Centring on the love story between two drifters, one a naive ‘cowboy’ from Texas turned gigolo (John Voight), the other a diseased conman (Dustin Hoffman), John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy is a landmark of American 60s cinema. Remarkable for its powerful, improvisatory performances, its honest depiction of urban squalor and isolation and its obligatory 60s formal flourishes, it is one of the most memorable of the hippie-era films that so poignantly convey the period’s disillusion over America’s broken dreams.
FILM WRITING COMPETITION:
Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of Midnight Cowboy and send it to ladyvengeance [at] electricsheepmagazine.com, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. Time Out film critic Tom Huddleston will select the best review. Deadline: Thursday 27 May. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in May. This is a regular feature of the Electric Sheep Film Club. Read the March winning review of Careful.
Next screening: WEDNESDAY 9 JUNE: Sergio Leone’s For a Few Dollars More
Electric Sheep Magazine hosts a Rough Trade Shops’ RoTa afternoon of film, music and discussion in the underbelly of Notting Hill.
Main feature: Luc Besson’s fantastic sci-fi movie The Last Battle!
Presented with a new live soundtrack by TIME!
+ Apocalyptic garage punk from Speak and the Spells!
+ Apocalyptic shorts!
+ Resonance FM DJ Robin Warren spins soundtrack tunes!
We are very excited to present an apocalyptic afternoon in collaboration with Sci-Fi London. We will be showing Luc Besson’s stunning first feature The Last Battle, about one man trying to survive in a devastated future world. Starring Jean Reno, it has all of Besson’s stylistic flair but is unlike anything else he has made since. Surreal, blackly funny and visually striking, it is a fascinating addition to the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre.
Sci-Fi London runs from April 28 to May 3 at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus Cinema, London.
The Last Battle will be shown with a live soundtrack by innovative string and synths duo TIME. Frances Morgan (former editor of Plan B Magazine) and Mark Dicker weave a web of sound where warm harmonies slowly mutate into saturated riffs while haunting vocals add a dimension of storytelling.
+ Speak and the Spells play a fast and furious set of garage instrumentals to bring about the end of the world.
+ Apocalyptic short films:
The Last Breath (David Jackson, UK, 2009, 10 min): When the Kelvin family surfaces after scuba diving in a lake, they find that the air has become toxic. With their tanks running low they embark on a race against time to reach the nearby dive hut. Tight and tense, this is a fantastic 10-minute thrill ride! It was produced by VBM Productions.
Die Schneider Krankheit (Javier Chillí³n, Spain, 2008, 10 min): This fantastic short presents itself as a newsreel recounting the rapid spread of a deadly virus after a spaceship containing a chimpanzee crashes in West Germany. The 50s newsreel style is perfectly reproduced, while the reasonable tone of the reporter is brilliantly contrasted with the outlandish events depicted. See more images on Die Schneider Krankheit website.
Choreomania (Louis Paxton, UK, 2009, 9 min): The zombie movie is given a comic and very British twist as a man on his way to work tries to escape the dancing plague that has turned everyone in town into twitchy ravers. Very funny!
In a futuristic Japan threatened by anarchy, the authorities try to maintain order by sending a group of randomly selected, unruly school children to an island where they are forced to fight each other until there is only one survivor left. This cruel annual game is led by Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano, perfectly cast as the sadistic schoolmaster. The vision of veteran director Kinji Fukasaku, inspired by his own trauma as a young man during Word War II, is stark and uncompromising, and his direction is as tight and efficient as in any of his celebrated yakuza movies. A striking film that works both as an exhilarating action movie and a passionate denunciation of the plight of young people forced to commit violent acts by tyrannical elders.
We are delighted to welcome anime expert Helen McCarthy, author of The Anime Encyclopedia, for a Q&A after the screening.
FILM WRITING COMPETITION:
Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of Battle Royale and send it to ladyvengeance [at] electricsheepmagazine.com, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. Editor of the Directory of World Cinema: Japan and Electric Sheep contributor John Berra will select the best review. Deadline: Thursday 29 April. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in May. This is a regular feature of the Electric Sheep Film Club. Read February’s winning review of Kiss Me Deadly.
We are very proud to be presenting two late-night special screenings at the wonderful, eclectic Flatpack Festival in Birmingham on March 26 and 27: first off is demented 70s Mexican cult horror movie Alucarda by director and one-time Jodorowsky collaborator Juan Lopez Moctezuma (Guillermo del Toro is a fan) while on Saturday 27, we present a preview of festival favourite Dogtooth, winner of the ‘Un Certain Regard’ prize at last year’s Cannes Festival. Disturbing, provocative and grimly funny, Dogtooth centres on a radically overprotective couple who have completely shut off their children from the outside world. Brilliantly inventive and surreally perverse, it is a remarkably assured, bold, original directorial debut.
Flatpack runs from 23 to 28 March and as ever the programme is a lucky dip of the best new features, animation, documentaries, shorts, kids movies and experimental film, along with live scores, bus-tours, workshops, special guests and loads of free screenings. There’s also a bit of a 1930s flavour to our archive strand in honour of ‘patron saint’ Oscar Deutsch, who created the Odeon cinema empire from nothing and brought modernist super-cinemas to Britain’s high streets.
Special Events Include:
The opening film: F.W. Murnau’s 1927 marvel Sunrise, presented at St Martin’s Church in the Bullring with a new score by acclaimed jazz musicians Alcyona Mick and Robin Fincker.
French artist Julien Maire plays with technology to create bewitching optical illusions. Working from Birmingham library, Maire will make text appear with his fingertips, and presents a rare performance of his piece Diapositives using modified slide-projectors.
Dublin collective Synth Eastwood are doing a mini-residency in Birmingham, building up to a warehouse event blurring the boundaries between gallery and club. Expect an eye-opening stew of graphics, installations, music and performance. Live guests include Clark (Warp), AV duo Gangpol and Mit and youtube provocateur Hugh Cooney.
This year’s Flatpack ‘patron saint’ is Oscar Deutsch, the son of a Birmingham scrap metal merchant who built his first Odeon cinema 80 years ago and went on to bring art deco glamour to high streets across the UK. Flatpack doffs its cap to the great man with bus-tours to landmark Odeon buildings, classic matinees and an exploration of Birmingham’s cultural scene in the 30s with writer David Lodge.
Ghost Box present the Sunday finale of haunted electronica, spooky 70s telly and cult soundtracks at the Belbury Youth Club.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (dir: Werner Herzog) – Herzog and Nicolas Cage take the action-movie in unexpected new directions.
Viral/ Youtube Auteurs – includes screening of Down Terrace, feature debut by viral advertising whiz Ben Wheatley, a UK gangster flick with a touch of Mike Leigh. Wheatley has built a reputation making web skits for various ad campaigns and will be introducing his film. Hugh Cooney is a one-man film oddity, performing opposite himself on screen to hilarious effect. Here he’ll perform his Info Processor piece from a box, producing framed art on request. Literally.
Dogs in Space (dir: Richard Lowenstein) – UK premiere of restored Australian cult classic, featuring Michael Hutchence. Accompanied by a new film from the same director about Melbourne’s Eighties post-punk scene.
The Cameraman (dir: Buster Keaton) – with live piano accompaniment.
A screening of John Waters trash classic Pink Flamingos starring Queen of Celluloid Divine, accompanied by the UK premiere of the Waters-inspired BOY by Ssion.
Puppet films of all shapes and sizes, including work by young Swedish talent Johannes Nyholm and classic shorts from Jiri Trnka and Georges Pal.
Best Worst Movie – At last it can be told! The true story behind the atrocious horror film Troll 2, and how it was embraced as a cult classic.
Colour Box – Flatpack’s family film strand brings a classic Irish text to life with Brendan and the Secret of Kells (dir: Tomm Moore) a chance to animate your own vegetable with one of the creators of CBBCs OOglies, and brings Dr Seuss’s insane vision to the big screen with the frighteningly fun musical The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T (dir: Roy Rowland).
WEDNESDAY 10 MARCH, Prince Charles Cinema, 6pm+ 8pm : Guy Maddin Double Bill: CAREFUL + THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD
We celebrate the genius of Guy Maddin, who over the last two decades has developed an entirely personal and always enchanting world, poetic, macabre and playful in equal measures.
A delirious silent-style homage to the German mountain film of the 1920s, Careful takes place in a village whose inhabitants must talk in whispers for fear of triggering an avalanche. In such a repressed environment, forbidden passions and incestuous desires dangerously come close to boiling point. This is a very rare occasion to see Maddin’s feverish mountain extravaganza on the big screen.
In The Saddest Music in the World, a musical set in Winnipeg, Isabella Rossellini’s crippled baroness holds a contest to find the saddest music performer on earth. Eccentric musical interludes alternate with a convoluted story of complicated love triangles, familial rivalries and buried past traumas, the outlandish melodrama shot through with exquisitely strange details (glass legs filled with beer!) and deadpan humour. Hilarious, dreamlike and full of wonders, this is a film like no other. Watch and be amazed!
FILM WRITING COMPETITION:
Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of Careful or The Saddest Music in the World and send it to email@example.com, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. We are delighted to announce that Greg Klymkiv, the producer of Careful, will select the best review. Deadline: Thursday 25 March. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in April. This is a regular feature of the Electric Sheep Film Club. You can read the winning review of Repulsionhere.
Next screening: WEDNESDAY 14 APRIL – Battle Royale
Electric Sheep hosts an afternoon of film, music and comics as part of Rough Trade Shops’ RoTa afternoons.
The earliest film version of the legendary figure and one of the first silent horror films, The Phantom of the Opera (1925) stars the great Lon Chaney as the horribly disfigured Erik who leads a secret and lonely existence beneath the Paris Opera. After falling in love with a beautiful young singer, he holds her prisoner in his underground lair. Darkly poetic and full of visual delights, the film creates a startling world of nightmarish beauty while Chaney superbly brings out the terrible humanity of the monster.
The film will be shown with a live DJ rescore by DJ Downfall.
Courtesy of Eureka Entertainment
+ WE ARE WORDS + PICTURES COMICS STALL We Are Words + Pictures are a London-based team of illustrators and writers who bring comics to new readers through events, workshops, publications and market stalls. WAW+P will be bringing illustrator Anna Saunders to Electric Sheep Subterranea, where she’ll be drawing alongside the screening, as well as a selection of ‘zines and comics, which will be on sale in the bar. WAW+P are contributors to the new anthology Solipsistic Pop edited by Eagle Award winner Tom Humberstone, which aims to showcase the best in current British small press and underground comic books, and will be available for sale at the event.
Here’s your antidote to forthcoming Valentine soppiness: promising ‘red-blood kisses’ and ‘white-hot thrills’, Kiss Me Deadly is a noir classic that has lost none of its power to shock and surprise. Private investigator Mike Hammer, a thuggish, macho anti-hero, is drawn into a bottomless pit of conspiracy and corruption after picking up a mysterious and beautiful hitch-hiker. Exposing the black soul of America in the atomic age, this is as hard-boiled as it gets.
FILM WRITING COMPETITION:
Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of Kiss Me Deadly and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. Jason Wood, director of programming at Curzon Cinemas, film journalist and author of 100 American Independent Films and 100 Road Movies among others, will select the best review. Deadline: Thursday 25 February. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in March. This is a regular feature of the Electric Sheep Film Club. You can read November’s winning review of Repulsionhere.
Next screening: WEDNESDAY 10 MARCH – Special Guy Maddin double bill!
A dark, surreal semi-biopic about glue-sniffing, hard-drinking, hell-raising Appalachian mountain dancer Jesco White (impressively played by newcomer Ed Hogg), British director Dominic Murphy’s controversial debut feature takes us deeper and deeper into Jesco’s crazed visions and wild religious fantasies, culminating in horrific revenge and violent redemption.
We are delighted to welcome Dominic Murphy for a Q&A after the screening.
With thanks to Momentum Pictures. White Lightnin’ starts its theatrical run at the ICA and Rich Mix (Bethnal Green), London, on September 25.
This seminal atmospheric horror film influenced such masters of fright and strangeness as George A Romero and David Lynch. After surviving a car crash that left her friends dead, Mary Henry is beset by nightmarish visions involving a menacing ghost and becomes increasingly isolated from her community. As daily life is gradually contaminated by the otherworldly, the film takes on the texture of a horrific dream, fluid and eerie, rich, dark, deep and infinitely memorable.
Next screening: WEDNESDAY 2 SEPTEMBER – Special preview of White Lightnin’ + director Q&A!
This weekend, the cult Italian rock band Goblin are headlining the Supersonic festival in Birmingham, playing the final gig of the event at 11pm on Sunday 26 July. The band will be doing a Q & A on stage about their music with Electric Sheep Magazine‘s assistant editor Alex Fitch at 6.15pm. The name Goblin first appeared on the map in 1975, when the band recorded the soundtrack for Dario Argento’s film Profondo Rosso. This was the starting point for a decade-long, highly creative and widely influential collaboration between the eccentric filmmaker and Goblin, which turned the group into the aural signifier of Italian horror films of the 70s and 80s. They created soundtracks to such cult classics as Suspiria (1977) and Dawn of the Dead (Zombi, 1978).