a highly-opinionated selection of things happening around town, and sometimes out of town. this month's page here.

mon. oct. 2

the warriors, streets of fire @ new beverly theatre

tue. oct. 3

the warriors, streets of fire @ new beverly theatre

wed. oct. 4

tomasz stanko quartet @ jazz bakery
wordplay, spellbound @ new beverly theatre
asteroid #4 @ silverlake lounge
magic lanterns and the evolution of film narrative @ ampas linwood dunn

thu. oct. 5

tomasz stanko quartet @ jazz bakery
wordplay, spellbound @ new beverly theatre

fri. oct. 6

the ghost and mr. chicken MIDNIGHT MOVIE @ nuart
touch of evil, the night of the hunter @ new beverly theatre
for heavens sake 8:15 PM @ old town music hall

sat. oct. 7

tomasz stanko quartet @ jazz bakery
touch of evil, the night of the hunter @ new beverly theatre
lost boys MIDNIGHT MOVIE @ rialto theatre
for heavens sake 2:30 PM 8:15 PM @ old town music hall

sun. oct 8

tomasz stanko quartet @ jazz bakery
thrones @ the smell
for heavens sake 2:30 PM @ old town music hall
roscoe mitchell, joseph jarman @ ford amphitheatre 

mon. oct. 9

antarcticans FREE @ silverlake lounge
lavender diamond FREE @ the echo

tue. oct. 10

she @ aero theatre
raise the red lantern @ skirball

thu. oct. 12

pandora's box @ lacma
jonestown the life and death of people's temple FREE @ ucla james bridges theatre
grindhouse danny's 16mm cartoon madness 9 PM @ secret headquarters

fri. oct 13

beyond the valley of the dolls MIDNIGHT MOVIE @ nuart
infernal affairs, 2046 @ new beverly theatre
pandora's box @ lacma

sat. oct. 14

infernal affairs, 2046 @ new beverly theatre
dr. jekyll & mr. hyde 8 PM, un chien andalou @ silent movie theatre
pandora's box @ lacma
the hospitals @ the smell

sun. oct. 15

michael hurley @ mccabe's

mon. oct. 16

louis ck & friends @ largo

wed. oct. 18

leimert park the story of a village in south central FREE 8 PM @ sponto gallery

thu. oct. 19

ruslan and ludmila, cosmic voyage @ egyptian theatre
faust 8 PM, number please? @ silent movie theatre
bert jansch, espers, watts prophets, belong, etc @ arthurnights @ palace theatre
qui @ the scene

fri. oct. 20

the passenger, blowup @ new beverly theatre
hearse life MIDNIGHT MOVIE @ new beverly theatre
bipolar bear @ the smell
the amphibian man, evenings on a farm near dikanka @ egyptian theatre
the shining MIDNIGHT MOVIE @ nuart
a girl in every port @ lacma
diary of a lost girl 8:50 PM @ lacma
charalambides, awesome color, christina carter, etc @ arthurnights @ palace theatre

sat. oct. 21

the pope @ the smell
the passenger, blowup @ new beverly theatre
clamor fest @ il corral
stalker 6 PM @ egyptian theatre
planet of storms 9:30 PM, the heavens call @ egyptian theatre
prix de beauté (miss europe) @ lacma
sun ra arkestra, om, white magic, six organs of admittance, michael hurley, josephine foster, mia doi todd, chuck dukowski sextet, etc @ arthurnights @ palace theatre
detroit cobras @ key club

sun. oct. 22

a spectre haunts europe 4 PM @ egyptian theatre
solaris 6:30 PM @ egyptian theatre
comets on fire, etc @ arthurnights @ palace theatre

mon. oct. 23

secret machines @ the avalon

tue. oct. 24

the forest, don't go in the woods @ new beverly theatre
the one am radio @ the echo

wed. oct. 25

army of shadows, le cercle rouge @ new beverly theatre
to the stars by hard ways, zero city @ egyptian theatre
horror of dracula, brides of dracula @ aero theatre
thermals @ troubadour

thu. oct. 26

army of shadows, le cercle rouge @ new beverly theatre
the fearless vampire killers, return of the vampire @ aero theatre
the penalty 8 PM, felix the cat eats are west @ silent movie theatre

fri. oct. 27

army of shadows, le cercle rouge @ new beverly theatre
the lost boys, captain kronos vampire hunter @ aero theatre
fur: an imaginary portrait of diane arbus @ lacma

sat. oct. 28

army of shadows, le cercle rouge @ new beverly theatre
iluminados por el fuego 5:30 PM @ egyptian theatre
horrorthon 7:30 PM - 6 AM w/ night of the living dead, re-animator, house by the cemetery, castle of blood, pumpkinhead, burial ground @ aero theatre
ESG @ safari sam's

sun. oct. 29

fright night, friday the 13th @ new beverly theatre
nine queens 6:30 PM, el aura @ aero theatre
nosferatu a symphony of horrors 8 PM, haunted spooks, felix the cat sure-locked homes @ silent movie theatre


THE AMPHIBIAN MAN (CHELOVEK AMFIBIYA) 1961, 95 min. Dir. G. Kazansky & V. Chebotare. One of the most beloved of all Russian films (65 million admissions in 1962, which roughly translates into 520 million current American box-office dollars), this tall tale of a handsome, gilled mutant named Ichtyandr (Vladimir Korenov) whose father has replaced his faulty lung with the gills of a young shark, unfolds in a very oddly conceived coastal locale among pearl divers, rogues and old salts. When Ichtyandr saves a local fisherman’s daughter (Anastasiya Vertinskaya) from a shark attack, he falls in love with her and wants to give up the water for a life on land. Perhaps the ultimate product of the late 50's-early 60's "thaw," this enchanting hybrid of The Little Mermaid and THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON surreally brims with Latin song-and-dance numbers and Russian stars in brownface (shot on beautiful Cuban locations) that must be seen to be believed. Korenov and Vertinskaya (who went on to play Ophelia in Kozintsev’s HAMLET and the Princess in Bondarchuk’s WAR AND PEACE) both became huge Soviet stars as a result of his film’s massive success.

(from IMDB)
No false heroics in this ultra realistic portrail of anti-Nazi men and women during the occupation of France. Melville's actors have obviously been cast for being very ordinary and each performance from Ventura's lead to Reggianis almost cameo as a Barber add to the almost doco like feel. A magnificent film from the truly underrated master and one of cinemas true perfectionists.

BRIDES OF DRACULA, 1960, Universal, 85 min. Dir. Terence Fisher. When Christopher Lee temporarily balked at getting typecast as the undead count, Hammer had to create a new blood hungry villain, Baron Meinster (David Peel), for their second Dracula installment. Chained in his castle lair by his conflicted mother (Martita Hunt), the Baron is unwittingly released by a stranded French schoolteacher, Marianne (Yvonne Monlaur), and proceeds to wreak havoc amongst the local female population. Luckily, Marianne is rescued by traveling vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) and the battle of good and evil begins in earnest. A rip-roaring tall tale and one of Hammer’s most satisfying vampire pictures.

BURIAL GROUND, 1981, 85 min. Dir. Andrea Bianchi. An archeology professor invites friends down to his villa for the weekend. While waiting, he visits a nearby Etruscan tomb, not guessing that he will be the catalyst for a mass resurrection of the ancient undead. Jaded, bourgeois couples become zombie fodder almost from the time they arrive, amping up the gruesome gore factor like few other Italian zombie films. A laugh-out-loud, so-bad-it’s-good lollapalooza of politically incorrect guts-and-grue that is best viewed with an audience to be fully-appreciated. With Karin Well, Gianluigi Chirizzi and Peter Bark as the weird, incestuous manchild, Michael

CASTLE OF BLOOD (LA DANZA MACABRA), 1964, 85 min. Alongside BLACK SUNDAY, this is Barbara Steele’s shining hour and director Antonio Margheriti’s masterpiece, a spine-tingling and perversely beautiful hymn to love from beyond the grave. A visiting American journalist (George Riviere) is challenged by Edgar Allan Poe and friend Lord Blackwood to stay overnight in the latter’s haunted castle. What he finds there is unrequited love for tragic ghost Elizabeth (Steele) and numerous other undead spirits thirsty for his blood.

COSMIC VOYAGE (KOSMICHESKIY REIS), 1936, 70 min. Dir. Vasili Zhuravlev. The first Soviet sci-fi movie since the spectacularly popular AELITA: QUEEN OF MARS in 1924, this effects-filled film tells the story of Pavel (Sergei Komarov, who also appeared in Pudovkin’s DESERTER and Barnet’s OUTSKIRTS), a renegade space traveler. His voyage to the moon - he’s fed up with the restrictions imposed by the "Moscow Institute for Interplanetary Travel" - offers a startlingly realistic technological prophecy. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a seminal space-travel theoretician, served as the production’s science consultant (he was also the author of the film’s source novel, Outside the Earth) and drew up more than 30 detailed blueprints for the "rocketplane" featured in the film. There may be a rocket named after Stalin, but the film still reeks of anti-doctrinal individualism, doubtlessly accounting for Ukrainian-born Soviet filmmaker Zhuravlev’s sporadic post-COSMIC VOYAGE output. Silent with Russian intertitles and English translation, with pre-recorded score.

Diary of a Lost Girl
(1929/b&w/116 min./Eng. intertitles) Scr: Rudolf Leonhardt; dir: Georg Wilhelm Pabst; w/ Louise Brooks, Fritz Rasp, Andrews Engelmann, Valeska Gert.
A fierce attack on the evils of sexual repression and social hypocrisy, Diary of a Lost Girl tells the tale of Thymiane Henning (Brooks), the innocent sixteen-year-old daughter of a pharmacist. Seduced and impregnated by her father’s clerk, she loses her baby and is incarcerated in a strict reform school. Subjected to military discipline, Thymiane escapes and wanders the streets in despair, until she encounters Erika, an old school friend who now works in a brothel. Pabst shockingly depicts the brothel as a place where Thymiane regains her self-esteem and develops into a confident, vivacious woman. Unlike any other actress in a similar situation, Brooks neither resorts to pathos nor suggests that there is anything immoral in the pleasure she derives from her new profession. As in Pandora, she lives for the moment, with radiant physical abandon. Once reestablished in society, Thymiane enjoys a life of wealth and privilege. She uses her status to help those who are suffering, just as she suffered. In contrast to the closing moments of Pandora’s Box, where Lulu comes to a tragic end, Thymiane stands defiantly against those who would try to persecute or crush her spirit.

(from IMDB)
Directed by John S. Robertson and starring matinée idol John Barrymore in the dual title role, 1920's DR. JECKYLL & MR. HYDE is sometimes described as the "first American horror film." That description is more than a little problematic, but whether it was or it wasn't, DR. JECKYLL AND MR. HYDE certainly put the horror genre on the Hollywood map.

EL AURA, 2005, IFC Films, 134 min. Dir. Fabian Bielinsky. A taciturn and epileptic taxidermist (Ricardo Darin) who is bored with people, spends his days dreaming up the perfect heist. But he will soon be involved in theft, double crosses and murder. Reminiscent of the Coen Brothers’ muted, atmospheric style, with a camera that lingers lovingly on lonely rural landscapes where dreadful things unfold. There’s no room for emotion other than thrilling, nervewracking suspense in this noirish world where greed alone drives virtually all of the characters.

EVENINGS ON A FARM NEAR DIKANKA (VECHARA NA KHUTORE BLIZ DIKANKI), 1961, 69 min. Dir. Aleksandr Rou. This glorious excursion into Technicolor fantasy (with cartoon elements) is one of the most beautiful in the rich strain of Russian cinematic fantasy, and it is also very true to the spirit of the Russian/Ukrainian master Nikolai Gogol. The tale of a blacksmith (Aleksandr Khvylya) from a darkened village sent on an endless quest on Christmas Eve by his beloved Oksana (L. Myznikova), ending in St. Petersburg and with a stop along the way for a conference with the devil, has been filmed a few times throughout Russian film history, but never with so much charm and such a rich feeling for the satiric, folkloric power of the source material. A classic.

THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, 1967, Warner Bros., 108 min. Roman Polanski’s expertly balanced blend of humor and horror looks even better today than when it was released nearly 40 years ago. Phenomenal character actor Jack McGowran is perfectly cast as the ancient, screw-loose Professor Abronsius who, with his harebrained sidekick, Alfred (Polanski, doing double duty) is on the hunt for vampires in the snowy Carpathian mountains. Their pursuit shifts into high gear once Alfred’s admired-from-afar love interest, inn-keeper’s daughter, Sharon Tate, is kidnapped by undead Count von Krolock (Ferdy Mayne). With the beautiful, deeply rich color cinematography of Douglas Slocombe and a memorable score by brilliant Krzysztof Komeda.

(from IMDB)
A cannibal hermit living in the woods preys on campers and hikers for his food supply.

(from IMDB)
The Uptown Boy, J. Harold Manners (Lloyd) is a millionaire playboy who falls for the Downtown Girl, Hope (Ralston) who works in Brother Paul's (Weigel) mission. In order to build up attendance, and win Hope's attention, Harold runs through town causing trouble, and winds up with a crowd chasing him right into the mission. He eventually wins the girl and they marry, but not without some interference from his high-brow friends.

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
(2006/color/122 min.) Scr: Erin Cressida Wilson; dir: Steven Shainberg; w/ Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey Jr., Ty Burrell, Harris Yulin, Jane Alexander.
Special guest: director Steven Shainberg will be present for a Q & A following the screening.
Here is an amazing fairy story from modern Manhattan, a version of Beauty and the Beast (but which is which?). Diane Arbus is married and the mother of two. She helps her husband's photography business and the family fur company. And she is a nervous wreck-because she isn't expressing herself. Then a stranger moves into the upstairs apartment. Call him Lionel, and step carefully. He is rare and alarming, but he is a tender soul who will introduce Diane to the lives of the other than ordinary. He will give us the Arbus we know. This is an astonishingly bold fable by Steven Shainberg (Secretary) that relies to a great extent on the courage, the beauty, and the sheer adventurousness of its two central players: Robert Downey Jr. as Lionel, and Nicole Kidman going for broke again. – Telluride Film Festival. Preview Screening.

A Girl in Every Port
(1928/b&w/62 min./Eng. intertitles) Scr: Seton I. Miller, adapted from an original story by Howard Hawks and James K. McGuinness; dir: Howard Hawks; w/ Victor McLaglen, Robert Armstrong, Louise Brooks.
Special guest: Claudine Kaufmann, former Director of Collections, Cinematheque Francaise.
Sailor Spike Madden (McLaglen) discovers that he has competition for his girlfriends in various ports of call. He finally overtakes his rival, Salami (Armstrong), another sailor, and after a fight they become fast friends. When Madden falls in love with a circus performer—gold-digging vamp Marie (Brooks)—Salami must decide whether to tell his friend the truth about her.
A Girl in Every Port is Brooks’s twelfth film appearance. She had the good fortune of appearing in this comedy, a seminal film that introduces the theme of male friendship through rivalry. Brooks dominates the film and in her naturalistic way, fulfills what Hawks was aiming for. "I wanted a different type of girl," he said in his laconic style, "I hired [her] because she's very sure of herself. . . . She's very feminine, but she's damn good and sure she's going to do what she wants to do." In her book, Lulu in Hollywood, Brooks writes that it was this performance that prompted German director G. W. Pabst to cast her in Pandora's Box. This was not surprising, since in the words of critic David Boxwell, 'A Girl in Every Port sets in motion Brooks's naissance as Lulu, the recognizably modern girlish destroyer of men who are more obsessed with her than she is with them, an indissoluble mixture of innocence and corruption.'

THE HEAVENS CALL (NEBO ZOVET) 1959, 80 min. Dir. Mikhail Karyukov and Aleksandr Kozyr. This tale of two rival space probes, headed for Mars and the moon, only to crash-land on a nearby asteroid, features spectacular space scapes, as well as a prescient visualization of the Earth’s orbit cluttered by man-made satellites. Roger Corman helped himself to the film’s plot and footage for the 1963 opus BATTLE BEYOND THE SUN, re-edited and reconfigured into a drive-in movie by an ambitious young director named Thomas Colchert. These days, he goes by the name of Francis Ford Coppola.

HORROR OF DRACULA, 1958, Warner Bros., 88 min. Director Terence Fisher and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster’s stripped-to-the basics, expertly-paced take on Bram Stoker’s popular bloodsucker remains one of the most satisfying, just plain exciting gothic horror films ever made. From Christopher Lee’s revelatory, broodingly romantic performance as Dracula (introducing a sexual frisson to the proceedings) to Fisher’s masterful direction, from Peter Cushing’s Professor Van Helsing to Jack Asher’s atmosphere-drenched cinematography and James Bernard’s superb score, this is perfection. One of Hammer Studio’s most enduring masterpieces!

HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY, 1981, 82 min. Italian director Lucio Fulci already had a track record of surreal giallo thrillers before cranking out the DAWN OF THE DEAD knock-off, ZOMBIE, a film that put him on the map with fans of extreme genre cinema. Dubbed the king of Italian goremeisters after following up with CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD and THE BEYOND, Fulci turned out this very atmospheric (and gory) ghost/zombie saga. Katherine MacColl and her husband and son move into an ancient house owned long ago by the insane medical experimenter, Dr. Freudstein. Ghost sightings, mysterious disappearances and bloody killings begin, and the traumatized family wonders if perhaps the good doctor is still around.

ILUMINADOS POR EL FUEGO, 2006, Latidos Films, 100 min. Dir. Tristan Bauer. The most important film ever made on the subject, and 23 years after the fact, Argentina exorcises its demons over the Malvinas/Falklands War in the South Atlantic. Through a subtitle flashback narrative style, the life of Esteban Leguizamon Gaston Pauls), is told after his suicide. How he was thrown into a war that he didn’t ask for, with no food, no weapons and no training, and how he was later abandoned as a veteran in a society trying to ignore that terrible political disaster. Tristan Bauer’s multi-award-winning feature is surely the most powerful and important of the movies coming out of Argentina this year.

(from IMDB)
The setting is the never-ending war between the police and the traids of Hong Kong. Chan is a cop who's been assigned to undercover work inside the traids for so long that he's been able to rise through the ranks to a position of some authority. Lau, meanwhile, is a secret member of the triads who has infiltrated the police force with an equal level of success. As they feed their bosses information on the plans and counter-plans of the organizations they pretend to serve, they both begin to feel the stresses of their double lives as they become torn between the oppressive obligations they owe to their superiors and the growing camaraderie they share with the foot soldiers around them. As the two organizations become increasingly aware of the moles in their midsts, the race is on for Chan and Lau to try and get out of the game alive.

a film by Stanley Nelson
On November 18, 1978, over 900 members of Peoples Temple died in the largest
mass suicide/murder in history. What drew so many people across racial and class
lines to the Peoples Temple? How could a diverse group of 900 people be convinced to commit
suicide? And who was Jim Jones to command such loyalty that parents would murder their
own children? Using never before seen archival footage and survivor interviews,
"Jonestown" tells the story of the people who followed Jim Jones from Indiana to
California, and finally to the remote jungles of Guyana, South America, in a misbegotten quest
to build an ideal society.
Q&A with survivors of Peoples Temple to follow the screening

Jeannette Lindsay's intimate and compelling documentary articulates and
celebrates the profound struggles and deep spirit of the extraordinary artists and
musicians who transformed a few blocks of modest storefronts in South Central Los
Angeles into a vibrant and inspiring cultural oasis. Especially focussing on the ex-
homeless Richard Fulton, whose coffeehouse Fifth Street Dick's became a gathering
spot for the community, and ultimately sparked a remarkable underground renaissance of
African-American art and culture. With Dwight Trible, Lady Walquer Vereen, Kamau
John Outterbridge, Billy Higgins & Horace Tapscott. "An unmissable feast" -LA Weekly.

A presentation of Victorian Projections and Illustrated Entertainments
Presented by David Francis of the Library of Congress and Joss Marsh, professor of Victorian Studios at Indiana University, in cooperation with Los Angeles Filmforum
Magic lanternists in the Victorian era had two dreams: first, to make still images move; second, to tell stories in pictures. Mixing historical commentary with period showmanship using an original triunial (three-level) lantern, presenters David Francis and Joss Marsh trace the origin and development of those dreams in the context of the cartoons, illustrated books, narrative paintings (a peculiarly English genre) and other visual art forms of the period. The program particularly highlights the importance of Charles Dickens and Victorian temperance propaganda to both lanternists’ storytelling and the early development of narrative film.
The program presents a very full range of lantern materials – from early engraved, moving, painted slides to “dissolving views” and hand-colored photographic “life model” sets. One of the sets is a baroque extension of the famous temperance story “Buy Your Own Cherries,” which anticipates the lantern’s competition with film (especially in Britain) into the 1920s, since it also involves vivid commentary and (unintentionally) hilarious songs, some of which are performed live.
Two films by R.W. Paul illustrate the stage and slide influences: A Christmas Carol (a remarkable work that even employs wipes) and a sophisticated, middle-class, and surprisingly cheeky Buy Your Own Cherries.

(from IMDB)
A sinister crook posing as a preacher pursues two children for the secret they are privy to of the location of a cache of money.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, 1968, 96 min. Director George Romero’s unqualified masterpiece pits a handful of citizens holed up in a farmhouse against a newly revived horde of flesh-eating zombies. The cast of talented unknowns headed by Duane Jones are all alarmingly believable as they fight for life, trying to escape a bad dream that gets uncompromisingly worse and more horrifying as the hours crawl by. If you’ve never seen this hackles-raising classic on the big screen, here’s your chance.

NINE QUEENS, 2000, Sony Classics, 114 min. Late writer/director Fabian Bielinsky’s first thriller brought Argentine cinema back to the foreground. Rookie Gaston Paul and master Ricardo Darin are partners in crime in counterfeiting stamps. This explosive cocktail of thieves, conmen and pickpockets was shot in modern-day Buenos Aires, in a handheld camera style to organically capture the environment. With a gallery of well-drawn character roles. Already a classic!

Pandora's Box
(1929/b&w/110 min./Eng. intertitles) Scr: Joseph Fleisler, Georg Wilhelm Pabst; dir: Georg Wilhelm Pabst; w/ Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz.
Weimar Germany before the crash: bustling Berlin streets, bawdy cabarets, sleek apartments, and sleazy bars form the urban maze through which the vivacious and beautiful Lulu, who is innocently devoted to pleasure without malice, charts a downward course. She goes from kept woman to showgirl to widow to murderess to streetwalker, seemingly oblivious to the scandal, suicide, and financial ruin she sows in her wake. In a legendary performance that is both intuitive and transparent, Louise Brooks lights up the screen, just as Lulu does for the dreary lives of the men who flutter around her flame. With a lithe physicality alien to the pantomime conventions of the silent era, Brooks projects a carnality that borders on the neurotic—her Lulu cries and faints one moment, and laughs and dances the next—but in her subtle facial expressions, we see that she understands Lulu’s sexual drives and needs. Brooks lets the anger and pain show, but never the self-pity. “Neither an exposé of social conditions nor a psychological case study, Pandora's Box is a tour de force of cinematic eroticism, in which the mercurial nature of the sexual appetite is explored in set pieces that are at once divinely frenzied and meticulously controlled. . . . Yet the film remains as indelibly strange as ever. -A. O. Scott, The New York Times

(from IMDB)
Blizzard, deranged from a childhood operation in which both his legs were perhaps needlessly amputated after an accident, becomes a vicious criminal, and eventually mob leader of the San Francisco underworld. Out for revenge against the surgeon who performed his operation, he undergoes brain surgery which has a chance of altering his anti-social behavior.

PLANET OF STORMS (PLANETA BUR) 1961, 83 min. Dir. Pavel Klushantsev. Upon arrival on Venus, a team of cosmonauts finds a hostile environment filled with furious volcanoes and sundry prehistoric beasts, including a cackling, swooping pterodacyl. Working from a dullish source, director Klushantsev went his 1958 Venusian cosmonaut epic ROAD TO THE STARS one better with this Soviet classic, overpowering the party-line dialogue with excellent poetic effects. PLANET OF STORMS was subsequently bought by Roger Corman, who used Klushantsev’s footage as the basis of Curtis Harrington's 1965 VOYAGE TO THE PREHISTORIC PLANET and later incorporated footage from the film in Harrington’s 1966 QUEEN OF BLOOD. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Corman ran the original film through the recycling spin cycle one more time with 1968’s Mamie Van Doren vehicle VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF THE PREHISTORIC WOMEN, which was the directorial debut of Peter Bogdanovich, no less.

Prix de Beauté (Miss Europe)
(1930/b&w/109 min./Fr. intertitles w/ spoken translation) Scr: Augusto Genina, René Clair, Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Bernard Zimmer; dir: Augusto Genina; w/ Louise Brooks, Georges Charlia.
Special guest: Claudine Kaufmann, former Director of Collections, Cinémathèque Française
Based on a sketch by French writer-director René Clair and German director G. W. Pabst, Prix de Beauté tells the deceptively simple story of Lucienne, a high-spirited typist who wins a contest to represent France in an international beauty pageant. Before breaking the news to her jealous boyfriend André, Lucienne is whisked off to San Sebastian, where she secures the title of Miss Europe and attracts many influential suitors in the process. André eventually lures Lucienne back to Paris, and away from the temptations of fame, she agrees to marry him. Peeling potatoes while the pendulum of the cuckoo clock marks time, she realizes her mistake and sees only the misery of her life as a housewife stretching ahead. On a nightmarish trip to a fair, crushed among the lowlifes, and depressed by her husband's macho antics, Lucienne decides that she can’t go on. When an offer arrives to star in a sound picture, she leaves André. The consequences of her decision are tragic. In her last starring role in a feature film, Brooks had the advantage of being photographed by not one, but two of cinema’s greatest cameramen—Rudolphe Maté (La Passion de Jean d’Arc, Gilda) and Louis Neé (Liliom, Remorques). She looked stunning throughout the film, though Genina wrote in his memoirs that she drank all day and night, and had to be carried on to the set. "She would have been the ultimate actress," he declared, "if it hadn’t been for the alcohol." Sober or not, she plays Lucienne as alternately stifled and aglow. The story and characters are treated with great sensitivity, and Genina’s detailed direction creates a sophisticated visual dialogue that highlights Brooks’s luminous performance.
Shot as a silent film, later dubbed and re-edited into a makeshift talkie for a changing market, Prix de Beauté was seen only in the eighty-eight-minute sound version until recently. The silent original, restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, runs 109 minutes and is a completely different experience. We are pleased to present this version of the film in a new print from the collection of the Cinematheque française.

PUMPKINHEAD, 1989, MGM Repertory, 86 min. Effects-wizard, Stan Winston made his directorial debut with this macabre modern folk tale. Lance Henriksen stars as a grief-stricken father who goes to an old witch in the swamp to bring forth a demon from hell to wreak vengeance on teen dirtbike riders who accidentally ran down and killed his tiny son.

(from IMDB)
China in the 1920's. After her fathers death, nineteen year old Songlian is forced to marry Chen Zuoqian, the lord of a powerfull family. Fifty year old Chen has already three wives, each of them living in seperate houses within the great castle. The competition between the wives is tough, as their master's attention carries power, status and priviligies. Each night Chen must decide which wife to spend the night with and a red lantern is lit infront of the house of his choice. And each wife schemes and plots to make sure it's hers. However, things get out of hand...

RE-ANIMATOR, 1985, Holland Releasing, 86 min. Adapted from the H.P. Lovecraft tale Herbert West, Re-Animator this mind-bending, darkly funny horror thriller was a breakout hit, establishing director Stuart Gordon as a force to be reckoned with. Impetuous researcher Jeffrey Combs develops a serum that can bring back the dead, something that his new roommate, Bruce Abbott, hadn’t exactly bargained on. Delivers on every front with laughs, shocks and genuine shivers escalating until the outrageous gore-drenched finale. With Barbara Crampton, David Gale.

RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE, 1944, Sony Repertory, 69 min. Dir. Lew Landers, Kurt Neumann (uncredited). Bela Lugosi is a London-based bloodsucker (looking a dead-ringer for his Universal studios Dracula incarnation) who won’t let a little annoyance like WWII interrupt his business. With Matt Willis (as his werewolf assistant), Frieda Inescort, Nina Foch (in her film debut) and Miles Mander. Written by Universal horror vets Griffin Jay and Randall Faye.

RUSLAN AND LUDMILA (RUSLAN I LYUDMILA), 1972, 159 min. Dir. Alexander Ptushko. A mad, enchanted combination of THE WIZARD OF OZ, DIE NIEBELUNGEN and THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T, this is quite possibly Ptushko's greatest masterpiece, an epic two-part fantasy packed with surreal, grotesque characters - a sorcerous midget with a 50-foot beard, a demonic, hunchbacked witch - and jaw-dropping set pieces such as the midget’s shimmering crystal palace, tormented figures chained inside a cavern, and a decapitated giant’s head rising up like a statue on Easter Island. Based on a poem by Pushkin, Ptushko’s final film as director follows the epic adventures of Ruslan (Valery Kosints) as he struggles to recover the feisty, resourceful bride (Natalia Petrova) kidnapped on their wedding night by the impish sorcerer Tchernomor.

SHE, 1935, The Douris Corporation, 95 min. Dirs. Lansing C. Holden and Irvin Pichel. "I am Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." Producer Merian C. Cooper (KING KONG) tries his hand at the oft-adapted adventure fantasy classic by H. Rider Haggard and comes up with what re mains, to this day, the most entertaining, eye-popping version. Unlike the enjoyable mid-1960’s Hammer studios take on SHE starring Ursula Andress, which recast its tale in the African desert, this mesmerizing escapist fare is set in the Arctic, with intrepid explorer, Randolph Scott encountering man-eating cannibals before coming up against the even more formidable She Who Must Be Obeyed. Helen Gahagan is the imperious, goddess-like ruler of the lost kingdom of Kor, a woman haunted by her immortality after bathing in the flame of eternal life and waiting eons for the man of her dreams – Scott! Cooper had originally hoped for the film to be shot in color, but alas, it was not to be. Now thanks to Legend Films and the personal shot-by-shot supervision of fabled effects wizard, Ray Harryhausen, Cooper’s original vision has been realized in a new, eye-popping, colorized and uncut restoration (with 8 additional minutes not seen in the movie since 1935!). With Nigel Bruce, Helen Mack. Special guests for the evening will include Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury and Forrest J. Ackerman, plus a discussion following the film with Ray Harryhausen. World Premiere of Newly-Colorized Version.

A SPECTRE HAUNTS EUROPE (PRIZRAK BRODIT PO YEVROPE) 1922, 94 min. Silent with live piano accompaniment. Dir. Vladimir Gardin. The emperor of an imaginary nation goes for a stroll and meets a shepherdess. He finds love, but he also finds torment at the hands of those he’s oppressed. The title may come from the opening line of "The Communist Manifesto," but SPECTRE is in fact one of the earliest adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Masque of the Red Death," preceded only by Fritz Lang and Otto Riepert’s THE PLAGUE IN FLORENCE made three years earlier. This beautifully atmospheric film was shot in Crimean locations by the great cameraman Boris Savalyev, who would later shoot Dovzhenko’s ZVENIGORA. With Vasili Kovrigin (co-star of DESERTER by Pudovkin).

STALKER, 1979; 163 min. Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky. A sci-fi tale that unwinds in the environs of the soul takes the form of a nightmarish quest for nothing less than truth itself. A writer (Anatoli Solonitsin) and a scientist (Nikolai Grinko) follow a shaven-headed "stalker" (Aleksandr Kadjanovsky) into forbidden territory, a dangerous wilderness known as the Zone. Tarkovsky forces - or perhaps allows - "reality" to yield up abstract images of startling originality, and his vision of landscape is nothing less than truly mystical - these are places to be found only in humankind's spiritual Baedeker. On top of everything else, Tarkovsky was a director who truly grasped the aesthetic power of color, and this unforgettable Pilgrimage is bathed in eerie sepia hues.

(from IMDB)
Rock and Roll singer is taken captive by a motorcycle gang in a strange world that seems to be a cross of the 1950's and the present or future. Her ex-boyfriend returns to town and to find her missing and goes to her rescue.

TO THE STARS BY HARD WAYS (CHEREZ TERNII K ZVEZDAM) 1985/2001, 118 min. Dir. Richard Viktorov. The Starship Pushkin, boldly going where no man has gone before, finds an abandoned vessel in deep space filled with the decaying bodies of humanoids. There is, however, one surviving member of the crew, a gynoid named Niya (an eye-popping performance by Yelena Metyolkina), who seeks the help of earthlings to restore her now severely polluted home planet of Dessa to its natural splendor. Richard Viktorov’s collaboration with sci-fi writer Kir Bulychyov has undeniable camp appeal, with its abundance of mod leisure-wear outfits, cosmic mercenaries and bionic women (not to mention a humanoid midget capitalist, the villain responsible for running Dessa into the ground), and it was pitched to the 1982 Soviet teen audience as skillfully as the STAR TREK film series was pitched to its American counterpart. However, this deliriously emotional movie (known to Mystery Science Theater fans in its HUMANOID WOMAN form) is also visually ravishing and, in its own unique way, deeply affecting. We will be screening Viktorov’s original version.

(from IMDB)
He was a writer. He thought he wrote about the future but it really was the past. In his novel, a mysterious train left for 2046 every once in a while. Everyone who went there had the same recapture their lost memories. It was said that in 2046, nothing ever changed. Nobody knew for sure if it was true, because nobody who went there had ever come back- except for one.

ZERO CITY (GOROD ZERO), 1988, 103 Min. Dir. Karen Shakhnazarov.One of the key films of the Perestroika era. A Moscow engineer named Varakin (beautifully played, in an increasingly bewildered deadpan performance, by Leonid Filatov) arrives in a small town, with instructions to change the size of a locally manufactured air conditioner part. At the company office he is welcomed by a naked secretary. Soon, he finds himself sitting down to lunch. The dessert arrives, a cake that strongly resembles his own head, baked by a chef who soon shoots himself in the head. With every new encounter, Varakin is sucked into the vortex of a new identity and a strange, new reality. With its images of a burdensome past (Soviet history is crammed into an elaborate diorama exposition thousands of feet below ground, to which Varakin is shepherded) and an indeterminate future, and with its roots in both the folk tale and more modern forms of absurdism, Shakhnazarov’s very funny and very poignantly disorienting film is a real historical touchstone.