A typically eclectic and provocative mix of films is on tap for this year’s edition of the hotly anticipated Psychotronic Film Festival, beginning this Monday and sponsored in part by Connect Savannah.
While organizer Jim Reed screens about 50 films a year on Wednesday nights at the Sentient Bean, he says “this time of year people come out of the woodwork” for the annual Festival, which this year is being held at Muse Arts Warehouse both to accommodate the larger number of attendees as well as to enjoy the luxury of two screenings per night.
As the Festival enters its eighth year, Reed says it’s still a popular misconception that he only books films that he personally enjoys.
“You don’t assume the guy at the Carmike selling the tickets loves all the movies,” Reed laughs. “But because I’m there presenting them, I guess it’s implied that I love them.”
Rather, Reed says, “I book films I think somebody would love and that are noteworthy and worth showing.”
In one of the most unique aspects of the Psychotronic Film Festival, not only are the films not necessarily his favorites, Reed says because some of them are so new he hasn’t had a chance to see them yet.
“There are a handful that I haven’t seen yet because they’re so new. I booked them mostly on reputation,” he says. “Some I’ll see for the first time with the audience.”
One of those brand–new releases is Lemmy, the years–in–the–making documentary on the life and times of Lemmy Kilmister of the legendary British punk–metal group MotÖrhead.
“It’s been shown in only a very few places in America,” Reed says. “Lemmy’s a larger–than–life figure and has been for decades. All indications are that it’s a very well–made documentary, one that’s very entertaining even if you’re not a heavy metal fan or have even heard of MotÖrhead.”
Reed says fans of animation will especially love the groundbreaking but little–known Alice, a Czech film in English directed by Jan Svankmajer.
“It’s an unusual retelling of Alice in Wonderland with a live Alice, but all the creatures she meets are stopmotion animation figures,” Reed says. “And not cute stopmotion like Rudolph or the California Raisins. They’re very twisted and bizarre stopmotion characters.”
Starring underappreciated film icon Burt Lancaster in an unlikely role, The Swimmer is based on a John Cheever short story that paints a shrewd picture of the American upper class.
“It’s not widely known but it’s one of the most provocative and envelope–pushing films of the ‘60s,” Reed says. “People forget what a screen presence Burt Lancaster was. He was 55 when he made this movie, but he sure doesn’t look 55. He was like John Wayne – there was only one of them!”
Speaking of icons, Frank Sinatra stars in the Otto Preminger–directed The Man With the Golden Arm. “That was the first serious depiction of the life of a heroin addict on screen,” Reed says. “It was very shocking for 1955.”
However, perhaps the most unusual and terrifyingly wonderful film in this year’s Psychotronic Film Festival is R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet, a “hip hopera” written, directed, sung, and starring R. Kelly himself.
“It’s stupefying in its egomania,” Reed says.
Psychotronic Film Festival
Where: Muse Arts Warehouse (703 Louisville Rd., two blocks West of the Civic Center off MLK)
Cost: $8 per film or $15 to see both films on the same night
Ages: All films are intended for Mature Audiences. Only those ages 15 and older may attend.
Info: www.PsychotronicFilmSavannah.org & Facebook.com/PsychotronicFilmSavannah
Monday, Jan. 24
6:30pm - THE SWIMMER (1968, USA)
9:00pm - EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (2010, USA)
Tuesday, Jan. 25
6:30pm - Jan Svankmeyer's ALICE (1988, Czech)
9:00pm - FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON aka LE ORME (1975, Italy)
Wednesday, Jan. 26
6:30pm - THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955, USA) -
9:00pm - THE DAY OF THE BEAST (1995, Spain)
Thursday, Jan. 27
6:30pm - SUPER INFRA-MAN (1975, Hong Kong)
9:00pm - LEMMY (2010, USA)
Friday, Jan. 28
6:30pm - LA MOUSTACHE (2005, France)
9:00pm - R. KELLY'S "TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET" (2007, USA)
Saturday, Jan. 29
6:30pm - THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST (2009, Sweden)
9:00pm - HAUSU aka HOUSE (1977, Japan)