What’s Showing Today? Friday, August 1
Click venue names for ticket info & directions
Tonight Spectacle‘s series at The Museum of Arts and Design continues this evening with the first-ever U.S. 35mm screening of Roland Klick‘s German acid western Deadlock, featuring a soundtrack by Krautrock legends Can. I previously interviewed Can’s Irmin Schmidt about the film’s score, which can be read here.
Hardcore Screen Slate O.G.’s will recall that Deadlock was the first “Screen Slate Presents” (R.I.P.) back in June 2011. It was the first film I programmed at Spectacle, or anywhere else, for that matter, which spun my life into a radically altered trajectory that has culminated in my sitting here now, late for work, still in my underwear (revising clothed), writing about a 35mm screening of Deadlock at an uptown museum. My interest in the film was stirred by Soundtracks, the second album by krautrock band Can. At the same time as The Beatles were singing “Yellow Submarine,” Can was begin its radical program of combining the furthest frontiers of rock music with funk, free jazz, international rhythms, and perhaps most notably electroacoustic music advancements pioneered by Karlheinz Stockhausen, under whom several members studied. They seamlessly blend organic grooves with synthetic instrumentation, loops, and manipulation, under wiry buzz of superfried distortion. They continue to defy characterization and still sound like harbingers of a plausible future.
Soundtracks is easy to take for granted simply as Can’s second album and overlook the fact that it contains actual compositions for cinema: all products which had until late been completely lost to time (many still are). It’s not a knock on the Young (or “New”) German Cinema to say that they have essentially monopolized the whole of contemporary German cinema: Can’s Soundtracks and other soundtrack work not included are a roadmap of an alternative history of German cinema, one that includes lesser Young German Cinema filmmakers, directors like Klick who had fleeting domestic success before fading under the albatross of international obscurity, phenomenal television movies, and even a late and sorely underappreciated work by Samuel Fuller, Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street, still overdue for revival. (Yes: there is a Samuel Fuller movie fully scored by Can.)
My interest in this subject happened to dovetail with that of many Germans, including writers of Revolver, the sort of Cahiers du Cinema of the Berliner Schule, in exploring recent German film history outside of Fassbinder, Kluge, Herzog, Wenders, von Trotta, Schlöndorff, Syberberg, et al. Klick is significant among the subjects of this reappraisal. Though his artistry is patently obvious to audiences removed from politics of the German film industry in the 1960s and 70s, he was considered too mainstream. He wasn’t part of the legacy of the Oberhausen Manifesto, but one of its victims: his success was considered a threat to the system of tax subsidies relied on by the other filmmakers, and so several—rumor has it chiefly Fassbinder and Kluge—lobbied to have him erased from the international film scene, leveraging their favor among critics and threatening to pull their work from the Cannes film festival if, specifically, Deadlock was shown.
And so it wasn’t. And its only recently that the films have been recirculated in Germany thanks to the efforts of Frieder Schlaich at Filmgalerie 451, who has made them available on discs that can now be easily obtained internationally. Schlaich and other Filmgalerie staff, such as Alex Jovanovic, have been incredible international advocates and friends of Spectacle, and so its with their generous assistance that we’re able to finally show Deadlock on 35mm as part of the Museum of Arts and Design series.
And it’s an unmissable film: an ultrastylized, minimalist acid western—like A Fistful of Dollars boiled down to its essence and ever-so-slightly askew. Part of it might be the fleabitten setting: Deadlock was filmed in the salty desert stretches of Israel (allegedly shooting in between exchanges of gunfire between Israel and Palestine’s armies). It has a cast of exactly six: Marquard Bohm (Beware of a Holy Whore) as a kid on the run; Mario Adorf (The Tin Drum) as the miner who finds him passed out in the desert with a suitcase full of cash; and Anthony Dawson (Dial M for Murder) in surely his greatest role as “Sunshine,” the kid’s insidious frenemy whose been tracking him through the desert. Along with the miner’s daughter and a mysterious older woman who looks like a washed up Warhol superstar, the three engage in a high-wire battle of psychological wits as they attempt to out-maneuver each other.
Deadlock was filmed in English with an eye to the international market that it never reached. Yet it has its champions: among them Quentin Tarantino, whom I’ve heard (if perhaps apocryphally) considers it the greatest German film ever made, and Alejandro Jodorowsky, who called it “fantastic—a bizarre, glowing film.” And it’s capped off by the searing guitar and pounding toms of Can’s score, which sounds like Morricone on Mars, and the recurring theme song “Tango Whiskey Man,” featuring Damo Suzuki’s first vocal performance with the band.
Deadlock shows at 7:00 pm tonight.
- If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death (Gianfranco Parolini). Details. 35mm. 1968. 95 min. 7:00 pm.
- Crawlspace (David Schmoeller). Details. Schmoeller in attendance. 35mm. 1986. 80 min. 9:00 pm.
- What About Me (Rachel Amodeo). Details. 16mm, b&w. 1993. 87 min. 8:00 pm.
- Belle de Jour. Details. 35mm. 1967. 100 min. 2:00, 4:30 and 9:15 pm.
- Diary of a Chambermaid. Details. 35mm. 1964. 98 min. 7:00 pm.
- Flashback Memories 3D (Tetsuaki Matsue). Details. Q&A and live performance by GOMA. DCP. 2012. 72 min. 7:00 pm.
- Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme). Details. Q&A with David Byrne of Talking Heads. DCP. 1984. 88 min. 9:00 pm.
- Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey). Details. 35mm. 1962. 78 min. 11:00 pm.
- Deadlock (Roland Klick). Details. 35mm. 1970. 88 min. 7:00 pm.
- Heat. Details. Video. 1972. 102 min. 7:30 pm.
- If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?. Details. Video. 1971. 52 min. 10:00 pm.
Back to the Future Part III (Robert Zemeckis) at IFC Center. Details. DCP. 1990. 118 min. 12:00 am.
El Topo (Alejandro Jodorowsky) at IFC Center. Details. HD. 1970. 125 min. 12:05 am.
The Room (Tommy Wiseau) at Landmark Sunshine. Details. 12:00 am.
North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock) at Landmark Sunshine. Details. 1959. 136 min. 12:00 am.
Memories Within Miss Aggie (Gerard Damiano) at Nitehawk Cinema. Details. DCP. 1974. 75 min. 12:15 am.
Spectacle Roulette at Spectacle. Details. Bring your own movie, vote for what shows. 12:00 am.
- Christoph Schlingensief at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, Queens. $10 general/$5 students & seniors/under 16 free. By donation on Mondays. Closed Tuesday/Wednesday. Closes August 31.
- View all exhibitions at Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, Queens. $12 general/$9 students and seniors/$6 ages 3 to 18. Free admission Friday 4-8 pm. Closed Monday.
- “Here and Elsewhere” at The New Museum, Bowery. $16 general/$14 seniors/$10 students. Pay-what-you-wish Thursdays 7:00 to to 9:00 pm. Closed Monday-Tuesday. Closes September 28.
Below Listed North-South
- Hito Steyerl “How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational Installation” at Andrew Kreps Gallery, 537 West 22 Street. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Closes August 15.
- Zoe Beloff “The Days of the Commune” at Participant Inc, 253 East Houston street. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 7:00 pm. Closes August 17.
- Gilbert & George Film and Video Sculptures, 1972-1981 at Lehmann Maupin, 201 Chrystie Street. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm Closes August 8.
- “Glass Puzzle: Uri Aran, Andrea Büttner, Joan Jonas, Yorgos Sapountzis, and Mary Simpson” at Simone Subal, 131 Bowery, 2nd Floor. Open Wednesday-Sunday, Noon to 6:00 pm. Closes August 1.
- Brice Dellsperger “Body Double: Vous n’en croirez pas vous yeux” at Team Gallery, 83 Grand Street and 47 Wooster Street. Grand: Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday, Noon to 6:00 pm. Wooster: Wednesday-Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sunday, Noon to 6:00 pm. Closes August 1.
- BFFA3AE “DTR” at 47 Canal. Open Wednesday-Sunday, Noon to 6:00 pm. Closes August 3.