Things are looking pretty bleak on Earth right now. We can’t say we’re surprised, but we’re certainly not happy about it. Let’s hope you’re either doing something about it or saying something about it preferably beyond Facebook status updates. In recognition of our fraught existence on Planet Doom, this week we’ve included some films and film series that seek to remind us that humans can do cool stuff sometimes, or they can simply succumb to horrifying diseases, tyrannical powers, and/or depravity. It’s up to you, sort of.
Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock N Roll
The Khmer Rouge ruled over Cambodia with brutal force for nearly a decade, and in that relatively brief time more than 2 million people were systematically murdered, often times arbitrarily accused of being “communists.” During the late ’60s, when the Khmer Rouge was consolidating its power, rock n’ roll from the West was flooding into the country and Cambodians were writing their own form of the music and adopting the rebellious politics associated with the genre. As an unwieldy cultural force, the regime also tamped down on rock music. This documentary uncovers the music written by the people who resisted and their harrowing stories of survival. Thursday April 30th through Tuesday May 5th at IFC Center: $14
Afrofuturist Film Festival
As part of the New School’s much anticipated Afrofurist Conference (May 1-3) the downtown institute is hosting a film festival leading up to the conference with a few screenings happening through the conference as well. There’s been a ton of interest in this conference (probably best to get there early) but surprisingly not a great deal of info about what exactly will be screening. But we’re going to say just go ahead and trust us on this one.
Tonight, Thursday April 30th at the Multipurpose Room (63 5th Avenue) there will be a selection of music videos accompanied by a live performance (8-11 pm). A selection of art and experimental films will be screened on Saturday May 2nd at the New Tischman Auditorium (63 5th avenue) and Sunday May 3rd filmmaker Terence Nance will present his feature film Oversimplification of Her Beauty. Thursday April 30th through Sunday May 3rd at the New School: free
Street: We Must Discuss, We Must Invent
For the thinkingsmen amongst us, there’s a heady series happening at Union Docs next week featuring in-depth discussion of filmmakers’ role in the writing of history. Topics range from the idea of authenticity and “the street” in an urban setting (Tuesday, May 5 at 7 pm) and the role of Latin American and African diaspora filmmakers in rewriting their own history and challenging the notion of a “third world” (Tuesday, May 5 at 9pm) featuring the 1967 documentary by Cuban filmmaker Octavio Cortazar, For the First Time– a short depicting the reaction of peasants as they watch a movie for the first time. Tuesday May 5th at Union Docs: free
Note: trailer is NSFW
Part of Spectacle Theater’s series on lesser known German filmmaker Peter Fleischmann, “Trolling the Backwaters,” comes Dorothea’s Revenge, a flick about a 16-year-old girl from Hamburg who has a rather extreme sexual awakening which is initiated by a martian who decides to rape her. Excuse me, what? Well, Dorothea proceeds on a “sex odyssey” of sorts and the message here seems to be something-something consumerist society and women’s bodies. You get the idea, or maybe you don’t in which case you should probably go see this film and figure it out. Thursday April 30th, 7:30 pm at Spectacle Theater: $5 at the door
Note: Fleischmann also made a rather goofy looking version of Hard to Be a God (see above) the final epic sci-fi masterpiece by Russian filmmaker Aleksei Guerman, also based on the novel by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky. This one’s already screened unfortunately but maybe you can find it on the interweb somewhere if you’re sleuthy.