Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Programming cult cinema

I'm involved with the running of my local film society, the Edinburgh Film Guild. The main thing I do, besides some technical stuff, is programming. Until now it's always been fairly conservative, with an eye to showing our audience a mixture of classic Hollywood, world cinema, silents and documentaries - nothing too out there.

For our next season, however, we're going to start doing additional screenings where the brief is that anything goes. Well, not quite - I would be wary of showing Cannibal Holocaust or any other film that's in breach of UK animal cruelty laws - but otherwise, I pretty much have a free hand in programming four six film seasons of stuff that our audience wouldn't normally see.

In this position, what would you show? I have some ideas - a friend and I enjoyed a good Oz-sploitation double-bill a couple of weeks ago, and I'm sure there's a "Wizards of Oz" line-up just waiting to be put together, and there's the inevitable Euro crime / westerns / horror standbys - but I thought I'd throw it open and see what comes up :-)


Nigel M said...

There is a lot of stuff that would be a wet dream come true for me to see on the big screen and most of it you cover here.

Ones I d love to see on big screen

Cool Hand Luke
Don't Torture The Duckling
absolutely any Shaw Brothers
Thriller A Cruel Picture
Frightened Woman
House With Laughing Windows
Lickerish Quartet

for sheer fun-
Eye Of The Tiger
Day Of The Wolves
Gator Bait

David Robson said...

You could bring in some local musicians to compose/perform a new score to a silent film (near here at Berkeley, CA's Pacific Film Archive the video curator engaged some of UC Berkeley's hip hop ensembles to perform ten minutes each to ZERO PAR CONDUITE). It'd probably be costly (and a logistical nightmare for you, probably), but if it all came together it'd be a fantastic experience for all involved.

For an audience such as yours I wouldn't go too far afield (strong though that temptation may be). I would lean toward multiple screenings by lesser-known or praised filmmakers. Richard Fleischer pops to mind (COMPULSION, VIOLENT SATURDAY, and even CONAN THE DESTROYER if you want to get silly).

Double features of films from different countries/decades that revolve around a common theme always work (I'd love to see Karlson's 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE and To's THE MISSION, my two favourite films about work, played back to back, say).

Maybe pair up an early experimental silent film with a modern-day feature that it inspired (or even Melies silents with ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND).

At risk of sounding paternalistic though, my main suggestion would be: what do YOU want to see? Pick a movie you've only seen on disc (or read about but never seen), or a favourite film of one of your favourite critics, and program it as a present to yourself.

By the way, what were your Ozploitation films? (I'm imagining a double bill of THE WIZ and RETURN TO OZ and getting oddly excited.)

K H Brown said...

The silent scoring idea probably wouldn't work, as the cinema is probably too small to accommodate musicians and an audience.

I like the idea of doing some Karlson, although we'd probably be more likely to put him in the main program as one of the forgotten masters of the B-film. Everyone knows Sam Fuller - and not that I'm knocking him in any way - but Karlson always seems to be neglected.

The Ozsploitation was actually Australian exploitation cinema from the 70s and early 80s, not Wizard of Oz. Though The Wiz has got me thinking about a Lumet season, again for the main program.

Cheers for the ideas.

The Vicar of VHS said...

I'm not very good at coming up with detailed programs, but I recently watched a completely crazy Ozploitationer from 1984 called "Death Warmed Up" (review on my site). I would definitely recommend that one for sheer nuttiness.

Anonymous said...

I always thought POSSESSION and THE BROOD would make a great double-bill. Or how about THE HORRIBLE DR HICHCOCK and THE WHIP AND THE BODY?

Carson said...

i'll second don't torture a duckling ;) the new print

also The Great Silence, for an interesting tragic western in a snowy setting.

i guess those are the inevitable standby's though.

maybe some alejandro jodorowsky? holy mountain, el topo, or fando y lis?

Alison said...

Are viewings open to the outside world or do you have to be a member? If so, how do you become one? ;-)


Jeez, this is one of those party games which could go on for ever. Anything Euro paired with anything else Euro, I think ;-)

K H Brown said...

Alison, I assume you are in or near Edinburgh?

You'd have to become a member, or at least be there as the guest of a member. I'll post full details of the programme and the Edinburgh Film Guild's website nearer the time / once the programme's been sorted.

Currently it's looking like seasons of:

1. Post-apocalypse films
2. Spaghetti westerns
3. Mario Bava
4. Extreme Cinema, with an emphasis on non BBFC certificated material, which we can show on account of being a private cinema.



Alison said...

I'm in South Queensferry.

Look forward to seeing the full programme, especially for 2 and 3. Are you planning a mixture of genres for Bava?

K H Brown said...

Yes - trying to focus on some of his less well known films, especially ones which aren't available in the UK.

Alison said...


Although you can never watch LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO too many times...