It’s as good a week as any to catch some films and with one of our besties going outta commission soon (temporarily, thankfully) we’re encouraging you to cinematically tie one on and mainline all the movies you can possibly handle now, and actually just forever. Do consider jumping, because we’ve got plenty of product for you below.
For the Plasma
Tuesday, Oct. 13, 7:30 pm at Anthology Film Archives: $10
And now for the real weird embodied in this twisted, surrealist take on rural life. For the Plasma begins in a sort of followable way, with two women who spend a lot of time just gazing into the forest abyss looking out for fires. Eventually, as a sane person would do if forced to stare at minutely changing but generally utterly same sameness day in and day out, they start to see patterns, order in random chaos. And through CCTV footage of the forest they begin to make stock market divinations.
Critics have generally disagreed on comparisons, invoking a ton of disparate filmmakers (David Lynch, Darren Aronofsky) and struggled to agree on how to classify For the Plasma as anything that’s actually happened before in cinema. Sweet. And hey! the filmmakers (Kyle Molzan and Bingham Bryant) live in Brooklyn, which is pretty cool. Always good to hear there’s some weird left in this borough. Though in a recent interview with Brooklyn Mag— ahead of this film’s premier at BAM Cinema Fest last year– they (thankfully) refused to say that “Brooklyn” has influenced their filmmaking in any way. Phew.
The Big Country
Tuesday, Oct. 13, 7:30 pm at Light Industry: $8 at the door
I love Westerns, but I feel like I’ve ripped through the canon enough times that I’m not surprised by much these days. Acid Westerns, Czech “Ostern” Westerns, and Space Westerns. Been there, done that. But to be honest, I never really gave The Big Country a second glance. I mean, c’mon– Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck– looks like pretty standard fare to me. Just see this preview: “Conquering the untamed land: virgin yet violent,” starring Caroll Baker as “a woman of uncontrollable love hungers.” The Big Country looks to be nothing but strapping dudes and endless miles of wild backcountry to be tamed and wily women to be bridled, branded, and saddled.
But Light Industry has set its spotlight on this one, so it seems there’s something beyond the Hollywood dumb sheen, and a lot of what makes Alt-Westerns– super meta critiques as they tend to be– so much cooler. Artist and filmmaker Vanessa Renwick is also the “founder and janitor” at the Oregon Department of Kick Ass (I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I like it) will reveal all in a post-film discussion.
But we’re already vibing on the revelations regarding the protag James McKay– a frontiersdude settler who arrives out west to a new fiancé and a land dowry. But he’s not like all the other big hat wearing ninnies around here. Shock and awe: Mr. McKay’s actually not so keen on arbitrary violence, but his futile resistance to it is so grossly relevant for our times that we should probably reassess what Light Industry writes is an “underappreciated” film. “The Western here functions not merely as a soap opera with saddles, but rather as a complex parable about the futility of violence, and the lies we tell to ourselves and others in the course of its perpetuation.”
Black Cat Mansion
Thursday, Oct. 15, 10 pm at Spectacle Theater: $5 (see more dates below)
Have you heard the beloved Williamsburg institution Spectacle Theater is having a Kickstarter? No? Read more about that here. They’re doing pretty well so far, but they need all the help they can get. And c’mon– $5 only to see some amazing films? Name one other place in Money City where you get such things for that (like, seriously please let me know if there are other cool, cheap theaters). Ok plug’s over. Upward and onward with Spectober– the monthlong series of spooky, suspenseful, and sick movies.
There’s a ton of awesome programming happening, but Cats in the Cradle: Three Japanese Ghost Stories is not to be missed. Think you know the meaning of “menacing?” I regret to reform you that you probably don’t, unless of course you’ve already seen Black Cat Mansion (1958). A beautifully shot Japanese ghost thriller complete with bleeding walls, pissed-off demon geishas, and human-eating cats. What more could you want? One thing’s for sure, this film is solid proof that mid-century Japanese horror filmmakers were lightyears ahead of where American horror is at even now. Also screening Monday, Oct. 19 (10 pm) and Friday, Oct. 23 (10 pm).
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
Thursday, Oct. 8 through Tuesday, Oct. 13 at IFC Center: $14
Finally, a film version of the fantastic book about Scientology by Lawrence Wright that offered such outlandish details about the controversial neo-religion that it was almost difficult to believe at times. I read the book but I’m still looking forward to putting faces to names and visuals to my mind’s eye. Sensational? Sure, but so is Scientology.
And according to the critical reviews I’ve seen, one should not be misled by the History Channel feel of the trailer. The details are so lurid and brutal that they apparently make up for any cheese factors. And hey, if you didn’t have the time to read the book (I don’t blame you, it’s a long and depressing one) then here’s a shortcut to some seriously fascinating and important information about the extremely powerful organization.