Tuesday, 14 January
Ganja and Hess
GANJA AND HESS 1973 Directed by Bill Gunn 113 minutes In English
This is a fascinating, one-of-a-kind, barely released "black" vampire film, and one that is absolutely visionary and ground-breaking. It came about through a strange series of events. Back in the 70s there was a sudden explosion of blaxsploitation films that starred afro-americans (Shaft, and Blacula are prime examples). Because this trend was making lots of cash, a producer asked director Bill Gunn to make a black vampire film. That was certainly a wrong move if he expected anything stereotypical or commercial. Instead, what director Gunn conjured up was a bizarrely artistic horror film that was both hypnotic and poetic, and that tapped into vampirism and black spirituality. Ultimately it is a movie about addiction and class relations, as seen from a black American perspective.
This is one fucking weird film.... maybe the strangest of all vampire films. It has a sort of time-drifting narrative that is set in the 1970s, but reaches back to a past of black slavery and the African continent as a source for its mysticism. While you watch the film you feel you are the victim of some voodoo ritual, which is taking possession of your senses. Of course, once the financiers saw it they it they immediately chopped it to pieces, cutting it down to 78 minutes. We will be screening the director's cut (nearly two hours) that was restored by the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). It stars Duane Jones, who was the sole black character in the cult-classic Night of the Living Dead. This film is like stepping into another world, it's a very special, surreal, otherworldly experience.
A few comments by viewers to put this unwieldy flick into perspective:
- "It’s Shakespeare with vampires. What more do you want?"
- "Underground experimental arthouse loaded with allegory and fractured storytelling. Evasive, passionate, and beautiful."
- "Ganja and Hess is at minimum a marginalized if not completely forgotten masterpiece of American cinema. It got a standing ovation at Cannes, and ensured no American producer would work with Bill Gunn on a theatrical film ever again. Bill Gunn's corpse is still locked in the cultural cellar, discovered from time to time, but easily (and tragically) ignored in favor of more profitable ventures."
This will be a high-definition screening.
Date & Time:
- 3-5 €