Sects, Cults and Mind Control

The Cinema of Scientology (feat. rare docs & panel discussion)

Come get your needle floating!
cinemaofscientology_website
6/19/2013 - 7:30PM

Welcome all wogs, squirrels, SPs, apostates, Ron’s Org-ers and curious Scientologists to a collaboration between Tongue And Groove LA and Cinefamily, surveying one of the Twentieth Century’s most bustling new religions. Come get your needle floating, as we kick off by watching two extremely rare docs from Britain’s Granada Television: Scientology: A Faith For Sale and The Shrinking World of L. Ron Hubbard. Insightful and penetrating, these two late-’60s TV programs are both marvelous time capsules, and incredible overviews for the layman. Plus, we conclude the evening by exploring the mystery, the myth, and the pageantry of the Church of Scientology’s efforts across the universe of cinema — with a panel of special live guests, including the screenwriter of Battlefield Earth!

Sects, Cults and Mind Control Mix Night (encore!)

cultsmixencore
6/17/2013 - 10:15PM

God Is Dead. “So now what?”, asked a generation of soul seekers. Maybe God was now instead a guru, a space alien, a fresh-faced kid, an ex-convict drifter? Maybe God is — us? On the road to enlightenment, those looking long and hard for The Answer in the arms of seemingly attractive, newly-minted cult movements often found corruption, violence, and even madness — leaving decades’ worth of impossible, incredible and indelible documents in their wake. It’s no understatement to say that Cinefamily has collectively been obsessed with this subject possibly more than any other in our history; tonight, we’ll give you a guided tour down these yellow brick roads to the Ultimate Now with archival news broadcasts, Hollywood’s fictional treatments and rare video from the cults themselves. Belief systems that are beyond belief — the sect that worshipped a Hawaiian Punch-swigging adolescent — Moonies, Krishnas, Est, the Children of God, Love Israel, Heaven’s Gate, onwards and upwards!

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for our “Sects, Cults and Mind Control Mix Night”!

The Rise and Fall of Synanon (cult expert Paul Morantz in person!)

The drug rehab cult by the sea!
synanon_website
6/9/2013 - 7PM

One of the strangest cult movements of all was created right in our own backyard. Synanon, the drug rehab center/commune known as the “Paradise by the Sea” (or, if you prefer, “A.A. gone wrong”), was birthed in Santa Monica by the Bukowski-esque, tough-as-nails Chuck Dederich — the “Popeye” of cult leaders. After having his mind blown on a governmental LSD experiment, this charismatic former alcoholic emerged with a vision of how to recreate man, cure drug addicts, build a utopian future — and devote his life to building an experimental society to meet these goals. While lauded in its early days for being the first ever heroin addiction clinic (at a time when doctors’ advice was to just give them drugs until they died), eventually Synanon became synonymous with violence and Dederich’s abuse of power — beatings, arranged marriages, coerced vasectomies and enough shaved heads to fill THX 1138’s on-screen society with extras (it’s true!) Join us as we track the rise and fall of Synanon with archival materials, found footage, and the incredible in-person story of Paul Morantz: one of the world’s foremost experts on cults, and the lawyer who not only successfully battled Synanon in the courts for years, but who also lived to tell the tale after the spiteful organization left a deadly rattlesnake in his mailbox. Plus, we’ll also screen a rare 35mm print of Synanon, the jazzy 1965 Hollywood whitewashing treatment in which the cult is presented as an anti-drug success story, co-starring Stella Stevens, Edmond O’Brien, Chuck Connors and Eartha Kitt.
Synanon Dir. Richard Quine, 1965, 35mm, 105 min.

Watch the trailer for “Synanon”!
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An American Hippie In Israel

Pervasive total madness!
anamericanhippie_website
6/8/2013 - MIDNITE

Murderous mimes, bloodthirsty sharks, free-loving debauchery, robots and poignant anti-war monologues by raving mad hippies — far fucking out! All this and more is provided in writer/director/prophet Amos Sefer’s previously lost early-’70s exploitationer — which, if you haven’t already surmised, is a epic blast. Clad in his dirty jeans, beads and a crude, handmade rabbit-fur vest, Israeli actor Asher Tzarfati plays the American “hippie” Mike, who, after thumbing a ride, connects with vivacious vixen Elizabeth. Fleeing from the aforementioned whacko mime patrol, the sun-baked duo gather a clutch of like-minded dropouts to set off together as a newly-minted “family” in search of a desert island utopia — but, of course, inevitable human chaos lurks in the journey ahead. Vacillating between Lord of the Flies and a zonked, unpredictable brand of Dennis Hopper-ian burnout psychedelia, An American Hippie In Israel will set your ass aflame with its collision of jarring edits, loose-lipped dubbing, and pervasive total madness.
Dir. Amos Sefer, 1972, 35mm, 95 min.

Watch the trailer for “An American Hippie In Israel”!

Love Exposure

One of the top Japanese films of the decade!
loveexposure_newsite
6/8/2013 - 2:30PM

“It’s too bad words like ‘masterpiece’ and ‘epic’ have been so overused by excitable film critics, because Sion Sono’s Love Exposure is an actual epic masterpiece that is going to dominate the filmscape for decades.” – New York Asian Film Festival

“Japan’s eroto-theosophical answer to the allegorical journeys of Alejandro Jodorowsky” — Film Four

Ask yourself this question: when was the last time a movie really mattered to you, and shattered your world? Every so often, a film comes screaming out of the ether that magically reveals a larger truth about this thing we stumble through called life — and Sion Sono’s behemoth 2009 masterpiece gleefully fits that bill, tackling life’s biggest issues: love, death, sex, revenge, cults, religion and up-skirt panty photography. Winner of festival awards across the globe, and purportedly based on the life of one Sono’s friends, it’s the epic story of a teen who loses his Catholic faith when his mother dies, and his bible-thumping priest father demands he confesses to sins he hasn’t committed. Manufacturing sins to keep his father pleased, Yu trains in the “art” of panchira (clandestine panty snapshots) — and all bets are off when he crosses paths with Yoko, the woman of his dreams (his “Virgin Mary”), at a streetfight. As he pursues his heart, Yu gets tripped up by apocalyptic religious cults, Catholic guilt and the call of pornography — and must use his love to fight his way out of darkness. The Cinefamily is proud to once more present one of the top Japanese films of the last decade!
Dir. Sion Sono, 2008, HDCAM, 237 min.

Watch the trailer for “Love Exposure”!
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Split Image (director Ted Kotcheff in person!)

Big-budget melodrama on the cult phenomena!
splitimage_newsite2
6/6/2013 - 7:30PM

Have you ever been to the Cinefamily and seen our pre-show “Join Us” bumper, featuring a white-robed throng of followers, and a charismatic cult leader indoctrinating an ecstatic young man (“Danny’s dead — I am Joshua, a warrior for your cause”?) This is that movie — AND IT’S TRULY AWESOME!!!! The big mama of the brainwashing genre, Split Image is Hollywood’s definitive big-budget examination of the cult phenomena. This searing melodrama, directed by Ted Kotcheff (of First Blood fame), hits all the right beats: the seductive space cadet (a fetching Karen Allen), the utopian commune (“Homeland”), said cult leader (a stunt-casted Peter Fonda), and best of all, an extensive deprogramming by a mustachioed James Woods at his absolute sleaziest. Kotcheff pulls absolutely no punches, as this cathartic and visually stunning work pulls you into its emotionally gnarly universe in the most frightening realistic way possible. As an introduction to the world of cults, Split Image is the ultimate — educational, scary, and a total blast. Ted Kotcheff will be here in person for a Q&A after the film!
Dir. Ted Kotcheff, 1982, 35mm, 112 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Split Image”!

Lost & Found Film Club! (June 2013)

website logo lost and found
6/5/2013 - 10:15PM

Our newest monthly residency: a carefully curated VG+ hodgepodge of scattershot celluloid, packed as densely as library stacks and presented in the gloriously fuzzed-out 16mm format — plus, grilled cheese sandwiches will be provided! What began as an after-hours Cinefamily staff tradition is now our showcase of ephemeral, industrial, educational, and sponsored films of the 20th century, all of which were perhaps never intended to be seen on the big screen, until now. On any given Lost And Found night, the program might contain “fuzzy felt” children’s films, social engineering and training films, advertisements, mental hygiene madness, animation, documentaries, student experiments, home movies on rusted reels — pretty much anything that isn’t a commercial feature film, accompanied by the velvety crunch of grilled cheese sandwiches. Come soak in every atom of a dreamy bricolage saturated with gorgeous Kodachrome palettes, dubious science, gentle vérité, wacked-out works clearly created under the influence, and so much more — come see what slipped through the splices. Did we forget to mention that GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES WILL BE AVAILABLE?!

This month’s program will feature a shorts program, followed by an astonishingly rare screening of Beat the Deva, a 1980 “new age” detective film that uses noir, documentary, and psychedelic animation techniques to illustrate the offbeat artistic and spiritual theories of Russian composer, Alexander Scriabin and the special effects of inner space… We think. This is a really weird headscratcher: Totally unclassifiable, very much born of the 70′s cult movement, not online or on DVD… and NOT to be missed!

Watch the trailer for “Beat the Deva!”

Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (rare 16mm print!)

Powers Boothe is evil incarnate!
guyana
6/4/2013 - 7:45PM

Looking downright evil in aviator sunglasses, an all-white suit and a take-no-prisoners gait, Powers Boothe won an Emmy for his portrayal of Peoples Temple honcho Jim Jones, the paranoid cult leader who commandeered nearly one thousand followers to suicide at his Jonestown compound in Guyana. The best made-for-TV movies are ones that grip you by the back of the neck within the first minute — and if the heart-stopping and dynamically tense opening moments of Guyana Tragedy are any indicator, then this is one of the greatest miniseries from the Golden Age of the form. This gritty two-parter rapidly envelops you in the complex web of how Jones’ righteous good intentions in the Fifties gave way to him exercising harrowing thought control, slithering moral deceit, hardcore drug addiction, infidelities both gay and straight, and epic delusions of grandeur. Guyana Tragedy also comes with an incredible pedigree: not only a script from Shaft/French Connection scribe Ernest Tidyman, but also a Character Actor Hall of Fame supporting cast of Ned Beatty, Randy Quaid, Veronica Cartwright, James Earl Jones, Brad Dourif, LeVar Burton, Colleen Dewhurst and Diane Ladd. It doesn’t get much more satisfying a TV-movie experience than this.
Dir. William A. Graham, 1980, 16mm, 192 min.

Sects, Cults and Mind Control Mix Night (feat. "Fear Is The Master"!)

A megamix of belief systems beyond belief!
unarius
5/31/2013 - 7:30PM

God Is Dead. “So now what?”, asked a generation of soul seekers. Maybe God was now instead a guru, a space alien, a fresh-faced kid, an ex-convict drifter? Maybe God is — us? On the road to enlightenment, those looking long and hard for The Answer in the arms of seemingly attractive, newly-minted cult movements often found corruption, violence, and even madness — leaving decades’ worth of impossible, incredible and indelible documents in their wake. It’s no understatement to say that Cinefamily has collectively been obsessed with this subject possibly more than any other in our history; tonight, we’ll give you a guided tour down these yellow brick roads to the Ultimate Now with archival news broadcasts, Hollywood’s fictional treatments and rare video from the cults themselves. Belief systems that are beyond belief — the sect that worshipped a Hawaiian Punch-swigging adolescent — Moonies, Krishnas, Est, the Children of God, Love Israel, Heaven’s Gate, onwards and upwards! Plus, we’ll be screening one of Cinefamily’s all-time favorite outrageous documentaries: Fear Is The Master, about the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh cult that swallowed an entire Oregon town whole. Using sex rituals and backwards assaultive psychotherapy to grind down all individuality, Rajneesh and his minions carried out one of the most terrifying and unique spiritual missions ever conceived on American soil — which makes for no less than one of the best documentaries ever on the cult phenomenon.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for our “Sects, Cults and Mind Control Mix Night”!

Ticket to Heaven (filmmakers in person!)

A terrifying trip down the indoctrination hole!
tickettoheaven_website2
5/25/2013 - 7PM

Winner of the 1982 Genie for Best Picture (the Canadian version of the Oscar), this is one lean, fierce, terrifying journey down the cult indoctrination rabbit hole, and back out the other side. Get ready to be exhilarated by this razor-sharp tale: Ticket To Heaven’s thinly fictionalized menacing cult on display is clearly patterned on the “Moonies” (Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church), and the film wastes zero time diving right into the techniques used to ensnare a wayward twentysomething (Nick Mancuso) into the flock: sleep deprivation, crazed chanting and a general grinding of the psychological gears, until he’s a gaunt, ghostly shell of his former self. No soapy melodrama, Ticket To Heaven is an unending cascade of captivating (and often humorous) episodic moments, right up until its haunting final shot — and its eccentric supporting cast, featuring Meg Foster as an ice cold cult den mother and Kim Cattrall as a hyper-overzealous Moonie camp counselor from hell, is rife with genuinely hair-raising portraits. Director Ralph Thomas and producer Vivienne Leebosh in person!
Dir. Ralph L. Thomas, 1981, digital presentation, 109 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Ticket To Heaven”!