Screens at Cinema Borealis (1550 N. Milwaukee, 4th Floor) Presented by NORTHWEST CHICAGO FILM SOCIETY


December 18th, 2011

When her deadbeat Lapland Shepard husband takes off and leaves her hungry and heartbroken, Mirjami Kuosmanen (director Erik Blomberg’s real world wife) seeks the help of a local shaman who turns her into a white reindeer vampire. Adapted from a Finnish folk tale, the film is beautifully shot against staggering Finnish snowscapes and herds of reindeer who don’t have marital problems. The Finnish entry at the 1953 Cannes film festival won the award for Best Fairy Tale film with Jean Cocteau as the president of the mostly french Jury, and made its way to the US as THE WHITE REINDEER in 1957 as a limited release.

Also on the bill tonight is a 16mm kinescope of the SPACE PATROL episode, A CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR HAPPY originally aired on Christmas Day 1954, and featuring (briefly) a reindeer driven spaceship. (JA)

Program Details:
Directed by Erik Blomberg
(1953, 67 mins., Junior-Filmi, 35mm)
Print courtesy of Douris Corp.
Special thanks to Tim Lanzas

The Northwest Chicago Film Society is an Illinois Not-For-Profit Organization. It exists to promote the preservation of film in context. Films capture the past uniquely. They hold the stories told by feature films, but also the stories of the industries that produced them, the places where they were exhibited, and the people who watched them. We believe that all of this history-not just of film, but of 20th century industry and culture-is more intelligible when it’s grounded in unsimulated experience: seeing a film in a theater, with an audience, and projected from film stock. Films are programmed and projected by Julian Antos, Becca Hall, and Kyle Westphal.


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Directed by Bruce La Bruce Presented by WHITE LIGHT CINEMA


December 10th, 2011

Nothing says holiday-time like gritty, punky, black and white, queer Canadian quasi-porn! We are pleased to present a rare screening of Bruce La Bruce’s (Super 8 1/2, Hustler White, LA Zombie) first feature film, NO SKIN OFF MY ASS (1991).

Not available on DVD in the U.S., NO SKIN was made during the burgeoning of the New Queer Cinema “movement” of the late 1980s/early 90s (Gus Van Sant, Gregg Araki, Christopher Munch, Todd Haynes, etc.). But La Bruce was on the fringe of even that fringe: his film drew from Canadian underground Queercore, punk, skinhead, music, and zine scenes and struck a decidedly more strident and in-your-face tone than his American travelling companions.

But NO SKIN was not just radical posturing and provocation; it was also a personal, and at times sweet (see Amy Taubin quote), film, and this is what helps it still feel fresh twenty years later.

“Sweeter than Warhol, subtler than Kuchar, sexually more explicit than Van Sant.” (Amy Taubin, Village Voice)

“Triple X-rated, NO SKIN OFF MY ASS is a gay remake of Robert Altman’s THAT COLD DAY IN THE PARK. Director Bruce LaBruce plays the Karen Carpenter-loving hairstylist who is helplessly attracted to the lonely and stoic skinhead he finds and invites to his home. This very sexually explicit comedy is really for anyone – male or female, straight or not – who is a bit curious and wants to see a movie that offers something…a little different.”(Film Threat)

“In the early 1990s, while the New Queer Cinema was busy trying to sell fags ‘n dykes to mainstream audiences, Canadian Bruce La Bruce was happily preaching to the queer choir. NO SKIN OFF MY ASS wasn’t his first film – it followed a handful of Super 8 shorts – but it was the one that got him attention and fixed his image as a talented trashmeister willing to mix it up with social satire, homo camp, and hardcore sex. NO SKIN OF MY ASS, a low-rent remake of Robert Altman’s THAT COLD DAY IN THE PARK, is a typical Brucian effort, with the usual pleasures and pitfalls. Bruce, who wrote, directed, and photographed, also stars here as a hairdresser who obsesses over skinheads. Luckily, right near his apartment he finds a handsome specimen, sitting silently on a park bench. Before you can say “wash and set,” Bruce has lured “Skinhead Guy,” as he’s known, into his apartment. There Bruce gives the bald beauty a bath (using Mr. Bubble), after which he locks his new pal in a bedroom. Of course, this being a Bruce La Bruce movie, Skinhead Guy quickly and easily escapes for a visit to his sister, a lesbian activist filmmaker and graffiti artist. But soon Bruce and Skinhead are reunited for more edgy fun. Shot in extra-grainy Super 8 and blown up to 16mm, and mostly lacking synch sound (Bruce’s voiceovers occupy much of the soundtrack), NO SKINN OFF MY ASS has the look and feel of a low-rent porn flick, with Bruce’s love object the ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy – a mindless stud who lets Bruce take every imaginable liberty with him, from boot-licking to urinal caressing to straightforward blow jobs. And like much porn, this one has stretches of dullness that will endear some viewers to their fast-forward. As gorgeous as Skinhead Guy is, the camera’s endless slow crawl over his fetching flesh as he bathes, lounges, and lusts becomes numbing after awhile. Still, Bruce gets points for daring to bare all, and doing it with humor. A zany soundtrack that includes such il–matched talents as Karen Carpenter, the Subhumans, and Tiny Tim adds to the foolish fun.” (Gary Morris, Bright Lights Film Journal)

Program Details: 
Directed by Bruce La Bruce
(1991, 73 mins., 16mm, Canada, Black & White)

Filed under: film

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