We couldn’t have a chillier, darker, or queerer film for December: Joseph Losey’s 1963 adaptation of Harold Pinter’s The Servant. Aristocratic blond Tony (James Fox) hires butler Hugo Barrett (Dirk Bogarde) to look after his house, but soon the roles begin to shift. A film about tops and bottoms, The Servant is a favorite of Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt, aka Matmos, the musical duo behind some of the most cutting-edge music to emerge in the last 15 years. Daniel writes, “the real center of this movie’s power comes down to the slow burning, competitive, passionate bond between two men.”
Michael Musto presents PAY IT NO MIND: MARSHA P. JOHNSON
Marsha P. Johnson was a revolutionary trans activist, Stonewall instigator, Andy Warhol model, drag queen, prostitute, and Saint, as well as a downtown NYC fixture from the 1960’s through her too-soon demise in 1992. Johnson persevered through a life embodied by her middle initial P, which stood for “Pay It No Mind.” A tribute from one queen to another, the magical Michael Musto presents the very special world premiere of Michael Kasino and Richard Morrison’s powerful documentary. Johnson’s friends and companions will also be present to discuss her important legacy.
DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN is ostensibly about a bored housewife (Roseanna Arquette) who becomes obsessed with a woman named Susan (Madonna), but on its release in 1985 it became something much more: the mainstream’s introduction to New York’s Downtown scene and the “big break” for the Material Girl herself. The film also has a surprisingly avant-garde pedigree, with guest stars including performance legends Ann Magnuson, Richard Hell, John Lurie, and Arto Lindsay. Inspired by Jacques Rivette’s Celine and Julie Go Boating, SUSAN is a tale of two women whose personalities meld and shift – something our guest presenters, choreography duo robbinschilds (Sonya Robbins and Layla Childs) explore in their dance-based video pieces. See it on the big screen!
Andrew Haigh presents SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING
One of the defining films of the 1960s British New Wave, Karel Reisz’s rarely screened Saturday Night and Sunday Morning stars Albert Finney in his debut role as a rebellious factory worker juggling relationships with both a girlfriend and a married woman. The film’s raw subject matter and style had a profound influence on many British filmmakers, including Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, and our guest presenter Andrew Haigh, whose wonderfully honest and very sexy new film WEEKEND (opening at the IFC Center Fri 9/23) has become one of the most highly-anticipated queer films in years. Haigh writes, “Its exploration of the ‘outsider’ battling the mainstream is a theme essential to both the queer experience and to the kind of stories I want to tell.” Don’t miss it!
Jack Ferver presents THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT
We're thrilled to finally be able to present a Fassbinder film, especially one as rich and rewarding as the classic PETRA VON KANT. Featuring the astonishing Margit Carstensen as a lesbian fashion designer who manipulate her assistant, daughter, mother, and lover – it's beloved by our guest presenter, critically-acclaimed choreographer Jack Ferver, who calls it a "wickedly funny, sexy, and gorgeous film about how insane we can all be." Sumptuously filmed by longtime collaborator Michael Ballhaus and featuring Fassbinder regulars Eva Mattes, Hanna Schygulla, and Irm Hermann.
An outrageous autobiographical musical about a man addicted to speed, Vivaldi, Alka-Seltzer, and sex? God bless the seventies. Roy Scheider stars as Broadway legend Bob Fosse's alter-ego Joe Gideon, a pill-popping womanizer struggling to choreograph his latest show and avoid the beautiful Angel of Death (Jessica Lange) who keeps stopping by to flirt. It's naturally the all-time favorite film of the amazing "sadomasochistic transsexual dyke and gender outlaw" Kate Bornstein, who first saw it upon its release in 1979 and will happily expound upon its "cornball genius and laugh-a-minute tragedy." It's showtime, folks!
"Opulence. You own everything!" Jennie Livingston's famously quotable documentary PARIS IS BURNING took America on a then-unseen journey into Harlem's vogue scene, following a cast of determined queens who serve maximum realness while dealing with issues such as AIDS, poverty, racism, and homophobia. The film's powerful and honest portrayal of a marginalized community left its mark on filmmaker Dee Rees, whose forthcoming film, PARIAH, is about an African-American lesbian from the Bronx. "The themes of freedom, expression of identity, and finding family/community are universal," Rees writes. In other words – LEGENDARY!
German feminist filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger's boldly original epic stars the masterful French actress Delphine Seyrig, in her final screen role, as an ethnographer named Lady Windermere who befriends six other women on the Trans-Siberian Railway, then gets captured by a Mongolian warrior princess. This uncompromising film greatly influenced our guest presenter, artist Emily Roysdon. She writes: "Ottinger's work re-imagines the impossible. Her characters, their lives and their environs, are beyond counterculture. They make new worlds." Come join us on this incredible, strange, and rarely seen journey.
A very sexy, very romantic movie about lesbians playing in a theater that serves popcorn? That wasn't happening anywhere, anytime until Donna Deitch succeeded in making Desert Hearts in 1985. Pioneering experimental filmmaker Su Friedrich chooses a feel-good movie that was as radical in the mainstream when it came out as her own highly personal films have been within the Avant-garde. As Friedrich puts it, "It took Desert Hearts to introduce the mainstream to our world (or at least a corner of it set in Reno, Nevada, circa 1959) and more importantly to give us something to really enjoy while we ate our popcorn – large, please, with butter."
When filmmaker James Bidgood recently hosted Queer|Art|Film, there was much discussion about his underground erotic gay masterpiece Pink Narcissus. This month, we're thrilled to welcome Jonathan D. Katz, curator of the groundbreaking – and censored – gay portrait show Hide/See, to screen Bidgood's wild, thrilling, and very hot film. Painstakingly created over six years, Pink Narcissus imagines a young hustler's journey from innocence to depravity, and features some of the sexiest "trade" of the '60s, as well as multiple cameos by legendary playwright Charles Ludlam. A bona fide queer masterpiece, don't miss Pink Narcissus on the big screen!
For ever-revealing playwright/filmmaker/librettist Craig Lucas (Longtime Companion, Prelude to a Kiss, The Light in the Piazza), this remarkable film by the late Arthur Penn – based on folk singer Arlo Guthrie's era-defining autobiographical song – was a film that "carried with it such an ineffable ache of sorrow...that it wiped the smirk of bohemia right off the face of the '60s." Guthrie plays himself in the film, reenacting his persecution at the hands of small-town local law officials, and in Penn's wise, life-loving follow-up to Bonnie and Clyde, Lucas saw "the birth of a kind of American moviemaking" that he knew he wanted to be a part of. It's a movie you won't soon forget.
Michelle Tea presents THE OUTSIDERS (DIRECTORS CUT!)
It's '80s hunk vs. '80s hunk when Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and a simmering Diane Lane become players in a violent gang war between rich and poor teens in the early '60s. Coppola's adaptation of the classic coming of age novel – with its gang of sensitive, romantic outlaws – captivated writer Michelle Tea, who today leads her own band of punkish outsiders as the founder of the queer spoken word performance company, Sister Spit. Don't miss this rare Director's Cut screening, which corresponds more closely with S.E. Hinton's book.