding off one night, he finds himself in a strange and lucid dream, in which he meets Irene, a beautiful and elusive woman who haunts his recurring dreams. Can he save her from the Byzantine kidnapping plots, in dream logic, and win her heart? A Surrealist comedy made in Occupied France, LA NUIT FANTASTIQUE was a box office smash for a France wary of the waking world, and a return to form for avant-garde pioneer Marcel L'Herbier!
Roland, an impoverished Parisian painter who has more luck with women than skill with a brush, unwittingly enters into a Faustian bargain when he purchases a mysterious box containing a human hand for the price of a nickel. Soon everything he dared dream of comes easily his way: fame for his painting, the woman he loves, incredible wealth. But like any deal with the Devil, he has gotten more than he bargained for… in a desperate bid to save his soul, he finds himself in Monte Carlo during Carnival, confronting the phantoms of every soul who has possessed his magical hand throughout the ages, until he finds the original owner. Together they must confront the Devil. Made in Occupied France, CARNIVAL OF SINNERS, or La Main du Diable, was a late masterstroke of expressionist horror by legendary maestro of the supernatural and fantastique, Maurice Tourneur!
Soviet National Cinemas 10/10: Mavka, a water nymph, falls hopelessly in love with Lukash, a country youth. But happiness is brief when their love disturbs the balance 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 poetry of Ukrainian writer and feminist pioneer Lesya Ukrainka. A late masterpiece of the Ukrainian 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! At the North Star Ballroom.
Soviet National Cinemas 9/10: A valorous, strong and simple Cossack named Vasyl is given the arduous task of traveling across the wilderness and plains, and (literally) to Hell and back, to deliver an important petition for help to the Russian Empress Elizabeth. Based on an adventurous comedy by Nikolai Gogol, Boris Ivchenko's THE LOST LETTER was one the last and most striking films of the Ukrainian Poetic Cinema movement. Banned immediately by Soviet censors, it is now considered a lost masterpiece of its time!
Soviet National Cinemas 8/10: A woman is forced to marry a man she does not love, a man seeks the mystical wishing tree, and twenty-two interwoven tales unfold during four seasons in a pre-revolutionary Georgian village. Tengiz Abuladze's THE WISHING TREE is a beautiful bucolic tapestry of characters and emotions, as love is found and lost, as comedy gives way to tradegy, and the force of tradition and nature confound the desires of men and women. At the North Star Ballroom.
Soviet National Cinemas 7/10: 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 Strugatsky, and features an amazing ambient space-rock soundtrack by Estonian synth pioneer Sven Grunberg! Benefit for the victims of the Oakland Ghost Ship Fire. At the North Star Ballroom.
Earth, in the future, sends Rumata as a spy to a distant planet, to observe and document a civilization stuck in something resembling the Middle Ages. Rumata's job is to develop a report on experimental history, but never to intervene in the affairs of the people or alter their development. But can any man, particularly one armed with the technological advances of millennia, stay neutral in a cruel and violent world? An indelicate balance of winking postmodern meta-narrative and Sci-fi Sword-and-Sorcery peplum (think Conan or Beastmaster), German New Cinema veteran Peter Fleischmann's take on one of the Strugatsky brother's most famous novels alternates between philosophical depth and wacked-out genre play. Featuring Werner Herzog in a cameo role, just to make things even crazier!
Soviet National Cinemas 6/10: Farouk, a young man with a poetic temperament, is orphaned in his hostile and unhappy village. He leaves with a friend to live as a beggar in the mountains, where he finds himself again surrounded by violence and inhumanity—but also great beauty. THE MAN WHO CHASES BIRDS is a rare and tender coming-of-age story set in the mountains of Uzbekistan. Inspired by Sergei Paradjanov and his long-distance friend Michelangelo Antonioni, Uzbek auteur Ali Khamraev turned this simple story into a sumptuous visual feast and mood piece worthy of the best art films of his time. At the Clinton Street Theater!
Soviet National Cinemas 5/10: One of cinema's greatest secrets and spiritual theorists, Armenian direcor Artazavd Pelechian was lauded by Jean-Luc Godard, Andrei Tarkovsky, and many other film giants, even as he languished in obscurity. In his films he explored the psychological and mystical possibilities of what he termed "distance montage"—the ordering of images to create patterns and juxtopositions of ideas at different measures of psychic space. In these three films, US (1969), SEASONS OF THE YEAR (1975), and OUR CENTURY (1982), Pelechian uses extraordinary footage of Soviet life to meditate on the relationship of mankind to nature, technology, and divinity—and to examine his aspirations and follies. Some of the most haunting experimental cinema ever made! At the North Star Ballroom.
Soviet National Cinemas 4/10: In the Crimean steppes, a tale of star-crossed lovers unfolds as a Cossack refugee is taken in by a Tatar woman and her child. MAMAY is a glorious, visually stunning meditative folk story that pays homage to the Ukrainian poetic cinema of Sergei Parajanov and directors of the past. Dedicated to director Leonid Osyka, whose beautiful student short "Entering the Sea" (1965) will preceed the screening. At the North Star Ballroom.
Soviet National Cinemas 3/10: On the edge of the Turkmen desert, a woman awaits the return of her husband, a fighter pilot in the Second World War. She has fostered a tender relationship with her elderly father-in-law, a shepherd. But as time presses on, and the likelihood of her husband's return dwindles, there is pressure for her to leave and take another husband. Heavily influenced by the films of Alexander Dovzhenko, DAUGHTER-IN-LAW is a sad, dreamy character study of a quietly devastated woman. Features a beautiful ambient electronic score! At the North Star Ballroom.
Soviet National Cinemas 2/10: 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.
Soviet National Cinemas 1/10: A country landowner loses his way in the woods while hunting, and discovers a beautiful young woman, Olesya, and her elderly grandmother living in a bog, ostracized from society as witches. He is enchanted into a forbidden love. Made at Kiev's Dovzhenko Studios, Boris Ivchenko's sombre pastoral romance, with a hint of the supernatural, was shot in a glorious folk tableaux like that of his studio colleagues Sergei Paradjanov and Yuri Ilyenko.
Horror 5/5: At the Clinton Street Theater. Cats! Poison! Jewels! MORGIANA is a gothic tale based on a story by Alexander Grin, the Russian Poe. The story of jealousy of one evil sister toward her twin, 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!
Horror 4/5: As in Edgar Allan Poe, the master of gothic horror, and a favorite for all arthouse directors of every generation for the striking imagery in his magnificent short stories and poems. Our ode to Poe will feature first and foremost French pioneer Jean Epstein's masterpiece, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, a bewildering piece of film poetry co-scripted by his young associate director and student, Luis Bunuel. Also included will be Austrian director Kurt Steinwedner's THE RAVEN, a grim expressionist adaptation of the famous poem shot in postwar conditions, and French New Wave critic Alexandre Astruc's horrifying THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, the only true adaptation of Poe's mind-bending story described in different pitches of the darkness.
Horror 3/5: A short and a short feature by Yugoslavian Black Wave director-turned-horror maestro, Djordje Kadijevic. In his short gothic chiller, THE WARD, a man suffers metaphysical persecution in the form of a mysterious man in a black cloak who dogs his every move, and takes refuge in a mental asylum. In his folk-horror feature THE BUTTERFLY, a rural village continually loses its mill operators to an unknown terror in the night, and the answer may lay in a curse of the undead.
Horror 2/5: Young-Gul, a young student, encounters a woman on a beach who attempts to poison him. Surviving, he is overwhelmed by suicidal urges, and on his path of self-destruction he encounters an immortal book salesman with an invincible will to power, a sexy millennia old lady ghost (whom he makes love to under an automated flat cake machine... for some reason), and a mad professor who collects skulls, not necessarily from the dead. THE KILLER BUTTERFLY is a beyond-bizarre, unbelievably absurd and surreal horror outing by South Korean independent auteur Ki-Young Kim (Io Island) that unfolds in nightmarish logic.
Horror 1/5: VIY—SPIRIT OF EVIL, legend holds, was the first horror film ever made in the Soviet Union, and for a long time the only one. Based on Nikolai Gogol's Ukrainian folk tale, VIY recounts the story of a debauched novice priest who, one dark and spooky night, encounters an old witch whom he mortally wounds. But when the witch inhabits the body of a young and beautiful noblewoman, she dies with a curse on her lips: the priest must spend three nights alone in the church praying for her. And every night is filled with fresh horrors and crazy demons! A brilliant interplay of special effects and folk motifs, VIY is a beautiful beautiful example of the insurgent national cinemas emerging in the USSR during the 60s, and also just plain creepy fun!
WOMEN BEHIND THE CAMERA 4/4: Three macabre and amoral tales of grizzly murder set in the floundering new Russian state: a man harbors deadly rage toward his neighbor in a community housing complex and discusses her disposal with a friend managing a boiling room, a maternity nurse finds records for mothers who left their children for adoption and pursues a deadly path toward to her own mother, and finally a small child is tired of taking "no" for an answer from her frail, doddering grandfather. Ukrainian auteur Kira Muratova is one of the greatest film geniuses to emerge in modern Russian cinema, and her signature gallows humor and sinister belief in cold and disordered action are on full display in THREE STORIES.
WOMEN BEHIND THE CAMERA 3/4: Two women and a man die and are interned together in a small, tawdry hotel room. With no need for sleep or possibility for distraction, the three of them spend their time hashing over their past, their regrets and shortcomings; squabbling over minutia and locked in subtle power games. It's then that they learn the terrible truth: that they are in Hell, and Hell is other people. Jacqueline Audry, the only woman to become a major director in France following WW2, infuses Jean-Paul Sartre's existential drama NO EXIT with sharp homoerotic overtones and meta-cinematic narrative. At the CLINTON STREET THEATER!
WOMEN BEHIND THE CAMERA 2/4: A man and his would-be fiance return to the castle he grew up in and dig deep into the past to discover the secret of his impotency. What unfolds is a childhood ruled by a careless libertine mother and her debaucherous soirees, and guarded only by a cynical and twisted aunt. Swedish starlet turned art house auteur Mai Zetterling caused a worldwide scandal with NIGHT GAMES, based on her own novel. The film was widely protested and banned, including by Shirley Temple, who resigned her post at the San Francisco International Film Festival calling it "pornography for profit."
WOMEN BEHIND THE CAMERA 1/4: Identical twin orphans Dora and Lily are separated as children in late 19th century Budapest, and come to age in a rapidly changing world alight with the electric light bulb and the birth of cinema. Dora grows to be a coquettish high class con artist, and Lili a bomb-toting anarchist-feminist. Their paths meet when Hungarian gentleman Z inadvertently courts both. Ildikó Enyedi's MY TWENTIETH CENTURY is a madcap magic-realist romp through Europe at the birth of a new era, spinning often wildly out of control into surreal flights of fancy.
On August 31st we will be at Killingsworth Dynasty. Join us for drinks and a multimedia experience. We will have VERA RUBIN on board to score two Italian occult ultra-obscurities, IL FAUNO (1917), in which a woman ditches her philandering sculptor husband for one of his demonic statues, and RAPSODIA SATANICA (1915), a Faustian story in which an older woman makes a pact with the devil to regain her youth, on the condition that she abandons love. This is some extravagant aestheticism! Enjoy the lights, the fog, the music, the images. Chat about art and film over drinks! Say happy birthday to us!
LOVE & ETERNITY 4/4: A pathologically shy night watchman falls deeply in love with a mannequin and plots her theft. In his lonely, spare apartment he tends obsessively to her needs and comfort, until at last she comes alive and returns his love! But his new manifested lover has demands, and the world around him has serious questions… can a fragile and introverted creature cope with and explain his incomprehensible relationship? THE DOLL is a striking, frightening psychological thriller that recalls Hitchcock’s Psycho and presages Polanski’s Repulsion.
LOVE & ETERNITY 3/4: Marina (played by Isa Miranda, Italy’s answer to Dietrich and Garbo) is relegated to the secluded castle of her uncle. Passionate and deeply troubled, she becomes convinced that she is the reincarnated spirit of her great uncle’s wife, Cecilia, who died a tragic death. When a young writer makes his entrance at the castle, she is certain that he is Cecilia’s reincarnated lover and attempts to lure him into a strange web of sex and revenge. MALOMBRA is the most decadent drama shot in Fascist Italy, a precursor to the high dramas of Luchino Visconti, and has the eerie elegance of Hitchcock’s Rebecca.
LOVE & ETERNITY 2/4: When his neighbor, a beautiful but lonely young woman, kills herself and leaves everything to him in her will, a middle-aged writer sets out to discover the reason she took her own life. What he finds is a long trail of love’s disappointments, failures and regrets. But he remains too obtuse in the end to see the real reason for her fateful decision… GIRL WITH HYACINTHS is Swedish director Hasse Ekman’s greatest film, called by his rival Ingmar Bergman, “An absolute masterpiece. 24 karats. Perfect.” A sad, provocative and forgotten cinematic gem.
LOVE & ETERNITY 1/4: A quiet boys’ boarding school, set in an idyllic Austrian castle, is upset by the arrival of a new student—a dynamic, dreamy young man from Argentina who possesses an almost supernatural communion with nature. When the new student disappears into a haunted mansion across the bay for a night, he returns with a fantastical tale of a beautiful woman, Marianne, trapped by a grim man called The Knight and his beastly servant. MARIANNE OF MY YOUTH is one of the most beautiful and poetic works of French master Julien Duvivier’s career, but like most Duvivier films, it has a dark undercurrent and is replete with metaphysical and psychological ambiguities. Is love a miracle, a phantasm, a pathology, is it transcendent, or does it even exist at all? Subtitles by Church of Film.
QUEER CINEMA 8/8: Shot on a shoestring budget in the middle of the Californian desert, Werner Schroeter's American outing follows in a dreamlike trance the murderous North Star Cult, a small commune of women who have retreated from society and into a string of abandoned buildings along the highway. There they lure men in and sacrifice them. With entrancing desert photographing, and a blend of old pop and blues mixing indiscriminately with opera records, WILLOW SPRINGS is a haunting, bizarre, morbid and at times comical piece of German New Cinema from one of the movement’s most provocative queer icons. At the Clinton Street Theater!
QUEER CINEMA 7/8: The machinations of Sylvia Couski involve an inscrutable plan to steal her ex-husband’s latest sculpture and replace it with a live model for exhibition. Cinematic poet Adolfo Arrieta often defies description with his highly experimental, Cocteau-influenced approach to film, and LES INTRIGUES DE SYLVIA COUSKI—considered the first Parisian underground film—is no exception. It showcases the talent of Paris’s trans community, including the first great French trans actress (and founding member of the Homosexual Liberation Front) Marie-France!
QUEER CINEMA 6/8: In the hidden dens of Tokyo's gay clubs, drag queen Eddie vies for the heart of club-owner Gonda. Darting between documentary and fiction, FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES follows Eddie through the parties, drugs, and romantic entanglements, and at last into a distorted recreation of the Oedipal myth. One of the first films to seriously explore transgender culture and homosexuality, Toshio Matsumoto's masterpiece is a breathless and revolutionary work of cinema, and reportedly inspired Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange.
QUEER CINEMA 5/8: Following the death of her parents, Manuela is sent to a strict and authoritarian boarding school. Sensitive, sad, and lost, Manuela struggles until she witnesses the compassion of one teacher, Fräulein von Bernburg, and falls in love. A beautiful masterwork of the Weimar era, with a goodnight kiss that changed cinema forever, MÄDCHEN IN UNIFORM was cinema’s first great Lesbian love story and an anti-Fascist call-to-arms. A sensation throughout Europe, banned and censored in the US and UK, praised by Eleanor Roosevelt, and very nearly destroyed by the Nazis, the film survives today after a long history of cult popularity and political challenge.
QUEER CINEMA 4/8: Radical experimental filmmaker and member of the French Homosexual Liberation Front, Lionel Soukaz's THE HOMOSEXUAL CENTURY is a four part essay on the emerging awareness of homosexuality in the late 19th century until the late 20th. From the photography of Baron von Gloeden, to the blossoming of gay culture in Weimar Germany and the work of sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, to Soukaz's own experience as a gay man in the 60s, and finally to a recreation of an attempted pickup in a Paris bar, the series was banned throughout France until championed by Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes and Gilles Deleuze, among others.
QUEER CINEMA 3/8: A beautiful hustler (Bobby Kendall) whiles away his time, captivated by his own beauty and entertaining elaborate fantasies of Roman orgies and Turkish princes. PINK NARCISSUS bedeviled underground film audiences when it premiered—its director Anonymous, its star a mystery. For decades it was speculated that it could only be the work of Kenneth Anger or Andy Warhol, before photographer James Bidgood finally claimed credit for the work, which was shot throughout the 60s. An erotic Technicolor opium dream, which critic J. Hoberman declared a “gay Fantasia,” it remains one of the most legendary, decadent, and enigmatic cult films ever made! At the Clinton Street Theater!
QUEER CINEMA 2/8: More or less a political manifesto, Gay rights activist and prolific filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim's IT IS NOT THE HOMOSEXUAL WHO IS PERVERSE BUT THE SOCIETY IN WHICH HE LIVES captures in docudrama gay Berliners in the early 70s. It follows the young naif Daniel as he discovers the city's queer underground and the life of cruising, only to eventually be drawn into a group of revolutionary gay men who demand discourse and action. Praunheim's film examines, criticizes, and provokes in a striking and frank manner. A monumental classic of queer German New Cinema!
QUEER CINEMA 1/8: Two aging actresses share an apartment in Paris, and a life. Retreating into champagne and fantasies, using the trade of theatre to dress a slowly unraveling existence of poverty and loneliness, they try on feminine roles, and revisit the ones that have failed them. Paul Vecchiali's FEMMES FEMMES is a masterpiece of 70s French queer whimsy and despair, a madcap and at time delirious spinout to the bottom and back, and to the bottom again. It's also a musical, when it wants to be.
LOST WORLDS 4/4: Lemuel Gulliver stumbles upon a dead hare in men's clothing, and from there drops down the rabbitt hole into the lost land of Balbinari. An unwelcome foreigner in this land of bureaucracy and broken logic, he climbs his way to the floating kingdom of Laputin, where Balbinari's reclusive monarchy hides away. A CASE FOR THE ROOKIE HANGMAN was enfant terrible Pavel Juráček's departing blow to Soviet censors; a feverish, dreamy and comic blend of Lewis Carroll, Franz Kafka, and Jonathin Swift. It's also a grim satire on authoritarian government that was banned forever upon its realease, along with its director. One of the final masterpieces of the Czech New Wave!
LOST WORLDS 3/4: A political refugee washes up on the shore of a strange and barren island. At the far end lies an enigmatic "museum," or rather a beautiful Art Deco mansion the purpose of which remains unknown. But the island does not seem to be as deserted as the visitor had assumed—an enigmatic group of vacationers clad in 1920s getup occasionally appear. Are they real, the hallucinations of a delirius and starving man, or is there some other answer to their mysterious presence? THE INVENTION OF MOREL is a stylish adaptation of Adolfo Bioy Casares's celebrated novel, starring Anna Karina!
LOST WORLDS 2/4: A perverse fate brought Chilean surrealist Raoul Ruiz and schlock producer Roger Corman together to collaborate on THE TERRITORY, based on the real life story of bedevilled campers who lost their way in the woods and resorted to cannibalism with an elaborated religious ritual. The collision of B-movie camp and high art house cinema, and its legendarily troubled production, amounts to one of the most bizarre experiments in meta-horror ever, as Ruiz takes the travelers not just deep into the woods, but deep into a cosmic maze in the shape of the human psyche.
LOST WORLDS 1/4: In the near future, the polar ice caps have melted and laid waste to the world. A small ruling class emerges jealously guarding the remains of civilizations, while the deeply religious masses, turned mutant from the toxic air and water, are driven into concentration camps or kept as servants. They await a savior. Suddenly a man emerges. He is seeking a museum that becomes accessible for only one week a year, when the the sea levels drop and the oceans part—and he is seeking faith in a world without salvation. Moody, terrifying, and hallucinatory, VISITOR OF A MUSUEM is perhaps the most acclaimed film of Konstantin Lopushansky, a protege of Andrei Tarkovsky.
FOLK SUPERNATURAL 9/9: 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!
At the CLINTON STREET THEATER!
FOLK SUPERNATURAL 8/9: The familiar H.C. Andersen fairy tale as re-told by the luminaries of the Czechoslovakian New Wave! A beautiful mermaid princess rescues a human prince from a shipwreck and falls in love. To see her prince again, she sacrifices her voice and leaves her utopian undersea world in order to walk among the troubled world of mankind. But this isn't Disney. It's a story of love, silence, pain, and ultimately tragic sacfrice. Designed by the brilliant Esther Krumbachova (Daisies), with a score by Lubos Fiser (Valerie & Her Week of Wonders), and directed by Czech film elder statesman Karel Kachyna (The Ear), THE LITTLE MERMAID is one of the unquestioned masterworks of post-New Wave Czechoslovakian cinema.
FOLK SUPERNATURAL 7/9: A noble general returns home from battle in the ancient kingdom of Silla and spurns the advances of his queen, remaining loyal to his wife and child. She does not take rejection well. Meanwhile, the general's wife becomes possessed by the vengeful spirit of a thousand year-old fox, and takes justice against the queen into her own hands. An historical fantasy with shades of horror, A THOUSAND-YEAR OLD FOX is one of the more colorful and inventive films in the vast filmography of Sang-ok Shin, a brilliant South Korean director who would later be kidnapped with his wife by Kim Jong-Il and forced to make films in the DPRK.
FOLK SUPERNATURAL 6/9: A king sends his youngest son—an unlikely but apsiring hero—to visit his uncle, the king of a faraway kingdom. Along the way he is waylaid by a tormented magician and dark knight, Smooth Face, and joined by a band of friends as he seeks to reunite the kingdom, claim the crown, and marry a mysterious witch. A tale full of magic and wonder based on the tales of traditional Romanian fairy tale hero, Harap Alba, IF I WERE... THE WHITE MOOR is brimming with playful psychedelic imagery and childlike fantasy, with a strong anti-authoritarian subtext. By genius Romanian animator and sci-fi/fantasy filmmaker, Ion Popescu-Gopo.
FOLK SUPERNATURAL 5/9: In a draught-ravaged countryside, the King summons a shaman to tell him how to appease the gods. But what the gods demand is the sacrifice of the most village's most beautiful young woman—Toula. Her young lover departs on a desperate quest to find water before all is lost, but will he succeed in time? TOULA, THE WATER SPIRIT is an early masterpiece of African cinema, directed by Nigerien cult director Moustapha Alassane.
FOLK SUPERNATURAL 4/9: A developer, Sun Wu-hyun woos investors with a promising ad campaign—a hotel near the mysterious island of Io, where local legends maintain the secret to immortality is locked away. And so too is death for any man that sees it. He is forced to clear his own name, however, when a journalist opposing his plans goes missing. In pursuit of justice, Sun discovers the strange nearby island of Parang, populated almost entirely of women divers, and learns of their rituals, legends, and history. A peculiar riff on The Wicker Man by South Korean cult film legend Kim Ki-young, IO ISLAND is a slow-burning, weirdo thriller that builds to a perverse finale of witchcraft that you must see to believe! At the CLINTON STREET THEATER!
FOLK SUPERNATURAL 3/9: A bankrupt merchant travels through a haunted forest to make his fortune, but must stop at a mysterious castle. There, in exchange for his life and fortune, he must sacrifice his daughter to the Castle's gruesome lord. A gloomy, baroque rendition of the familiar tale by Czechoslovakian New Wave master Juraj Herz (The Cremator, Morgiana), this BEAUTY AND THE BEAST hews closer to the traditional folk tales in presenting the beast, while also making deep ventures into Cocteauish surrealism.
FOLK SUPERNATURAL 2/9: Inspired by the films of Bresson and Tarkovsky that trickled into India, Mani Kaul led the charge for an ambitious attempt to bring meditative art house cinema to the land of Bollywood. DUVIDHA, his most celebrated feature, is a dreamy Hindu folk story following a ghost who falls in love with a young bride, and takes on the form of her husband while he travels on business. What happens when she learns to love the dead more than the living? Kaul's work blends poetry, music, mysticism and theory into this sombre folk tale.
FOLK SUPERNATURAL 1/9: A clergyman and bibliophile, studying a dying language, travels to the depths of the Polish-Lithuanian forests to explore the vast library of an eccentric and troubled nobleman. In his interactions with the dysfunctional household, he graducally learns of the terrible secrets of the family, and the rumor that the young Count is something more than a man... he may, in fact, be a were-bear! A hauntingly impressionistic gothic romance which inverts the story of Beauty and the Beast.