Saturday Night Special: Rock N' Roll Fascism

“Rock stars are fascists. Adolph Hitler was the first rock star.” – David Bowie

As Baby Boomer counter culture boomed, one of the many ways it freaked out the WWII generation was with the rock star: the mythical symbol with such command of audience; the figure who could sway armies of teeny boppers – could get them to dance, drop acid, and maybe someday march in the streets… ROCK N’ ROLL FASCISM explores the hypnotizing madness of the pulsing rock concert crowd, and the hand-wringing worry it elicited.

“In the Led Zeppelin concert, the result aimed at would seem to be the creation of energy in the performers and in the audience. For such magic to succeed, it must tap the sources of magical energy, and this can be dangerous.” – William Burroughs on Led Zeppelin in concert


5/6/2017 - 10:30PM

“A rock concert is in fact a rite involving the evocation and transmutation of energy. Rock stars may be compared to priests.” – William Burroughs

The first narrative feature from documentary director Peter Watkins (The War Game, Punishment Park), Privilege is a verité-style projection of the near-future 1970s, greatly influenced by direct cinema classic Lonely Boy. Starring Manfred Mann’s Paul Jones, the film projects a future where corporate commercialism, pop music, organized religion, and state-controlled nationalism come together to manipulate the minds of teeny-boppers. Featuring surreal TV commercials, a Franciscan Monk garage band, and a rock concert/political rally packed with kids chanting “we will conform,” Privilege is a surreal, chilling meeting of Triumph of the Will and Top of the Pops.

Dir. Peter Watkins, 1967, 35mm, 103 min.

The Apple

4/22/2017 - MIDNITE

Set in “1994”, this absurd-o Biblical allegory concerns the perils of a young couple discovered by an all-powerful fascistic funk band’s Satanic manager, who exploits them for his own ungodly gain. If that already sounds like a hoot, toss into the mix henchmen, bad accents, chorus-girl firing squads, circus acts, disco odes to amphetamines, hippies, sequined jockstraps, kvetching yentas, clothed orgies, Carpenters rip-offs, flying Cadillacs and a jivin’ production number set in the depths of Hell — all brought to you by director Menahem Golan, also responsible for Over The Top and The Delta Force!

“Only The Apple has the audacity to dream up a future where a Lou Pearlman-like Svengali is as powerful as Josef Stalin, and disco’s bleary hedonism not only survived the ’70s, but grew in strength and power until it conquered the world.” – The AV Club

Dir. Menahem Golan, 1980, 35mm, 90 min.

Watch the trailer!

Wild in the Streets

wild in the streets
4/15/2017 - MIDNITE

“America’s greatest contribution has been to teach the world that getting old is such a drag.”

Imagine… POTUS Jim Morrison, “peace and love” re-education camps for everybody over 30, and mandatory LSD consumption for all. With baby boomers making up the majority of America, it’s more possible than you might think! A 22 year old millionaire rock singer (who makes his own LSD) works to lower the voting age to 15 and major changes ensue, in this savvy satire of the clashes between generations and the boom of 60s youth culture. Along with the drive-in classics The Trip and Psych-Out, this is another American International Pictures (AIP) counterculture cash-in, and written by Robert Thom, who, with his acerbic purple prose, was one of the most talented and entertaining players on the AIP payroll. With Oscar nominated editing, an eclectic cast including Hal Holbrook, Shelley Winters, Dick Clark, Ed Begley and Richard Pryor, and minor hit single “Shape of Things To Come,” Wild in the Streets is an absurd, campy time capsule. Or a sign of what’s to come…

Dir. Barry Shear, 1968, 35mm, 97 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Pink Floyd: The Wall

pink floyd the wall
4/1/2017 - MIDNITE

Presented in conjunction with Fight the Power!

Holy shit, ‘Floyd fans – if you’ve never seen Pink Floyd: The Wall, now’s the time to take the pill; as the film is more than a video album, more than a rock operetta, more than the sticky makeout party known as Laser Floyd at the Science Center. Director Alan Parker takes classic-rock-giant Pink Floyd’s eleventh (and most contentious) studio album and adds dimension after visual dimension to its iconic composition, slowly revealing the plummeting and heartbreaking internal depths of The Wall’s unexplored stories.

Following young Pink through a childhood of turmoil and hostility, The Wall is a visually rich yet morally devoid bildungsroman of mounting anxiety, as Pink struggles for connection and expression in an uncaring, violent world. Written by Roger Waters, based on the life of rock ‘n roll’s arguable persephone Syd Barrett, and rife with psychedelia, the film hypnotizes us deeply into the psychological sub-terrains of a soul’s disconnection from society – in only the way Waters can be our Virgil. With animation by Gerald Scarfe that brings an interplanar breadth to this sludgy, woeful musical epic of postwar algos, Waters has crafted a crucial forewarning – perhaps now more relevant than ever – of the psychosis of a human kept behind a wall.

Dir. Alan Parker, 1983, 35mm, 95 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!