You know it's a good month to patron the shit outta local indie screenings when there are movies that are so experimental, so weird, and so unrecognizable to the mainstream that part of the experience is asking, “What the hell is this?”
God bless weirdo filmmakers.
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One
Walker Art Cinema
7 p.m. August 8 and 10
Take One is a film about a film; a film wrapped in a documentary.
“Its a feature length, uh, we don't know,” says director William Greaves in a scene.
Greaves holds a camera and records the actors—the scripted part of the movie is about a woman confronting her closeted gay husband—while a cinematographer captures Greaves, and another dude with a cam records the entire set. It’s all shot in verite in New York’s Central Park.
Actor, writer, and filmmaker Greaves, who passed in 2014, embarked on this audacious vision-journey in 1968 at the forefront of the American Wave of the 1970s. As a black man and film pioneer, Greaves is handsome and sure.
Sexuality was a hotly political topic in the late ‘60s, and thus ripe for experimentalists. But the movie’s ideas on surveillance, authority, and the complexity of time and perception, illustrated by Greaves’ periodically placing all three simultaneous camera shots on screen at the same time, are very much speak to the current climate.
Take One is an experiment that captures the essence of human drama in film, art, love, society, and life. Needless to say, all of this was way ahead of its time. Though it was shot in the ‘60s, Take One wasn't released until 1999.
Note to Self
6:30 p.m. August 20
$1-$12 suggested donation.
Making a bid for the modern radical equivalent to Greaves is Milwaukee-based filmmaker Nazli Dincel.
Nazil makes handmade films described as visceral and provocative. Note to Self, is a series of her films, and will be screening at Bryant-Lake Bowl this month.
"Solitary Acts #5" is a segment where the filmmaker uses a mirror to practice kissing, while "Solitary Acts #4" follows her as she masturbates and learns how to read. Some scenes are blurred so that each ray of light feels textured, while the filmmaker flirts with the surprisingly similar senses of apprehension and bursting anticipation.
One week starting August 10
Custody is the best kind of thriller.
Director Xavier Legrand dives into a custody hearing in this French film. The mother (Lea Drucker) has mostly raised the children. The children, especially the youngest boy (Thomas Gioria), don't like their father. In fact, they in fact fear him, a tidbit expressed in a chillingly matter-of-fact statement read by the custody arbiter.
The father (Denis Menochet) says his ex-partner has poisoned the children against him.
Menochet is a large, lumbering man who has a sweet charm, as his character shifts from trusting to terrifying with immense finesse.
The thrills and jolts in Custody are sourced from things we experience in everyday life. There’s no need for Stephen King-style monsters and gore; regular life is horrifying enough.
7 and 9 p.m. August 3-4; 3 and 5 p.m. Aug. 5
Hear to be Heard: The story of the Slits
7 and 9 p.m. Aug. 8
9 p.m. August 20-21
For the month of August, Trylon Cinema will be projecting a clear message: Fight the power with middle fingers flying.
On the schedule is the already sold-out screenings of Hear to be Heard: The Story of the Slits, a documentary about a short-lived, all-woman London punk-reggae band formed in 1976. The piece, released in 2017, was filmed as the band began receiving mainstream recognition before breaking up in 1982.
Trylon is also screening Enzo Castellari’s Keoma (1976) and Sergio Corbucci’s Django (1966). Both are about a bunch of status-quo white supremacists being killed. Both were shot and released in Italy before either having late releases in America—or no release at all.
Keoma (Franco Nero), a Native American ex-Union soldier, has survived a massacre visited upon his people by white folk. Keoma returns to his hometown to find it ravaged by plague and a gang of Native-hating bigots. Then Keoma kills everybody.
Django, the original to Quentin Tarantino's remake, Django Unchained, follows the titular character (Franco Nero), who is also an ex-Union soldier, as he kills Klansmen.