The Castro Theater recently announced a week long film series that I find full of potential. It's called Women on the Verge - 12 tales of madness, lust, terror, and vengeance showcasing some of cinema’s most indelible performances from the female cannon.
I've only seen two of the films on the program (Carrie and Johnny Guitar). The line-up includes Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Catherine Deneuve, Faye Dunaway, Isebelle Adjani and Joan Crawford. Directors include Brian DePalma, John Waters, Joseph Mankiewicz, Roman Polanski, Pedro Almodovar, Nicholas Ray and Abel Ferrara. The Ferrara film, Ms. 45, is an exploitation classic.
The only downside is that it coincides with the first week of I Wake Up Dreaming: The Haunted World of the B Film Noir at the Roxie. I'll have to make some hard choices that week.
In addition, the Castro is screening a new 40th anniversary print of Costa-Gavras’s Z from May 8 to 14. I've seen this political thriller before but it's been a few years. I'll probably swing by to catch it.
Women on the Verge - May 16 to 21 at the Castro Theater
Saturday, May 16
High school is a snake pit as Sissy Spacek ignites her telekinetic powers to thwart that special brand of cruelty unique to teenage girls. This melding of minds between Stephen King and director Brian DePalma created one of the horror genre’s true classics. Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, and Amy Irving co-star. (1976, 98 min, 35mm)
This sick bad-taste epic from John Waters stars Divine as obese criminal Dawn Davenport, and charts her depraved life trajectory from waitress to go-go dancer to cat burglar to media freak to her big day in court. Mink Stole, Mary Vivian Pearce, David Lochary and Edith Massey co-star. (1974, 97 min, 35mm)
Sunday, May 17
Suddenly, Last Summer
In this lush, lurid adaptation of Tennessee Williams one-act, Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn play a seemingly insane, young New Orleans debutante and the wealthy aunt who wants surgeon Montgomery Clift to lobotomize her. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, screenplay by Gore Vidal. (1959, 114 min, 35mm)
Widely hailed as one of the most visually stunning films ever made, Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger’s sensual, evocative drama of repressed nuns in the Himalayas took Technicolor to new heights. Deborah Kerr’s awesome performance illuminates this haunting, powerful study of the effects of loneliness and isolation. With Flora Robson, David Farrar, Jean Simmons and Sabu. (1947, 99 min, 35mm)
Monday, May 18
Puzzle of a Downfall Child
The stunning beauty of Faye Dunaway is showcased in her tour-de-force performance as a fashion model looking back over her career after a nervous breakdown. Directed in a fragmented Euro-style by former fashion photographer Jerry Schatzberg. With Barry Primus, Viveca Lindfors and Roy Scheider (1970, 105 min, 35mm) Rare; Never on VHS or DVD.
Play It As It Lays
Tuesday Weld takes an extraordinary turn as an actress rapidly unraveling in the meaningless void of Hollywood existence. Frank Perry (Mommie Dearest) directed this terse adaptation of Joan Didion’s disturbing novel. Anthony Perkins and Adam Roarke co-star. (1972, 99 min, 35mm) Rare; Never on VHS or DVD.
Tuesday, May 19
Left alone by her sister for the weekend, repressed Catherine Deneuve is haunted by surreal erotic hallucinations and is slowly driven to madness. Roman Polanski’s chilling horror tale is a masterpiece of psycho-sexual delirium! (1965, 104 min, 35mm)
West Berlin, it is day. In Andrzej Zulawski’s film you will not see the night - for in the forces of night, horror such as this could not exist without damaging humanity beyond rehabilitation. As the most unhappily married couple ever, Isebelle Adjani’s completely ajar performance easily puts convention to shame, with equally deranged Sam Neill not far behind. (1981, 81 min, 35mm) Rare U.S. Version – Not on DVD.
Wednesday, May 20
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Pedro Almodovar’s quintessential doorslamming farce about a gaggle of women and their various problems with men, be they married lovers, cheating husbands, fiancés, or terrorists. Carmen Maura is positively unhinged as the actress/spurned lover desperately seeking confrontation. With Maria Barranco, Julieta Serrano and Antonio Banderas. (1988, 88 min, 35mm, in Spanish with English subtitles)
Nicholas Ray’s flamboyant western pits tough-as-nails gambling den proprietor Joan Crawford against shrill firebrand Mercedes McCambridge in a two-fisted cat fight for control of a frontier boomtown. With Sterling Hayden and Scott Brady (1954, 110 min, 35mm) Never on DVD.
Thursday, May 21
Remember My Name
Just out of jail for murder, psychotic Geraldine Chaplin stalks ex-husband Anthony Perkins and his new wife Berry Berenson in happy suburbia. Robert Altman produced Alan Rudolph’s moody, disquieting drama which features Alfre Woodard and Jeff Goldblum in early roles, and the smoky songs of Alberta Hunter. (1978, 94 min, 35mm) Rare; Never on VHS or DVD.
After two brutal attacks, mute Zoe Tamerlis not only reeks vengeance on her violators but goes full-blown vigilante, seeking out men then pumping ‘em full of lead in glorious whacked-out style. Abel Ferrara’s imaginative, razor-sharp shocker is lean and mean exploitation at its finest! (1981, 80 min, ultra-rare 35mm print)