The Keep (archival 35mm print, 9/12)

Ridiculously rare U.K. 35mm print! As much a foundational aesthetic document of Michael Mann’s early career as Thief or Miami Vice, the revisionist WWII thriller The Keep brims with ambition and panache, and is blanketed by one of Tangerine Dream’s best-ever pulsing film soundtracks. This hypnotic, deeply strange historical/sci-fi hybrid is an ominous portrait of Nazis who enlist an ailing Jewish historian (Ian McKellen) to prevent a Golem-like demon from busting out of its ancient fortress — while a the arrival of mysterious, paranormal stranger (Scott Glenn) may possibly signal an even greater foe. From one angle, The Keep uses as a launching point Raiders of the Lost Ark’s horror climax to imbue its WWII milieu with a sense of gathering extraterrestrial dread, while from another, it simultaneously falls in line with contemporary technological and political parables such as Blade Runner and Brazil. An impossibly dense, wildly unique entry in Mann’s filmography, The Keep has still never been released on DVD in any country — making this a quite rare opportunity to take in this visually stunning ‘80s genre mashup.
Dir. Michael Mann, 1983, 35mm, 96 min. (Archival print courtesy of the British Film Institute)

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “The Keep”!