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August 13 - August 15

A George Kuchar Celebration

I owe my love of the movies to my mom, Stella Kuchar. She took me and my twin brother, Mike, to Frankenstein pictures, Spencer Tracy and Barbara Stanwyk vehicles, and action movies starring John Payne. My dad, George Sr., mainly slept during the day because he was a truck driver and mainly hauled goods at night. But dad had a wonderful collection of soft cover pocket books that were dramatically illustrated with film noir-looking artwork on the covers. The rendering of semi-clad men and women, in various modes of social and spiritual decay, inflamed my imagination because of the depth of emotions depicted. Also the grungy and deeply shadowed settings, made slightly luminous by cigarette smoke, excited me visually and made the world of “the big people” appear quite enticing.

My young life was also a haze of church incense and the flickering candles of Catholic devotions. I suppose this dichotomy fed an energy to make moving pictures from start to finish. And I always made sure to finish them, even if a wayward and lurid lifestyle threatened to redirect that energy. I just cleaned up and resumed good work habits. Unfortunately those habits always weren’t so good as you never knew when to stop, etc. I suppose like the shadow side, it’s just another obsession you have to deal with. But at least it featured finished, crafted expressions, and not just a head of filthy memoires. I always felt comfortable working in the shadows, in the closet, in the night because then when you come out in the light it’s like a stage appearance: you can be a clown or a saint and maybe even a rarely seen ghost. Meanwhile the magic made in the dark weaves its own spell to speak to people you may never get to meet. Like an elephant trodding to that legendary burial ground, I head back to the dark places too; the hidden places. That’s where you can find all the valuable ivory among all that rot and bones.

– George Kuchar

Introduction and film notes, except Hold Me While I’m Naked and The Devil’s Cleavage, written by George Kuchar. I, an Actress print from the Harvard Film Archive Collection, preservation by the Pacific Film Archive in conjunction with the HFA. Motel Capri print from the Harvard Film Archive Collection, preservation by the HFA via a National Film Preservation Fund grant. Pussy on a Hot Tin Roof and The Naked and the Nude courtesy of Anthology Film Archives, preservation by Anthology Film Archives via a National Film Preservation Foundation grant. The Devil's Cleavage print from Pacific Film Archive, preservation by Pacific Film Archive via a National Film Preservation Foundation grant. Presented in conjunction with the Boston LGBT Film Festival.

Read The Boston Globe's review of the series here and the Boston Phoenix review here.

We are pleased to announce that George Kuchar WILL be in person at all screenings.


Special Event Tickets $12
Friday August 13 at 7pm

Pussy on a Hot Tin Roof

Directed by George Kuchar and Mike Kuchar, George Kuchar in Person
With Donna Kerness, Bob Cowan, Terry Brunetti
US 1961, color, 8mm blow-up to16mm, 4 min.
Print courtesy of Anthology Film Archives; preservation by Anthology Film Archives via a National Film Preservation Fund grant

It glows with the embers of desire! It smokes with the revelation of men and women longing for robust temptations that will make them sizzle into maturity with a furnace-blast of unrestrained animalism. A film for young and old to enjoy.

The Naked and the Nude

Directed by George Kuchar and Mike Kuchar, George Kuchar in Person
With Bob Bailin, James Brawly, Carl Buna
US 1957, color, 8mm blow-up to 16mm, 36 min.
Print courtesy of Anthology Film Archives; preservation by Anthology Film Archives via a National Film Preservation Fund grant

Big…Rousing…Memorable! The incredible war saga of our own boys in a Jap-infested jungle in the Botanical Gardens. Hear Lloyd Thorner sing the title song. You’ll come out whistling from both ends.

Hold Me While I’m Naked

Directed by George Kuchar, appearing in person
With George Kuchar, Donna Kerness, Stella Kuchar
US 1966, color, 16mm, 15 min.

One of Kuchar’s best-known works is his sweet and sad short that casts a sympathetic eye at a hopeless director’s heroic attempts to finish an epic melodrama ripe with pulchritude. Kuchar’s cockeyed camp hilarity counterbalances his sympathetic portrait of the filmmaker-as-misfit.

I, An Actress

Directed by George Kuchar and class, George Kuchar in Person
With Barbara Lapsley, George Kuchar
US 1977, 16mm, b/w, 9 min.
Print from the Harvard Film Archive Collection; preservation by the Pacific Film Archive in conjunction with the HFA

This film was shot in ten minutes with four or five students of mine at the San Francisco Art Institute. It was to be a screen test for a girl in the class. She wanted something to show producers of theatrical productions, as the girl was interested in an acting career. By the time all the heavy equipment was set up the class was just about over; all we had was ten minutes. Since 400 feet of film takes ten minutes to run through the camera ... that was the answer: Just start it and don't stop till it runs out. I had to get into the act to speed things up so, in a way, this film gives an insight into my directing techniques while under pressure.

Motel Capri

Directed by George Kuchar and class, George Kuchar in Person
With Joyce Wieland
US 1986, 16mm, b/w & color, 18 min.
Print from the Harvard Film Archive Collection; preservation by the HFA via a National Film Preservation Fund grant

Mother Superior commits murder to save a soul from eternal damnation. Motel Capri was original material improvised as we went along. Scenes were concocted to suit the individual members of the class and my Catholic upbringing plus immersion in horror movies helped mold the plot. The class also was populated by students interested in splatter and macho cycle gear. Joyce Wieland, the Canadian artist and filmmaker is featured here as the mother superior. She was reading her lines in the Marlon Brando technique (they were pasted onto the face of her student co-star).

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A Double Feature of Rarities Selected by George Kuchar, Appearing in Person
Special Event Tickets $12

Saturday August 14 at 7pm

Fuego

Directed by Armando Bo.
With Isabel Sarli, Armando Bo and Roberto Airaldi
Argentina 1969, 35mm, color, 90 min. Spanish with English subtitles

This is a wonderful husband and wife collaboration. A crazy and blatant expression of runaway desires, movie wet dreams and body beautiful excesses. It’s a very sweet rendering of the uncontrollable passions we keep stepping into with the finest footwear.

Burlesk King

Directed by Mel Chionglo.
With Rodel Velayo, Leonardo Litton, Nini Jacinto
Philippines 1999, 35mm, color, 109 min. Tagalog with English subtitles

This candy colored and body greased soap opera of male strippers, street hookers, family values and a bit of urban crime makes one want to hit the streets also. It’s all rather upbeat despite the depths it depicts and rather tear-inducing in its unabashed, cinematic sentiments. All that young beefcake should be able to balance the scale that’s heavily weighed in favor of that voluptuous vision, Isabel Sarli. The viewer will get an eyeful of both!

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Special Event Tickets $12
Sunday August 15 at 7pm

The Devil's Cleavage

Directed by George Kuchar, Appearing in Person
US 1973, 16mm, b/w, 108 min.
Print from Pacific Film Archive; preservation by
Pacific Film Archive via a National Film Preservation Foundation grant

One of Kuchar’s few feature-length works is this ribald pastiche to postwar Hollywood melodrama, that period when the studios were trying very hard to be adult. The intricate, overheated plot involves a nurse trapped in an unhappy marriage who escapes the big city in search of greener pastures in Blessed Prairie, Oklahoma. Swerving from earnest homage to dark satire, Kuchar simultaneously imitates and savages the legacy of Sirk, Preminger and Minnelli that inspired him, gleefully intertwining the suggestive and the scatological, while also pointing towards the later postmodern parodies of Cindy Sherman. The Devil’s Cleavage is also a rich time capsule of 1970s San Francisco, replete with cameos from Curt McDowell and Art Spiegelman.

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