Hello cinema friends,
Allow us to bring the weird and the wonderful into sharper focus this week as we highlight two films gracing our screens beginning Friday.
Between swirling, grainy, overcranked found footage and seconds-long flashes of seminal experimental films, the Welsh multi-instrumentalist John Cale appears in close-up: “There was always a standard that was set for how to be elegant and how to be brutal.” This is the essence of Cale’s collaboration with Lou Reed and perhaps the guiding principle behind Todd Haynes’ documentary The Velvet Underground.
The film isn’t just an exhaustive history of one of rock n roll’s most influential groups, but a living, breathing recitation of a moment in American history on the precipice of revolution. This isn’t the explosion of the counterculture — this is the assembly, placement, and detonation of the explosive itself. From 1950s gay bars hidden in plain sight to Andy Warhol’s Factory, through beats, hippies, heroin, stone-faced radicals, and classical scholars, The Velvet Underground is a collage of culture, rejection, and inspiration that manages to capture the warm, uneasy ecstasy of hearing the band for the first time.
The same idealized mid-century American facade that The Velvet Underground tears through is the setting for David Lynch’s ultra-weird and essential Blue Velvet. On the occasion of its 35th anniversary, we screen this terrifying masterpiece in a new restoration twice this weekend, at 10pm Friday and Saturday.
This dive into a dark underworld seething just below the surface of our sunny suburban fantasies is a cult phenomenon that we simply can’t wait to revisit… or finally introduce you to.
For the uninitiated, Blue Velvet is a mystery. Upon finding a severed human ear in a field, a college-aged Kyle Maclauclan and a blissfully innocent Laura Dern descend into an intriguing noir nightmare, trailing a mysterious lounge-singer (Isabella Rosellini at her most iconic) to a criminal conspiracy centered around a dangerous man named Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper at his most unhinged). A surreal Hitchcockian thriller, or a psycho-sexual oedipal horror, Blue Velvet is a cultural touchstone that changed the face of cinema forever, and still haunts the dreamier corners of our minds. Tickets for both shows are on sale now.
Get weird and stay wonderful,