AFS Announces Its September/October 2023 Program Calendar
(William Friedkin’s THE EXORCIST, 1973)
August 8, AUSTIN, TX— The Austin Film Society announces its calendar for September/October 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.
The upcoming programming calendar includes two brand-new editions of AFS’s Essential Cinema series. The first, in September, is called Fast Women Of The Pre-Code Era and features female-driven films from the early ’30s before Hollywood’s self-censoring production code went into effect. Then, in October, AFS will present The Days Between: A Brief Survey of the Berlin School showcasing works by contemporary German filmmakers, including Thomas Arslan, Angela Schanelec and Christian Petzold. The Austin Film Society will show a variety of Halloween-related films in the lead-up to the holiday, including classics like The Shining, The Omen, The Exorcist and Poltergeist; the launch of a new series called Fright Club featuring Terror of Mechagodzilla and Cat People introduced by AFS Lead Programmer Lars Nilsen at their first screenings; the newly restored (and previously difficult to find) Opera by legendary horror director Dario Argento and a co-presentation with the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) called the No Budget No Problem Horror Double Feature in 35mm on the night of Halloween. There will be two director spotlight series highlighting a pair of films by the influential Shinji Sōmai (P.P. Rider, Typhoon Club) and three by Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco). The upcoming calendar also features numerous special events, including You’re On! 50 Years of Public Access TV on October 6, which tells the story of public access in Austin up to present day, and co-presentations with Experimental Response Cinema on September 28 and The Museum of Home Video on October 1. For music lovers, Spaceflight Records will present David Byrne’s True Stories in 35mm on September 9 and 10 with the first show preceded by live music; and previously lost footage of The Cramps and The Mutants performing from a mental hospital will screen as The Cramps and The Mutants: The Napa State Tapes on October 4.
Calendar highlights in detail:
In September, the Austin Film Society will present a series of four films from the early 1930s called Essential Cinema: Fast Women of the Pre-Code Era. The collection celebrates major female contributors to the era of filmmaking before Hollywood’s “Production Code,” also known as the Hays Code. This period lasted from 1934–1968 and censored content that included profanity, nudity and violence among other things. For its showcase of pre-Code films, AFS will screen I’m No Angel, starring Mae West; Safe In Hell directed by William “Wild Bill” Wellman; the sophisticated comedy Design For Living and Cecil B. DeMille’s Madam Satan.
The Essential Cinema series at AFS Cinema for October will be The Days Between: A Brief Survey of the Berlin School. The filmmakers most associated with this movement are connected through their film studies at the Deutsche Film-und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB), and their work in the late ’90s and early ’00s is united by its shared aesthetics and character-driven stories. AFS has chosen five films that represent the Berlin School, some of which are new restorations that have been hard to access in the US. The series includes Yella by Christian Petzold (dir. Undine, Afire) in 35mm; Thomas Arslan’s Dealer; Passing Summer by Angela Schanelec; Bungalow by Ulrich Köhler and Everyone Else by Maren Ade in 35mm.
Starting in late September, the Austin Film Society will screen a variety of different films in the leadup to Halloween for every type of film lover. For a new series called Fright Club, AFS will screen Terror of Mechagodzilla, considered the last of the Showa-era Godzilla films and directed by the franchise’s co-creator Ishirō Honda. The other film kicking off the series will be Jacques Tourneur’s original Cat People from 1942. AFS Programmer Lars Nilsen will introduce the first screenings of both Fright Club films. Upcoming Big Screen Classics programming includes four films, all loosely connected in their depictions of creepy children: Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece The Shining; The Omen starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick; William Friedkin’s The Exorcist and Poltergeist by Austin’s own Tobe Hooper. Dario Argento’s Opera will screen in October, a film that hasn’t been available in theaters for many years. AFS and the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA) will also co-present the No Budget No Problem Horror Double Feature in 35mm on the night of Halloween featuring low-budget films Frightmare and Mausoleum.
The series 2X Shinji Sōmai will be the first of two director spotlights presented by the Austin Film Society in October. The Japanese filmmaker, known for his work in the ’80s and ’90s, has influenced many contemporary directors like Shunji Iwai (Swallowtail Butterfly, also playing at AFS Cinema starting on September 1), Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure, Pulse) and Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car). AFS will show new restorations of P.P. Rider and Typhoon Club as follow-ups to Sailor Suit and Machine Gun, which screened at AFS Cinema in June. The second director-specific program will be Doomed. Bourgeois. In Love: 3X Whit Stillman. Stillman’s films are often characterized by their polite, witty dialogue and disenchanted protagonists, and this series will include his first three releases: Metropolitan, which earned him an Oscar® nomination for Best Screenplay; its followup, Barcelona, set in Cold-War Spain and The Last Days of Disco starring Chloë Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale.
As a part of Queer Cinema: Lost & Found, filmmaker, archivist and guest programmer Elizabeth Purchell will show two Canadian films with complementing shorts. In September, the series will feature the documentary Hookers on Davie focusing on the sex workers of Davie Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, which will be paired with Gendertroublemakers, a 1993 short by Mirha-Soleil Ross and Xanthra Phillippa. In October, the 1997 narrative feature Skin Deep explores female masculinity and transness through the perspective of a lesbian documentarian, and it will be paired with Annette Kennerley’s Boys in the Backyard. The first screening of each feature will be followed by a post-film discussion with Purchell herself.
The Austin Film Society will also host a variety of special events throughout September and October. The local nonprofit Spaceflight Records will present two screenings of David Byrne’s Texas-made feature True Stories on September 9 and 10, the first of which will include a live musical performance. AFS will partner with the Austin collective Experimental Response Cinema on September 28 to screen a variety of contemporary pieces from the festival circuit with film critic and programmer Michael Sicinski. The weekly Twitch show Museum of Home Video will host an in-person event at AFS Cinema on October 1 full of found-footage oddities. On October 4, AFS will show The Cramps and The Mutants: The Napa State Tapes, a special archival find featuring the unedited footage of the two titular bands performing at a California mental hospital in 1978. This presentation will include Mike Plante’s new docushort We Were There To Be There, which contextualizes the legacy of The Napa State Tapes. AFS will also present You’re On!: 50 Years of Public Access TV on October 6, an hour-long documentary celebrating the recent historical milestone achieved by Austin Public and the City of Austin, followed by a live Q&A after the screening.
The full September/October 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 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER CALENDAR
Pre-Code films, that is films made prior to the enforcement of Hollywood’s self-censoring “Production Code,” are a constant source of wonder and delight for those who love them. And one of the most surprising aspects of these uncensored films is the great social and sexual license granted to the female characters (and accepted by audiences). The loss of these kinds of free-living characters — and the not-coincidental loss of the female writers who gained frequent work on these films — was a tragedy for Hollywood and helped to solidify a culture-wide backlash into sexual and gender conformity. Come with us while we revisit this Hollywood Valhalla for a few weeks with the likes of Mae West, Miriam Hopkins, and the rest.
I’M NO ANGEL
Wesley Ruggles, USA, 1933, DCP, 87 min.
“Mae West as a lion tamer, Cary Grant as a society lion, lots of adenoidal innuendo, and some good honky-tonk songs. Arguably West’s best film, certainly one of her funniest.” —Pauline Kael
“Throughout the film, audiences are encouraged to watch and wonder at Mae West’s flamboyant style. Often they can do little else as the action comes to a halt, or rather, hangs suspended, while the camera focuses on West simply strutting her stuff.” —Marybeth Hamilton, author of Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It: Censoring Mae West
Written by and starring Mae West, I’M NO ANGEL is as good a showcase as could be imagined for West’s bold style of double entendre humor. Mae plays a circus-sideshow burlesque queen who has her way with the men (among them a young Cary Grant).
SAFE IN HELL
William Wellman, USA, 1931, DCP, 73 min.
“Seems remarkably lurid and sordid even by the loose standards that prevailed before Hollywood began enforcing the production code with vigor in 1934.” —The New York Times
“Hugely entertaining.” —Betsy Sherman, Arts Fuse
One of the most shockingly direct and hardboiled pre-Code films stars the little-known Dorothy Mackaill as a hard-living lady of the evening who accidentally kills a man and flees to a Caribbean island where she holds her own against desperadoes who pursue her at every turn. Rough, tough, and extraordinarily well-directed by William “Wild Bill” Wellman.
DESIGN FOR LIVING
Ernst Lubitsch, USA, 1933, DCP, 91 min.
“Not just sexy but also revolutionary, daring, sweet, sour, cynical, carefree, poignant, and so far ahead of its time that one could cite it as not only a pre-Code masterpiece but also a pre-feminist testimonial.” —Kim Morgan, author of Design For Living: It Takes Three
“The primary sexual freedom rendered on the screen is the freedom to confess — to express attraction or to admit dalliances that will cause hurt. In one faux-feminist monologue, Miriam Hopkins’ Gilda marvels at the luck she’s been given to be able to try various men on, like hats, and decide to keep two in her closet.” —Joseph Jon Lanthier, Slant Magazine
Perfection. In this Ernst Lubitsch adaptation of the Noël Coward play, Miriam Hopkins plays an advertising artist who falls in with a pair of Bohemian best friends, playwright Fredric March and painter Gary Cooper. The two men compete for Hopkins’ affection at first, but they soon settle into what we might today call a throuple. An irresistible comedy that is shocking in its moral irreverence.
Cecil B. DeMille, USA, 1930, 35mm, 116 min.
“It contrives some of the most ludicrous moments ever flung on screen … probably the wackiest semi-musical-comedy/romance/drama/disaster film you’re likely to encounter in this lifetime.” —E. B. White, The New Yorker
“The Jazz Age bacchanalia aboard a zeppelin echoes the gaudy debauches in the director’s biblical spectacles and egyptomaniac epics.” —Thomas Doherty, author of Pre-Code Hollywood
A bizarre and, if we’re being honest, incomprehensible musical comedy directed by that master of kitsch Cecil B. DeMille and written by DeMille’s frequent collaborator Jeanie MacPherson. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: it’s a door-slamming sex farce that climaxes in a grand masquerade ball held aboard a zeppelin in which our heroine appears in disguise as Madame Satan and drives all the errant husbands wild.
Less a movement than a school of thought, the films of the Berlin School have been designated by critics in an attempt to formalize a search for meaning, for identity among its figures, most notably Christian Petzold, Angela Schanelec, and Thomas Arslan. With their sparse landscapes, their minimalist approach, and exquisite framing, this collection of films explore the divisions of post-wall Germany.
Christian Petzold, Germany, 2007, 35mm, 89 min. In German with English subtitles.
“An enigmatic thriller. The kind of movie that tantalizes the mind.” —The New York Times
“Petzold’s film is an expertly crafted thriller which offers a pessimistic, though deeply rewarding, glimpse of a society being haunted by its own past.” —Time Out
“A film to be seen and savored. Ms. Hoss provides a performance that is as phenomenal as any I have ever encountered.” —The New York Observer
Taking inspiration from Herk Harvey’s CARNIVAL OF SOULS, the final entry in Christian Petzold’s “ghost trilogy” stars Nina Hoss (BARBARA) as a woman who flees her life in East Germany for the West but soon discovers the hidden truths that belie the promise of the corporate world. An early, dynamic genre-skipping exploration of the chasms of reunification from one of the world’s preeminent filmmakers. Co-starring Berlin School regular Devid Striesow. In 35mm.
Thomas Arslan, Germany, 1998, DCP, 74 min. In German and Turkish with English subtitles.
Young Can (Tamer Yiğit) wants to leave petty drug dealing behind, but even in a life of small-time crime, the ground isn’t always steady. Thomas Arslan’s third feature film helped to establish the young filmmakers associated with the Berlin School as a formidable force on the international scene and marked the first major turning point for modern German cinema since the arrival of such filmmakers as Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, and others.With performances from Birol Ünel (HEAD-ON), Marquard Böhm (ROTE SONNE), and Angela Schanelec (director of PASSING SUMMER).
Angela Schanelec, Germany, 2001, DCP, 85 min. In German with English subtitles.
Two young women sit in a café. A man and a woman share a dance in a nightclub. A collection of everyday moments is spun into an mesmerizing assemblage of encounters as Angela Schanelec (I WAS AT HOME, BUT…) captures a summer’s passing through a series of austere static shots of an endlessly expanding constellation of Berliners in the life of Valerie (Ursina Lardi), a writer who has decided to remain in the city for the season. Also starring Berlin School regular, Devid Striesow.
Ulrich Köhler, Germany, 2002, DCP, 85 min. In German and English with English subtitles.
“Critic’s Pick! Köhler’s first film is a secretive and beautifully observant study of teenage disaffection.” —The New York Times
“Resembles ’70s pics like FIVE EASY PIECES. Perfs are excellent all around, with Dogma-like naturalism never pushed to any showy effect.” —Variety
“Considerably more complicated than the love triangle it might seem on its surface. Concludes ambivalently and ingeniously.” —Sight & Sound
Quintessential in any look at the Berlin School, the debut of Ulrich Köhler (IN MY ROOM) is a wry portrait of a German soldier (Lennie Burmeister) who goes AWOL only to return to his childhood home where his older brother (Devid Striesow) is vacationing along with his Danish girlfriend (Trine Dyrholm). A beguiling look at German youths adrift.
Maren Ade, Germany, 2009, 35mm, 119 min. In German with English subtitles.
“A sublime, subtle, and masterfully handled portrait of the dynamics of a young couple.” —New York Magazine
“Provocatively titled, superbly performed, emotionally graphic.” —The Village Voice
“Immediately striking … richly and provocatively detailed, featuring two staggeringly committed and concentrated lead performances. For many, watching the film is to watch the emergence of a very particular and potentially galvanic cinematic talent.” —LA Times
Oscillating between love and cruelty, Chris (Lars Eidinger) and Gatti (Birgit Minichmayr, winner of a Silver Bear at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival) are in love, perhaps, in this incisive look at a young couple pushed to the edge while vacationing in the Mediterranean. Every bit as caustic as director Maren Ade’s later international smash hit, TONI ERDMANN, EVERYONE ELSE marked the arrival of a new generation of Berlin School filmmakers. In 35mm. Free Member Monday—free admission for all AFS members on October 30.
“For anyone who wants to see a movie that has the power to change and sustain your life, I urge you to see Shinji Sōmai’s films.” —Ryusuke Hamaguchi (director of DRIVE MY CAR)
Emerging from the rubble of the Japanese studio system and walking an electrified tightrope, the two restorations presented here contrast Shinji Sōmai’s vivid, often flamboyant, visions of youth with a thoughtful, sensitive approach and leave no doubt as to why these works (and their director) went on to influence the likes of Shunji Iwai, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, and more.
Shinji Sōmai, Japan, 1983, DCP, 118 min. In Japanese with English subtitles.
“Classical long takes jostle alongside Somai’s mobile camera, random intertitles, and frequent breaks for pop music in a frenzy of post-modern gags but somehow it all just works and does so with wit and charm.” —Windows on Worlds
Cocaine, blood, and musical numbers — zigzagging through an increasingly batty series of plot contrivances, this ever of upping of the antes sees three teens battle it out with a ruthless yakuza gang while on the hunt for their school bully in an endless summer adventure from the minds of Chieko and Leonard Schrader (THE MAN WHO STOLE THE SUN, MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS). With Tatsuya Fuji (IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES) and Masatoshi Nagase (MYSTERY TRAIN). New 2K restoration.
Shinji Sōmai, Japan 1985, DCP, 115 min. In Japanese with English subtitles.
“TYPHOON CLUB throbs with lust, envy, and ennui.” —Notebook
New 4K restoration.
Rain. Rage. Hormones. The swelling fears and jealousies of a stranded group of teens trapped within their school as the eponymous typhoon mounts the pressure inside — and out — make for one of the most influential films of Japanese cinema and the oft-cited inspiration for directors such as Shunji Iwai (ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU) and Ryusuke Hamaguchi (DRIVE MY CAR). Winner of the Grand Prix at the first Tokyo International Film Festival in 1985. The 10th best Japanese film of all time, according to Japan’s Kinema Junpo poll.
Unabashedly preppy and undeniably idiosyncratic, the films of Whit Stillman crackle with, well, wit, snark, and the occasional touch of venom. Emerging at the forefront of a new crop of American auteurs, Stillman and his works exist in a world in which “wordy” is never an insult. Here, we look back on the ever-articulate, impeccably mannered trilogy which introduced one of the most distinctive voices in independent cinema.
Whit Stillman, USA, 1990, DCP, 98 min.
“Irresistibly funny!” —The New York Times
“Indelibly sardonic.” —Vanity Fair
“After watching one of Whit Stillman’s movies, I find myself wanting to be better — tiptoeing gingerly around tender feelings that I might otherwise stomp on, holding back on my drinking, and trying to be just a little more articulate.” —Nick Pinkerton
A middle-class Princeton student finds himself adrift among the demimonde that is Manhattan during debutante season and pals around with a set of bright young things who are all too acutely aware of their status as “doomed and bourgeois.” God forbid, he falls in love with one. A sleeper hit for the then-unknown Whit Stillman, the script went on to garner an Academy-Award® nomination for Best Screenplay.
Whit Stillman, USA, 1994, DCP, 101 min.
“Sharp and droll. An incisive comedy of misplaced American manners, this is for the most part a very funny portrait of immaturity deceived by its own ignorance and blinkered obstinacy.” —Time Out
In the last decade of the Cold War, two cousins destined for middle-management discover Barcelona is for lovers, not Americans. With sharp, droll, and undeniably clever dialogue delivered by the likes of Stillman regular Chris Eigeman and Mira Sorvino, BARCELONA cemented Stillman as one of the most original voices of his generation.
THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO
Whit Stillman, USA, 1998, DCP, 113 min.
“An overwhelming morass of wit, language, deviance, insecurity, and perhaps above all, pleasure.” —Vanity Fair
“A masterful evocation of the giddiness and instantaneous nostalgia of waning youth.” —Film Comment
By day, they work humdrum jobs as administrative assistants. By night, they are partying to the end of an era at an exclusive night club. Chloë Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale look for fun and pleasure under the disco lights in this splendidly wordy send-up to lost youth and bygone innocence.
Stanley Kubrick, USA/UK, 1980, DCP, 144 min.
“Kubrick has made a movie that will have to be reckoned with on the highest level.” —Richard Schickel
“As has become increasingly evident over time, THE SHINING is much more than a simple horror film (or even than the “ultimate experiment” in fear). It is a dark comedy, a family drama, and an early instantiation of the ‘mind game’ film.” —Senses of Cinema
Kubrick’s symphony of terror is a completely unique theatrical experience. We are accustomed to horror movies with a lot of atmosphere and with shocking jump scares, but when a cinematic master turns his hand to these techniques they become something more like high art. Come see it with us on the big screen and appreciate the performances of Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and company as the peerless spell cast by Stanley Kubrick works its grim magic down your spine.
Richard Donner, USA, 1976, DCP, 111 min.
“An absolutely riveting, thoroughly scary experience, a triumph of sleek film craftsmanship.” — Los Angeles Times
In this paranoiac nightmare, Gregory Peck plays a diplomat who surprises his wife with a new adopted son, the adorable Damien, who has many good points but is also the Spawn Of The Devil. Highly influential in its use of terrifying set pieces, this is an old-fashioned great scary time at the movies.
William Friedkin, USA, 1973, DCP, 132 min.
“If movies are, among other things, opportunities for escapism, then THE EXORCIST is one of the most powerful ever made.” —Roger Ebert
“It would be sheer insanity to take children to this film.” —Pauline Kael
William Friedkin’s iconic nightmare of possession, shown here in the extended director’s cut, is a theatrical experience that is not soon forgotten. This is elemental horror, aided by its extraordinary cast: Max Von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Linda Blair, and, as the voice of possessed Regan, Mercedes McCambridge.
Tobe Hooper, USA, 1982, 35mm, 114 min.
Austin’s own Tobe Hooper (with some uncredited help from producer Steven Spielberg) directs this hyperkinetic tale of a haunted house that features some of the most vivid shocks of the ’80s. With Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, and Zelda Rubinstein — unforgettable as the medium who helps make the connection with the spirit world. In 35mm.
THE COLOUR OF INK
Brian D. Johnson, Canada, 2023, DCP, 105 min.
Ink is such an omnipresent factor in our lives that many of us may not ever stop to think about its history, its chemical components, or its meaning. Documentarian Brian D. Johnson has, and he documents his ink-centric explorations around the world, from a New Yorker cartoonist to a renegade tattoo artist in the American Southwest and finally to a Japanese calligrapher who makes massive artworks with an eight-foot-tall brush. Free Member Monday—free admission for all AFS members on September 25.
MAX ROACH: THE DRUM ALSO WALTZES
Sam Pollard & Ben Shapiro, USA, 2023, DCP, 82 min.
Drummer Max Roach was the beating heart of bebop music and a jazz composer of ongoing importance. He was also, in tandem with his wife and collaborator Abbey Lincoln, a socially conscious activist who used his talent to make America a better — and more awake — place.
JAMES BALDWIN ABROAD: A PROGRAM OF THREE FILMS
Various, DCP, 84 min.
Special encore engagement. In these three newly restored films, made between 1968 and 1973, the great American novelist, essayist, and activist James Baldwin’s travels and encounters with fellow intellectuals are documented in Istanbul, Paris, and London. The films in this program are JAMES BALDWIN: FROM ANOTHER PLACE (1973), MEETING THE MAN: JAMES BALDWIN IN PARIS (1971), and BALDWIN’S N****R (1968).
Classic horror films on the big screen with fun, historically rich introductions from AFS Programmer Lars Nilsen at the first screening of each title.
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
Ishirō Honda, Japan, 1975, DCP, 83 min, in Japanese with English subtitles.
Ishirō Honda, the King of Kaiju Monster Movies, returned to the Showa Godzilla series he had created twenty years earlier to finish it off with this berserk mix of hard sci-fi, pulp space-invasion adventure, and emo/goth contemplation. If you’ve only seen the ’70s GODZILLA movies made for kids, this one may shock you.
Jacques Tourneur, USA, 35mm, 1942, 73 min.
Jacques Tourneur directs this moody and atmospheric classic that, among other things, pioneered jump scares in horror films. Simone Simon stars as a woman with a strange affliction that makes her especially dangerous to her male partners. This does tend to mess up her love life. Highly literate and elegantly executed. In 35mm.
David Byrne, USA, 1986, 35mm, 89 min.
“A sharp yet gloriously sugarcoated satire on corporate America.” —Film Comment
“It is hard not to fall head over cowboy boots in love with David Byrne’s impressive first film.” —Screen Slate
“Deeply funny and free-spirited, TRUE STORIES is a nuanced, acutely perceptive mosaic of a film, a merging of comedy and music and art.” —Current
David Byrne’s directorial debut, and, in fact, his only directorial effort to date, takes us into a quirk-filled Texas of the imagination where various parties prepare for the state’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. The first screening of this film will be preceded by a musical act from Austin’s own critically acclaimed nonprofit music label Spaceflight Records. In 35mm.
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, UK, 1946, DCP, 104 min.
“A romantic, daring and beautifully realized allegorical fantasy – one of the best of the Powell/Pressburger movies.” —Martin Scorsese
“One of the most audacious films ever made — in its grandiose vision and in the cozy English way it’s expressed … The special effects show a universe that never existed until this movie was made, and the vision is breathtaking in its originality.” —Roger Ebert
Powell and Pressburger are at their most imaginative in this story of a WWII Royal Air Force flier (David Niven) who forms a unique, spiritual connection with his American radio operator (Kim Hunter). A romance that transcends life and death, heaven and earth. Completely unforgettable Cinema.
Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 1990, 35mm, 98 min. In Persian and Azerbaijani with English subtitles.
“The greatest documentary about filmmaking I have ever seen.” —Werner Herzog
“Lighthearted and entertaining throughout, CLOSE-UP is cinema as reconciliation — human reconciliation as well as the reconciliation of incongruous realities.” —Artforum
“I think of all my films, CLOSE-UP is the best.” —Abbas Kiarostami
Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami’s masterpiece tells a direct but multifaceted true story of a man who impersonates a famous filmmaker. The film, based upon a real-life case, stars the actual participants from the events depicted. In 35mm.
Andrei Tarkovsky, Soviet Union/Italy, 1983, DCP, 126 min. In Russian and Italian with English subtitles.
“Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film.” —Ingmar Bergman
“Perhaps Tarkovsky’s most opaque film, Nostalghia is nonetheless one of his most personal.” —SLANT MAGAZINE
Andrei Tarkovsky’s next-to-last film is a reverie inspired by Italy, by dreams, and by the pain of being away from home. A Russian poet, in Italy to research a long-dead composer, switches between memory, dreams, and the strangeness of life itself.
Jean-Luc Godard, France, DCP, 1963, 102 min. In French with English subtitles.
“Its audacity is BREATHTAKING!” —The New York Times
“SPLENDID, PROPHETIC, VISUALLY RAVISHING … This pop-art masterpiece is still light years ahead of its time.” —J. Hoberman
“BARDOT + GODARD = MOVIE GREATNESS!” —Time Out New York
Perhaps Jean-Luc Godard’s most accessible film, but don’t hold that against it. It’s still an eerily gorgeous, sneakily angry work of cinema about cinema. Fritz Lang stars as himself, undertaking an adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey in Capri as the various crew members and the terrifying American producer (Jack Palance) swirl around. With Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli and the music of Georges Delerue. 60th Anniversary. New 4k Restoration.
CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT
Orson Welles, USA/Switzerland/Spain, DCP, 1965, 117 min.
“Directed the film with an imaginative and expressive clarity that propels it to the front rank of Orson Welles movies — and of the history of cinema …” —The New Yorker
“One of the very pinnacles of Welles’ art, matching a forceful, visual dynamism to melting, mellifluous reading of Shakespeare’s text.” —Artforum
Newly restored, Orson Welles’ majestic labor of love, cobbled together over a period of years as the auteur took odd jobs to raise money, is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ongoing Falstaff narrative, which the Bard spread over several plays.
THE WIND OF AYAHUASCA
Nora de Izcue, Peru, DCP, 1983, 85 min. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Newly rediscovered, THE WIND OF AYAHUASCA is an astonishing document, a low-budget narrative from Peru that centers a love story in the context of the ayahuasca ceremony and the psychedelic magic and discovery of that tradition.
Christine Pascal, France, 1984, DCP, 90 min. In French with English subtitles.
“[On Isabelle Huppert] Our greatest actress … She gave me everything.” —Christine Pascal
The truth wears many disguises and vengeance many faces when a former policeman (Richard Berry), now a private investigator and newly released from prison, finds himself hot on the trail of a couturier (the chameleonic Isabelle Huppert) who stitches her secrets as finely as a gown. A shadowy affair from former actress Christine Pascal, lit by neon and lensed by Godard-regular Raoul Coutard (CONTEMPT).
Dario Argento, Italy, 1987, DCP, 107 min.
“A film of rare beauty, a celebration of love’s absence and the ferocious force of the gaze.” —Slant Magazine
“One of Argento’s more lavish works, making great use of the grand opera house location but doing so in a very Argento manner.” — Live For Films
For many years, the film that many consider Dario Argento’s last masterpiece has been unavailable to screen in theaters. Now, it is back. Set in the Parma Opera House during a run of a very ’80s production of Verdi’s Macbeth, the film features some of Argento’s best hyper-real shock murders, with Argento again pulling on the black leather gloves for a round of POV bloodlettings.
Shunji Iwai, Japan, 1996, DCP, 148 min. In Japanese, English, and Mandarin with English subtitles.
“Irresistibly charming.” —Onitsuka Daisuke
“An ambitious and stylish work that warrants attention.” —Midnight Eye
“Violent, sexy, propulsive, and young, SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY is smart about identity, ethnicity, and the way money makes families, then breaks them.” —Film Comment
In a near-future Japan where millions of immigrants hustle to survive for the yen, a pop star swipes a yakuza money scam and opens a record store. Shunji Iwai’s handheld camera takes on identity and the almighty yen as it moves fast to Takeshi Kobayashi’s kinetic J-Pop beat.
Jérôme Boivin, France, 1989, DCP, 83 min. In French with English subtitles.
“YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING QUITE LIKE IT, THAT I GUARANTEE.” —Miami Herald
“BAXTER goes where Benji and Lassie fear to tread, and in doing so, reveals exactly why your mailman should be afraid.” —Austin Chronicle
Meet Baxter. A white bull terrier, he’s a muscular, active companion in search of his ideal master. His perfect match? A young boy obsessed with Hitler and good breeding. Bad dog, indeed. From scribe Jacques Audiard (RUST AND BONE, A PROPHET) comes a black comedy unafraid to bite. New restoration.
Ken McMullen, UK, Digital, 1983, 100 min.
“A film to watch rather than to analyze or write about …” —Time Out
CELINE AND JULIE GO BOATING with Derrida in Ken McMullen’s hauntological ghost hunt set to the ambient synth throbs of Michael Giles, Jamie Muir, and David Cunningham. Starring Rohmer muse Pascale Ogier, Leonie Mellinger, and Jacques Derrida himself.
THE HAMBURG SYNDROME
Peter Fleischmann, Germany, 1979, DCP, 117 min. In German with English subtitles.
“A poetic, crude, subversive pandemic film, it refuses all the rules of the genre.” —NDR Kultur
“I envy Peter Fleischmann, the continuity of themes in all his films. I admire the stubbornness, wanting to admit what makes our uniqueness in the eyes of the foreigners: the fear of the future, the panic reaction to outsiders, the escape into coziness …” —Volker Schlöndorff, director of THE TIN DRUM
The future is uncertain. The disease is unknown, but its dead are found in embryonic repose. In Peter Fleischmann’s prescient existential wail, a band of misfits, including Jodorowsky collaborator Fernando Arrabal (VIVA LA MUERTE), attempt to flee the pandemic-induced hysteria gripping Germany. Featuring the music of Jean-Michel Jarre.
Gregg Araki, USA, 1997, DCP, 78 min.
“A head rush. Saved by the Bell on crystal meth. NOWHERE is quite possibly the most extravagant, unapologetic example of protracted adolescence ever committed to celluloid, a brilliantly guilty pleasure.” —Dennis Cooper
New 4K Restoration.
Bear witness to “the end of everything” as reality is reduced to Day-Glo ruin and teens are obliterated to braces and ash in Gregg Araki’s queer masterpiece and reworking of “Beverly Hills 90210 on acid.” Featuring a soundtrack chock full of atmospheric shoegaze vibes and a veritable blitz of stars: James Duval, Rachel True, Ryan Phillippe, Rose McGowan, and many more; NOWHERE is “CLUELESS with nipple rings.”
HOOKERS ON DAVIE
Janis Cole and Holly Dale/Jeanne B. and Xanthra Phillippa, Canada, 1984/93, 108 min.
“A rare empathetic and nonjudgmental portrayal of women, including trans women, working as sex workers … A radical achievement.” —cléo journal
“A fabulous, funny, and moving archive of our queer history … Remarkable … It captures Davie Street during one of its rawest and most revolutionary periods.” —Xtra Magazine
“A vital time capsule, capturing a pre-internet period when sex workers walked the street … The film’s many revelations are matched by the inescapable sense that Cole and Dale cared deeply about the people whose lives they were reflecting.” —POV Magazine
The lives and eventual activism of a group of sex workers are explored in this acclaimed documentary from Canadian filmmakers Janis Cole and Holly Dale. Mixing candid interviews with on-the-ground footage shot on the streets at night, HOOKERS ON DAVIE is a powerful portrait of a class of people — mostly trans — who, to this day, are rarely afforded such grace and care. Paired with Jeanne B. and Xanthra Phillippa’s T4T tape, GENDERTROUBLEMAKERS. Queer Cinema: Lost & Found programmer Elizabeth Purchell will join us for a discussion at the screening on Saturday, September 8.
Midi Onodera/Annette Kennerley, Canada/UK, 1995/97, DCP, 107 min.
A lesbian filmmaker making a documentary about tattooing gets tangled up with an androgynous drifter with a troubled past. The sole feature-length narrative film from Canadian lesbian filmmaker Midi Onodera, SKIN DEEP is a fascinating exploration of the blurry lines between female masculinity and transness. Paired with Annette Kennerley’s BOYS IN THE BACKYARD. Queer Cinema: Lost & Found programmer Elizabeth Purchell will join us for a discussion at the screening on Saturday, October 21.
NO BUDGET NO PROBLEM HORROR DOUBLE FEATURE
Various, 35mm, 183 min.
This Halloween, join AFS and AGFA for a double feature of inexpensively mounted horror movies in 35mm. Norman Thaddeus Vane’s 1981 FRIGHTMARE is about a group of obsessive horror movie fans (they’re actually called the Horror Film Society) who disinter their favorite horror star and party with him in a haunted house. Then we have MAUSOLEUM, an exercise in absurdity about a suburban housewife possessed by a demon.
ERC PRESENTS: FRESH EXPERIMENTAL WITH MICHAEL SICINSKI
Various, DCP, 77 min.
Experimental Response Cinema teams up with Austin Film Society to bring film critic and programmer Michael Sicinski to town. His program provides a taste of the most original and provocative experimental films of the last few years.
Various, DCP, 240 minutes total.
This year’s BBoy City screening at AFS Cinema will feature a selection of video shorts representing all four elements of Hip Hop: breaking, graffiti, deejaying, and emceeing (rapping). There will be a Q&A session with some of the filmmakers followed by a panel discussion with notable Austin bboys/bgirls, graffiti artists, deejays, and rappers. Find out about all the BBoy City 2023 events at BBoyCity.com.
MUSEUM OF HOME VIDEO
Various, hosted show with videos, approx. 120 min.
Museum of Home Video is a weekly found-footage livestream for stoners, seekers, archivists, and drinkers. Now, MOHV will visit Austin for a special live-in-theater screening. More details to follow at MuseumofHomeVideo.com.
THE CRAMPS AND THE MUTANTS: THE NAPA STATE TAPES
Joe Target Rees, USA, 1978, DCP, 78 min.
Here for the first time ever: the long-lost tapes of art-punks The Mutants and psychobilly maniacs The Cramps playing at Napa State Psychiatric Hospital in 1978, both unedited and fully remastered from the original reel-to-reel videotape. In between the shows is WE WERE THERE TO BE THERE, a new short documentary about how the Napa State show happened and its lasting effect.
YOU’RE ON!: 50 YEARS OF PUBLIC ACCESS TV
Various, DCP, approx. 90 min.
Join us for a special mixer and screening event at AFS Cinema spanning the 50-year history of Austin Public Access Television. Free and open to the public. Details at AustinFilm.org/Austin-Public.
FEMME FRONTERA FILMMAKER SHOWCASE
Various, DCP, approx. 90 min.
The seventh annual Femme Frontera Filmmaker Showcase features short films by women and non-binary filmmakers from the US-Mexico border regions of El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, México. This community screening is free and open to the public.