What’s Showing Today? Tuesday, April 28
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Sugar Cookies is the Vertigo concept taken to nasty extremes. Adult film director Max (George Shannon) goes on TV to profess his sadness over the tragic mid-production death of his leading lady Alta (Lynn Lowry). But Alta’s lover Camilla (Mary Woronov) suspects foul play. She begins to hatch a plan to get to the bottom of Alta’s death when she meets Julie (also Lowry), a naive young actress who is Alta’s exact doppelgänger. From there, it’s erotic twists and turns, crosses and double-crosses, and the sinking feeling that history will be repeating itself ad nauseum.
Equally interesting is the film’s pedigree: Sugar Cookies was originally written by Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman, who formed his first production company, Armor Films, to make it. Kaufman hired Theodore Gershuny as director and roped in childhood friend and Yale classmate Oliver Stone to produce. Gershuny cast his wife, Warhol superstar Woronov, in the lead role.
The relationship between Camilla and Julie is the most fascinating part of the film: at times teacher-student, at other times mentor-mentee, or master-slave. It’s an almost Bergman-esque treatment of the female characters, and more nuanced and complex than one might expect from a Lloyd Kaufman-penned film. Most of the strength of the movie comes from the power of Woronov’s and Lowry’s performances. Woronov is a strong, unreadable power bitch, wearing androgynous clothes and seducing people of all genders. Lowry, in her first major film role, is all soft and innocent and becomes more and more confused as she falls into the lives of these majorly spoiled rich people.
Scenes continue beyond audience expectations: when Camilla finally turns her attentions to seducing Julie, their scene together in the bedroom is complex in its sexual power dynamics. Camilla and Julie’s tryst is a complex lesbian relationship, the dimensions of which are rarely seen in exploitation films. On top of that, the film’s wardrobe and sets are truly of their time: Woronov spends much of an extended scene in a really groovy red-lined egg chair. Add in a synth-based score by Gershon Kingsley (pioneer of synth composition and composer of “Popcorn”), and Sugar Cookies pleases the eyes, ears, and the id. —Dana Reinoos
- Dreadlocks Story (Linda Aïnouche). Digital. 2014. 83 min. 7:00 pm.
- Sugar Cookies (Theodore Gershuny) with Beneath the Skin (Cecelia Condit). Details. 1973/1981. 35mm. 103 min. 7:00 pm.
- Full Moon in Paris. Details. New digital restoration. DCP. 1984. 102 min. 2:00 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:50 pm, 9:10 pm.
- Gloria (John Cassavetes). Details. 35mm. 1980. 123 min. 4:00 and 7:30 pm.
- Hustler White. Details. 1996. 79 min. 4:00 pm.
- The Raspberry Reich with Give Piece of Ass a Chance. Details. Introduction and Q&A with Bruce LaBruce. 2004/2007. 104 min. 7:00 pm.
- Dear Pyongyang (Yonghi Yang). Details. Digital video. 2005. 107 min. 7:30 pm.
- The Hamburg Syndrome. Details. Digital video. 1979. 117 min. 10:00 pm.
Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Vinterberg) at Film Society of Lincoln Center. Details. Q&A with Thomas Vinterberg and actor Matthias Schoenaerts. DCP. 2015. 119 min. 7:00 pm.
Quality Television: Screening & Lecture by Martine Syms at Light Industry. Details. Work by Nicole Miller, Dara Birnbaum, Lex Brown, Stan Douglas, Ximena Cuevas, Michael Smith, Sondra Perry, Joan Logue, and Syms. 7:30 pm.
Shocked and Amazed: The Unseen Footage with Jeff Krulik at Morbid Anatomy Museum. Details. Screening and discussion. 8:00 pm.
Hard To Be a God (Aleksei Guerman) at Anthology Film Archives. Details. DCP. 2013. 170 min. 5:00 and 8:30 pm.
Forbidden Games (René Clément) at Film Forum. Details. DCP. 1952. 87 min. 12:30, 2:20, 4:10, 6:00, 7:50 and 9:40 pm.
- “Cut to Swipe” at MoMA, Midtown. Work by Dara Birnbaum, Rosetta Brooks, Kevin Beasley, Ken Okiishi, Luther Price, James Richards, Hito Steyerl, and The Otolith Group with Chris Marker. $25 general/$14 students/$18 seniors. Free Fridays 4:00 to 8:00 pm. Closes May 25.
- Wael Shawky “Cabaret Crusades” 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.
- “2015 Triennial: Surround Audience” 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 May 24.
- Neil Goldberg “One Version of Events” at Participant Inc. Open Wednesday-Sunday, Noon to 7:00 pm. Closes May 24.
- “So You Want to See” at e-flux, 311 East Broadway. Open Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 6:00 pm. Closes June 6.
- Jonathan Monaghan “Escape Pod” at bitforms gallery, 131 Allen Street. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Closes May 3.
- Hito Steyerl at Artists Space, 38 Greene Street. Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 6:00 pm. Closes May 24.
- VALIE EXPORT “METANOIA” at Tanja Grunert, 33A Orchard Street. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Closes May 31.
- Holly Zausner “Unsettled Matter” at Postmasters, 54 Franklin Street. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Closes May 31.
- Paolo Gioli “Volto” at Microscope Gallery, 1329 Willoughby Avenue #2B. Open Thursday-Monday, 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Closes May 18.