Archive for cinema


Posted in EVENTS with tags , , , , on March 26, 2010 by Dean Mc
New Location for the final 3 screenings…
Patersons Building :  Level 2 – 181 Smith Street Fitzroy.

Press the door buzzer for the second floor

Its a BYO event and its a non-smoking venue (though there is a great verandah)

8.30pm start…..

1st April : Giants and Toys

Yasuzo Masumura  : 1958 (95 min)

Acerbic satire of the culture of consumerism, advertising, and the tyranny of little girls in Japan’s post-war marketing landscape.  Three top Candy companies are pitched in mortal combat via their respective advertising companies to ensure their prime position in the toffee marketplace.  A typical assessment of this film is that it decries the effect of 50’s American corporate culture on Japanese society, with the dearth of traditional honour and hierarchy etc etc.  Conversely, I cant help but see something of the feudal tradition , with its court intrigues, assassins and hari-kiri being merely converted to three-piece suits, industrial espionage and stomach ulcers.

Preceded by

Memory – Osamu Tezuka : 1964 (5 min)

Funny and bent treatment of the mind, memory and history by the beloved Inventor of Astroboy and Kimba the White Lion…

8th April : Colour of Pomegranates

Sergei Parajanov : 1968 (79 min)

One of the greatest masterpieces of the 20th century, Sergei Parajanov’s “Colour of Pomegranates”, a biography of the Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova (King of Song) reveals the poet’s life more through his poetry than a conventional narration of important events in Sayat Nova’s life. We see the poet grow up, fall in love, enter a monastery and die, but  from the actions of Sergei Parajanov’s visual imagination and Sayat Nova’s poems. Sofiko Chiaureli plays 6 roles, both male and female, and Sergei Parajanov writes, directs, edits, choreographs, works on costumes, design and decor and virtually every aspect of this revolutionary work void of any dialog or camera movement.

15th April : Three Penny Opera

Georg Wilhelm Pabst : 1931 (110 min)

One of the last “great” films of the Weimar era, and an adaptation of Berthold Brecht’s most famous musical stage-work. The music is less copious, and the overt Marxist critique somewhat downplayed; but the film still portrays endemic police and official corruption. Set in London at thebeginning  of the 20th century. The story follows Mack the “knife”‘ a criminal kingpin and his collaboration with the chief of police, in the traffic of stolen goods. The Nazi’s sincerely attempted to eradicate every print of the film when they came to power two years later, which caused it to become very obscure in the post-war period. This is the recently restored “Criterion” release.



Posted in EVENTS with tags , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2007 by Dean Mc

8.30 Open / 8.45 Shorts / 9.00 Feature
Heated and improved sound. Gold coin donation. Large video screen. Bar at pub prices
ABC GALLERY – 127 Campbell St, Collingwood

(refer to feb program for map)

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MAY 3rd

Heavy Metal Parking Lot – Jeff Krulik 1986 (30min)
Hanging out in the stadium parking lot somewhere in the deep heart of Maryland USA, waiting for Judas Priest, the bitchenist metal band in the world, peach-fuzz, hormones, big hair and luke warm Budweiser… mmmmmmm
Phantasm – Don Coscarelli 1979 (1.28 hr)
More of a cult than most cult films, generations of metal heads and horror geeks swear by it, and they are not wrong. Phantasm is a “one of a kind” genre picture. Mixing good old Yankee style teen drama, gothic Italian horror and science fiction that is genuinely surreal. Coscarelli never made another film that is this uncanny, and chose to ruin the enigmas contained in the original by making two sequels. He later made films with people with big hair and even bigger swords (or is it the other way round) which is why I have played it with “Heavy Metal Parking Lot”…. OK?

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MAY 10th

The Milky Way – Luis Bunuel 1969 (1.37hr)
Bunuel explores the history of heretics through the ages and of the church authorities who persecuted them. Two French tramps make a pilgrimage to the tomb of the St James in Spain, encountering Jesus, the Devil, the Virgin Mary, heretics, priests, revolutionaries and madmen along the way. Mixing both time-period and cinematic forms, fiction and documentary modalities “The Milky Way” questions the dogma of Christianity through its most ludicrous proclamations, double speak and superstitions.

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MAY 17th

Karen Carpenter clips (15min)
“Calling All Occupant of Interplanetary Craft”, “Superstar” and “Karen Plays Drums”
Superstar – Todd Haynes 1987 (43min)
Todd Haynes’ daring treatment of the rise and fall of Karen Carpenter, enacted by Barbie dolls and set against a backdrop of Nixon’s reactionary America. Quashed by the Carpenter family due to their bleak treatment in the script (and copyright issues), this film is only available through the exchange networks. Superstar somehow manages to convey pathos and sympathy despite the usage of plastic figurines (amazing).
Tribulation 99 – Craig Baldwin 1992 (48min)
Craig Baldwins debut feature premiering his trademark derangement of stock footage and B-grade Science fiction in the service of political conspiracy. Through a double layered pastiche, Baldwin describes the black operations carried out in Latin America by the Reagan Administration during the 1980’s as part of extra-terrestrial world domination plot


MAY 24th

Dimensions of Dialogue – Jan Svankmajer 1982 (12min)
A homage to the painter Archimboldo, and a brilliant visual exploration of the dialectic, the process of digestion and integration, borne from clay and returning to clay.
Death of Stalinism in Bohemia – Jan Svankmajer 1990 (10min)
A bitter, comical, and powerfully metaphoric journey into the painful history of the Czech nation under Russian occupation. The whitewash of history, the reforms and counter-reforms, the passing of despots and the smashing of monuments.
Closely Observed Trains – Jiri Menzel 1966 (1:33hr)
Comedy-drama about a young man employed in a tiny station during World War II. Milos Hrma, a bumbling dispatcher’s apprentice at a village railway station in occupied Czechoslovakia, longs to liberate himself from his virginity. Oblivious to the war and the resistance that surrounds him, he embarks on a journey of sexual awakening and self-discovery, encountering a universe of frustration, eroticism, and adventure within his sleepy backwater depot. Milos becomes involved in a plot to blow up a German ammunition train, but when the plan backfires, he is forced to commit the ultimate act of courage.

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MAY 31st

The Unknown – Tod Browning 1927 (50min)
Browning worked in the Circus as a young man, which is perhaps why his “Carni” films best embody his love of the misfit, the freak. “Unknown” explores the dark world of “Alonzo” (Lon Chaney) the “armless” knife thrower and part time strangler as he desperately tries to consummate his unfulfillable desires for his assistantt Estrellita (Joan Crawford). Chaneys facial expressions are so brilliant, so convulsive, they constitute one of the greatest moments of acting…EVER!!!!. This film is said to have been the inspiration for Jodorowsky’s “Sante Sangre”
Freaks – Tod Browning 1932 (1.07hr)
An inimitable, (and in this P.C. epoch) unrepeatable journey into the lives of those in a Carnival freak-show. Populated by midgets, pin-heads and hermaphrodites, they endure relentless jaunts from so-called normal folk. A wrong doing to one brings vengeance from all. Despite it having a horrifying conclusion, Browning is clearly on the side of the pariah, and against the blonde beauty that constitutes his model of villainy. The shock this film brought to audiences of the time resulted in Brownings’ career being stifled by the studios.

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JUNE 7th

WR : Mysteries of the Organism – Dusan Makayev 1971 (1.24hr)
Partly a documentary on the radical theories of sex-liberationist Wilhelm Reich, and the integration of sexual freedom into revolutionary politics, WR is a freewheeling magazine style essay film of the radical 60’s. Full of wit and humour, Makayev attempts to approach the idea of sex and revolution from as many angles as he can muster. The result can be baffling, but with at least some passing knowledge of Reich’s ideas and radical politics, it is a wild and memorable contribution to that legacy. WR departs from the dry handling of facts, and instead wants to play with meaning and argument and refuses to force his various ideas into an uneasy whole.

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JUNE 14th

Eternal Beauty – Marcel Schwieren 2003 (1.30hr)
A compelling documentary detailing the role of aesthetics and the rationale behind it’s usage in the Third Reich. Using cinema and numerous propaganda reels, this document explains the ambitions and material philosophy of the Nazis, and its firm basis in body, sexuality and a neo-pagan nostalgia for earth. Notions of Nazi style neo-classicism are counter pointed with a clear internal logic, that the ultimate beauty, and the longest lasting, is death glorious death.
Berlin : Symphony of a City – Walther Ruttman 1927 (1.12hr)
A parallel to Dziga Vertov’s “Man with a Movie camera”, Ruttman’s “Berlin” is the course of a day in what was arguably the most racy, vibrant and volatile city in western Europe during the short lived days of the Weimar Republic. This is a brilliant time capsule most appreciated by those who love Berlin, the culture of pre-war Europe, or both. Ordinary shots of commuting, working, drinking and cavorting are mixed with micro-drama and montage, illustrating the class conflict, poverty, and despair experienced by ordinary people at the time.

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JUNE 21st

The Testament of Dr Mabuse – Fritz Lang 1932 (2.00hr)
A “magical-realist” detective story, and Lang’s final film before fleeing Germany for the US. “Testament” reprises the character of the arch manipulator he had created for his famous two-part ‘Dr Mabuse, der Spieler’. Mabuse now locked in an asylum, has shrunk into catatonia, only emerging to scrawl his insane testament, his blueprint for absolute power. Parallels to Hitler’s imprisonment are clear, but this story is more than just a parable about Hitler. Lang through Mabuse, explores the exploitation of crime (terrorism) and mass hysteria as tools of state control. Mabuse is about totalitarianism, and how individuals become posessed by fear, and allow themselves to become instruments of power.


JUNE 28th

The Mad Masters – Jean Rouch 1955 (36mins)
Simple premise of this film is to follow the effects of colonialism on indigenous Africans via specific rituals developed as a reaction to the colonial system. The film turns into a crazy elaboration on both the madness of such a political system and man himself. At once we are amazed and confused by the violent and involved trance that the Africans take part in; however, we are, at the same time, forced to recognize the power that the camera may have over those in front of it. That is, the very “reality” of a documentary is dissolved or, at least, questioned. Disturbing and essential.
Divine Horsemen – Maya Deren 1961 (55min)
A sublime and extraordinary documentary on Haitian Voudoun shot during the 40’s and 50’s by Maya Deren. While apparently only planning to bring back rare footage of ritual dance, the artist ended up writing a revealing book on Haitian Voodoun (by the same title) and becoming an actual initiate of the practice. This movie is a must see for anyone even the least bit curious about Voudoun religion or Haitian culture. Deren as artist rather than ethnographer is sensitive to the archetypal poetry contained in Voudoun symbolism, and this is conveyed in the details.