Ballard and the Seventies: In March, the Electric Sheep Film Show focuses on J.G. Ballard. Virginie Sélavy talks to his daughter, the artist Fay Ballard, as well as director Harley Cokeliss, who made the first film version of Crash featuring J.G. Ballard for the BBC in 1971, and director Ben Wheatley, who discusses his long-awaited adaptation of High-Rise, which is out on general release in UK cinemas on 18 March 2016.
High-Rise is released in the UK on VOD on 11 July and will be available on DVD + Blu-ray from 18 July 2016.
The 1960s-70s saw copious amounts of on-screen self-flagellation, brutal witch-hunting, delirious possessions and sadistic exorcisms, culminating into the so-called ‘nunsploitation’ genre. Beyond the desire to shock and titillate, many of these films, most notably Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971), were part of the time’s questioning of all power structures, pitching repressive, corrupt and hypocritical religious authorities against individual freedom and morality. In particular, films such as Gianfranco Mingozzi’s Flavia the Heretic (1974) denounced the oppression of women in patriarchal society, and pictured their revolt through disobedience and deviant sexuality. This deviant sexuality was also sometimes part of an alternative form of worship connected to natural forces, as in Juan López Moctezuma’s Alucarda (1977). For Moctezuma, as for his fellow Panique associate Alejandro Jodorowsky, spiritual initiation involved an element of violence, although not the same kind of violence as that of the Catholic Church, as depicted in many of these films. The lecture will explore the various ways in which desire, cruelty, power and religion are configured in the cinema of the period.
Please note there will be no admission after the lecture has started at 7.30pm.
About the instructor
Virginie Sélavy is the founder and editor of Electric Sheep, the online magazine for transgressive cinema. She has edited the collection of essays The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology, and has contributed to World Directory Cinema: Eastern Europe and written about Victorian London in Film Locations: Cities of the Imagination – London. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Sight&Sound, Rolling Stone France, Cineaste and Frieze.
About the Miskatonic Institute:
Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a non-profit, community-based organization that started in Canada, founded by Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010. The school currently has branches in Montreal and London, with Miskatonic London operating under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and Electric Sheep Founder/Editor Virginie Sélavy.
All classes take place at the historic Horse Hospital, the heart of the city’s underground culture. Individual class tickets are £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concessions and will be available 30 days in advance of each class. Season tickets are £40.
The course dates of the Spring 2016 semester are 7 January, 11 February, 10 March, 14 April, 12 May. For the full details of the course please check the Miskatonic website. For all enquiries, please email Miskatonic.london[at]gmail.com.