Delve deep into the world of rare horror films

 

‘Gothic, Giallo, Gore’ showcases rare horror film prints from around the world

Nearly all of the films being screened during ‘Gothic, Giallo, Gore: Masters of Italian Horror’ have arrived on 35mm prints shipped over from Italy and America. To present this collection of cult horror classics The Australian Cinémathèque reached out to national archives, private collections, and key individuals across the globe in order to more fulsomely share these lurid thriller and gruesome gorefests with our audience.

As the last cinema in Queensland to have a permanent 35mm projector set-up, we endeavour to screen films from 35mm prints where possible to best present titles as per the filmmakers’ original intentions. Some of the films in this program are no longer available on print, with only the original camera negative surviving to provide material to create further digital copies and restorations. Others have never received proper digital conversion, so no Digital Cinema Package (DCP) can be sourced for screening.

Each of the three filmmakers highlighted in this program – Dario Argento, Mario Bava, and Lucio Fulci – ended up requiring some special manoeuvring in order to obtain the very rare materials that are available internationally.

Dario Argento

Dario Argento on the set of Opera 1987
Dario Argento (far right) on the set of Opera 1987
Inferno
Production still from Inferno 1980 / Director: Dario Argento / Image courtesy: Park Circus

For Dario Argento, the most prized screening material sourced for the program is Argento’s personal print of his giallo masterpiece Opera 1987, which will be screening on Sunday 1 October at 3pm. This print is one of the few prints (perhaps the only copy) of the director’s cut left in the world. It required direct and personal approval from Argento himself, who gave personal permission for it to be screened at GOMA. The 20th Century Fox archive have also been very kind and have found a rare print copy of the director’s Inferno 1980 (screening Sunday 1 October 12.30pm) in their archives, which they are shipping to us from California.

Mario Bava

Blood and Black Lace
Production still from Blood and Black Lace 1964 / Director: Mario Bava / Image courtesy: Compass Film

For the films of Mario Bava, we worked directly with Mario Bava’s long-time producer Alfredo Leone to supply beautiful Italian Technicolor prints of six of the seven Bava titles included in the program. The final Bava film, Blood and Black Lace 1964 (screening Saturday 16 September 1.00pm), is extremely hard to find on 35mm and is coming from a private collection in America. The print actually no longer has the last few seconds of the film still attached to the reels, so we will be screening the missing footage from a digital copy once the print runs out of frames to make sure this key classic is seen in its entirety.

Lucio Fulci

A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
Production still from A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin 1971 / Director: Lucio Fulci / Image courtesy: First Line Films
Don’t Torture a Duckling
Production still from Don’t Torture a Duckling 1972 / Director: Lucio Fulci

And finally, for Lucio Fulci, we have managed to secure an uncompressed digital version of the luscious restoration of Fulci’s psychedelic giallo masterwork A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin 1971 (screening Sunday 17 September 1.00pm). This digital restoration was sourced by the generous work of the rights holder First Line Films and the producer of the BluRay release of the film Mondo Macabro. It is an extremely rare presentation of the film and we are very excited to be able to share it. That same day at 3.00pm, we will be screening a stunning 35mm copy of Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling 1972, which has arrived from La Cineteca Nazionale in Rome without subtitles – so we will be live-subtitling that screening with the help of our wonderful Italian translator.

Curious to know WHAT ELSE IS screening, plus DISCOVER MORE about the Cinémathèque program

Gothic, Giallo, Gore: Masters of Italian Horror’ is co-presented with Brisbane Festival.

Robert Hughes is Curatorial Assistant, Australian Cinémathèque
Feature image detail: Production still from Inferno 1980 / Director: Dario Argento / Image courtesy: Park Circus

Goblin perform live in Brisbane alongside the film Suspiria

 

This September, QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque and Brisbane Festival will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Dario Argento’s revered cult classic Suspiria 1977 in truly spectacular fashion: by flying Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin from Rome to Brisbane to perform their iconic score live alongside a screening of the film for one night only. BUY TICKETS

The horror-soundtrack luminaries will be performing at The Tivoli on Friday 22 September 2017 in an Australian exclusive event. The lurid colours and outrageous bloodshed of the film will be given new life by the live score, propelling its already amplified intensity to new heights.

Suspiria is the crown jewel of Italian horror: beloved, influential, oft-imitated but never surpassed. The plot finds a young American woman arriving at a ballet school in Germany. She soon realises there is something far more insidious and darkly supernatural hidden within the bowels of the school. However, the narrative takes second place to the evocative atmosphere shaped by director Dario Argento’s mastery of mood and cinematic aesthetics.

Production still from Suspiria 1977 / Director: Dario Argento / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment

Production still from Suspiria 1977 / Director: Dario Argento / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment
Production stills from Suspiria 1977 / Director: Dario Argento / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment

After a long career, primarily marked by composing the soundtracks for the films of Dario Argento, Claudio Simonetti and his band have returned to the international stage – touring around the world playing the music that made Italian horror cinema so legendary.

Claudio Simonetti is a Brazilian-born Italian musician and composer was the driving force behind the renowned prog-rock band Goblin. Goblin are most famous for their pulse-pounding soundtracks to many of director Dario Argento’s classic horror films – including Deep Red 1975, Suspiria 1977, and Tenebre 1982. Born to a father who was himself a popular composer, Claudio honed his musical abilities at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Italy before co-founding the group that would go on to become Goblin in 1975. After the dissolution of the band, Claudio continued to work with Argento and other greats of Italian horror cinema, including Lucio Fulci and Lamberto Bava.

This promises to be an all-out, nerve-shredding audio-visual onslaught – don’t miss it!

Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin Play Suspiria

8.00pm Friday 22 September 2017 (1hr 40mins)
The Tivoli, Costin Street, Fortitude Valley
BUY TICKETS

Claudio Simonetti and his band Goblin
Claudio Simonetti and his band Goblin

Curious to know WHAT ELSE IS screening, plus DISCOVER MORE about the Cinémathèque program

Robert Hughes is Curatorial Assistant, Australian Cinémathèque
Feature image: Production still from Suspiria 1977 / Director: Dario Argento / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment

Werner Herzog explores humanity

 

The Australian Cinémathèque’s free Werner Herzog cinema program continues with a selection of films that showcase the director’s ability to explore both the darkness and adventurous spirit within humanity.

Production still from Woyzeck 1979 / Director: Werner Herzog / Image courtesy: Werner Herzog Film GmbH

On Friday 21 July 2017, two of Herzog’s esteemed collaborations with the tempestuous actor Klaus Kinski will be screened. At 6.00pm, see his adaptation of the renowned German play Woyzeck 1979. The film follows Kinski as the eponymous soldier Franz Woyzeck, who subjects himself to medical experiments to earn money for himself and his mistress – which push his already fragile sanity to breaking point.

I don’t believe there is a greater drama in the German language than Büchner’s ‘Woyzeck’; it’s a work of such stunning actuality.

Werner Herzog

At 7.45pm on Friday, the classic cinematic nightmare Aguirre, the Wrath of God 1972, which tracks a group of conquistadors down the Amazon River on their doomed search for the riches of El Dorado. Both films will be presented on imported 35mm prints direct from the Deutsches Kinemathek in Berlin.

Production still from Aguirre, the Wrath of God 1972 / Director: Werner Herzog / Image courtesy: Werner Herzog Film GmbH

On Saturday 22 July, experience the meditative and joyous documentary Wheel of Time 2003 at 1.00pm. Wheel of Time studies the world’s largest Buddhist ritual, the Kalachakra initiation. Herzog captures incredible sights – including hundreds of thousands of worshippers praying in unison and the creation of an enormous sand mandala – but he focuses more intently on the inner devotion of those who have travelled so far for this ritual. Herzog was even invited personally by the Dalai Lama to make the film, after the Dalai Lama announced himself a fan of the director’s work.

Production still from Queen of the Desert 2015 / Director: Werner Herzog / Image courtesy: Transmission Films

At 2.45pm Saturday, Nicole Kidman stars as turn-of-the-century adventurer Gertrude Bell in Queen of the Desert 2015. Bell left her aristocratic existence to explore the Middle East, before eventually playing a pivotal role in the crafting of the nations that emerged in the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. The film is Herzog’s deliberate throwback to the large-scale adventure filmmaking of classics such as Lawrence of Arabia 1962. Nicole Kidman embodies Bell with an aura of steely determination that drives her journey, with Herzog’s eye for majestic desert vistas as powerful as ever.

[When] I saw the letters and diaries of Gertrude Bell, hearing her voice and reading her voice, I immediately knew this was big. It was so big that I had to accept this challenge.

Werner Herzog

Explore the rest of the free ‘The Wrath and Reveries of Werner Herzog’ program which will continue until 19 August 2017. The program explores the films of Werner Herzog whose strange and spectacular works have enthralled audiences for nearly half a century.

DELVE DEEPER INTO the films of Werner Herzog

Curious to know what’s on at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA?

Robert Hughes is Curatorial Assistant, Australian Cinémathèque
Feature image: Production still from Wheel of Time 2003 / Director: Werner Herzog / Image courtesy: Werner Herzog Film GmbH

Italian Horror comes to GOMA

 

We’re delighted to announce that the Australian Cinémathèque and Brisbane Festival present a month of Italian Horror with our new program ‘Gothic, Giallo, Gore: Masters of Italian Horror’, which will screen between 8 September – 1 October 2017 at GOMA.

This program will celebrate the works of the three most prominent figures in the world of Italian horror cinema: Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, and Dario Argento and will survey their key works, exploring the development of the giallo genre: from Bava’s deeply influential gothic works, Argento’s mastery of the lurid thriller, and the gory descendants found in Fulci’s oeuvre.

Production still from Blood and Black Lace 1964 / Director: Mario Bava / Image courtesy: Compass Film

The majority of the films will be shown on rare 35mm prints, drawn from national and private archives from around the world. The program also includes new digital restorations, including the vibrant 4k restoration of Suspiria 1977, the Cineteca Nazionale in Rome’s restoration of the director’s cut of Deep Red 1975, and an extremely rare screening of Lucio Fulci’s A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin 1971.

Production still from A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin 1971 / Director: Lucio Fulci / Image courtesy: First Line Films

Many of these films have not been screened theatrically in Australia for decades – if ever – and many are unlikely to make an appearance again for years. Fans of horror cinema can expect a wildly gruesome and exhilarating month of titles, with cult favourites and lesser known treats all making an appearance.

Production still from Suspiria 1977 / Director: Dario Argento / Image courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment

Gothic, Giallo, Gore: Masters of Italian Horror’ is a ticketed cinema program not to be missed on the big screen. The only thing more terrifying than the last three days of this program are the first twenty-one.

Curious to know what’s on at the Australian Cinémathèque?

Robert Hughes is Curatorial Assistant, Australian Cinémathèque
Feature image: Production still from Tenebre (detail) 1982 / Director: Dario Argento / Image courtesy: Intramovies

Werner Herzog’s Dieter Dengler double

 

This Saturday 8 July, ‘The Wrath and Reveries of Werner Herzog’ continues with a double feature of the filmmaker’s two works on Dieter Dengler: the German-born American air force pilot who was captured as a prisoner during the Vietnam War after being shot down over Laos. Herzog made both the documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly 1997 and the feature film Rescue Dawn 2006 about Dengler’s experiences, though both play with the director’s penchant for the ‘ecstatic truth’ rather than pure literality. Both films will screen from archival 35mm film prints.

Herzog first made the documentary Little Dieter Needs to Fly about Dengler’s experiences and his life in the decades after the War. He returns with Dengler to Laos and Thailand to travel through the sites and paths of those momentous months. Little Dieter Needs to Fly is an intimate and powerful documentary portrait of a man changed, but not broken, by his nightmarish experiences.

The story of Dieter and Duane was always one I wanted to tell in a feature film, a tale of friendship and survival. Although ‘Rescue Dawn’ came second, in spirit it really was the first film. ‘Little Dieter’ was strongly influenced by a feature film that hadn’t been made yet.

Werner Herzog

Production still from Rescue Dawn 2006 / Director: Werner Herzog / Image courtesy: Conquistador Entertainment

The director would then return to his subject with Rescue Dawn. Christian Bale gives a commanding performance as Dengler, with Bale’s extreme real-life weight loss for the role lending an air of pain and desperation to Dengler’s struggles within the camp. Herzog takes plenty of liberties with the real story behind the film, but Rescue Dawn manages to put on screen many of the seemingly unimaginable scenarios described in Little Dieter Needs to Fly.

Together, the two pieces of cinema play off each other wonderfully – offering a fuller portrait of a man and his painful past.

Robert Hughes is Curatorial Assistant, Australian Cinémathèque
Feature image: 
Production still from Little Dieter Needs to Fly 1997 / Director: Werner Herzog / Image courtesy: Werner Herzog Film GmbH

Werner Herzog and the burden of dreams

 

This weekend, the Australian Cinémathèque’s program ‘The Wrath and Reveries of Werner Herzog’ returns with a celebration of one of Herzog’s most monumental cinematic achievements. On Friday night 30 June, the filmmaker’s masterpiece Fitzcarraldo 1982 will screen at 6.00pm from an archival 35mm print shipped in from Berlin. Then, on Saturday 1 July at 2.45pm, the classic making-of documentary Burden of Dreams 1982 reveals the almighty struggles that went into making the film.

Fitzcarraldo follows Brian Sweeney ‘Fitzcarraldo’ Fitzgerald (a prodigious Klaus Kinski) as he decides to build an opera house in the middle of the Amazon jungle. However, he must first drag a 320-ton ship over a Peruvian mountain to access the lucrative rubber trees needed to fund it. This mission proves to be an undertaking of incredible scope, requiring an incredible drive to succeed at any cost.

Production still from Fitzcarraldo 1982 / Director: Werner Herzog / Image courtesy: Werner Herzog Film GmbH

Herzog famously refused to fake this endeavour with props and replicas; instead he and his crew actually hauled a full steamship over a mountain in the heart of the South American jungle. This was no mere gimmick but instead a means of conjuring a truly potent sense of adversity and triumph that emanates from every frame of the film. Fitzcarraldo is an audacious epic of a scale that few filmmakers could hope to achieve. In matching his lead character’s obsessive quest on screen with his own behind the camera, Herzog has produced a titanic piece of cinema both startling and rousing in equal measure.

Burden of Dreams opens up the incredible tale of the production to audiences with some of the most amazing behind-the-scenes footage ever filmed. The documentary was shot by Herzog’s friend and fellow filmmaker Les Blank, whose inquisitive camera captures the gruelling work that went into Fitzcarraldo‘s creation: from a wildly unpredictable lead actor in Klaus Kinski, to the hundreds of extras, and the hauling of the 320-ton ship over a mountain. It not only expands the mystique of the feature film it covers, but itself remains in many ways just as grand of an artistic achievement. Burden of Dreams will screen with Les Blank’s short film Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe 1980, which is as literal and accurate a title as any film has ever had.

Production still from Burden of Dreams 1982 / Director: Les Blank / Image courtesy: Les Blank Films

Robert Hughes is Curatorial Assistant, Australian Cinémathèque
Feature image: Production still from Fitzcarraldo 1982 / Director: Werner Herzog / Image courtesy: Werner Herzog Film GmbH