Current & Upcoming Films
Saturday, December 10 – Thursday, December 15
Presented in conjunction with the Pacific Film Archive
Calling Southern Gothic cinema a “genre” is somewhat akin to calling Film Noir a genre; there are so many variations on a handful of persistent themes and settings that it’s somewhat of a categorical mine field. This genre wallows in the grotesque, prefers the randy to the restrained, knows Jim Crow isn’t the national bird, considers blood for an old debt paid, plunders the plantation, and imagines it all residing inside a delirious melodrama like one big corn mashup. Peter Conheim and Steve Seid have co-curated a series which attempts to survey a wide range of Gothic-ness, beginning November 11 at Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley and continuing here at the Roxie December 10. Here are lurid shockers butting up against restrained dramas, and swampy noir tangled up with broad near-satires. Thanks to Kyle Westphal, Guy Maddin and Gina Borg for their input. Program notes by Peter Conheim and Steve Seid.
Monday, December 12:
Neglected director Frank Borzage’s noir masterpiece, an expressionistic low-budget Republic melodrama set in the piney woods. Troubled youth Dane Clark, son of an executed murderer, finds himself hunted for the more-or-less accidental death of one of his torturing classmates. Comfort and solace come only in the arms of a sympathetic teacher in a not-atypical Borzage tale of love conquering hate, though just barely. Presaging NIGHT OF THE HUNTER in its deliberately artificial yet evocative imagery, filmed in exquisite pools of deep blacks, MOONRISE is Southern Gothic at its most cinematic. NOT ON DVD! Dir: Frank Borzage. 1948. 35mm.
In B&W. 90 mins. 6:45pm
Jean Renoir made his U.S. directorial debut with this moody melodrama set in the Okefenokee Swamp, arguably his finest stateside picture. Dana Andrews musters a respectable Georgia accent as Ben Ragan, a young trapper who loses his dog in 700 miles of forbidding swamp land and there to search for the hound called “Trouble”. Finding on-the-lam convicted murderer Tom Keefer (Walter Brennan) was not what he bargained for. This simple setup is the pretext for several overlapping narratives involving two troubled families’ love, loyalty, and loss, unfolding in interestingly Ford-ian fashion. NOT ON DVD! Dir: John Renoir. 1941. 16mm. In B&W.
88 mins. 8:30pm