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SAPPH-O-RAMA at Film Forum

February 2 - February 13

The staff of GO is thrilled to reactivate our live events calendar and weekly party roundups as we continue to serve our community by presenting the best in arts, entertainment, and nightlife event listings for our readers. However, especially given the Omicron variant, we adamantly recommend that all who consider venturing out to any public event continue to intelligently and carefully assess any risks involved in attending such events. GO recommends regularly checking CDC guidelines and updates regarding Covid-19 and strongly encourages our readers to vet any venue or event’s Covid-19 protocols before attending. There is nothing we care more about than the safety and health of our beautiful community members and the safety and health of their friends and loved ones. Please join us by continuing to do your part in stopping the spread of this virus.

With love, GO.

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SAPPH-O-RAMA, a 30-film series exploring the eccentric, enduring, and genre-encompassing history of the Lesbian image in cinema will run at Film Forum from Friday, February 2 through Tuesday, February 13.

This swoon-worthy celebration of the sapphic canon—groundbreaking, cult favorite, or under-seen selections from the silent era to present day—includes films by Dorothy Arzner, Chantal Akerman, Ulrike Ottinger, Cheryl Dunye, Lizzie Borden, Yvonne Rainer, Nouchka van Brakel, Céline Sciamma, John Waters, Pedro Almodóvar, and many others.

Alla Nazimova and Charles Bryant’s landmark adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s SALOMÉ (1923) saw openly bisexual co-director and star Nazimova (considered the “founding mother of Sapphic Hollywood,” who coined the phrase “sewing circle” to describe the posse of queer women fraternizing in the industry), lead a rumored-to-be entirely queer cast. With costuming by Natacha Rambova, based on illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley, SALOMÉ is an artfully decadent film that exudes queer sensibility.

Dorothy Arzner’s raucous pre-Code comedy THE WILD PARTY (1929), starring Clara Bow in her—and Paramount’s—historic first ‘talkie,’ is celebrated for the sapphic implications in its portrayal of female friendships. It skyrocketed Arzner’s career, the first out Lesbian director to work in Hollywood.

Leontine Sagan’s moody, chiaroscuro-shadowed romance MÄDCHEN IN UNIFORM (1931) follows new student Manuela who falls in love with her mercurial governess at an all-girls boarding school. Subversively sensual (lingering gazes, languishing kisses) and unabashedly anti-authoritarian, the film celebrates girlhood with “masculinity brazenly and humorously represented as invertebrate and impotent, in contrast to the quicksilver vitality of the girls. This film belongs to women who are trying to find themselves–and each other–in spite of repressive structures” (Amanda Lee Koe).

Exemplifying the game of hide-and-sapphic-seek in ‘50s Hollywood: sadistic butch prison matron Hope Emerson in John Cromwell’s CAGED (1950); tough-talking, cowboy hat-donning Doris Day singing yearningly of her “Secret Love” in David Butler’s CALAMITY JANE (1953); and the butch bravado showdown between gun-slingin’ Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge in Nicholas Ray’s JOHNNY GUITAR (1954).

Robert Aldrich’s X-rated THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE (1968), based on the 1965 Frank Marcus play, centers a bizarre love triangle between aging alcoholic and faltering soap actress Beryl Reid, her doll-obsessed younger girlfriend Susannah York, and TV executive Coral Browne. Writes Melissa Anderson in Film Comment, “Aldrich’s film endures not because it’s an example of bad, pre-Stonewall homo images but because of its sly way of celebrating dykes. Though she has lost both her girlfriend and her job, George is the only character who has not compromised herself or exploited others. SISTER GEORGE may be the first movie in which an alcoholic, unrepentant butch who molests nuns is redeemed by her unwavering commitment to her sexuality.”

The ‘70s produced a cocktail of shameless, outrageous, and audacious Lesbian characters with muddled fates in films meant to warn against–or mock–the supposed dangers of homosexuality. Among them are Jonathan Demme’s directorial debut, CAGED HEAT (1974), the all-out Lez-sploitation prison-escape rape-revenge drama, starring Barbara Steele, Erica Gavin, and Juanita Brown, with cinematography by Tak Fujimoto, and a striking, blues-inflected score by John Cale; the chilling vampire thriller DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS (1971), starring Delphine Seyrig as an icy seductress-countess; and John Waters’ rad-dyke-al revolutionary black comedy DESPERATE LIVING (1977), that follows Mink Stole and Jean Hill on-the-run to the colorful hellscape of Mortville, reigned by fascist majesty Edith Massey, which ranks “the highest peak atop the director’s trash heap of a filmography” by The New York Times, and managed to offend so many Lesbians that their protests prevented it from being shown in some cities.

Pioneering experimental and independent filmmakers presented an honest and sobering range of stories showing Lesbian discovery, levity, and strife. Such films as Lizzie Borden’s afro-futurist BORN IN FLAMES (1983), Sheila McLaughlin’s widely underseen No Wave psycho-thriller SHE MUST BE SEEING THINGS (a Film Forum premiere in 1987), set in a lost 80s downtown New York with a bluesy saxophone score courtesy of John Zorn; Yvonne Rainer’s final feature, the darkly comic meditation on aging and late-in-life love, MURDER AND MURDER (1996); Ulrike Ottinger’s Lesbian pirate ship fantasy epic MADAME X: AN ABSOLUTE RULER (1978); Nouchka van Brakel’s A WOMAN LIKE EVE (1979), starring the drifting troubadour Maria Schneider who charms a married housewife; and Cheryl Dunye’s groundbreaking THE WATERMELON WOMAN (a Film Forum premiere in 1996).

Commercial viability brought more opportunity for touching, campy, boundary-pushing stories, making way for a diverse array of modern Lesbian classics, like Maria Maggenti’s THE INCREDIBLY TRUE ADVENTURE OF TWO GIRLS IN LOVE (1995), starring a young Laurel Holloman (The L Word’s Tina), Donna Deitch’s DESERT HEARTS (1985), Jamie Babbitt’s BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER (1999) , Alice Wu’s SAVING FACE (2004), and many more.

Special events include introductions by actress/filmmaker Natasha Lyonne, filmmaker Madeleine Olnek, 4Columns film editor/critic Melissa Anderson, and more to be announced.

SAPPH-O-RAMA is programmed by Andrea Torres and Emily Greenberg. It is adapted from the hit July 2000 Film Forum series of the same name (programmed by Bruce Goldstein and Michael Sayers), which spotlighted Lesbian cult movies and included 10 of the 30 titles now being presented.

Public Screening Schedule
Subject to change, check web for latest

FUCKING ÅMÅL
Sweden, 1998
Directed by Lukas Moodysson
With Alexandra Dahlström, Rebecka Liljeberg
Approx. 89 min. DCP.

Friday, February 2 at 12:20
Tuesday, February 6 at 2:25
Wednesday, February 7 at 6:20
JE TU IL ELLE
France, 1974
Directed by Chantal Akerman
With Chantal Akerman, Niels Arestrup, Claire Wauthion
Approx. 90 min. DCP.

Friday, February 2 at 2:20
Wednesday, February 7 at 12:15
Friday, February 9 at 7:20
Saturday, February 10 at 2:15
THE WATERMELON WOMAN
U.S., 1996
Directed by Cheryl Dunye
With Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Camille Paglia, Sarah Schulman, Cheryl Clarke, David Rakoff
Approx. 90 min. DCP.

Friday, February 2 at 4:20
Monday, February 12 at 6:00
BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER
U.S., 1999
Directed by Jamie Babbitt
With Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, RuPaul Charles, Cathy Moriarty, Melanie Lynskey
Approx. 85 min. DCP.

Friday, February 2 at 6:20
Tuesday, February 6 at 12:30
BORN IN FLAMES
US, 1983
Directed by Lizzie Borden
With Honey, Adele Bertei, Jean Satterfield, Florynce Kennedy, Kathryn Bigelow, Sheila McLaughlin, Eric Bogosian, Becky Johnston, Pat Murphy, Hillary Hurst, Marty Pottenger, Ron Vawter, John Coplans, Bill Tatum
Approx. 80 min. 35mm print courtesy of Anthology Film Archives.

Friday, February 2 at 8:20
Saturday, February 3 at 9:40
SHAKEDOWN
U.S., 2018
Directed by Leilah Weinraub
With Aiisha Ferguson as Egypt, Jamie Thomas as Jazmyne, Sha’ron Harris as Ronnie-Ron, Mahogany Wilson
Approx. 70 min. DCP.

Wednesday, February 7 at 8:20
MADAME X: AN ABSOLUTE RULER
West Germany, 1978
Directed by Ulrike Ottinger, Tabea Blumenschein
With Tabea Blumenschein, Yvonne Rainer
Approx.137 min. DCP.

Saturday, February 3 at 12:15
Sunday, February 11 at 5:30
MÄDCHEN IN UNIFORM
Germany, 1931
Directed by Leontine Sagan
Based on the play Gestern und heute by Christa Winsloe
With Hertha Thiele, Dorothea Wieck, Emilia Unda
Approx. 88 min. DCP.

Saturday, February 3 at 3:10
Tuesday, February 6 at 4:30
Saturday, February 10 at 12:15
TOMBOY
France, 2011
Directed by Céline Sciamma
With Zoé Héran, Malonn Lévana, Sophie Cattani, Mathieu Demy, Jeanne Disson
Approx. 82 min. 35mm print courtesy of TIFF’s Film Reference Library.

Saturday, February 3 at 5:10
Wednesday, February 7 at 2:15
THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE
U.S., 1968
Directed by Robert Aldrich
With Beryl Reid, Susannah York, Coral Browne
Based on the 1964 play by British playwright Frank Marcus
Approx. 138 min. DCP.

Saturday, February 3 at 7:00
Saturday, February 10 at 4:15
Monday, February 12 at 2:35
CALAMITY JANE
U.S., 1953
Directed by David Butler
With Doris Day, Howard Keel, Allyn Ann McLerie
Editing by Irene Morra
Music by Ray Heindorf
Approx. 101 min. 35mm.
Screening as part Film Forum Jr.

Sunday, February 4 at 11:00
SHE MUST BE SEEING THINGS
U.S., 1987
Directed by Sheila McLaughlin
With Lois Weaver, Sheila Dabney, Ed Bowes, Peggy Shaw
Music by John Zorn
Approx. 94 min. DCP.

Sunday, February 4 at 1:10
Tuesday, February 13 at 8:00
SALOMÉ
U.S., 1922
Directed by Charles Bryant, Alla Nazimova
Adapted from the the 1891 Oscar Wilde play
With Alla Nazimova, Mitchell Lewis, Rose Dione, Earl Schenck, Arthur Jasmine, Nigel De Brulier, Frederick Peters, Louis Dumar
Cinematography by Charles van Enger
Approx. 74 min. DCP.
With live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner

Sunday, February 4 at 3:10
MURDER AND MURDER
U.S., 1996
Directed by Yvonne Rainer
With Joanna Merlin, Kathleen Chalfant
Approx. 113 min. DCP.

Sunday, February 4 at 4:50
Tuesday, February 13 at 12:30
DESERT HEARTS
U.S., 1985
Directed by Donna Deitch
Screenplay by Natalie Cooper, adapted from the 1964 novel Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule
With Helen Shaver, Patricia Charbonneau, Audra Lindley
Approx. 96 min. DCP.

Sunday, February 4 at 8:10
Thursday, February 8 at 2:25
A WOMAN LIKE EVE
Netherlands, 1979,
Directed by Nouchka van Brakel
With Monique van de Ven, Maria Schneider, Marijke Merckens, Peter Faber
Approx. 113 min. DCP.

Monday, February 5 at 2:10
Thursday, February 8 at 6:00
PARIAH
U.S., 2011
Directed by Dee Rees
With Adepero Oduye, Kim Wayans, Aasha Davis
Cinematography by Bradford Young
Approx. 86 min. DCP.

Monday, February 5 at 4:40
Sunday, February 11 at 8:30
CAGED
U.S., 1950
Directed by John Cromwell
Adapted by Virginia Kellogg from the story ‘Women Without Men’ by Kellogg and Bernard C. Schoenfeld
With Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorehead, Betty Garde, Hope Emerson, Ellen Corby
Editing by Owen Marks
Music by Max Steiner
Approx. 96 min. DCP.

Monday, February 5 at 7:00
Friday, February 9 at 2:30
CODEPENDENT LESBIAN SPACE ALIEN SEEKS SAME
U.S., 2011
Directed by Madeleine Olnek
With Lisa Haas, Susan Ziegler, Jackie Monahan, Cynthia Kaplan
Approx. 75 min. DCP.

Tuesday, February 6 at 8:00
SAVING FACE
U.S., 2004
Directed by Alice Wu
With Michelle Krusiec, Joan Chen, Lynn Chen
Approx. 97 min. DCP.

Wednesday, February 7 at 4:10
Sunday, February 11 at 1:00
DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS
Belgium, France, West Germany, U.S., Canada, 1971
Directed by Harry Kümel
With Delphine Seyrig, John Karlen, Andrea Rau, Danielle Ouimet
Approx. 100 min. DCP.

Thursday, February 8 at 12:15
Saturday, February 10 at 7:10
DESPERATE LIVING
U.S., 1977
Directed by John Waters
With Liz Renay, Mink Stole, Edith Massey, Susan Lowe, Mary Vivian Pearce, Jean Hill
Cinematography by John Waters
Approx. 90 min. DCP.

Thursday, February 8 at 8:30
THE INCREDIBLY TRUE ADVENTURE OF TWO GIRLS IN LOVE
U.S., 1995
Directed by Maria Maggenti
With Laurel Holloman, Nicole Ari Parker, Maggie Moore, Dale Dickey
Approx. 94 min. DCP.

Friday, February 9 at 12:30
Tuesday, February 13 at 6:00
DARK HABITS
Spain, 1983
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
With Julieta Serrano, Marisa Paredes, Chus Lampreave
Approx. 114 min. DCP.

Monday, February 12 at 12:30
THE WILD PARTY
U.S., 1929
Directed by Dorothy Arzner
With Clara Bow, Fredric March
Cinematography by Victor Milner
Approx. 77 min. 35mm print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Friday, February 9 at 5:30
Tuesday, February 13 at 3:10
CAGED HEAT
U.S., 1974
Directed by Jonathan Demme
With Juanita Brown, Roberta Collins, Erica Gavin, Ella Reid, Rainbeaux Smith, Barbara Steele
Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto
Music by John Cale, featuring guitar by Mike Bloomfield
Approx. 83 min. DCP.

Saturday, February 10 at 9:20
JOHNNY GUITAR
U.S., 1954
Directed by Nicholas Ray
Adapted from the novel by Roy Chanslor
With Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady, Ernest Borgnine
Cinematography by Harry Stradling
Approx. 110 min. DCP.

Sunday, February 11 at 3:10
Programmed by Andrea Torres and Emily Greenberg.

Special thanks to Michael Sayers, Melissa Anderson,
and Désirée Yael Vester (Lesbian Herstory Archives).

Presented with support from the R.G. Rifkind Foundation Endowment
For Queer Cinema and the Ada Katz Fund for Literature in Film.

Film Forum’s repertory calendar is programmed
By Bruce Goldstein, Repertory Artistic Director.

Stephanie Gross, Repertory Programming Manager
Lindsay Harvey, Repertory Associate

Details

Start:
February 2
End:
February 13
Event Category:
Event Tags:
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Website:
http://www.filmforum.org

Venue

Film Forum
New York, NY United States + Google Map