This week's film highlights from Carmen Gray
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Naked Lunch
William S. Burroughs’s deliriously drug-addled, landmark nightmare-scape Naked Lunch – a novel once thought unfilmable, and which was the subject of an obscenity trial – follows junkie William Lee (Burroughs’s own alter-ego) between the US, Mexico, Tangier and a hallucinatory, havoc-ridden Interzone full of sinister persecution. David Cronenberg’s loose 1991 adaptation combines elements of the book with scenes from the Beat icon’s life. A revamped special DVD edition is being released on Criterion on Tuesday 9 April.
OLD FILM OF THE WEEK: Chelsea Girls
The inspiration for Nico’s debut album Chelsea Girl, this iconic 1966 Andy Warhol film, which the doleful German songstress appears in, was shot inside the Chelsea Hotel and other NYC locations including studio The Factory and The Velvet Underground’s apartment in the Village. A mostly improvised split-screen snapshot of residents living in the then-bohemian dive, it features many of Warhol’s other regular “superstars”, such as Ondine, Gerard Malanga, International Velvet and Brigid Berlin. Screening from newly restored prints at London’s ICA on Friday 5 April.
NEW FILM OF THE WEEK: Thursday Till Sunday
A winner at last year’s Rotterdam film fest, young Chilean filmmaker Dominga Sotomayor’s deftly shot, atmospheric feature debut Thursday Till Sunday (main image above) observes the marriage of young couple Ana and Fernando unravel on a long, claustrophobic car-trip through desolate landscapes with their kids. Tensions come to a head when Ana’s attracted to a single father they meet at a camping-ground. It’s out in the UK on Friday 5 April.
LATE-NIGHTER OF THE WEEK: Wolfen
Shot in the South Bronx, super-scary ’81 cult horror Wolfen sees a detective investigate a bizarre string of bloody killings that even a 300-pound Haitian bodyguard with voodoo ties has been unable to prevent. The cop comes to suspect they’re being carried out by a shape-shifting wolf spirit. Higher on the Food Chain then human beings, the Wolfen prey on isolated, weak members of the human herd – winos, druggies and derelicts - just as people do to one another. A screening’s going down at London’s The Phoenix Cinema on Friday 5 April at 11pm as part of Cigarette Burns Cinema.
EVENT OF THE WEEK: Lars Von Trier Selectrospective
Danish director Lars Von Trier has always been a master of courting controversy. With his new film Nymphomaniac still in the works, it’s a prime time to revisit his inventive past provocations with a day of three screenings: The Idiots, made according to the Dogme-95 Manifesto about a group of Copenhagen adults trying to release their “inner idiot” by acting disabled; harrowing musical Dancer in the Dark starring Bjork as a near-blind Czech factory-worker with a tenuous grip on reality; and depression-infused apocalypse drama Melancholia. Showing at London’s Prince Charles cinema on Sunday 7 April.