Archived Events, Film



There was a time when the public image of the Arthouse Cinema was one of snooty pretension. The Arthouse, it was assumed, was where bespectacled members of the turtleneck set would go to watch the latest films (as opposed to movies) by directors with intimidating first names like Ingmar and Federico and Jean-Luc. The Arthouse wasn’t a place for fun; it was a place for art.

Whether or not this dour stereotype was ever really true, it’s undeniable that things have changed; today, the repertory theatre is a place where one is just as likely to see a zombie bloodbath as a beautiful foreign meditation on existential ennui. It is in this interest that the Brattle has programmed its inaugural REEL WEIRD BRATTLE series, a month long celebration of the loopier side of independent film. For the next six Saturdays, the Harvard Square moviehouse will be serving up a series of mind-bending classics from across the globe. As if that weren’t incentive enough, the Brattle will be offering exclusive pins for attendees of each film, with a special prize for anyone who manages to collect them all! Here’s a quick field guide to the odd offerings:

DARK CITY (1998) Dir. Alex Proyas [Saturday 7/19. 11:30 PM]

Director Alex Proyas followed up his gothed-out classic THE CROW with this Gilliam-infused cyber-noir about a man with no memory in a city full of telepaths. THE MATRIX would look considerably different without this film – beginning with the fact that the Wachowskis literally bought and reused a number of its sets!

HAUSU (1977) Dir. Nobuhiku Obayashi [Saturday 7/26, 11:30 PM]


Ohhh, man… If you haven’t seen this film, there’s not much that can prepare you for its assault of Technicolor lunacy. A group of schoolgirls go to spend a weekend in a mysterious mansion. Within minutes, there are dancing skeletons, singing cats, man-eating pianos, men turning into piles of bananas, and more – all set to an infectious soundtrack of bubblegum and jazz fusion.

DREAMSCAPE (1984) Dir. Joseph Ruben [Saturday 8/2, 11:30 PM]


Dennis Quaid plays a young psychic drafted into a shadowy government program. So far, so familiar. Things take a turn for the weird, however, when he has to save the President’s life from inside his own dreams! Gonzo nightmare imagery abounds, with an oddball cast including Max Von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, and David Patrick Kelly.

PAPRIKA (2006) Dir. Satoshi Kon [Saturday 8/9, 11:30 PM]


What could make DREAMSCAPE even weirder, you ask? What if it was an anime? A computer allows therapists to enter their patients’ dreams. Things go about as well as you’d expect; soon the world is plunged into a psychedelic, melty, tentacle-filled nightmare.

VIDEODROME (1983) Dir. David Cronenberg [Saturday 8/16, 11:30 PM]


With each successive viewing of VIDEODROME, I am more and more convinced that it’s one of the best films of the ‘80s, despite the fact that I’m still not even sure what it’s actually about. James Woods plays a sleazy cable exec who stumbles across a bizarre, snuff-like pirate signal. Turns out, the broadcasts are addictive – and cause such side effects as “vein-covered gun-hand” and “VCR chest vagina.” See you in Pittsburgh!

ERASERHEAD (1977) Dir. David Lynch [Saturday 8/23, 11:30 PM]


The series closes with the film that remains the benchmark for cinematic weirdness. David Lynch’s debut feature is a dark, moody nightmare of a film, filled with existential dread, industrial drone, deformed “babies,” and tiny, man-made chickens. Promotional pins in the ‘70s  bore Jack Nance’s face with the words “I SAW IT.” If you haven’t, you need to change that.

Brattle Theatre (40 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138)

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