Our little corner of the world is indisputably changing in a lot of ways. Some of that transformation is so very “ugh” for so, so many people. But hey, there’s a lot of posi stuff that’s happened across the country too, and these are developments that bode well for everyone. See: impressive new momentum for LGBT equality and lower crime rates, just to name a couple. In light of all these shifts, we’ve picked a handful of movies this week that might really get your gears grinding about societal evolution. Angst, provides an interesting example of a decline in certain forms of censorship while The Bronx Warriors is outlandish in its portrayal of a particular place that itself bears little resemblance to reality. And we’ve got a whole gaggle of films the demonstrate the real strides we’ve made when it comes to LGBT equality. And hey, even film itself is changing. Check these films and embrace it all, y’all.
1990: The Bronx Warriors
If you’re a fan of –sploitation cinema, there’s a lot to choose from. But who knew there was an entire exploitative film sub-genre devoted to the Bronx? Of course Spectacle would know all about this twisted, yet hilariously misinformed selection of crime dramas, horror films, and gang movies that get their kicks by portraying the crime-ridden South Bronx of the 1970s.
Our pick for what’s happening this week in the month-long series (check out the full list over here) is 1990: The Bronx Warriors. Though it grabs images of the Bronx of the ’70s, it’s actually a weird future-crime film (less, like, Minority Report and more Clockwork Orange in style) made is 1982 by Enzo Castellari, the Italian director of the OG The Inglorious Bastards.
For being a pulpy film, it’s artfully shot and pretty sophisticated. Spectacle writes, “This is perhaps the most lavish, colorful, and explosive production of both Castellari’s career and the Italian post-apocalypse sub-genre it inspired.” Dang.
The film is very obviously indebted to The Warriors — hence the title, duh — but Castellari pushes the story a little farther into fantasy: in the wake of a catastrophic event of a kind only the year 1990 could bring, peacocking gangs rule the streets, battling for resources and ladies. Expect sword fights, daring motorcycle chases, and fire battles. Thursday, July 9 (10 pm) and Friday, July 31 (7:30 pm) at Spectacle Theater: $5 at the door
Dirty Looks: On Location
We’ll have more on this one later, but for now we’re going to strongly advise that you set aside some time to engage in Dirty Looks On Location, a month-long series of events happening all over the city in all sorts of spaces including art institutions of note, underground and DIY spaces, and former haunts of various queer scenes. Some of the latter have long been shuttered– bathhouses and gay bars, oh my. There’s an event happening legit every single night for the month of July, and nearly all of them are film screenings.
Tonight at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, catch Joan Jett Blakk Announces Candidacy for President, a self-explanatory documentary about a black drag queen (Joan Jett Blakk). She first ran for mayor of Chicago against Richard M. Daley in 1991 and subsequently ran for president in 1992. It was mostly an act of performance art, but her talking points actually kind of for-real rattled the political establishment.
At the press conference where she announced her candidacy, the gap-toothed sass machine wore a hot pink dress and held a glass of champagne. Blakk had a quick and clever answer for every question posed by journalists and whoever else was there, ranging from her fashion choices to: “What can people do to make you more visible?” Girl can still throw some serious shade while being diplomatic.
But there were some serious questions too, to which she had some pretty awesome answers. For example Blakk proposed eliminating the military. “Put those guns down, honey!” She also staked a claim on universal health care long before Obamacare. “You might think we’re joking. Well, I’m sorry, but I think the fact that the U.S. is the only industrialized country without national healthcare is a joke.”
Another Dirty Looks film we’re looking forward to is screening 8 pm, Saturday July 11th at Secret Project Robot. Dzi Croquettes is a documentary about the Brazilian experimental drag scene in the 1970s. See the full schedule of events for Dirty Looks here. Thursday, July 9, 7:30 pm at Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts
This film will be screened as its unedited version for the first time ever in the U.S. Austrian filmmaker Gerald Kargl’s 1983 cult classic recounts a gruesome true story of notorious murderer Werner Kniesek (played by Erwin Leder) who defines the standard for serial killer, a distinction most people probably regard as undesirable.
As a child Kniesek tortured small animals and we’re guessing wet the bed (though from the trailer we can’t exactly tell, so don’t… um… strangle us if we’re wrong). After spending a decade in prison for killing an old woman (that particular murder scene is soooo Dostoevskian, btw) simply because he felt like murdering, he is released onto the world. While on parole Kniesek manages to torture and murder an entire family. After getting caught with the bodies in the trunk of his car, Kniesek confesses with ease that he murdered simply for pleasure. Creep is his middle name apparently.
Kargl’s film is unique in that we are right there with the murderer throughout the entire film. Often the camera is immediately behind him, trailing his every foot step, or attached to the actor’s chest, focused directly on his face. It’s dark as hell, but he kind of has a sweaty O face when he manages to kill someone. The original soundtrack, composed by German electronic music pioneer Klaus Schulze of Tangerine Dream (he’s the bald guy in Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution surrounded by synthesizers, oh wait that’s everyone in that doc), only adds to the creepiness. Think kraut rock plus minimal noise as interpreted by John Carpenter. Friday, July 10 and Saturday, July 11 at 12:20 am, Nitehawk: $11
I’m not one for tech gimmicks. Like, sure I like my apps as much as the next person, but when attempting to do everything in a tech savvy way actually comes at the expense of enjoyment or quality of whatever you’re trying to make or accomplish, then I say throw it out with the baby diapers. But what would you do if I told you to watch the trailer above (OK, got it? Remember everything?) and I told you this film was shot on an iPhone? Well, it really doesn’t matter if you believe me or not, because it’s the truth. And sometimes the truth hurts.
But in this case, the truth is pretty brilliant. A film about two transgender sex workers who are working the streets must be filmed at street-level, so to speak. And what better way to accomplish this than via iPhone. You’ve won this time, tech bros. But thankfully the storyline is the least tech thing I can think of. Sin-Dee has just been released from jail and has enlisted the help of her BFF Alexandra. See, Sin-Dee heard that her POS BF has been anything but faithful during her month-long lockup. To unravel the rumors the two go on a classic buddy journey and encounter strange adventures and bizarre people that could only ever be found in LA. Friday, July 10 through Wednesday, July 15 at Sunshine Cinema: $13.50