Archive: Session 7
Feb. 9 - March 26, 2011
An off-shoot of Facets' long-running, popular film school program, Facets Night School
digs into cinema's wild side with special Saturday night midnight lectures
on cult favorites led by Facets' expert staff, followed by screenings of the films and post-screening discussions
. It's a schooling in Midnight Movies
that you won't find anywhere else!
Night School Session VII offers eight weeks of films with a special theme. Dubbed Heroine Addicts
, this session focuses on female protagonists. From an overweight psychic in The Boneyard
on February 19 to bad girls of rock 'n' roll in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
on March 26, we have something for everyone.
Saturday, February 19
Why Size Matters in The Boneyard
Facets Favorite Lew Ojeda presents:
Directed by James Cummins, 1991
"The word "quirky" could have been invented just to describe this film! With scenes of slapstick comedy, high melodrama, gross-out horror, and ironic monster movie piss-takes all vying with each other for dominance over the course of ninety minutes"
"The best movie ever made starring Phyllis Diller, Mr. Roper, and a zombified mutant poodle"
With 75% of the current U.S. population considered fat by government stats, strong leading roles in non-comedic films for heavy actors are lacking especially for women. Lew Ojeda returns with a rarity for both mainstream and cult movies: a serious role centered on a heavy-set lead played by actress Deborah Rose. As a depressed psychic working with police, she becomes the driving engine in this serio-comic horror film set in a county morgue overrun with child zombies.
Join us for the kickoff of the next great series of fascinating cult movies at Facets Night School--this one concentrating on female protagonists in cult cinema.
Lew Ojeda is a writer/actor/producer whose work has appeared in The Empty Closet, Shock Cinema Magazine and online through The Underground Multiplex. He's the producer and host of the upcoming webseries Cinematrocities.
Saturday, February 26
Silence Is Golden: Johnny Belinda and Jane Wyman's
Academy Award-winning Performance
Stephen Reginald presents:
Directed by Jean Negulesco, 1948
New York Times
is a remarkable film on a number of levels, not the least of which is Jane Wyman in the performance of a lifetime. As Belinda, a deaf mute, the success of the film rests entirely on Wyman's shoulders. If we don't believe her characterization, the film doesn't work. But Wyman succeeds in breathing life and warmth into her characterization of Belinda, a young woman who is made fun of by her own family and regarded more like a pet than a human being.
Film historian Stephen Reginald
is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years, including executive editor for McGraw-Hill's The Learning Group Division. He has also taught courses on classic films at Facets Night School, including those on Carole Lombard and other Golden Age actresses. He currently manages and writes for three blogs, Classic Movie Man
, Meet Me at the Movies
, and South Loop Connection
Saturday, March 5
Love, Lesbians, and Losing Your Life in Los Angeles
Lauren Whalen presents:
Directed by David Lynch, 2001
"By surrendering any semblance of rationality to create a post-Freudian, pulp-fiction fever dream of a movie, Mr. Lynch ends up shooting the moon with Mulholland Drive
-The New York Times
The New York Times
"This is a movie to surrender yourself to"
David Lynch originally conceived Mulholland Drive
as a pilot for ABC, only to be rejected because its two lead actresses were considered "too old" to be TV stars. Thankfully, Lynch didn't give up -- he shot additional footage to create the loopy narrative of dreams and identity in Hollywood that still boggles minds almost ten years after its release. A fresh-faced starlet, a beautiful amnesiac, and a harried movie director are threatened by forces both shadowy and vivid-but in this city of fantasy and nightmare, is anyone who they pretend to be? Lauren Whalen explains Mulholland Drive's
place in the neo-noir subgenre, Lynch's ten clues for understanding what the heck is going on, and the film's ambiguous nostalgia for a silver-screen era gone by. Silencio.
is Facets' Development Coordinator and Assistant to Executive Director Milos Stehlik. When Lauren isn't at Facets or at the movies, she writes for thefilmyap.com
as well as her own site The Unprofessional Critic
. She loves analyzing her dreams and is a frequent visitor to Los Angeles.
Saturday, March 12
Burlesque vs. Ballet: Having a Ball with Dance, Girl, Dance
Michael Smith presents:
Directed by Dorothy Arzner, 1940
Dance, Girl, Dance
"A milestone in the dance film and musical"
-Senses of Cinema
"The film affords Lucy with a great role to be sure-her cutthroat entertainer will come as a big surprise to those that only know her from her sitcoms"
Dorothy Arzner was the most successful female director to work in Hollywood during the early sound era and Dance, Girl, Dance is her masterpiece. Decades before Black Swan, Dance, Girl, Dance tells a story of rival dancers, pitting burlesque queen Lucille Ball as the older "vamp" character against innocent ingenue Maureen O'Hara as her ballerina "stooge" co-star. What will happen when these former friends both fall for suave leading man Louis Hayward? Feminist critics love this film for the way Arzner subverts the traditional "male gaze" of the director. Everyone else loves it for the juicy performances and irresistible climactic cat fight. Meow!
Senses of Cinema
Senses of Cinema: Dorothy Arzner
Guardian UK: Dorothy Arzner
Michael Smith received an MA in Film Production from Humboldt State University. His most recent short film, At Last, Okemah!, is currently playing the festival circuit. He teaches film studies at several Chicago area colleges.
Saturday, March 19
A Girl and a Gun: Geena Davis Takes Out the Bad Guys
Miguel Martinez presents:
Directed by Renny Harlin, 1996
The Long Kiss Goodnight
"Here's the supersexy and action-charged Hollywood take on France's La Femme Nikita that Bridget Fonda couldn't pull off in her Girl Scoutish Point of No Return"
"[Shane] Black's screenplay is mean-spirited, but it earns its keep with sharp, sarcastic dialogue and ingenious ways of setting up this story"
-The New York Times
Presenter Miguel Martinez plans to examine the cinematic relationship between American and Hong Kong action filmmaking, and it's place in cinema history. Come prepared to discuss the action genre and the women who gained fame through it because Miguel prefers a give-and-take with the audience. But, he promises there won't be a quiz.
The New York Times
Miguel Martinez is a Facets Personal Video Consultant. A life-long Chicagoan, Miguel is also a filmmaker whose work can be seen on Youtube. He recently wrote and directed the short The Cold Romantic, a unique take on the detective genre.
Saturday, March 26
Hannie Caulder and Women in Westerns:
Not All Damsels Are Distressed
Michelle Zaladonis presents:
Directed by Burt Kennedy, 1971
"Hannie Caulder, which begins cruel and comic, gradually becomes gentler and more serious; and by the time its spirit of outrage has subsided into something like elegy, the film has turned into a fairly moving study of what it means to be cursed by having to pursue a mission instead of a life"
-The New York Times
"Hannie Caulder is not a perfect film but it is one of Raquel Welch's best movies and it offered Robert Culp the opportunity to create one of the most complex and compelling characters of his career"
The New York Times
-Kimberly Lindbergs, TCM Classic Movie Blog
Raquel Welch, the sex symbol of the 1960s, stars in the title role as a woman who exacts revenge on the men who raped her and killed her husband. She enlists the help of gunslinger Robert Culp to teach her how to handle a gun. Considering the passive role of women in most westerns, and the iconic significance of who masters the gun, Hannie Caulder offers a different type of female character. On the other hand, as directed by western veteran Burt Kennedy and starring the era's most famous pin-up, is the progressive nature of the narrative undermined. Michelle Zaladonis explores the nature of women in westerns as a framework to appreciate this movie.
Michelle Zaladonis, a writer and teacher, brightens up Rentals with her optimistic personality and sense of humor. She is currently studying and exploring Italian genre films, including westerns and horror.
Saturday, April 2
Song of Vengeance:
Art House Meets Grindhouse in
the Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion Series
Katherine Rife presents:
Directed by Shunya Ito, 1973
Female Prisoner Scorpion #701: Beast Stable
"This is one of the most bold, energetic, engaging and beautiful movies I have ever seen in the WIP (Women in Prison) genre"
"A worthy successor to Female Convict 701 and Jailhouse 41, albeit one with a rather different style and tone"
In the early 1970's, Japanese movie theaters were exploding with a mix of sex, violence, and funky experimental style that is still a revelation today. The brightest female star of this crop of action films was Meiko Kaji, who tore through screens as a sword-wielding action heroine both historical (Lady Snowblood
, 1973) and contemporary (Stray Cat Rock
series, 1970-'71). Her most iconic role was as the ultra cool, practically mute Matsu, aka Scorpion, a woman wrongly imprisoned for murder with a burning desire for revenge in the Female Prisoner Scorpion #701
series. The Scorpion
films stand out in their genre as bold experiments in combining grindhouse subject matter with arthouse cinema technique. By the time the third film, Beast Stable
, was released, Matsu had evolved from a fairly typical woman-in-prison archetype to an avenging angel for wronged women everywhere. Though wildly popular in Japan, the Female Prisoner Scorpion #701
films were largely unknown in the West until Matsu and Kaji were cited as inspirations for the Bride in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill
films. Join us as we celebrate the badass legacy of Kaji and series director Shunya Ito!
WARNING: Attend this screening ONLY if you enjoy impromptu amputations, impossible escapes, scarlet women, fountains of fake blood, and general fun at the movies!
is a Chicago-based writer and filmmaker who has written about film for outlets as diverse as the Chicago International Film Festival and Mrskin.com
. She is a founding member of the found footage video collective Everything is Terrible!
and contributed to the DVDs Everything is Terrible:The Movie!
and 2Everything2Terrible2: Tokyo Drift
, both available for rental at Facets.
Saturday, April 9
Welcome to the Dolls' House:
Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Dominick Mayer presents:
Directed by Russ Meyer, 1970
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
"A psychedelic wow that serves up the free love, plunging necklines, androgynous boys, and lusty lezzies of the era with a narcotized abandon"
"At the time Russ Meyer and I were working on BVD, I didn't really understand how unusual the project was... An independent X-rated filmmaker and an inexperienced screenwriter were brought into a major studio and given carte blanche to turn out a satire of one of the studio's own hits"
In 1970, America was changing, 20th Century Fox was verging on bankruptcy, and Roger Ebert wrote a film that he hoped would chronicle the addled, oversexed delirium of the swingin' 1960s in a way never seen before. When softcore auteur Russ Meyer signed on to direct, the two gave the world Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, one of the strangest (and strangely lucid) depictions of a wild time in our nation's history. Dominick Mayer will look at the genesis of this film and how, over 40 years later, it holds up both as camp beyond camp and a Technicolor-soaked time capsule.
Dominick Mayer has around 93.2% of a cinema studies degree from DePaul University and will receive the other 6.8% by June. Before that, he got a first-class education in cult cinema through endless screenings in various basements and associated other makeshift film venues around the Chicagoland area. This will be his third lecture as part of the Night School team, having previously presented on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Evil Ed for Fright School.
For all inquiries about Facets Night School, email firstname.lastname@example.org.