Jamaican Noir: The Cinema of Dread

Co-presented by Dub Club

True reggae culture is not some kind of “one love” hippy-dippy utopia. Don’t forget, Jamaican cinema is Third World cinema: rife with strife, bursting with the insuppressible creativity of the oppressed — don’t get it twisted. Watching a documentary like Stepping Razor: Red X and witnessing Peter Tosh wield a sword on stage while he MCs, or seeing a rasta preach literally to the hills about the need for help in his people’s struggle in the Herzog-esque Land of Look Behind, or following “Horsemouth” in Rockers on a epic hunt through Kingston to retrieve his stolen motorbike (in a kind of reggae re-working of The Bicycle Thief) will rewire your brain, and open your ears to the dark side of dub. In other words, films about Jamaica are cool as shit.


Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Jamaican Noir: The Cinema of Dread”!


Land of Look Behind (4/29, 10:30pm)

A quixotic, beautifully filmed doc daydream!
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4/29/2012 - 10:30PM

“This film achieves things never seen before in the history of cinema.” — Werner Herzog

“[T]he heart of the film inhabits its details: a backwoods countryman carefully locates and presents a small indigenous tree toad to the camera; a shot of Gregory Isaacs from behind as he exists a ground floor office and walks into Kingston’s hard sunlight; and the haunting closing sequence involving a young Rasta in the hills, undulating to Marley’s voice and rhythms floating from a tape player, as though the music contains the secret code to a deep spiritual mystery. And, in fact, it does.” — Jim Jarmusch

When director Alan Greenberg went to Jamaica with the intent on making a doc about the funeral of Bob Marley, he instead fell under the spell of with the strange island’s amazing sights and sounds — and with the open eyes of a great documentarian, he captured its striking contrasts of paradise and poverty. Greenberg created a quixotic, beautifully filmed daydream that brings out qualities one might not have recognized before in the country’s landscapes. A mystical, powerful experience that will transform your view of Jamaica, its denizens, and the world.

Watch the trailer for “Land of Look Behind”!

HFS: Countryman

The very first Rasta wizard superhero!
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4/28/2012 - 10:15PM

Prepare yourself for a new kind of superhero — the world’s first rasta wizard!! He’s not Superman, he’s not Spiderman — he’s Countryman! In this worthy HFS addition to our Jamaican Noir series, the real-life island fisherman known only as Countryman is cast as the fictional crimefighter namesake with mystical, mind-shattering, shitkicking powers. See Countryman fight the forces of Babylon with ganja-fueled sorcery! See Countryman best ten baldheads at a time with a single flying kick! See Countryman exert mad voodoo mind control on evil white corruptors hiding out on their fancy yachts! See Countryman detonate massive bowls of weed being smoked by the enemy — also with his mind! See Countryman neutralize an alligator with only a red sweater, as he harnesses the powers of Jah Rastafari in his battle for justice! B-movie cheap-o special effects, relaxing montages of island paradise and (of course) great reggae music make this Jamaican drive-in exploitation classic a great big bushel of stony fun.
Dir. Dickie Jobson, 1982, 35mm, 102 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Countryman”!

Land of Look Behind (4/28, director in person!)

Director Alan Greenberg in person!
landoflookbehind_newsite2
4/28/2012 - 4PM

“This film achieves things never seen before in the history of cinema.” — Werner Herzog

“[T]he heart of the film inhabits its details: a backwoods countryman carefully locates and presents a small indigenous tree toad to the camera; a shot of Gregory Isaacs from behind as he exists a ground floor office and walks into Kingston’s hard sunlight; and the haunting closing sequence involving a young Rasta in the hills, undulating to Marley’s voice and rhythms floating from a tape player, as though the music contains the secret code to a deep spiritual mystery. And, in fact, it does.” — Jim Jarmusch

When director Alan Greenberg went to Jamaica with the intent on making a doc about the funeral of Bob Marley, he instead fell under the spell of with the strange island’s amazing sights and sounds — and with the open eyes of a great documentarian, he captured its striking contrasts of paradise and poverty. Along with fellow Herzog collaborator and cinematographer Jorg Schmidt-Reitwein, Greenberg created a quixotic, beautifully filmed daydream that brings out qualities one might not have recognized before in the country’s landscapes. A mystical, powerful experience that will transform your view of Jamaica, its denizens, and the world. Director Alan Greenberg will be here at the Cinefamily for a Q&A after the film!
Dir. Alan Greenberg, 1982, digital presentation, 90 min.

Watch the trailer for “Land of Look Behind”!

Icon Eye (L.A. premiere!)

Sun Araw meets The Congos!
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4/26/2012 - 10:15PM
Co-presented by Dublab

Join us for the L.A. premiere of the brand-new documentary of Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras meeting the legendary Jamaican group The Congos! Plus, after the film, head out to our back patio for a party with tunes provided by Duppy Gun Soundsystem, and Tom Chasteen of Dub Club!

“The story of Icon Eye is the story of the album “Icon Give Thank”: Cameron Stallones (Sun Araw) and musician/producer M. Geddes Gengras travel to Jamaica to work with legendary reggae outfit The Congos. Although from culturally and musically different worlds, the unlikely pairing produces an album rife with modern experimentation and rocksteady substance. But Icon Eye isn’t a typical making-of documentary; the minutiae that usually bog down films of its ilk are here replaced by a…more-vivid swatch of cultural observation. The film embraces its slow roll by bear-hugging the people of Jamaica, especially The Congos and the surrounding people, music, and landscape: a pipe full of ganja is inhaled, situations in the studio assessed, magic is made over the course of 10 days. Icon Eye isn’t about the resulting album; it’s about the attitude and lifestyle that inspired it. Picturesque scenes of Jamaican street life and well-trodden lessons from The Congos intermingle with melodic snippets, all edited into hallucinogenic magic.” — Jspicer, Tiny Mix Tapes

Watch the trailer for “Icon Eye”!
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The Harder They Come (4/25)

A game-changing slice of ultra-coolness!
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4/25/2012 - 10:30PM

The epochal cultural moment that gave America its first true taste of Jamaica — and the film that made Jimmy Cliff an international superstar! Four decades on, The Harder They Come is still electric with the feeling of cinematic discovery right from its opening moments. This rare blend of crime drama and musical forms a kind of island Scarface, as Cliff’s country-boy-in-search-of-fame worms his way through Kingston in the successive guises of laborer, recording artist, convict, ganja dealer, and finally, outlaw folk hero on the lam. Amongst its perfectly balanced mix of police shootouts, love story tenderness, lush scenery, music biz vérité, and dirt-under-the-fingernails street-level reality, the film also comes fully-equipped with one of the most fantastic soundtracks in movie history — one that finds Cliff at the peak of his creative powers. Before The Harder They Come, our collective American perception of a “foreign film” was narrowly limited to the Bergmans and the Kurosawas of the cinematic sphere; this game-changing slice of ultra-coolness forever blew the doors off that notion, and still hasn’t lost a single drop of its cool, its edge, and its ability to make you dance.
Dir. Perry Henzell, 1972, 35mm, 103 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Harder They Come”!
YouTube Preview Image

The Harder They Come (4/24)

A game-changing slice of ultra-coolness!
thehardertheycome_newsite
4/24/2012 - 10:30PM

The epochal cultural moment that gave America its first true taste of Jamaica — and the film that made Jimmy Cliff an international superstar! Four decades on, The Harder They Come is still electric with the feeling of cinematic discovery right from its opening moments. This rare blend of crime drama and musical forms a kind of island Scarface, as Cliff’s country-boy-in-search-of-fame worms his way through Kingston in the successive guises of laborer, recording artist, convict, ganja dealer, and finally, outlaw folk hero on the lam. Amongst its perfectly balanced mix of police shootouts, love story tenderness, lush scenery, music biz vérité, and dirt-under-the-fingernails street-level reality, the film also comes fully-equipped with one of the most fantastic soundtracks in movie history — one that finds Cliff at the peak of his creative powers. Before The Harder They Come, our collective American perception of a “foreign film” was narrowly limited to the Bergmans and the Kurosawas of the cinematic sphere; this game-changing slice of ultra-coolness forever blew the doors off that notion, and still hasn’t lost a single drop of its cool, its edge, and its ability to make you dance.
Dir. Perry Henzell, 1972, 35mm, 103 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Harder They Come”!
YouTube Preview Image

Rockers (4/23)

A deeply hypnotic, episodic 70s snapshot!
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4/23/2012 - 10:30PM

Encased in a deeply hypnotic stylistic shell, Rockers transports you entirely to another planet, giving you a fly-on-the-wall slice-of-life portrait of your average I And I kind o’ guy just trying to live his life, play some drums, and get back at the Mafia assholes who stole his motorbike. Ostensibly a Rasta twist on de Sica’s The Bicycle Thief, Rockers’ understated, shaggy-dog Steadicam storytelling, serpentining its way through the netherworld of impoverished Jamaican neighborhoods and scary-looking outrageous parties, serves as a raw canvas for some of the most breathtakingly awesome fashions and deeply felt musical sequences of its era. The highlights here are legendary: a heartrending a capella version of “Jah No Dead”, sung by Burning Spear on the beach at midnight; the polite Rasta hijack of the squaresville discotheque DJ booth; and, for all the vinylheads out there, the incredible vérité snapshots of Kingston’s many roadside mom-n-pop 45 RPM singles shops. With its hyper-realistic episodic tableaux, its highly individual cast of mischievous dudes, and its never-faltering soundtrack pulse, Rockers will smoke your face off.
Dir. Theodoros Bafaloukos, 1978, 35mm, 100 min.

Watch the trailer for “Rockers”!
YouTube Preview Image

4/20 ALLNIGHTER MOVIE MARATHON ("Marley", "Rockers" & "Stepping Razor: Red X"!)

The definitive portrait of Jamaica's greatest icon!
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4/20/2012 - 7:30PM
Co-presented by Dub Club

TONIGHT’S SHOW OF “MARLEY” IS SOLD TO CAPACITY — BUT YOU CAN STILL COME AND ENJOY THE PARTY, PLUS THE DOUBLE FEATURE OF “ROCKERS” AND “STEPPING RAZOR: RED X”! CLICK THE BUY-TICKETS LINK ABOVE, AND YOU CAN PURCHASE POST-10:00PM ADMISSION TO THE PARTY!

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
7:30pm – “Marley”
10:15pm – DJ sets/party
11:00pm-ish – “Rockers”
1:00am-ish – DJ sets/party
2:00am-ish – “Stepping Razor: Red X”

Tonight’s event is an all-nighter movie marathon covering three films: the Cinefamily premiere of the brand-new doc Marley, Rockers (the 1977 Jamaican version of The Bicycle Thief) and the Peter Tosh doc Stepping Razor: Red X! Plus, the evening features DJ sets by the Dub Club crew, and a outdoor smoking patio!

Watch the trailer for “Marley”!
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Watch the trailer for “Rockers”!
YouTube Preview Image

Watch the trailer for “Stepping Razor: Red X”!
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