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Radley Metzger and International Sci-Fi Come to NYC in August
NYC heats up with great programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center this month.
Published on August 6, 2014 | Filed under News

Film Society of Lincoln Center is no stranger of embracing genre cinema, with annual series’ of horror programming in October and a currently stellar line-up of late night Freaky Fridays, and this summer it will host perhaps the two most exciting retrospectives to grace their screen(s) since I’ve been in the area.

Carmen Baby

The first one is devoted to sexploitation/art-house erotica mainstay Radley Metzger and it runs August 7th through 13th, with Metzger even in attendance for some screenings. The series – titled This Is Softcore: The Art Cinema Erotica of Radley Metzger – will include eight films, all presented on 35mm, with notable features like The Lickerish Quartet and Score. None of Metzger’s Henry Paris features will be shown (the series is embracing the softcore, after all) but fans of the more sleazy fare will be happy to know that The Image is being shown.

The 10th Victim

Later in the month, August 22-28, the Film Society’s screens will be home to a dozen 35mm prints of international science-fiction films for a series titled Strange Lands: International Science-Fiction. The line-up is as rare as it gets, with oft-screened films like Solaris being skipped over for films that usually don’t get repertory love (at least not on these shores) such as The 10th Victim or Andrzej Wajda’s Roly Poly. Titles from this series will be reviewed here shortly.

For showtimes and tickets, please visit the links embedded above. Press Releases follow.

Radley Metzger

New York, NY, (June 19, 2014) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today This Is Softcore: The Art Cinema Erotica of Radley Metzger (August 7-13). Celebrating the work of the filmmaker considered to be the preeminent director of the Golden Age of Erotic Cinema and a pioneering American independent filmmaker, the series includes Metzger’s most notable softcore films. Select screenings will feature intros and Q&As with Metzger, a fascinating transitional figure whose unique brand of sophisticated erotic art cinema created an almost utopian space between the cheap grindhouse sexploitation of the ’60s and the full-on hardcore porn of the ’70s.

Among the screenings for whichMetzger will be present are Camille 2000 (1969), Metzger’s adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s The Lady of the Camellias; The Image (1975), his uncompromising and groundbreaking depiction of sadomasochism set in Paris; The Lickerish Quartet (1970), his film about a female houseguest who seduces each member of a household that’s regarded by many to be his magnum opus, and has been declared “an outrageously kinky masterpiece” by Andy Warhol; Score (1974), in which a frustrated, competitive swinger couple has designs on another younger couple; and Therese and Isabelle (1968), Metzger’s adaptation of Violette Leduc’s censored autobiographical 1955 novel of sexual awakening and lesbian passion.

Born in 1929, Metzger got his start as an editor, dabbled in commercials, helped with the dubbing of …And God Created Woman, cut trailers for Janus Films (notably some of their Bergman titles), and in 1958 made his first feature, Dark Odyssey, a drama about a young Greek immigrant in New York. In 1960 he formed Audubon Films with partner Ava Leighton. Their business plan? To import, re-edit, and distribute European sexploitation films. They released The Fast Set and The Twilight Girls that year, and made enough money to go to Europe on buying sprees, picking up and releasing a host of other titles, notably I Spit on Your Grave, and Mac Ahlberg’s I, a Woman, which proved to be a smash hit in U.S. in 1966). Metzger’s second directorial effort, The Dirty Girls (shot in 1963 and released in 1965), marked his emergence as a sexploitation film director—and he never looked back.

Commercially calculating, Metzger hit upon a formula that would make his films stand out from other sex films of the day: an eye for chic, glamorous beauty; a genuine sensuousness; a feel for the ’60s zeitgeist, an artful stylistic precision and control; glossy, strikingly upscale production values; and a predilection for Continental location shooting and casting—these were the hallmarks of the Metzger style. Moreover, he had a particular interest in “creating a total environment.” As he put it: “I created an idealized enactment of sex, as a unifying force between people … In the area of eroticism, I think it’s easier to involve the audience if you deal with rich people… So I had to keep everything upscale. It’s a kind of seduction.”

Tickets and a discount package for This Is Softcore: The Art Cinema Erotica of Radley Metzger will go on sale Thursday, July 17. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. See more and pay less with a discount package starting at $30; $24 for students and seniors (62+); and $21 for Film Society members. The discount package prices apply with the purchase of tickets to three films or more. Visit www.filmlinc.com for complete film festival information.

 

International Science-Fiction

New York, NY (July 8, 2014) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today Strange Lands: International Sci-Fi (August 22-28), featuring innovative films from the renaissance of science fiction on film in the late 1960s and 1970s, as well as gripping work by major auteurs. Strange Lands will include several rare screenings of foreign 35mm prints.

Film Comment Senior Editor Nicolas Rapold said, “This is a dazzling collection of films that spans deep-space drama, groovy reality TV, dazzling animation, time-travel paradoxes, the apocalypse, existential crises, and the imaginations of literary greats like Stanislaw Lem, Jules Verne, and the Strugatsky Brothers. Each night in the series yields a trip to a different country and fresh proof of the vibrant diversity of visual styles, genre variations, and outfits in science-fiction film.”

Highlights will include Aleksandr Sokurov’s Days of Eclipse (1988), an adaptation of the Strugatsky Brothers’ A Billion Years Before the End of the World, about a scientist being prevented from completing a research project by a mysterious force. Sokurov’s film opens the series alongside the absurdist Soviet interstellar comedy Kin-dza-dza! (1986). Emidio Greco’s Morel’s Invention (1974) is an Italian head-trip starring Anna Karina about a castaway who stumbles upon a group of people living (and reliving) their days through a time-bending machine. Elio Petri’s The 10th Victim (1965) stars Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress as rivals and lovers in a televised game pitting assassins against one another. The film’s groovy influence can be seen in the Austin Powers films.

Two films originating from East Germany’s DEFA Studios include Herrmann Zschoche’s Eolomea (1972), about a risky expedition to solve the mystery behind a series of disappearing spaceships, and Gottfried Kolditz’s In the Dust of the Stars (1976), in which a space team responds to a distress call only to find themselves guests at an opulent party hosted by the wealthy ruler of the planet—but naturally all is not as it seems on the surface. A pair of films from Czechoslovakia run the gamut from Karel Zeman’s ingenious mix of live-action and beautiful illustrations in The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (1958) to Jan Schmidt’s post-apocalyptic tale The End of August at the Hotel Ozone (1967). Zeman’s delightful, droll Victorian adventure melds gadgetry and pirates with an exceptional in-camera approach and a production design that counted among its fans Pauline Kael, who said, “There are more stripes, more patterns on the clothing, the decor, and on the image itself than a sane person can easily imagine.” The End of August at the Hotel Ozone follows a band of fierce and reckless women roaming the countryside and led by an elder member who remembers the world before the nuclear holocaust.

Tickets and a discount package for Strange Lands: International Sci-Fi will go on sale Thursday, July 31. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. See more and pay less with a discount package starting at $30; $24 for students and seniors (62+); and $21 for Film Society members. The discount package prices apply with the purchase of tickets to three films or more. Visit www.filmlinc.com for complete film festival information.

Justin holds degrees in film preservation from the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation and film studies from Keene State College. He writes the Geek Weird column for Geek New Wave and is currently writing a book on XXX parody films. He is a projectionist at Jacob Burns Film Center and regularly haunts NYC movie houses showing any type of genre/trash cinema.
Justin LaLiberty

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