Here’s what we’re really excited to see this week in local theaters (or, for that matter, at local bars and rooftops).
Sarah Jacobson was an independent filmmaker who believed wholeheartedly in feminism and punk rock, and fully embraced a DIY method of filmmaking. Before cancer cut her life short at age 32, she made some of the most influential underground films of the ’90s, including “I Was a Teenage Serial Killer,” “Road Movie (Or What I Learned In a Buick Station Wagon),” and a feature film, “Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore.”
This Sunday, all three films will be screened at Spectacle Theater in Williamsburg.
Jacobson took aesthetics normally found in old B-movies and slasher flicks, reversed the role of the weak, helpless woman being chased and murdered by sex-crazed serial killers, and made movies in which women took charge. Why shouldn’t a woman be the one with the knife, and why shouldn’t she talk about sex and masturbation with her coworkers?
Featuring cameos by the likes of Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and Davey Havok (AFI) and soundtracks that include Heavens To Betsy, Mudhoney, Babes in Toyland and Red Aunts, Jacobson’s films are a seminal piece of not only feminism in the 1990s, but also West Coast punk rock.
Here are this week’s film picks, including the first film to receive an X rating for violence in the US, a free Tarantino screening with complimentary pizza, and more.
“The Iran Job” (followed by a Q&A with producer Sara Nodjoumi. Part of Videology’s Local Filmmaker Showcase)
Videology, 8 p.m., $8 at the door
An American, Kevin Sheppard, accepts an offer to play professional basketball in Iran despite heated political tension. While there he’s surprised by how accepting the Iranian people are. He forms a friendship with three women with strong opinions about religion, politics and gender. The backdrop is an Iran that sees the rise and suppression of the Green Movement and the lead up to the Arab Spring uprisings throughout the Middle East.
“Thunderball” and “Casino Royale”
Huckleberry Bar, 9 p.m., free
To cap off Huckleberry’s “James Bond Month” the bar is screening a double feature showcasing two different Bonds: 1965’s “Thunderball” with Sean Connery and 2006’s “Casino Royale” with Daniel Craig. It’s Bond vs. Bond with fresh popcorn and cocktails.
MONDAY – THURSDAY
“Searching For Sugar Man”
Village East Cinema, 10:40 p.m.; tickets $14
Two South Africans set out to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of the American musician Sixto Rodriguez. He was rumored to have killed himself on stage but is instead found working construction in Detroit, Michigan. Upon being rediscovered he learns of his popularity in South Africa (unknown to him at the time) and is able to leave the construction business and restart his music career (in America he was a flop, but in Australia he had done quite well — though the documentary omits this fact). The film won an Academy Award for best documentary feature, and Rodriguez now sells out clubs all over the US (he’ll be performing at Barclay’s Center Oct. 9).
“A Woman Under The Influence” (part of Vice Presents: The Film Foundation Screening Series)
Nitehawk Cinema, 9:30 p.m.; , $16 (A portion of each ticket sale goes to The Film Foundation)
Inspired by his wife’s desire to appear in a film about the difficulties women faced at the time, John Cassavetes made a film about a suburban housewife who appears to be losing her mind, and her husband who decides to have her committed to an institution. This classic piece of cinema has been restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and funded by Gucci and Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation. All films in the series are shown in 35mm. A taped introduction by Scorsese will be screened before the film and free cocktails will be available at the after-party.
“Reservoir Dogs” (and music by Amour Obscur)
Tompkins Square Park, 6 p.m. (Screening at sundown); free.
Quentin Tarantino’s directorial debut is a cult classic featuring Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel. After a jewelry heist goes wrong suspicions mount among the gangsters and fighting ensues, as each gangster suspects one of the others of being a police informant. Two Boots will be giving out free slices of its “Mr. Pink” pizza in honor of the screening.
“Eyes Of Laura Mars” (presented by Strong Female Lead)
Videology, 8 p.m; free
Laura Mars is a successful fashion photographer who specializes in violence. She suddenly develops the ability to see through the eyes of a murderer (whose murder scenes have a striking resemblance to her photos) and sets out to help find him. Starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones,
FRIDAY and SATURDAY
“Bad Girls Go To Hell”
Nitehawk Cinema, midnight; , $11
Ending her series of “nudie” features, director Doris Wishman took on the pseudonym “Louis Silverman” and began making sexploitation films in 1965 — starting with this violent and sexually charged flick. Meg murders a man who assaults and attempts to rape her, changes her name to Ellen and goes on the run. While the police try to hunt her down, she ends up in a series of sexual encounters (with both men and women), and Kafkaesque twists.
“The Street Fighter”
Spectacle Theater, 10 p.m.; $5 at the door
As part of Spectacle’s Street Fighter summer trilogy (one Street Fighter movie for each summer month) “The Street Fighter,” starring Sonny Chiba (an unknown actor at the time) is a kung-fu flick that deviates from the classic kung-fu movie plot, as its protagonist isn’t fighting for honor but out of a pure lust for blood. This was the first film to ever receive an X rating for violence in the US.
“Unexplored America” (Short Films) (Rooftop Films)
Roof of New Design High School (350 Grand St., Manhattan); 8 p.m.; tickets, $13
A series of short films that explore Americana and the strangeness that surrounds it, from cowboys to Hulkamania to zombies to the identity crisis of Bradley Manning. There will be live music before the films and an after-party at Fontana’s.
“You Can’t Keep Me Quiet!: Films By Sarah Jacobson”
Spectacle Theater, 8 p.m.; $5 at the door
Sarah Jacobson was a feminist filmmaker that was at the helm of the DIY scene in the ‘90s. Her films, like “I Was a Teenage Serial Killer,” took themes from movie genres mostly plagued by misogyny, and twisted them into empowering feminist films that all people can enjoy. “I have no fear of the word ‘feminist,’” Jacobson has said. “I know that that has certain negative connotations to some people, but then why should I let other people’s stupidity bully what I want to do, right? To me, feminism means that I should have an equal opportunity to do what I want to do as a woman.”
DVDs will be available for purchase, with proceeds going toward the Sarah Jacobson Film Grant Fund, which supports young women filmmakers. Mikki Halpin, a writer who also runs the Sarah Jacobson Fund, will be at the screening for a Q&A.