This is Going to Hurt: A Cinema of Cruelty

SEPTEMBER 8-26

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
REFRESHMENTS
& SPECIAL INTRODUCTION

6:00pm - Doors
7:00pm - Un Chien Andalou + Psycho with Introduction

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THE FEEL-BAD EVENT OF THE YEAR!

In 1975, a new anthology of film criticisms written by the immeasurably influential French film critic André Bazin — then 17-years deceased — was published in France under the tendentious title The Cinema of Cruelty. Conceived and assembled by Bazin’s protégé, nouvelle vague-er François Truffaut, the posthumous collection brought together Bazin’s writings on a group of master cineastes who, in their own unique ways, shared a stylistic, subversively-minded approach to filmmaking that resulted in “cruel” cinema — films that, for varying political, ethical, spiritual, or sadistic purposes, measured artistic efficacy in degrees of suffering.

This series recognizes the continued significance and recurrence of cinematic cruelty as a vital, albeit challenging, mode of film expression espoused by some of the medium’s most prestigious and controversial figures. Taking as its impetus Bazin’s themed collection, This is Going to Hurt includes masterworks à la cruelty by pantheonic auteurs covered in those pages — Luis Buñuel, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Alfred Hitchcock — as well as watershed wincers extending beyond Bazin’s lifetime by a Who’s Who of arthouse giants and shit disturbers: Robert Bresson, Werner Herzog, Stanley Kubrick, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lars von Trier, David Lynch, Catherine Breillat, and Michael Haneke.

Scandalous, offensive, infuriating, devastating: these films remind us of the affecting, cathartic power of cinema by transgressing its modes of normalcy and, in some cases, decency (we’re looking at you, Salò). They may not be much fun, but their pessimism belies a deeply humanistic desire to incite awareness of the world as is — in all its startling indignation. “Each film brings out the moralist in the director,” wrote Truffaut in his introduction to The Cinema of Cruelty, “and makes each of them a filmmaker of cruelty.”

 

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Recent Showings

The infamous debut film by Spanish troublemaker Luis Buñuel screens with Alfred Hitchcock's monochrome masterwork of horror.
Few films plumb depths of emotion like Carl Theodor Dreyer’s late silent masterpiece, oft-cited as one of the greatest films of all time.
Werner Herzog's brazenly-bizarre sophomore effort is still the most audacious work in the great German director’s stacked filmography.
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s widely-banned final film is one of most assaulting, scandalous, and essential works of political film art ever made.
Stanley Kubrick’s ultra-controversial follow-up to 2001: A Space Odyssey was another masterful, future-set thought experiment.
Robert Bresson’s profound Passion parable is one of cinema’s most resolutely-conceived, heartrending works of high art.
Robert Bresson's companion piece to Au Hasard Balthazar is a work of extraordinary purity and grace.
Lars von Trier astonished critics and audiences alike with this deeply affecting, morally unsettling, vérité-styled melodrama.
Catherine Breillat’s no-holds-barred look at sibling rivalry and sexual awakening is arguably the chef-d’œuvre in the director's prickly career.
David Lynch’s much-maligned prequel to his and Mark Frost’s seminal ’90s television series is now considered to be one of Lynch's canonical films.
Michael Haneke’s second feature is a characteristically icy and unsettling account of child murder and cover-up.
Michael Haneke's decidedly unfunny, unrelenting critique of screen violence was one of the most vehemently-debated films of the '90s.