2008 Winter Spring Season
8.00pm Every Friday Night
@ 127 Campbell St
note: most previews of foreign films are without english subtitles
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Teorema (Theorem)– Pier Paolo Pasolini (Italy 1968 94m)
A news report announces the passing of a factory into the hands of its workers as its owner wanders into the desert. Flash-back… A mysterious visitor (Terence Stamp) appears at a rich industrialists family reunion. As if by unseen power he embeds himself in the house and proceeds to make love to, and unfurl the repressed souls of all within its walls. A story of sex, angelic possession and madness… Pasolini’s most enigmatic film, attempts to merge his revolutionary, sexual and religious tensions and beliefs into a whole, as if it were an argument, a game… a theorem…
The Yakuza Papers– Kinji Fukusaku (Japan 1972 99m)
Beginning in Hiroshima, in the aftermath of the Bomb amidst the anarchy of Japans painful rebirth. An ex soldier falls in with a Yakuza Family out of desperation. Keenly observant of a presumed code of honour, he is quickly taken advantage of by his unscrupulous colleagues. Fukusaku broke with the type of sycophantic glory that films of the day awarded the Yakuza. Instead he chose to portray the sleaze and betrayal within its ranks. Tightly structured, brilliantly filmed, rocking soundtrack, and oozing with tension and violence, Yakuza Papers (Battles without Honour or Humanity) is a giant within the Yakuza film genre.
Third Part of the Night – Andrzej Zulawski (Poland 1972 105m)
Set amidst the harrowing Nazi occupation of Warsaw. Michal, a young man having witnessed the senseless killing of his entire family joins the underground. Through a cruel twist he finds himself enmeshed with a woman who is a doppelganger of his murdered wife. Like other fugitives he is sheltered and protected by a medical research facility experimenting with human lice-borne disease as both test subject and researcher. Based on his Fathers own stories of the Polish Resistance, Images of parasitism and arbitrary violence mix into a nightmare logic; assisted more than adequately with arresting performance and sheer visual artistry from this unsung maverick of Polish cinema.
Ciao Manhattan – John Palmer and David Weisman (USA 1972 84m)
A brilliant and lucid confessional of the rise and fall of Edie Sedgwick, Warhols most notable “superstar”. “Ciao Manhattan” is perhaps the most curious biopics ever produced. A strange treatment of Edies tortured “poor little rich girl” tale that started as a document, became a fictional work and then somehow became real again. Intimate, honest, and truly affectionate despite the unflinching focus on her decadence. Great scenes in the so called health spa of Dr Robert, the reputed “Dr Feelgood”, the real-life amphetamine dispenser to the stars. ”Ciao Manhattan” is both an illuminating light into the speed-fueled Dream machine of 60’s NYC scene, and the beauty, damage, and depth of Sedgewick after the parade had passed. Forget that revolting piece of unrelenting bullshit “Factory Girl”, see the real deal.
Wake in Fright – Ted Kotcheff (Australia 1971 109m)
This critically revered, yet rarely seen or enjoyed moment in Australian film history is based on the novel by Kenneth Cook, and stars Chips Rafferty, Jack Thompson and Donald Pleasence. It is best described as a gothic tale of booze, sun and masculinity. Gary Bond plays John Grant a Sydney schoolteacher submitting to a mandatory stint of rural service. In the spirit of Australian manhood and mateship he sinks deeper into a knuckle-headed world of beer-swilling and kangaroo killing. “Wake in Fright” cut far too deep to be enjoyed much in Australia but just like “Wolf Creek” in more recent years, it provided overseas audiences with pleasurably barbaric views of the Australian Outback. This film is very hard to find!!!! Dont miss
La Cabina – Antonio Mercero (Spain 1972 34m)
A man finds himself trapped in a telephone booth, though people try, they cannot free him. After a series desperate measures he is eventually carted off to an unknown destination. A Kafkaesque and cloying type of horror, made effective due to its arbitrary and absurd premise
Pure Shit – Bert Deling (Australia 1975 83min)
A crowning example of Melbourne 1970’s underground film-making that chronicles 24 hours in the life of a group of junkies trying to find good quality heroin. From parties to kitchens to drug stores to the streets of St Kilda, Fitzroy and Footscray. Pure Shit says as much about the sexual politics and crudity of Melbourne’s drug subcultural life as it does the vacuousness of addiction and government policy in regards to it. Delings’ film was hilariously dubbed “the most evil film in the world” by some dumb critic in the Herald Sun which also indicates another form of backwardness. Don’t take it from him though… see for yourself
The Last Wave – Peter Weir (Australia 1977 106m)
Weirs follow up to “Picnic at Hanging Rock” finds another, more esoteric angle on White alienation in the Australian landscape. Freak weather patterns and Aboriginal mysticism, set the scene of this very unusual and timely piece of Australiana. Richard Chamberlain plays a Sydney Lawyer asked to defend a group a Aboriginal men indicted for the murder of a compatriot and transgressor. He uncovers a web of magic and etheric power announcing a cycle of watery destruction. Naive and brave in it’s attempt to map out Anglo Aboriginal conflict from a more metaphysical perpective, its fallacies are (in my humble opinion) eclipsed by its integrity. Impressive and imaginative usage of metaphor in dream sequences and great sound design, make this often ignored anomaly in Peter Weirs career definately worth watching.
Salut du Cubains – Agnes Varda (France 1963 30m)
A salute to the people of Cuba in black and white photography and film footage, woven with great love and gusto with the words of Agnes Varda, Celebrating the sassy and sexy soul of Cuban women and men, music, dancing and style as much as its revolutionary acheivments, Varda with the assistance of a team of other Parisian film-makers give us a glimpse into the optimistic spirit of a young island state then subject to much American aggression.
Vagabond – Agnes Varda (France 1985 105m)
Without adornment, or stylization “The Vagabond” opens with the death of a female drifter. Through a sequence of recollections from friends, lovers and complete outsiders a picture is formed of our response to those who chose to live outside of social obligations. Neither moralising or glorifying the choices made by our protagonist, Varda makes her point about the discomfort caused by those who spiral out of control amongst those close to them. An amazing talent for for telling human stories without the typical cliches, Vagabond is considered the heights of her work
Fantomas contres Juves – Louis Fueillade (France 1913 60m)
Louis Fueillade, the early silent film-maker made crime films that were truly innovative and equally transgressive. Second in a series of highly popular films depicting the murderous and creepy figure of Fantomas, based on the equally popular pulp novels of the early 1900’s. Fantomas is the face of a willful evil that finds much fascination in French culture at the turn of the century, Like the writings of Marquis De Sade, or Lautremont. Fueillades’ Fantomas films and his “Les Vampires” series were inspiration to the Surrealists and became a popular “cult” in Europe and Latin America.
Fantomas – Louis de Funes (France 1964 97m)
Fantomas leaves the jaundiced world of the absinthe sipping “fin-de-ciecle” and instead takes a leaf from James Bond in a swinging sixties B-Grade treatment of the Fantomas charachter. Jean Marais, toy-boy of Jean Cocteau and aging French sex-symbol plays both hero and villian in the first of a series of campy and frothy treatments of the highly subversive character created by Fueillade. Certainly not a great work of film art it IS however a great exercise in syle, and it is clearly this film that served as a cue for Mario Bava’s Diabolik (refer to https://timecapsules.wordpress.com/2008/01/)
Schastye (Happiness) – Alexandr Medvedkin (Russia 1935 94m)
One of the three film makers who commanded the famed “Agit-prop” trains in the early days of the Bolshevik Revolution. Happiness details the misfortunes of a poor Peasant named “Loser” trying to “get ahead” and survive the caprices of landlords and bureaucrats in the backwards world of rural west Russia. Slapstick and biting satire on par with Chaplin’s “Modern Times”. Dealing cheekily with the common persons fantasy of wealth, and on the problems of institutional and individual power without submitting to propagandist cliche or rhetoric. Happiness is a window into the heart of an artist who deeply cared about the fate of ordinary people. It is no surprise that this films irreverence fell foul of Stalin and his apparatchiks. Medvedkin was prevented from making another film until he capitulated to making rousing musicals about combine harvesters and the people who drive them.
Preceded by an interview with Medvekin from ”The Train rolls on” by Chris Marker and the SLON collective (France 1971 12m)
Le Corbeau – Henri Georges Clouzot (France 1943 91m)
(Replacing Maurice Tourneurs “La Main du Diable” which is sadly unavailable in a subtitled version)
“Le Corbeau” is a highly controversial film, that both details the escalation of rumour-milling, betrayal and hysteria, and was itself the subject of vilification and recrimination.. A small town is pulled to pieces when a series of letters are circulated and signed by a shady figure named “Le Corbeau” (the Raven) implicating its more prominent members in terrible scandal. Made during the Nazi Occupation for an independant German owned studio, “Le Corbeau” was denounced as Anti-French by both poles of the politcal spectrum as well as the Catholic church (for allegedly being soft on abortion) and was promptly banned after liberation. Clouzot also was barred from making films for years and this film only resurfaced in the late 60’s. It is clear to see that the real problem presented by this gritty Gallic “Noir” was that it highlighted the political opportunism, and the betrayals of thousands by informants during the Vichy era… Picking open unmentionable scabs whilst the Republic was desperately trying to raise it’s wounded pride.
Gold Diggers of 1933 – Mervyn LeRoy (USA 1933 97m)
First of the three films Mervyn Le Roy made with Busby Berkely and the first of a series of “Gold Diggers” films exploring the desperate world of showbiz and specifically the lives of Showgirls during the heights of the Great Depression. These sassy, wise cracking dames, completely at ease with their sexualities, provide an interesting glimpse into the innocent and sexy world of pop culture of the time. A time before the Catholic “League of Decency” made moves to clean up Hollywood, songs like “Pettin in the Park” are saucy even by todays standards. Apart from the unforgettable choreography and squadrons of neon-violin wielding femmes. Whilst the public craved an escape from their everyday lives, “Gold Diggers of 33” broke the mould with what social issues it managed to incorporate into its plot. The film ends notably with a sobering and heart wrenching paeon to those broken ex-service men on the breadlines of America.
O No Coronado! – Craig Baldwin (USA 1992 40m)
Craig Baldwins’ least known work is an exploration of the conquering of America by the brutal forces of the Spanish Inquisition. It details the infamous exploits of the psychotic Conquistador, Coronado and his hunt for a mythical city of gold in North AmericaUsing his trademark style of blending found footage, live action and poetic narrative, he explores the underlying machinations of colonial power and the decimation of one civilization by another from the 16th Century through to the modern day.
Story Without End / We Programme Life – People Like Us (UK 2005 20m)
People Like Us (aka Vicki Bennett) is a maestro of audio montage and pop music mash up, a Star DJ on the famed WFMU radio and inheritor of a line of British humour that traces its lineage from Spike Milligan and Monty Python as well as Neo-Dada sound artists like Nurse with Wound. These films are largely culled from the wonderful Prelinger Archives video databank (www.archive.org) and made into a kitsch and perverse video mixage of radiant 1950’s America’.
The Voice – Johan Soderberg (Sweden 2004 28m)
Neo conservatives and Islamic fundamentalists eventually wake up to the notion that they have too much in common to be at war with each other. Instead they join forces againt the godless, the homosexual and the other undesirable elements to create a new North/South divide. Soderberg is an angry young media artist who lives with one foot squarely placed in the language of MTV and the other in the radical tradition.
Ilhas das Flores (Isle of Flowers) – Jorge Furtado (Brazil 1989 12m)
A deeply ironic exploration of the human race through the economic life-cycle of a common tomato. The film employs a unique usage of scientific relativism and educational film style to show the disgraceful state of the poor in Brazil and to illustrate the primordial dynamics of what we now fondly refer to as globalization.
Pixote – Hector Babenco (Brazil 1973 130m)
Few words sum up the intensity and purity of Pixote. Performed by a cast of real street children, namely the lead performer Fernando Ramos Da Silva who eventually was killed by police gunfire. Pixote (Portugese for Urchin) is a story of social refuse, intimately bonded against the hostile forces of Sao Paolo’s ghetto’s and endless sexual predation that encroach them from all sides. Whilst things are not quite as bad in Brazil since the fall of the Junta, Pixote is a reminder of an era of terrible hardship, and reminds us of the wider realities of stolen childhood in the poorer nations of the world. Those who were impressed by “City of God” would be foolish to not catch this landmark film.