February – March 2015
This stirring, up-close documentary follows a group of Oakland teens who find personal liberation and mutual support through dance. These dynamic young people face the very real challenges of poverty, alienation, HIV, sexual abuse, and gang violence, but they are dedicated to tell the truth, even if it hurts, because the truth will in some degree set them free. Free captures their struggles as they turn the courage, determination, and stamina demanded of their lives into a contagious joy. – CM
Directed by David Collier and Suzanne LaFetra | USA 2014 | 73 min
Plays with: STAND, Melanie D’Andrea, 21 min
World Premiere!! Local Filmmaker
This intriguing and thought provoking experimental documentary crawls over, under and inside the leftover ‘dead zones’ of the California road and freeway system, finding an eclectic mix of people who inhabit, explore, and re-purpose these liminal spaces, sometimes uncovering a world to call their own. Urban planners, artists and engineers reflect on the sociological considerations about the built environment, including interviews with KALW’S Roman Mars (host of the popular architecture and design podcast “99 Percent Invisible”) and John Law (co-founder of Burning Man and the Cacophony Society). -CM
Directed by Whit Missildine | USA 2015 | 52 min
Plays wth: Broken City Poets, Ariane Wu, 29 min
West Coast Premiere!!
Following 1995’s Clueless, Hollywood made hundreds of movies exploring the teenage psyche. Most were set in the drama-rich landscape of high school, complete with jocks, cheerleaders, freaks, geeks, and countless sub cliques in between. Narrated by cult teen star Fairuza Balk, this stylish film takes us into the soul of the teen movie, as seen through the eyes of 200 modern coming-of-age classics, exploring themes of alienation, loss of self, and scouring the often amusing myriad of emotional tempests that dominate the teenage years. -CM
Directed by Charlie Lyne | UK 2014 | 89 min
“Reputedly one of Seijun Suzuki’s finest works and unquestionably very stylish in its ‘Scope framings (Jim Jarmusch copied a few shots from it in his Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai)”
-Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
A hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One.
Directed by Seijun Suzuki, 91min, 1967, Japan
Branded to Kill review – genuinely bizarre Japanese thriller
Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill is a very 1960s metaphysical thriller, a cult item treasured by connoisseurs as the kind of film that – for all its delirious craziness – could even be a truer product of Japan than the higher artefacts of Ozu and Kurosawa. It is an erotic and dreamlike pulp noir, and its disdain for any sort of conventional plot infuriated the director’s employers at the Nikkatsu studio. Jô Shishido is Hanada, a hired killer with a sexual fetish for the smell of boiled rice; a bungled job brings him into mysterious contact with Misako (Anne Mari), a woman who hires him for three hits. He becomes obsessed with her, and finds himself in a duel with the legendary top killer, the No 1 (Kôji Nanbara). The obvious comparisons are with Melville’s Le Samouraï or Godard’s Pierrot le Fou – this film holds up against these perfectly well – with hints of John Boorman’s Point Blank and Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner. It is, however, closer to Luis Buñuel in its gleefully disquieting insistence on sudden horrific closeups: the glass eye removed from the skull, the bullet hole, the bleeding head in the toilet bowl. Where Godard had his jump-cut, Suzuki has his disorientating ellipses, his sudden dreamlike time-slips. Genuinely fascinating and bizarre.
Peter Bradshaw, The Gurdian