OUT OF THE BLUE – Recent Restoration and Re-Release!
Dennis Hopper (U.S. 1980) 94 min. DCP. Linda Manz, Dennis Hopper, Sharon Farrel.
“Subvert normality… Destroy… Kill all hippies.” Unlikely star and bantamweight teen tough cookie Linda Manz gives one of the greatest adolescent performances in cinema as Cebe, a punkette whose disastrous home life only gets more complicated when her ex-truck driver dad (Dennis Hopper, returning to the director’s chair with swagger after a decade in movie jail) gets sprung out of the can and comes home, dragging bad habits and repressed memories back with him. A cinematic kick in the teeth set against the backdrop of ass-end-of-nowhere smalltown Pacific Northwest that’s something like Robert Bresson’s Mouchette (1967) under the influence of the Sex Pistols, and a magnificent showcase for Days of Heaven (1978) star Manz, who died in 2020, but can never be forgotten for the naked feral fury of her performance here (Metrograph Pictures notes).
“Set amid the impressive vistas of the Canadian northwest, Out of the Blue is a boldly feel-bad film about punk rock, lunatic driving and deranged family values.” – J. Hoberman, The New York Times
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Tuesday, January 25 at 7pm
SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADASSSSS SONG – Recent Restoration and Re-Release!
Melvin Van Peebles (U.S. 1971) 97 min. DCP. With Melvin Van Peebles, Simon Chuckster, Hubert Scales.
A landmark of Black and American independent cinema that would send shock waves through the culture, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song was Melvin Van Peebles’s second feature film, after he walked away from a contract with Columbia in order to make his next film on his own terms. Acting as producer, director, writer, composer, editor, and star, Van Peebles created the prototype for what Hollywood would eventually co-opt and make into the blaxploitation hero: a taciturn, perpetually blank-faced performer in a sex show, who, when he’s pushed too far by a pair of racist cops looking to frame him for a crime he didn’t commit, goes on the run through a lawless underground of bikers, revolutionaries, sex workers, and hippies in a kill-or-be-killed quest for liberation from white oppression. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song’s incendiary politics are matched by Van Peebles’s revolutionary style, in which jagged jump cuts, kaleidoscopic superimpositions, and psychedelic sound design come together in a sustained howl of rage and defiance. This special screening is co-presented with the Griot Institute for the Study of Black Lives and Cultures, in conjunction with Bucknell’s week of programming celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
Tuesday, February 1 at 7pm
EXPEDITION CONTENT – CONVERSATION WITH THE FILMMAKERS!
Ernst Karel & Veronika Kusumaryati (U.S. 2020) 78 min. DCP.
An immersive marvel of sonic ethnography, Expedition Content draws on audio recordings made by recent college graduate and Standard Oil heir Michael Rockefeller as part of the 1961 Harvard-Peabody Expedition to Netherlands New Guinea that set up tents among the indigenous Hubula (also known as Dani) people. In their nearly imageless film, Karel and Kusumaryati document the strange encounter between the expedition and the Hubula people. The work explores and upends the power dynamics between anthropologist and subject, between image and sound, and turns the whole ethnographic project on its head. The film’s directors will both join us via Zoom to introduce the film and discuss it afterwards–a special opportunity!
“Advances the possibility of a purely sonic cinema.” – Leo Goldsmith, The Brooklyn Rail
“A sonic journey… that interrogates how images are produced and who produces them.” – Slant Magazine
Tuesday, February 8 at 7pm
WATERMELON WOMAN – 20th Anniversary Restoration!
Cheryl Dunye (U.S. 1997) 85 min. DCP. With Cheryl Dunye, Cherylas Cheryl, Guinevere Turner.
Re-released for its 20th anniversary in a pristine HD restoration, The Watermelon Woman is a cornerstone of the New Queer Cinema. It is the story of Cheryl (Dunye), a twenty-something black lesbian struggling to make a documentary about Fae Richards, a beautiful and elusive 1930s black film actress popularly known as “The Watermelon Woman.” While uncovering the meaning of Richards’ life, Cheryl experiences a total upheaval in her personal life, as each answer Cheryl discovers about the Watermelon Woman evokes a flurry of new questions about herself and her future. Introduced by Professor English Chase Gregory, in conjunction with the course Queerness and Race.
“A landmark of New Queer Cinema and the first feature film directed by an African American lesbian. With biting humor and a sharp eye towards hidden histories, the film deftly captures the search for identity and how we, in turn, preserve and share history, from the stories told by ourselves, families, and communities, to those produced by Hollywood and culture writ large.” – Interview Magazine
Garrett Bradley (U.S. 2020) 81 min. DCP.
Time follows the story of Fox Rich, an author, abolitionist and mother who spend two decades fighting for her husband Robert Richardson’s release from prison. In her debut feature documentary, Garrett Bradley bears witness to the work and rituals of a woman’s decades of resilience. Commanding observations are seamlessly woven with uninhibited family videos to craft a beautifully intimate family portrait that also reminds us of the systematic separation of African American families—first through enslavement and now through mass incarceration. Time poignantly confronts and challenges expectations—this is not a story of brokenness but one of enduring love (Sundance Film Festival catalog). This screening is presented in conjunction with “Citizen Time: Recasting the Narrative: A Conversation between Claudia Rankine & Garrett Bradley,” which will take place at 7 pm, March 1 at this link. “Citizen Time” is a presentation of Small Literary Arts Center Coalition (SLACC), comprised of the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College, the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College, and the Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts at Bucknell University.
Tuesday, February 22 at 7pm
Edmund Goulding (U.S. 1947) 110 min. 35MM. With Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray.
Darkness lurks behind the bright lights of a traveling carnival in one of the most haunting and perverse film noirs of the 1940s. Adapted from the scandalous best seller by William Lindsay Gresham, Nightmare Alley gave Tyrone Power a chance to subvert his matinee-idol image with a ruthless performance as Stanton Carlisle, a small-time carny whose unctuous charm propels him to fame as a charlatan spiritualist, but whose unchecked ambition leads him down a path of moral degradation and self-destruction. Although its strange, sordid atmosphere shocked contemporary audiences, this long-difficult-to-see reflection of postwar angst has now taken its place as one of the defining noirs of its era—a fatalistic downward slide into existential oblivion.
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Tuesday, March 1 at 7pm
I MARRIED A WITCH – RESTORATION PREMIERE!
René Clair (U.S. 1942) 77 min. DCP. With Veronica Lake, Fredric March, Susan Hayward.
Veronica Lake casts a seductive spell as a charmingly vengeful sorceress in this supernatural screwball classic. Many centuries after cursing the male descendants of the Salem puritan who sent her to the stake, this blonde bombshell with a broomstick finds herself drawn to one of them—a prospective governor (March) about to marry a spoiled socialite (Hayward). The most delightful of the films the innovative French director René Clair made in Hollywood, I Married a Witch is a comic confection bursting with playful special effects and sparkling witticisms. Restored by the Library of Congress and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.
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Tuesday, March 8 at 7pm
AS MINE EXACTLY – FILMMAKER IN PERSON!
Charlie Shackleton (UK 2017-2020) TRT 65 min. DCP.
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Tuesday, March 22 at 7pm
CHAMELEON STREET – New Restoration and Re-Release!
Wendell B. Harris Jr. (U.S. 1990) 94 min. DCP. With Cheryl Dunye, Cherylas Cheryl, Guinevere Turner.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival—yet criminally underseen for over three decades—Chameleon Street recounts the improbable but true story of Michigan con man Douglas Street, the titular “chameleon” who successfully impersonated his way up the socioeconomic ladder by posing as a magazine reporter, an Ivy League student, a respected surgeon, and a corporate lawyer. Elevated by a dexterous performance and daring direction from multi-hyphenate actor-writer-director Wendell B. Harris Jr., the film pins a lens on race, class and performance in American identity, which has lost none of its relevance. At once piercingly funny and aesthetically mischievous, Chameleon Street is a “lost masterpiece of Black American cinema” (BFI) long overdue to take its rightful place in the independent film canon.
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Tuesday, March 29 at 7pm
AHED’S KNEE – Area Premiere!
Nadav Lapid (Israel 2021) 109 min. DCP. With Avshalom Pollak, Nur Fibak. Hebrew with English Subtitles.
A celebrated Israeli filmmaker arrives in a remote desert village to present one of his films at a local library. Struggling to cope with the recent news of his mother’s terminal illness, he is pushed into a spiral of rage when the host of the screening, a government employee, asks him to sign a form placing restrictions on what he can say at the film’s Q&A. Nadav Lapid (Synonyms, The Kindergarten Teacher) wrote the film soon after the death of his own mother, who worked as an editor on many of his works. It offers a sharp critique of the censorship, hypocrisy, and violence instigated by Israel and repressive governments everywhere. Winner of the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, this boldly shot and conceived work feels as though it has welled up from the depths of its maker’s soul.
“Few filmmakers rage with such naked emotion and formalist conviction.” –
DONBASS – Area Premiere!
Sergey Loznitsa (Ukraine 2018) 122 min. DCP. With Tamara Yatsenko, Irina Zayarmiuk, Grigory Masliuk. Russian, Ukrainian, English with English subtitles.
In the Donbass, a region of Eastern Ukraine, a hybrid war takes place, involving an open armed conflict alongside killings and robberies on a mass scale perpetrated by separatist gangs. In the Donbass, war is called peace, propaganda is uttered as truth and hatred is declared to be love. Donbass, ultimately, is not a tale of one region, one country or one political system. It is about a world lost in post-truth and fake identities. It is about each and every one of us. Winner of the Un Certain Regard award for Best Director at Cannes Film Festival in 2018 and Ukraine’s official submission for Best International Feature for the 91st Academy Awards.
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Tuesday, April 12 at 7pm
Roger Beebe’s Films for 1–8 Projectors – FILMMAKER IN PERSON!
Roger Beebe (U.S.) 16MM. 75 min.
In the wake of our year(+) of lockdown and of telepresence, Roger Beebe returns to the road with a program of 16mm multi-projector performances. The program features several newer works (Lineage (for Norman McLaren) (2019, 4 x 16mm), de rerum natura (2019, 3 x 16mm + video), Home Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry (2021, 4 x 16mm), alongside some of his best-known projector performances (including the seven-projector show-stopping Last Light of a Dying Star (2008/2011)). He will also include a sampling of recent essayistic videos, presented as live-narrated documentaries. These works take on a range of topics from the forbidden pleasures of men crying (Historia Calamitatum (The Story of My Misfortunes)) to the racial politics of font choices (The Comic Sans Video) and the real spaces of the virtual economy (Amazonia).
“Beebe’s films are both erudite and punk, lo-fi yet high-brow shorts that wrestle with a disfigured, contemporary American landscape.” – Wyatt Williams, Creative Loafing (Atlanta)
“[Beebe’s films] implicitly and explicitly evoke the work of Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander, all photographers of the atomic age whose Western photographs captured the banalities, cruelties and beauties of imperial America.” – David Fellerath, The Independent Weekly
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THE CONVERSATION – 35MM RESTORATION RE-RELEASE!
Francis Ford Coppola (U.S. 1974) 122 min. 35MM. With Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Frederick Forsythe, and Cindy Williams.
Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 masterpiece of societal paranoia in the guise of a techno-thriller, is back on the big screen, in a newly-struck 35mm print personally supervised by Coppola. Lonely wiretapping expert and devout Catholic Harry Caul (Hackman) is hired to record a seemingly innocuous conversation in San Francisco’s Union Square between two lovers. Upon re-hearing the tapes, however, Caul believes he may be putting the couple in danger if he turns the material over to his client (Duvall). But what one hears can ultimately turn out to be quite different from what was actually recorded. Sandwiched between the filmmaker’s first two Godfather epics, The Conversation was a smaller, more personal exploration of humanity becoming enslaved and ultimately destroyed by the development of highly sophisticated surveillance technology. The film’s timing couldn’t have been more prescient, with the concurrent revelation during the Watergate hearings of a secret taping device in the Oval Office. Although the cutting-edge electronics of that time now look like Victrolas compared to the pocket-sized gadgetry of today, the themes of social alienation, ruthless corporate behavior, and a testing of one’s faith resonate even deeper as we enter the second decade of the 21st century. Winner of the 1974 Palme d’Or at Cannes, and nominated for three Oscars including Best Picture… The minimalist piano music by David Shire is considered one of the great film scores of that era.
“An immaculate thriller, a study in paranoia and loneliness, partly inspired by Antonioni’s Blow-Up, and released as the Watergate scandal was unfolding, [with] one of Gene Hackman’s greatest performances.” — Philip French, The Guardian
Tuesday, April 26 at 7pm
MEMORIA – CENTRAL PA ENDLESS TOUR STOP!
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand 2021) 109 min. DCP. With Tilda Swinton, Elkin Díaz, Jeanne Balibar.
From the extraordinary mind of Palme D’or winning director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and starring Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton, comes abewildering drama about a Scottish woman, who, after hearing a loud ‘bang’ at daybreak, begins experiencing a mysterious sensory syndrome while traversing the jungles of Colombia. Read more about the extraordinary release plan here.
“For Memoria, cinema experience is crucial or maybe the only way. Let’s embrace the darkness and dream, one at a time.” – Apichatpong Weerasethakul
“Memoria is the perfect film for this moment…Big cinema or bust…Throughout the universe, in perpetuity…” – Tilda Swinton