AFS Announces Its January/February 2023 Program Calendar
(Jean-François Laguionie’s GWEN, OR THE BOOK OF SAND, 1985)
AFS Announces Its January/February 2023 Program Calendar
December 8, AUSTIN, TX— The Austin Film Society announces its calendar for January and February of 2023 featuring signature programs, special screenings and events, and a new, diverse lineup of films from around the globe that filmgoers can only see at the AFS Cinema. The full calendar and more information can be found at www.austinfilm.org.
AFS’s January/February calendar includes a new Essential Cinema series, Documentary & Beyond: Agnès Varda, highlighting some of the director’s lesser-known works. The series includes shorts and documentaries from the pioneering French New Wave auteur, including Uncle Yanco and The Gleaners And I. Then, to prepare for Valentine’s Day, the cinema will show a variety of classic romantic films and cutting-edge contemporary titles for Love Month. The program kicks off with a screening of Casablanca accompanied by a discussion with author and scholar Noah Isenberg on February 2. To conclude the month of February, AFS invites the community to A Weekend with Dolly Hall, which will feature the iconoclastic independent film producer on stage at the Cinema. She will discuss three of her films, including a director’s cut of 54 that restores 45 minutes of crucial, never-before-seen footage to the film.
Calendar highlights in detail:
Agnès Varda is revered as one of the most influential directors of the French New Wave movement. As a part of AFS’s Essential Cinema series Documentary & Beyond: Agnès Varda, cinephiles can explore several important works outside of her narrative filmography. The series begins with a double feature of two documentary shorts, The Black Panthers and Uncle Yanco, which are connected by the backdrop of Bay-Area California. It continues with the feature-length Lions Love (and Other Lies) and concludes with The Gleaners and I, a filmic collage about French junk scavengers that was listed in the top ten of Sight and Sound’s 2014 poll for “Best Documentaries of All Time.”
In the lead-up to Valentine’s day, AFS will be showing five films about romance for Love Month. The program begins with the multiple-Oscar-award-winning noir Casablanca, which will include a discussion with Noah Isenberg — author of the LA Times’ best-selling book We’ll Always Have Casablanca — on February 2. This will be followed by Betty Blue from director Jean-Jacques Beineix (DIVA); Love Jones, a 1990s Black rom-com set in Chicago; A Swedish Love Story, a beloved classic in its home country; and Maurice, an Edwardian literary adaptation starring Hugh Grant and James Wilby.
AFS presents two films to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month. On January 16, the first of the two holidays, AFS Cinema will show King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery to Memphis. This gripping documentary includes narration from iconic Black celebrities of the era — Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, James Earl Jones, and others — and is composed mostly of newsreel footage and other primary historical sources edited together and released only two years after Dr. King’s death. Then, on February 19, AFS will show Spike Lee’s Bamboozled in 35mm, starring Damon Wayans and an ensemble cast in a satire of the television industry. The movie is presented in collaboration with Film Desk, publisher of the book Facing Blackness: Media and Minstrelsy in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled by Ashely Clark, copies of which will be on sale at the AFS Cinema Box Office.
The acclaimed independent film producer Dolly Hall will join AFS for on-stage discussions of three of her films during A Weekend with Dolly Hall. The series includes a director’s cut of 54, which was initially disliked by critics at the time of its release. The newest version includes 45 minutes of footage that recontextualizes the story as a classic of queer cinema. Hall will also participate in screenings of All Over Me, an underseen look into the “riot grrrl” punk movement, and Lisa Cholodenko’s debut feature, High Art, a tale of love and addiction in the world of photography.
Hachimiri Madness will take place throughout February with a program of 11 shorts and feature-length jishu eiga “autonomous films” from Japan, a movement centered around the creative use of inexpensive 8mm hachimiri film. Many of the directors associated with this scene have gone on to become well-known figures in contemporary cinema, like Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tokyo Fist), Sogo Ishii (Burst City), and Masashi Yamamoto (Robinson’s Garden). Audiences will experience an energetic selection from the Pia Film Festival of Tokyo, a foundational hub for this era and generation of filmmakers.
The full January/February lineup continues below, and a complete list of all film screenings announced to date and special events are on our website at www.austinfilm.org. Ticket prices range from $11 to $13.50, with discounts for AFS members. Special pricing is noted if applicable.
AUSTIN FILM SOCIETY JANUARY/FEBRUARY CALENDAR
ESSENTIAL CINEMA: WORLD ON A WIRE
WORLD ON A WIRE
Part One: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany, 1973, 35mm, 101 min. In German with English subtitles
Part Two: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany, 1973, 35mm, 103 min. In German with English subtitles
“No less than any other film of his career, it illustrates the radical will behind Fassbinder’s art.” —CINE-FILE
“A wildly sardonic sense of visual and dramatic excitement…pure and ecstatic B-movie fun.” —The New Yorker
You would expect a glossy sci-fi epic directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder to be pretty weird, and you’d be right. WORLD ON A WIRE shows us Fassbinder the world-builder as he constructs a noir-ish, paranoid future in which reality itself is the enemy. Presented in two parts, the way it initially aired on German television. Screening in 35mm.
ESSENTIAL CINEMA: DOCUMENTARY & BEYOND: AGNÈS VARDA
The late auteur Agnès Varda always sought truth in her work by looking in different directions than other filmmakers. In this three-film miniseries, we show how she investigates the subjects that interest her and how she finds beauty and truth in unusual places.
THE BLACK PANTHERS/UNCLE YANCO
Agnès Varda, France, 1970/1968, DCP, 47 min. total runtime.
“Casually electrifying.” —The New York Times on BLACK PANTHERS
“[THE BLACK PANTHERS] is timelier than ever, and a welcome antidote to blaring media headlines — a movie that goes beyond gawking at anger and frustration to highlight its genuine purpose.” —Indiewire
“With its fragmented opening visuals and sounds, bursts of psychedelic color, and images of the San Francisco area, [UNCLE YANCO] is as much an experimental evocation of a place and time as a portrait of a person.” —Criterion Collection
In these two short features, Agnès Varda looks at two very different Bay Area stories. In BLACK PANTHERS, she documents an Oakland protest against the imprisonment of Huey P. Newton, and in UNCLE YANCO, she tracks down a relative who long ago emigrated to America and now lives an unconventional life in Sausalito.
LIONS LOVE (AND OTHER LIES)
Agnès Varda, France, 1969, DCP, 112 min.
“A tenderly ironic look at rebels in Hollywood.” —Télérama
“Varda’s ultimate California film.” —Criterion Collection
In order to get at the truth of Hollywood, Agnès Varda makes an ersatz documentary starring counterculture figures Viva, James Rado, and Jerry Ragni as a philosophizing throuple who explore the ideas and mores of the age.
THE GLEANERS AND I
Agnès Varda, France, 2000, DCP, 82 min. In French with English subtitles
“A marvelous nonfiction collage of those who scavenge and salvage in France, the ‘I’ of the title is a vital, inquisitive force.” —The Village Voice
The film that best embodies Agnès Varda’s late-career metamorphosis into a philosophizing video diarist, armed with extremely-portable equipment and a towering curiosity. Here, she takes us into the lives of those who live on the edge of society, “gleaning” a living from the junk of others. In a 2014 Sight & Sound poll of the best documentaries of all time it ranked eighth, the highest entry directed by a woman.
ESSENTIAL CINEMA: THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM/IBRAHIM
Our annual series continues to look at films from an area rich in tumultuous history, art, and literature but often mired in war and misunderstanding among the three religions that trace their roots back to a shared progenitor — Abraham/Ibrahim. Filmmakers from the Middle East, North Africa, and the diasporic communities continue to hunt for a common humanity. We share in their efforts with our screening series, enhanced by guests and discussions. Films are selected from the most recent releases in Middle Eastern cinema. Presented in partnership with the University of Texas Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Titles will be announced soon.
BEST OF THE FESTS
LEONOR WILL NEVER DIE
Martika Ramirez Escobar, Philippines, 2022, 99 min. In Filipino with English subtitles.
“Wonderfully unclassifiable! Martika Ramirez Escobar’s heartfelt, zany tribute to the magic of movies and the power of love.” —The New York Times
“A beautiful, life-affirming celebration.” —The Playlist
“It’s clear you’re in for a good time with Martika Ramirez Escobar’s breezy fantasy.” —RogerEbert.com
A Filipino filmmaker known for her action films looks to finish an old script to pay the bills when an accident sends her into a coma and the world of her unfinished film. There, she lets her imagination run wild while she searches for the perfect ending. Winner of Best International Film at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Free Member Monday — free admission for all AFS members on January 9.
MOON, 66 QUESTIONS
Jacqueline Lentzou, Greece, 2021, DCP, 108 min. In Greek with English subtitles.
“Playful and idiosyncratic.” —Screen Daily
“Critic’s Pick! Lentzou, with her first feature no less, gets at something much knottier about what it feels like to get older and perceive your parents as full people, in all their flaws and vulnerabilities …” —The New York Times
“Delicate and empathetic, MOON, 66 QUESTIONS is an impressive debut feature. Part coming-of-age, part illness narrative, the film is above all an intimate portrait of Artemis as she is forced to reevaluate her relationship with her father.” —One Room With A View
Years of distance come to a close when twenty-something Artemis returns home to care for her ailing father and all at once discovers the complicated nature of a man — and a love — she never knew in this striking debut feature from director Jacqueline Lentzou.
BIG SCREEN CLASSICS
NORTH BY NORTHWEST
Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1959, DCP, 136 min.
“One of Hitchcock’s most entertaining American thrillers.” —Pauline Kael
“Hitchcock breezes through a tongue-in-cheek, nightmarish plot with a lightness of touch that’s equalled by a charming performance from Grant.” —Time Out
“A great film, and certainly one of the most entertaining movies ever made, directed by Alfred Hitchcock at his peak.” —Chicago Reader
Hitchcock’s crowning achievement in romantic suspense. Cary Grant plays an ad executive who is mistaken for a government intelligence agent and is pursued by foreign operatives. Can he trust the lovely young woman (Eva Marie Saint) who shelters him? Contains several of Hitchcock’s biggest and most effective set pieces. A true thrill ride.
APOCALYPSE NOW: THE FINAL CUT
Francis Ford Coppola, USA, 1979, DCP, 183 min.
“APOCALYPSE NOW is not merely the greatest film to come out of the Vietnam experience, but one of the great works about madness of our times.” —The Guardian
At the time of its making, Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam-set APOCALYPSE NOW was seen as the height of self-indulgence. In the 40 years that have followed, it has joined the pantheon of Great Films. In the midst of some of the most spectacular location work of all time, an unbeatable cast gives outstanding performances.
ALL ABOUT EVE
Joseph L. Mankiewicz, USA, 1950, DCP, 138 min.
“ALL ABOUT EVE stands as an acerbic satire on ambition and the egocentricity of those who dominate show business … a salute to the indomitability of actresses like Bette Davis (and Margo Channing), to an ensemble cast, and to the wit and sophistication of Mankiewicz.” —The New York Times
Backstage drama as high art and sublime camp. Bette Davis plays Margo Channing, a major Broadway star whose flame is beginning to dim ever so slightly, and Anne Baxter co-stars as aspiring ingénue Eve Harrington who seeks to maneuver her way to stardom. Peerlessly bitchy entertainment.
COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER
Michael Apted, USA, 1980, DCP, 125 min.
“Like Loretta Lynn’s music, the characters of COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER stay in the mind long after the drama that contains them runs out.” —Time Magazine
“We don’t so much root for Spacek as sit back and watch her tell us what happened. She’s as much in control of this film as is her director.” —Chicago Tribune
Texas Film Hall Of Fame member Sissy Spacek stars as the great country singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn in this phenomenally successful biopic that traces Lynn’s hardscrabble upbringing and early marriage through her rise to the top of the charts. With Tommy Lee Jones, Levon Helm, and Beverly D’Angelo as Patsy Cline. Free Member Monday — free admission for all AFS members on February 6.
Stanley Kubrick, USA/UK, 1975, DCP, 184 min.
“An ice-pack of a movie, a masterpiece in every insignificant detail … It’s a coffee-table movie; the stately tour of European high life is a three-hour slideshow for art history majors.” —Pauline Kael
Kubrick’s elegant adaptation of Thackeray’s novel about an amoral Irish social climber (Ryan O’Neal) in 18th-century Europe has grown in esteem over the years as audiences continue to discover it. The film’s technical brilliance — it was shot largely by candlelight — has tended to overshadow its unique style of humor.
WORLD CINEMA CLASSICS
THE RED SHOES
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1948, DCP, 135 min.
“Truly one of the most beautiful Technicolor films ever made.” —Martin Scorsese
“Magnificent! Eye-popping, delirious spectacle! Powell & Pressburger’s masterpiece offers us the extraordinary experience of watching the burning commitment to perfection.” —The Village Voice
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger bring the unique drama and beauty of ballet to the cinema in a film that has enchanted audiences for decades. Moira Shearer stars as the lead ballerina in a company led by a demanding impresario. As the conflict develops, it is expressed in gorgeously photographed dance.
Dario Argento, Italy, 1975, DCP, 127 min. In Italian with English subtitles.
“Elegant and witty but also shocking and cruel.” —Sight & Sound
“Argento revels in over-the-top horror that toes the line between ridiculous and disturbing.” —The New Yorker
One of the stone killers of the giallo form, Dario Argento’s masterpiece delivers set piece after set piece of thrilling hyperreality and cinematically inventive violence, enhanced by Goblin’s dynamically powerful score.
KING: A FILMED RECORD…MONTGOMERY TO MEMPHIS
Sidney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz, USA, 1970, DCP, 182 min.
“Perhaps the most important film documentary ever made.” —The Philadelphia Bulletin
“A piece of history of immense power.” —The Los Angeles Times
“Stunning … the events are allowed to speak for themselves.” —The New York Times
“When [young people] see this film, they will not only understand it but will also experience it to the depths of their souls.” —The Washington Daily News
Edited entirely from newsreels and other primary sources, this documentary — made just two years after Dr. King’s death — tells the story of his campaign of nonviolent activism. Narrated by Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, James Earl Jones, and many others, it is a priceless document of King’s life and beliefs.
Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together — virtually and in-person — for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on PBS’s Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders, and organizations to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics and social issues to family and community relationships. Screenings are free and open to the public.
LOVE IN THE TIME OF FENTANYL
Colin Askey, Canada, 2022, DCP, 85 min.
In Vancouver, British Columbia, the fentanyl crisis is reaching epidemic proportions with accidental overdoses killing many. This documentary goes inside a renegade supervised-usage site staffed by volunteers who are active and former drug users.
STORMING CAESARS PALACE
Hazel Gurland-Poole, USA, 2022, DCP, 86 min.
The story of activist Ruby Duncan, a woman who lost her job in a Las Vegas hotel due to a workplace accident and saw firsthand the shocking conditions that welfare recipients face. Her organizing work — including the occupation of the Caesar’s Palace casino — is profiled in this fascinating documentary.
THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE
Krzysztof Kieślowski, France/Poland/Norway, 1991, DCP, 98 min. In French, Polish, and Italian with English subtitles.
“This movie achieves a rare grace: it tells a story that could only exist in the form of a movie (or, perhaps, as a piece of poetry).” —The Austin Chronicle
“History may have sidelined THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE, but that is not to say the film has not lasted.” —Criterion Collection
“Compelling, challenging and irresistibly beautiful, this delicate metaphysical masterpiece only emphasizes how much cinema lost through Krzysztof Kieślowski’s tragically early death.”
Irène Jacob excels in a dual role in Krzysztof Kieślowski’s breakthrough film playing both a Polish singer and her physically identical double, a French music teacher. Though the two have never met, they share a metaphysical connection, which Kieślowski explores with breathtaking cinematic virtuosity.
Wim Wenders, France/USA, 1984, DCP, 147 min.
“If you have any feeling for film, the first few shots of PARIS, TEXAS will take you captive …” —BOMB
In this powerful mood piece from director Wim Wenders and writer Sam Shepard, Harry Dean Stanton plays a man who, after an unexplained absence of four years, returns to his wife and family and tries to make amends. The locations, cinematography by Robby Müller, and music by Ry Cooder help create an atmosphere of loss and pain. New 4K restoration.
VENGEANCE IS MINE
Michael Roemer, USA, 1984, DCP, 118 min.
“A tangled web of human impulse.” —The New York Times
“One of the masters of American cinema. Don’t miss this.” —New York Magazine
“Roemer is known for only two films, both masterpieces: NOTHING BUT A MAN (1964) and THE PLOT AGAINST HARRY (1971) … The rediscovery of a third Roemer feature as good as the others is a cause for celebration and something of a miracle.” —Screen Slate
Unable to close old familial wounds, a woman strikes up a friendship with her neighbor only to find herself caught up in further family drama. A lost masterpiece, this third film directed by Michael Roemer (NOTHING BUT A MAN, THE PLOT AGAINST HARRY) came and went when it first aired on PBS.
Expect “love, pain, and the whole damn thing” (only not that particular film) as Love Month returns with five classics sure to melt the coldest of hearts with the warmest gift of all, a cinematic embrace.
Michael Curtiz, USA, 1942, DCP, 102 min.
“One of the most gloriously romantic movies ever made.” —Time Out
“Nothing shines quite like the golden age of Hollywood. Here is a melodrama that never gets old.”
—The Village Voice
“Seeing the film over and over again, year after year, I find it never grows over familiar. It plays like a favorite musical album; the more I know it, the more I like it.” –Roger Ebert
It really is a perfect film. In the French colonial outpost of Casablanca, miles away from the guns of WWII, an American nightclub owner (Humphrey Bogart) sees an old flame (Ingrid Bergman) again, but the forces that are driving the world apart threaten to extinguish the fire. Winner of the Academy Awards® for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director.
Author and scholar Noah Isenberg will join us for a special discussion about the film at the Feb 2 screening.
BETTY BLUE [DIRECTOR’S CUT]
dice, France, 1986, DCP, 185 min. In French with English subtitles.
“An extraordinarily sensual movie.” —The Washington Post
“An irresistible tale of crazy love on one hand and crazy friendship on the other.” —Los Angeles Times
In a star-making role, Beatrice Dalle (TROUBLE EVERY DAY) brings new meaning to “amour fou” in this international ’80s arthouse sensation from Jean-Jacques Beineix, director of DIVA. Nominated for both a BAFTA and Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film in 1986.
Theodore Witcher, USA, 1997, DCP, 108 min.
“Ahead of its time — beautiful, complex and extraordinary.” —Shadow and Act
“Slinky, sexy … Its mood is cool, enticing and lullingly bourgeois.” —The New York Times
Queen of the Black ‘90s Rom-Com Nia Long stars as a struggling photographer who finds herself trying, and failing, to resist the charms of a hapless spoken-word artist (Larenz Tate) as the pair struggle to make it — and make out — in the Chicago art scene. Bursting with hits from Maxwell, Groove Theory, and Meshell Ndegeocello, LOVE JONES is sure to sweep you off your feet — and into a seat.
A SWEDISH LOVE STORY
Roy Andersson, Sweden, 1970, DCP, 115 min. In Swedish with English subtitles.
“They barely say a word throughout, but their glances, kisses with chewing gum still in, the way he puts his hand on the nape of her neck, feel like enough.” —Another Magazine
“Renders the feeling and awkwardness of youth … populated with baffling adult behavior, beautifully.” —Carol Morley, director of THE FALLING (2014)
“Years later, it’s still on the ‘most popular films’ shelf in Swedish video stores. Even all the non-Swedes we know are totally enamored.” —Vice Magazine
First love has never been sweeter than a kiss punctuated by the taste of bubblegum as in Roy Andersson’s aptly-titled A SWEDISH LOVE STORY. A classic in its native Sweden, this stylish look at teen romance — complete with awkward fumblings, silent staredowns, and moped gangs — made a star of its director who (much like the ending of many a great romance) promptly fell into a deep depression after its success, never again to make another film as wonderfully exuberant. Despair not, he went on to direct SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR and A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE. Keep your eyes peeled for the acting debut of Björn Andrésen, the “most beautiful boy in the world.”
James Ivory, UK, 1987, DCP, 140 min.
“Pure sensual agony.” —Little White Lies
“Its frankness is ahead of its time.” —The Guardian
“Mr. Ivory and Ismail Merchant breathe life into their material … in a manner that is as decorous as it is dramatic.” —The New York Times
When Maurice Hall meets Clive Durham at Cambridge during the height of the Edwardian era, it doesn’t take long for them to fall in love. However, it’s love in the time of oppression, and appearances must be upheld, no matter the heartbreak. Hugh Grant and James Wilby star in James Ivory’s adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel.
QUEER CINEMA: LOST & FOUND
OUTRAGEOUS! With I DON’T KNOW
Richard Benner/Penelope Spheeris, Canada/USA, 1977/71, 35mm/Digital, 120 min.
“It finally happened. Someone set out to make an entertaining movie, and ended up with the most fantastic pro-drag propaganda filmed to date.” —Drag
“Positive, life-affirming — a party, and moviegoers are invited to bring their noisemakers and enjoy the fun.” —Collider
A gay hairdresser tries to turn his love of old Hollywood movies into a career in drag with the help of his schizophrenic best friend in this underseen (and semi-autobiographical) Canadian classic starring drag legend Craig Russell … and Judy Garland, Mae West, Bette Davis, and more! Paired with THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION filmmaker Penelope Spheeris’s rare, early short I DON’T KNOW. The short’s sequel, HATS OFF TO HOLLYWOOD, screens in February. Queer Cinema: Lost & Found programmer Elizabeth Purchell will join us for a discussion — Sat, Jan. 23.
BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS with HATS OFF TO HOLLYWOOD
Russ Meyer/Penelope Spheeris, USA, 1970/72, DCP, 131 min.
2/11 – 2/15
“It’s fabulous, teddy bear — a psychedelic wow that serves up the free love, plunging necklines, androgynous boys, and lusty lezzies of the era with a narcotized abandon.” —The Village Voice
“A delirious comedy melodrama, soused in self-parody but spiked with dope, sex, and thrills.” —Time Out
No, it’s not a sequel to Jacqueline Susann’s VALLEY OF THE DOLLS — there has been nothing like it! A girl group heads to Hollywood to make it big only to fall into a pit of drugs, murder, and (gasp!) lesbianism in this legendary X-rated major-studio film by critic-turned-writer Roger Ebert and “King of the Nudies” Russ Meyer. Paired with the sequel to Penelope Spheeris’s I DON’T KNOW (screened in January), HATS OFF TO HOLLYWOOD. Queer Cinema: Lost & Found programmer Elizabeth Purchell will join us for a discussion — Sat, Feb. 11.
UN HOMME QUI DORT (aka THE MAN WHO SLEEPS)
Bernard Queysanne and Georges Perec, France, 1974, DCP, 77 min. In French with English subtitles.
“A hypnotic solo.” —Time Out
“An entire world is created through shifts in perspective and dislocations, and it’s achieved so seamlessly that the viewer may well become hypnotized without quite understanding why.” –MUBI
A student (the depressingly winsome Jacques Spiesser) contemplates life, death, and the hell of it all from an existentially detached distance in this enthralling piece of aestheticized torpor from Bernard Queysanne and writer Georges Perec, adapting his own 1967 novel.
Toshiaki Toyoda, Japan, 1998, DCP, 98 min. In Japanese with English subtitles.
“An absolute gem.” —Screen Anarchy
“A dispassionate tale of youth on fire but burning itself from the inside out.” —Windows on Worlds
“A vivid, metropolitan debut … dynamic.” —Another Magazine
In this “lost” film from Japan’s Lost Decade, kids rule the love hotel and arcade-lined streets of Shibuya. That is until a steely-eyed loner (an inscrutable Chihara Junia) sets out on a violent spree which helps him find purpose — or not — in a two-front battle against skateboarding teens and the Yakuza. PORNOSTAR is a debut befitting director Toshiaki Toyoda’s belief that “the source of imagination and creativity is anger.” Featuring the brooding guitars of Japanese band Dip, this scuzzfest of angst and 20th-century malaise is more than due for a rediscovery.
TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL [REDUX]
Guy Maddin, Canada, 1988, DCP, 72 min.
“TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL obeys no logic.” —Time Out
“Whatever else you might say about this weird, creepy, and funny independent item by Guy Maddin, it’s certainly different.” —Jonathan Rosenbaum
Say hello to the strange world of Guy Maddin with this bizarro debut feature about two men who find themselves trapped in a misty chimera of laconic one-liners, jealousy, and utter madness. Ever the non-conformist, Maddin’s GIMLI is a dizzying hodgepodge of experimental 16mm hijinks, silent-movie trickery, and epigrammatic wordplay. In other words, it’s everything we’ve come to expect from the Canadian delight. Presented in a new 4K transfer from the original negative.
Nikos Nikolaidis, Greece, 1987, DCP, 105 min. In Greek with English subtitles.
“This is a movie that still scares me, and I avoid watching it — a film ahead of its time.” —Nikos Nikolaidis
“A poetic fantasy film, but above all a cinematic achievement. The director set up a unique nightmare of destruction, on which are projected the anxieties of the present, the coming destruction, the anxiety of the alienation of man and his moral decline …” —Maria Papadopoulou
“A visual nightmare. The most complete work of the ‘black and poetic’ director who poses critical questions about our internal and physiological survival.” —K. Parlas
In a post-apocalyptic city, a woman and a man must survive the traps and dreaded morning patrol of the forbidden zone to reach safety, wherever that may be, in this altogether different sci-fi take by Greek weird-wave forerunner Nikos Nikolaidis (SINGAPORE SLING).
GWEN, OR THE BOOK OF SAND
Jean-François Laguionie, France, 1985, 67 min. In French with English subtitles.
“Every bit as remarkable as FANTASTIC PLANET.” —Sight & Sound
“GWEN took me to completely new places, on every level.” —Sébastien Laudenbach, Director of THE GIRL WITHOUT HANDS (2016)
In a world of sand, telephones fall from the sky, denizens sing the discounts of a sales catalog as hymnal, and a very young boy is missing. Can he be found before the dangers of the unknown find him? The world of GWEN is the animated post-apocalyptic wasteland just beyond FANTASTIC PLANET. Mysterious, completely unknown, and utterly exciting — discover its charms when it hits the screen. Presented in a new restoration.
FAUX FUYANTS (aka SUBTERFUGE)
Alain Bergala and Jean-Pierre Limosin, France, 1983, DCP, 100 min. In French with English subtitles.
“An interesting and provocative work.” —Films de France
“The film has the nervousness of a photo booth to which outlines and colors arrive more and more.” —Serge Daney
Evasive, unpredictable, and altogether unclassifiable — in this elliptical head-scratcher, a killer finds refuge in the idyllic domesticity of the Parisian suburbs while slowly insinuating himself into the life of his victim. Featuring the music of Tokow Boys, and co-starring frontwoman Rachel Ortas (aka Rachel-Rachel), this one-time hit-and-run from duo Jean-Pierre Limosin and film critic Alain Bergala is a twisted map of a guilty conscience. Presented in a new restoration.
Lukas Moodysson, Sweden/Denmark, 2002, DCP, 109 min. In Russian, Swedish, Polish, English with English subtitles.
“[LILYA 4-EVER] is going to ruin you.” —Zola Jesus
“A live wire stripped of insulation … the sparks engulf everything in its path.” —The New York Times
“This film will gut you” is a line reserved for many but deserved by few and none more so than this tear-inducing hellscape of glitter eyeshadow, techno, and devastation from Lukas Moodysson (TOGETHER) who levels the soul with this disturbingly true tale of a teenage girl (Oksana Akinshina) whose doomed attempt at escape sends her into the arms of the nearest shady character and out into an ignominious world.
Provocative, innovative, maddening, and somewhat dangerous at the end of the 1970s, the wild, wild world of jishu eiga, or “autonomous film,” threw a molotov cocktail into the imploding Japanese film industry, which not only set blaze to the establishment but upended expectations along the way. With a combustible combination of youth and creativity, filmmakers such as Shinya Tsukamoto, Sogo Ishii, Masashi Yamamoto, and many of the most well-known talents working in Japanese cinema today burst onto the scene with irreverent, cheap 8mm films (hachimiri), the highlights of which will be showcased in this thrilling collection of 11 shorts and features from the PIA Film Festival in Tokyo, which first saw the potential of this fiery new wave and later became an exciting hub for talent looking to cause a ruckus.
A WEEKEND WITH DOLLY HALL
Join us in celebrating a true iconoclast of American independent cinema when producer Dolly Hall takes to the AFS Cinema stage to discuss her groundbreaking career and spotlights three can’t-miss classics of the ‘90s Queer Cinema boom.
ALL OVER ME
Alex Sichel, USA, 1997, 35mm, 90 min.
“A woefully slept-on ’90s movie. A lesbian love story. An NYC-set coming-of-ager. A riot grrrl movie … so out-of-the-blue brilliant you wonder why it’s not talked about in the same breath as KIDS or THE BASKETBALL DIARIES.” —i-D Magazine
“A sophisticated visual and narrative piece that pinpoints some of the universal emotional ephemera of youthful friendships — gay, straight, bi, or otherwise.” —The Austin Chronicle
Originally conceived by director Alex Sichel as a riot-grrrl expose that would “fuse the do-it-yourself ethic of punk rock with in-your-face feminism,” this sadly underseen touchstone dips you straight into the scene — with its soundtrack featuring the likes of Babes in Toyland, Sleater-Kinney, The Amps, and Helium — and out into the world of two teenage girls discovering girls, boys, and themselves in Hell’s Kitchen. Screening in 35mm.
54 (DIRECTOR’S CUT)
Mark Christopher, USA, 1998, DCP, 105 min.
“A glitter bomb of sex, drugs and debauchery.” —Indiewire
“A lost classic of gay cinema.” —Vulture
Released in 1998 in a butchered edit that stripped its lead (Ryan Phillippe, in a smoldering performance as a Jersey boy with loose morals and an even looser zipper) of his bisexual identity, 54 was subsequently flamed by critics who “burn, baby, burn”-ed it right out of theaters. Nearly 20 years after its disastrous release, this daring Hollywood exploration of the hedonistic Studio 54 era was resurrected in a new director’s cut, complete with 45 minutes of never-before-seen footage, proving there’s never a last dance, or chance, for a dream. Co-Starring Salma Hayek, Neve Campbell, and Mike Myers.
Lisa Cholodenko, USA/Canada, 1998, 35mm, 101 min.
“An arty spider web.” —The New York Times
“A seductive mix … that shellacs itself into your consciousness.” —The Austin Chronicle
“One of the more sensitive on-screen depictions of lesbian sex in (relatively) mainstream cinema.” —The New Statesman
Director Lisa Cholodenko burst onto the scene with this cooly composed tale of a heroin-addicted photog (the ever-brilliant Ally Sheedy, nearly unrecognizable in a role as far removed from THE BREAKFAST CLUB as imaginable) and an ambitious upstart (Radha Mitchell) who meet, love, and destroy themselves while working on an assignment for the influential Frame magazine. Screening in 35mm.
Spike Lee, USA, 2000, 35mm, 135 min.
“A broad and bawdy call to arms.” —Sight & Sound
“Spike Lee’s most contentious and prophetic film.” —i-D Magazine
“BAMBOOZLED is in fact the central work in Lee’s canon — the house on fire to which all roads lead.” —Ashley Clarke, writer of Facing Blackness
Trying to get fired, the sole Black executive (a never better Damon Wayans) at a television network is at first horrified but then embraces the most racist show he could originate. A searing satire, BAMBOOZLED finds Spike Lee at the top of his game investigating the historical roots and modern portrayals of “Blackness.” Screening in 35mm. In collaboration with Film Desk, copies of the book Facing Blackness by Ashley Clark will be available for purchase at the AFS Cinema box office.