You know what’s cool about ancient Greek mythology? It looks good on almost anyone. Even 21st-century French people, as you’ll see in Christophe Honoré’s new film Metamorphoses. It’s actually based on a really old poem–but you already knew that by the film’s title right? Metamorphoses (the original) dates to about 8 AD when this Roman dude named Ovid fused bits from more than 250 existing Greek mythos together to create a pretty wacky piece of non-linear literature that defies the standard didactic, A-to-B tellings that were popular back then. Thankfully, Ovid’s story is every bit as riveting as the OG mythos, which are always chock-full gore, guts, adultery, betrayal and, of course, horny gods mingling with orgy-prone mortals.
Honoré takes on a complicated couple from the story, Jupiter and Europa. In Ovid’s telling, their relationship blossoms the old-fashioned way– 5 when Jupiter morphs into a bull and after Europa is drawn to the beast by his fancy flower collar, he kidnaps the “Royal Maiden” and then rapes her. Ugh, not cool. Ovid, however, is of the opinion: “Majesty is incompatible truly with love; they cohabit nowhere together.”
So it’s pretty telling that Honoré’s film takes a slightly different approach, where Europa isn’t quite as young as Lolita or anything as creepy as that, and though Jupiter is older and clearly well versed in the fine art of porking, he’s not like some creepy old dude. It’s easier to think of this version of Metamorphoses as a French translation of Buffalo ’66, if Vincent Gallo’s character was a comp lit dropout. Just swap out the stink-eyed, tap-dancing teenager played by Christina Ricci for Honoré’s Europa, who could easily pass for a precocious 14 year-old, but might also just be a 21 year-old virgin (hard to tell). And replace Vincent Gallo, the possibly psychotic, confirmed asshole with another kidnapper douche named Jupiter. Consent is equally iffy, Stockholm Syndrome probable, but unlike Gallo’s lovable but sometimes kinda misogynist. Ok, quite a bit in some scenes.
Friday March 24 through Sunday April 2 at IFC Center: $14
We haven’t even completed our fourth moon cycle of the year, and IFC is already two-for-two with some bigtime retrospectives. The first was an epic Kubrick showcase, honor of a new documentary about the Tolstoy of film (as seen through the eyes of his personal assistant, a dude who interestingly enough doesn’t give two poo poos about movies). The theater’s second retrospective debuts today and it’s dedicated to David Lynch, who now has his very own documentary feature, The Art Life, which arrives Friday March 31.
The Films of David Lynch, of course includes all the classics (Eraserhead the freaky tearjerker; spooktastic Mulholland Drive; and Wild at Heart in which you’ll find one of Nick Cage’s best-ever freakouts). But IFC went ahead and smushed in some surprises for the super-fans: Meditation, Creativity, and Peace is another documentary about Lynch, but focuses specifically on his obsessive devotion to transcendental meditation (apparently it works y’all). There’s also a screening slot dedicated to Lynch’s shorts.
I’m just excited as the next gal to see Lynch films on the big screen, but more than anything I’m hoping all of this will put an end to a linguistic disease that now threatens an entire generation with a permanent speech impediment. It’s observed in the repeated, confused use of the term”Lynchian”– which unfortunately originated as a pretentious way to describe something as resembling the work of David Lynch, and henceforth lost all meaning. It’s usually coupled with a phenomenon that doctors are calling Neurocementia, and there’s a theory that Patient Zero was a member of the VICE editorial staff circa 2006.
Friday March 24 and Saturday March 25 at Nitehawk: $12
If you’re feeling like a giant, grumpy slug despite the abundance of sunshine and just a hint of something resembling joy as we edge toward spring, then do us all a favor and don’t show up at the bar after work if you’re just gonna slump over your beer and shoot everyone the evil eye. Go put yourself in a dark room somewhere.
If you want another human to suffer your presence, consider purchasing them a movie ticket–The Blob, which is filling out the midnight slot on both Friday and Saturday this weekend at Nitehawk. Not only will you maintain some semblance of dignity by looking just like a slightly better organism than said Blob, but depending on your date’s taste in… squishy things, you might be able to convince someone to drag your limp, formless body home and you can be ornery blobs together, forever.
Friday March 24 (9:15 pm), Monday March 27 (7 pm(, Thursday March 30 (9:15 pm) at Anthology Film Archives: $11
As part of Anthology’s Cross Dressing on Screen (March 23 through March 31)– which might just be the screening series of the century– John Waters’s Female Trouble is on deck for three whole screenings. Get in line, boys. Divine stars as Dawn Davenport, a hitchhiking hustler looking for work, and crazy enough she finds it– even after getting knocked by a filthy vagrant she bangs on an even nastier mattress in the woods. (Psst, Divine is also the actress underneath all that bum costume.)
Unfortunately this is not the movie where Divine gets raped by an enormous, raging lobster– that’s Multiple Maniacs-. But the baby’s daddy might as well be a crustacean, because Davenport kicks into crazy beast mode that would make you think she’s had an animal bun in the oven when, desperate and on her own, she chews right through the umbilical chord, unleashing the little demon on this cruel and nasty world.
Correction: an earlier version of this article listed a “biopic” film called “The Art of Life”– it’s “The Art Life” and the film is a documentary on David Lynch.