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Week in Film: a Very Lynchian Retrospective, Full-Frontal Greek Mythology, and More


Metamorphoses
Saturday March 25 (10 pm),  Sunday March 26 (7:30 pm), Tuesday March 28 (10 pm) Thursday March 30 (10 pm) at Spectacle: $5, advance tickets available 

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.

(Flyer: Spectacle)

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.

Eraserhead
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, whose very own biopic The Art of Life, arrives Friday March 31.

The Films of David Lynch, which of course includes all the classics (Eraserhead the freaky tearjerker, spooktastic Mulholland Driveand 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 a documentary about Lynch’s obsessive devotion to transcendental meditation (apparently it works y’all), and a shorts marathon.

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.

The Blob
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.

Female Trouble
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.

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Week in Film: Cinema Kink a-Go-Go, a Chloë Sevigny Retrospective, and More


Cinekink NYC
Thursday March 16 through Sunday March 19 at Anthology Film Archives: $11 individual screenings, $45 to $85 for all-access pass (get your tickets here

Fet culture and cinema? I mean, duh, guys, they’re a match made in heaven– er, whichever circle of hell doms and bronies go to. (Dunno about you guys, but that’s where I’m hoping to end up, Lucifer willing). That’s why Cinekink NYC– which clears up any confusion by calling itself “the kinky film festival”– is popping off this week for its 14th year.

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Week in Film: Billy the Kid Was a Punk, a ‘Digital-Organic Trip,’ and More


Dirty Little Billy
Thursday March 9, 9:30 pm at Nitehawk: $16

Legends and lore of the Old West have been distorted so horrendously for modern entertainment purposes that what most people know about Billy the Kid they’ve learned from The Wild Wild West (arguably Will Smith’s greatest cinematic/symphonic achievement ever) and a National Geographic Channel reenactment where the infamous, down-n’dirty, sharp-shootin’ gunslinger is portrayed by a male-frickin’-model.

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Near Future in Film: Hungary For Sex Work, Untangle the Swastika, and More

(Image via Spectacle)

K: A Film About Prostitution 
Thursday March 14, 10 pm and Wednesday March 29, 7:30 pm at Spectacle: $5

“K” is just one film screening as part of Spectacle’s month of March series, Tricks of the Trade: True/False Portraits of Sex Work, which features four separate, cross-cultural, semi-fictional, but mostly very real portrayals of sex work. Shot in Budapest in 1989 by director György Dobra, the doc captures the world’s oldest profession– prostituáltakról in Hungarian (try saying that one ten times fast)– at a time of turmoil, when Communist Party-controlled governments and institutions across the Eastern Bloc were collapsing. Hungarians found themselves in an especially bizarre position because things in their country at least… were fairly calm during the transition to democracy.

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Week in Film: Dev Hynes and Peaches in Berlin, a Body Horror Divorce Story, and More


Desire Will Set You Free
Friday February 24 (7:30 pm), Saturday February 25 (5 pm), and Sunday February 26 (7:30 pm) at Spectacle: $5 (probz best to buy in advance)

Because it’s shot in the sort of bold, hyper-real HD-quality style that’s available to even low-budget filmmakers now, Desire Will Set You Free already feels too real from the POV of click-play. Which is funny, because filmmaker Yony Leyser (who stars as Ezra, an American expat) is celebrating the freewheeling, anything-goes Berlin of the twenty-teens (aka now), a place where weirdos, freaks, and artists can live out their fantasies, especially the sexy ones, which is all about negating the supposedly fixed norms of society and transgressing life as it was handed to us. Even the title, “Lust Macht Frei” in German, is the opposite of the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei,” which appeared sometimes welded into iron gates at the entry point to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.

Berlin has been the place for your coolest friends to flock to over the last several years, and if you haven’t made the trip, “Desire” is definitely a great way to get acquainted with the city’s “hedonistic queer underground,” as Spectacle writes, and its nonstop, freaky deaky nightlife. The theater is hosting three screenings that serve as the film’s New York City premiere, and judging by the sparkly cast (Dev Hynes, Peaches, and Nina Hagen, among others), the promised “Q&A with special guests” is probably gonna be pretty great.


The Brood
Sunday February 26 at Anthology Film Archives: $11

This 1979 sci-fi-tinged horror film is a Cronenberg classic, and Anthology is screening it this weekend as part of its Canadian classics series, Gimme Shelter: Hollywood North. In part, The Brood is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the filmmaker’s own “body horror” sub-genre obsession– blood, guts,– but the film puts even more weight on what’s in some ways a much spooky psycho-thriller-style of horror storytelling that recalls The Shining (and, sure, stylistically the two movies feel cut from the same cloth too).

At the center of the film is a woman, Samantha Eggar, who is deemed psychologically unstable and pursues experimental treatment by a doctor who believes that dramatic physical changes in the body’s chemistry can eradicate mental illness. Meanwhile, Eggar’s ex-husband steps in to take care of their daughter, and promptly pursues full custody. She might be far away, geographically and mentally, but Eggar knows what’s up, and her treatment has the terrifying consequence of enabling her to undertake “the spawning of a brood of murderous mutant children who act on [her] rages.”

Cronenberg wasn’t just guessing, either– he was actually in the middle of his own messy divorce and custody battle when the film was under development. Anthology writes that the director has called The Brood “my version of Kramer vs Kramer, while noting that that film’s ‘happy ending’ was a million miles away” from his own take on the process of unraveling a marriage.

(Image via The Metrograph)

TVTV Looks at the Oscars

Saturday February 25, 10:15 pm at The Metrograph: $12

Hey! The Oscars are coming up. I bet you, like myself, could care less. Like, really, why would anyone wanna spend their Sunday evening (Friday February 26 at 5:30 PST) watching a bloated film industry hand out a bunch of little gold alien man statues to a film literally called La La Land  in an awkward display of “Hey! Look at us! Seriously, we aren’t racist”? The award ceremony (and really, any mainstream award ceremony) has so little to do with our day-to-day lives that it’s barely worth kvetching about. And yet here we are…

Thankfully, the Metrograph has put together an alternative program hosted by TVTV, a “guerrilla video”-making collective that got its start in San Fransisco way back in 1972,”– like, long before it was full of the dregs of humanity (i.e. tech bros). Consisting of tape from the 1976 award ceremonies, when Lily Tomlin was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her roll in Nashville, TVTV put together this
“close-up look at Hollywood’s annual awards ceremony that mixes intimate behind-the-scenes views with deadpan comedy, featuring [Tomlin] as a mousy homemaker watching the Oscars in her suburban home.”

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Week in Film: 8-Bit Computer Wars, Women Do Horror, and More


Harlan County, U.S.A.
Friday February 17 through Wednesday February 22 at The Metrograph: $15

Lately we’e seen some pretty intense and protracted protest movements fighting it out against the seemingly impossible-to-topple Powers That Be, and in some cases actually succeeding in their effort (or lasting much longer than anyone could have guessed).

Flashback to 1974, Southeastern Kentucky: a group of coalminers and their families organized against the Eastover Coal Company– one of those Coal Country corporate machines that own whole towns and everything in it. If you want to hear more about what it was like to be a director embedded in such a massive strike, be sure to go tonight at 7 pm for a special Q+A with the filmmaker Barbara Kopple. Because this film takes place in Appalachia, it would be absolutely criminal to proceed without a banjo, so the night includes a live performance by Appalachian musician Jack Morris, whose father David Morris was featured in the film’s soundtrack.

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Week in Film: Polish Mermaid Strippers, a ‘Shapeshifting’ New Leftist, and More


The Lure
Friday February 10 through Thursday February 16 at IFC Center: $14

This beautifully shot, futuro nightlife fantasy flick is sort of like a glammed-up, femme-fatale version of Splash, only the mermaids here are hardly damsels in distress. These sister mermaids are flesh-eating fish people with vampy tendencies. They have the same power to entrance and, well, lure that sirens are supposed to have, but that somehow American imaginings have left out (Puritans, ughhh). I guess it took some Catholic guilt and Polish imagination to get this darkened-disco retelling of The Little Mermaid off the ground. IFC writes, “One sister falls for a human, and as the bonds of sisterhood are tested, the lines between love and survival get blurred.”

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Week in Film: Turkish Street Cats, Glue-Sniffin’ Delinquents, and More


Scrubbers
Friday February 3 (10 pm), Thursday Feb 13, (7:30 pm) Monday Feb 20 (10 p), and Sunday Feb 26 (5 pm) at Spectacle: $5 

“Punk” is maybe one of the most confused, contradictory, and misunderstood terms, like, ever. For some people it’s a lifestyle, a fashion statement, or a style of music, for others its Liberty Spikes and an ever-present leather jacket with pins and patches and even more spikes. In its simplest form it’s an immediately recognizable baditude, and boy do these ladies at an all-girls borstal (the British school system for juvenile delinquents) know a thing or two about punk.

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Week in Film: OG Badass Babe Mildred Pierce; Purple Reign in Blood, and More


Purple Rain: Terror Beyond Belief
Friday January 27, 7:30 pm at Spectacle: $5 always

Ok, so I might be outing myself as a giant lame by admitting this but, until I came across this mind-blowing feature presentation, I had no idea that “détournement” is actually, like, its own thing. Basically, that’s just a fancy word for (re)appropriated movies that have been drastically altered and yet retain some of the original characteristics of their source films which tend to be instantly recognizable classics. The result is a chunky, weird-tasting at first, but then loveably gritty combination of parody/homage, familiar/totally alien, nostalgic/apocalyptic– or post-modern upchuck that could trick your grandma and scare the kids. In other words, it’s very punk.

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Week in Film: Stanley Kubrick, Egyptian ‘Disco Vampire,’ and More


S is for Stanley 
Friday January 20 through Thursday February 2 at IFC Center: individual screenings, $14

To celebrate the premiere of the S is for Stanley, a documentary that takes a rather unique approach to the life and work of Stanley Kubrick, IFC Center is throwing a two-week retrospective for the director, and it’s starting this Friday. Which is actually perfect timing, really, because if there’s one day this year that you’re desperately going to want to hide from the world, Inauguration Day is probably it.

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Anthology Film Archives Adding New Library and Café, With Help from Sparkly Art Auction

Jonas Mekas and Andy Warhol (Courtesy Stephen Shore / Anthology Film Archives)

Jonas Mekas, co-founder of Anthology Film Archives with Andy Warhol (Courtesy Stephen Shore / Anthology Film Archives)

Yesterday, Anthology Film Archives announced that, for the first time in their 46-year history, big changes are coming to the institution in the form of an expansion to their East Village operations that will include a library and café.

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Week in Film: Spectacle Back to Pack it in With ‘Best of’ + See This Doc or Else

Doomed Love
Friday January 6, 7:30 pm at Spectacle: $5

It’s been an awful long time since I’ve seen a movie at Spectacle… who am I kidding? I was pretty much lost for the two or so weeks when I was forced to go without this $5 standby, cini-mini home for everyone from underground-art house weirdos and to -sploitation freaks. I forgive you Spectacle workers, I guess you too needed to watch Law & Order with your family and drunkenly cry yourself to sleep in your childhood bedroom where Frank the teddy bear has been replaced by a mostly-empty bottle of desperately cheap whiskey.

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