July 31 - August 1, 2001

American Cinematheque Presents...

The Wild Outlaw Eye: A Tribute to Director Donald Cammell

Series Compiled by Chris D.

Special Thanks: China Kong; Marilee Womack/WARNER BROS. CLASSICS; Elliot Kastner; Cassian Elwes; Brad Wyman; Hamish McAlpine; Frank Mazzola; David Shultz.

Tickets available 30 days in advance.

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Rooted in romanticism, but possessed of a sublime dark humor and a worldliness completely devoid of illusion, director and screenwriter Donald Cammell was unique in his devotion to emotionally truthful, deeply-layered narrative. An uncompromising visionary from the start, Cammell repeatedly had his work tinkered and tampered with, from his scriptwriting for such Mod satires as THE TOUCHABLES and DUFFY, through his co-direction (with Nicolas Roeg) and editing of PERFORMANCE and later forays into consciousness-expanding, outlaw cinema like DEMON SEED and THE WILD SIDE. His superb psychological thriller WHITE OF THE EYE – ironically one of his most radical pictures – received the least interference due to sympathetic producer Elliot Kastner.

Unfortunately, the majority of Cammell’s projects – including several writing collaborations with Marlon Brando – have not yet seen the light of day. In 1996, at the age of 62, Donald Cammell took his own life.

It is our great pleasure to present the first, long-overdue Los Angeles tribute to this under-appreciated cinematic idealist. We are very pleased to welcome Cammell’s collaborator, writing partner and wife China Kong & editor Frank Mazzola as our guest for these screenings.

 

Tuesday, July 31 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

PERFORMANCE, 1970, Warner Bros., 105 min. Dirs. Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg. Edited by Frank Mazzola. Perhaps the wildest, most deeply layered psychedelic movie ever made. Gangster James Fox goes on the lam, hiding out in reclusive pop star Mick Jagger’s decaying townhouse in the hippie London ghetto. Jagger and poly-sexual pal Anita Pallenberg put Fox through his paces with mind games and large doses of psylocibin mushrooms – all climaxing in the mind-blowing "Memo for Turner" production number. Brutal beatings, sexual identity crises and prodigious drug taking is punctuated by one of Jack Nitzsche’s best scores (highlighted by Ry Cooder’s incredible bottleneck guitar work).

DEMON SEED, 1977, MGM/UA (Warner Classics)., 94 min. Edited by Frank Mazzola. This provocative, imaginative sci-fi thriller is even more relevant today than when it was originally released. Scientist Fritz Weaver’s supercomputer decides it wants to impregnate his wife Julie Christie with its artificially-created DNA, in a sinister attempt to take over the world with its hybrid progeny! A terrifying cat-and-mouse game follows as Christie is trapped alone in the house with the omniscient computer. Discussion between films with PERFORMANCE and DEMON SEED editor, Frank Mazzola.

 

Wednesday, August 1 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature!

Ultra-Rare Director’s Cut – Never Before Seen!

WHITE OF THE EYE, 1987, Palisades Entertainment, 110 min. Co-written by China Kong. Exhilarating and disturbing thriller about a hip, happily-married custom stereo technician (David Keith) who also just happens to be a deranged serial killer. Cathy Moriarty, in her most pyrotechnic role outside of RAGING BULL, is his loving, no-nonsense wife who ends up having to fight for survival. Cammell's use of the rural New Mexico locations, his attention to back story for Keith's warped cosmic worldview, his dazzling visuals and direction of actors, come together in one of the most heady, bone-chilling depictions of insanity ever committed to film. A certified must-see – especially in this unique, Director’s Cut print, containing several additional minutes of footage never before screened in public!

Restored Director’s Cut!! THE WILD SIDE, 1995, Metro Tartan, 113 min. Co-written by China Kong. Edited by Frank Mazzola. Ann Heche, an investment banker who likes to hook on the side, becomes involved with outlaw millionaire securities trader Christopher Walken, falls-in-love with Walken's larcenous wife (Joan Chen) and is blackmailed by Walken's psycho chauffeur (Steven Bauer)! If that's not enough to intrigue you, then be aware that this painstaking reconstruction of Cammell's director’s cut (it was butchered by the original producers, and sported Cammell's "Franklin Brauner" pseudonym) has some of the most incredible crosscut-saw editing ever put on film, with a wealth of mindblowing dialogue that plays like a hybrid of Beckett and Pinter. Discussion between films with China Kong.