May: Late Capitalism in California: A study of parody, satire and a bursting bubble of sheer madness.

May 10 – Southland Tales (2006, dir Richard Kelly, dop Steven Poster, English).

Richard Kelly made the surprise indie hit Donnie Darko, was called genius, given the keys to Hollywood, and with a twenty million dollar budget and penning the most ambitious sci-fi screenplay of the young 21st Century assembled an ensemble cast built with fresh-out-of-TV-megastardom Sarah Michelle Gellar, action superstar Dwayne ‘Rock’ Johnson, box office dudebro stud Seann William Scott and pop-actor goldenboy Justin Timberlake… all to produce a film the box office, the critics and Hollywood itself loathed.

Those people are idiots. Southland Tales is one of the best films of the century. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense, and that’s because it’s a criticism of a time that was yet to happen – the world of ten years after the film was made, which is so neatly decorous for a film about time travel (sort of) you couldn’t script reality any neater. If, in fact, this film is not reality itself, and which we are not a pale reflection of.

Taking Philip K Dick’s irreverent, anarchic dystopian future creativity, a Frankfurt school academic post-Marxist intellectual sensibility, a Gilliam-esque overstuffed mise-en-scene, the anger and disgust of Pasolini and a shitload of chutzpah, Kelly delivered the most eyeball packed film that seemed ridiculous in 2006, but in 2019 seems right on the money.

It is impossible to summarise the plot of this wonderful piece of beauty, but suffice to say any film that features a Dennis Potter song-and-dance routine in a disused arcade parlour (performed by Justin Timberlake, miming someone else’s song), Marxist hair and nail salon worker-assassins, a soldier-reality-TV-star-drug-dealer hero, identical twins working as cop/journalists, a porn star talk show host with a partly vicious party vacuous feminist agenda and a billionaire’s blimp named the Jenny von Westphalen you can bet there is no greater representation of the brink-of-collapse, last days of capitalism contradictory socioeconomic clusterfuck in which we live today. This film is only insane in that it mirrors its future/our present with perfect, exact clarity.

Note: The trailer for this film was an attempt to rescue it by imposing a false narrative on the unbound genius script, so instead of playing that, we’ll just play a reprasentitve sequence from the middle of the film:

 

Location: A private location in Preston, Melbourne!
Time: Doors at 7:30pm for an 8pm start, 10th May, 2019.
Admission is an ice cream van filled with guns.
(Also: Coming on May 24th – Sorry to bother you!)
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April – Viva Varda!

We heard the news of the death of Agnés Varda in middle of our previous screening and decided to bring to our screen a few of her titles that have been relatively underseen.
Varda began her career as a photographer, before moving into filmmaking having seen only around 20 films by age 25. Her filmmaking career spanned over 60 years, and covered drama and documentary, shorts and features, film and digital. She is considered the mother of the Nouvelle Vague – and is an auteur in her own right, directing, shooting and editing the majority of her work herself. Her work is unapologetically idiosyncratic and has consistently maintained more relevance than the New Wavers as an artist and filmmaker in those intervening decades. Her final film, the autobiographical Varda by Agnés will be released in 2019.

 


April 12th – La Pointe Courte (1955, 86 minutes)
Varda’s debut film, made in her mid-20s, La Pointe Courte uses many French New Wave techniques, whilst pre-dating the official movement entirely.
A couple are having existential problems, a small village is trying to resolve problems of survival.
A low-budget debut, in which none of the cast nor crew were paid, the film nonetheless boasts Varda’s fellow Left Bank auteur Alain Resnais (director, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Last Year at Marienbad) as editor.
Location: A private location in Preston, Melbourne!
Time: Doors at 7:30pm for an 8pm start, 12th April, 2019.
Admission is free for troubled marriages.

April 26th – Short Films of Agnés Varda 
A selection of films, showing Varda’s approach to filmmaking as “cinécriture” (film-writing) – that is “pictures with words” that are assembled as deliberately as one writes a novel – in combination with her perspective as an empathetic facilitator of people’s stories.
Program:
Uncle Yanco (1967, 18 minutes)
Agnés travels to America and locates a distant relative she’s not yet met.
Black Panthers (1968, 26 minutes)
The activities of the Black Panther Party as its members fought for the freedom of imprisoned co-founder Huey P. Newton.
Women Reply: Our Bodies, Our Sex (1975, 8 minutes)
A short essay film on the female experience.
Ulysse (1982, 20 minutes)
Using a photo taken by Varda in 1954 as the starting point, Ulysse is an attempt to use cinema as caption, to discover (or create) truth (and narrative.)
Une minute pour une image (1983, 26 minutes)
Conceived by Varda, this French television series (or perhaps project is the more appropriate description), places still photos in front of an anonymous viewer (and simultaneously the television viewer), and asks their reaction, using their words as narration for a 60-90 second episode. This is 14 episodes featuring Agnés Varda’s interpretations of images, grouped together.
Location: A private location in Preston, Melbourne!
Time: Doors at 7:30pm for an 8pm start, 26th April, 2019.
Admission is a heart-shaped potato.

March: New German Cinema

Weirding Cinema Returns!

March 15th – Wings of Desire (1987 – dir Wim Wenders, dop Henri Alekan, German and English)

In 1987 Wim Wenders wrote a love letter to West Berlin and named it Wings Of Desire. The film – ostensibly a story following two angels who can see but are unable to touch or be seen, living on the banks of the River Spree since the dawn of time – embraces the German cinematic tradition of Expressionism, the literary tradition of Existentialism and uses the divided Cold War Berlin and the conflict of the Twentieth century to express the division and atomisation of humanity, boredom, ennui, loneliness, isolation and despair. When an angel chooses to become human, giving away immortality for the chance at a life fully lived, Wenders humanises Heidegger’s Dasein by way of interior monologue, self-effacing cameos and the gorgeous cinematography of Henri Alekan.

 

Location: A private location in Preston, Melbourne!

Time: Doors at 7:30pm for an 8pm start, 15th March, 2019.

Admission is a suit of armour.

 

~

 

March 29th – The Documentaries of Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog is the maverick’s maverick, starting his career by stealing a movie camera from a film school and aggressively pursuing an “unspoilt, humane spot for man to exist, an area worthy of human beings where a dignified life can be led.” By which he means pursuing the dangerous, the insane, the marginalised, the frightening and the stupid to find the edges of what it means to be human.

His take on documentaries is relentlessly creative and unbounded, in which he sees the documentarian as not a reporter, but an agitator, provocateur and an artist. Herzog’s documentaries often contain scenes that he describes as ‘an estatic truth’ – something that captures the ecstasy or essence of the subject, not the literal or factual truth, which is to say some scenes never really happened, or if they did, were staged. When taken to task on this at a film festival, he said “I’m no fly on the wall. I am the hornet that stings.” and when the crowd turned hostile, he ended the night with a mic drop – shouting, “Happy New Year, losers!” and walking out. He’s our kind of filmmaker.

Program:
La Bohème (2009, 4 min)
Ten Thousand Years Older (2002 10 min)
Pilgrimage (2001, 18 min)
La Soufrière (1977, 30 min)
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980, 21 min)
( intermission )
Incident at Loch Ness (2004, 94 min)

Location: A private location in Preston, Melbourne!

Time: Doors at 7:30 for an 8pm start, 29th March 2019.

Admission is free for penguins who go inland.

Kelly’s Heroes – December 7, 2017

 

Our end-of-year anti-war war movie subversive action-comedy caper!

Kelly’s Heroes (1970) dir Brian G Hutton, English language, 146min.

Screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin (creator of the blackly surreal anti-nuke drama Edge of Darkness) rewrites the Second World War as history’s greatest heist, making no pretense of nobility in the Allies ‘liberation’ of Europe in which proletarian soldiers lose their lives to fill the pockets of commanding officers and their governments.

The enterprising but lowly ranked Private Kelly (Clint Eastwood) has had enough of his commanding officer repeatedly “volunteering” his unit back to the front lines to “commandeer” yachts, chateaus, artwork and wine cellars for “the war effort” as the Nazis abandon the European front.

Kelly opts to create a self-managed retirement fund for himself and his platoon, a unit of burned-out swindlers and PTSD cases, and a leaderless tank platoon of proto-hippies (centered around a scene stealing Donald Sutherland) by racing behind enemy lines to steal several tons of untraceable gold bullion before their own officers find it, or before the Nazis get it to a Swiss bank.

Kelly’s Heroes is maybe the most fun, funny and action-packed indictment of the Allies’ looting of Europe at the end of World War 2. (Also, both M*A*S*H and Three Kings owe this film a royalty cheque.)

Location: Melbourne Anarchist Club, 62 St Georges Rd, Northcote.

Time: Doors at 7:30pm for an 8pm start, 7th December, 2017.

Admission is free, baby, and stop hitting me with those negative waves!

November: Anarchism and music.

k-foundation

November 16 – Why did the K Foundation burn a million quid?

In the early nineties the KLF invented the massively popular genre of ‘stadium trance’, scored a string of clever, catchy and genre-blending number one hits featuring unlikely vocalists from hip-hop, hard rock and country music, all featuring an odd internal symbolic mythology based on the mysterious Mu, Daleks and ice cream.

In 1993, they were awarded “Best British Group” by the English music industry. They performed their only live gig as an anarcho-punk interpretation of their trance hit “3am Eternal” with Extreme Noise Terror and Napalm Death. They shot the audience with machine guns filled with blank rounds, dumped a dead sheep in the backstage area and announced the end of their career. They deleted their entire music catalog and sailed to a small island off the coast of Scotland and burned one million pounds they’d made from record sales and royalties.

This documentary tries to make sense of who the KLF really are, why they burned a million pounds, broke up at their peak of their power, and what everyone thought about it. Followed up by a screening of the mythological short film KLF 01 01 2017 WTF FOUND VHS which should confuse you even further.

Location: Melbourne Anarchist Club, 62 St Georges Rd, Northcote.

Time: Doors at 7pm for a 7:30 start, 16th November, 2017.

Admission is free. Sheep are welcome. Ice cream van parking available. Mu be with you.

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crassmovie_fr_l.jpg November 2nd – Crass: There is no authority but yourself.

(2006) Directed by Alexander Oey, English language, 71 mins.

This documentary discusses inner and outer workings of Crass, the UK’s definitive anarcho-punk band centered around Dial House, an open community house on the outskirts of London. We see their rise, their fall, their struggles with Thatcher’s Britain and among themselves.

After the feature, we’ll screen the footage Crass showed at their gigs, and your host will tell the true story about the time he wound up having dinner with Penny Rimbaud while Gee Voucher was at the dentist.

Location: Melbourne Anarchist Club, 62 St Georges Rd, Northcote.

Time: Doors at 7pm for a 7:30 start, 2nd November, 2017.

Admission is free. In fact, we owe you a movie. (‘Course we do, ‘course we do.)

Stan Brakhage – 19th October 2017

stan-brakhageunknown_film_detail_emVarious works of Stan Brakhage. Approx 60mins.

Stan Brakhage was a driving force behind American experimental and avant-garde, making hundreds of films over his career. Brakhage’s work eschewed narrative storytelling, and in fact often featured no story at all. Many of his films are the result of direct filmmaking – where paint, chemicals or objects are directly applied to the surface of the film.

We’ll be showing films from multiple phases of Brakhage’s career, including narrative works, abstraction and direct animation.

Location: Melbourne Anarchist Club, 62 St Georges Rd, Northcote.

Time: Doors at 7pm for a 7:30 start, 9th October, 2017.

Admission is free, please leave your dead moths at home.

 

Walker – 5th October 2017

walker_poster

Walker (1989) dir. Alex Cox, English language, 95min.

A rising star in Hollywood in the mid-eighties, director Alex Cox made the major studio “punkspoitation” films Repo Man and Sid & Nancy before going rogue with $5 million of Universal Studio’s money to make an anti-American, pro-revolutionary, anarchist critique of US imperialism in Central America.

Cox had just turned down the opportunity to direct The Three Amigos after declaring the script to be propaganda for the Monroe Doctrine, enlisted screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer (Two Lane Blacktop, Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid), emerging stars Ed Harris and Marlee Matlin, the Clash’s Joe Strummer as composer and made Hollywood’s most anarchic satire disguised as an historical biopic.

The film was disowned by the deeply disturbed Universal Pictures, it was buried on release with zero promotion, Cox was blacklisted by Hollywood for life, and it’s probably the greatest satire of the 80s, and one of the most subversive films ever made.

Location: Melbourne Anarchist Club, 62 St Georges Rd, Northcote.

Time: Doors at 7pm for a 7:30 start, 5th October, 2017.

Admission is free, bring vinyl copies of the soundtrack for me to drool over.