Movie Mondays: Art and Sleaze, Together Forever at Last!
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Movie Mondays: Art and Sleaze, Together Forever at Last!

As a means of rounding up Toronto’s various cinematic goings-on each week, Movie Mondays compiles the best rep cinema and art house screenings, special presentations, lectures, and limited engagements.
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This is the kind of week we love here at Movie Mondays. We’ve got a nice mix of art and trash, of classics and not-so-classics. We’ve got some more Bertolucci, and a li’l Tommy Wiseau. And we’ve got even more good stuff unspooling all around town. Here’s the best of the best.

The Lightbox (350 King Street West)

mm_lightbox.jpg The Lightbox continues its robust Bernardo Bertolucci retrospective this week with Partner, screening at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18. There are a number of reasons why Italian cinema—so rich and independent in the 1960s—began to fall apart in the 1970s. A lot of people like to blame Bertolucci, whose 1900 is said to mark the moment when Italian cinema become more reliant on international stars and international markets. But if you really want to blame Bertolucci, you can look further back, to 1968’s Partner.
Partner plays out a lot like Bertolucci doing Godard. Dealing with a theatre teacher (Pierre Clémenti) workshopping a piece of radical street theatre in protest of the Vietnam war, Partner is highly politicized, in the vein of late-’60s Godard pictures like Week End and La Chinoise. It shares stylistic similarities as well, from its scenes of Brechtian direct address to its pop art compositions. It also prods cutely at consumer culture (especially in the scene where two characters frolic surreally at the foot of a frothing washing machine). That it recalls Godard doesn’t make it a bad film. It’s a great film. But in approximating the style of the French New Wave, it anticipates the multinational influences tugging at Italian cinema in late ‘60s and ‘70s, making it just as interesting as a historical artefact as it is as a movie.

The Fox (2236 Queen Street East)

mm_fox.jpg It seems like every couple of years some new, differently mastered, re-edited version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis makes its way through theatres. This time around, the film includes a whole bunch of added scenes, culled from a busted up 16mm print found in some basement in Argentina. The new footage fills in some gaps in the previous cut, even if it’s rougher and harder to make out than the more pristine cuts of the film.
The new theatrical release of Metropolis proves welcome, not only because it’s allegedly closer to Lang’s original vision, but because it offers a chance for anyone unfamiliar with the film to discover it. And if you haven’t seen it, you should. Lang’s film is an undisputed classic, not just of Weimar German film, but of cinema. Full stop. Its story of subterranean labourers languishing under their bourgeois, over-world masters may be a bit on the nose. But oh well; silent films traded in exaggeration, not subtlety. What’s more, the sheer imagination on display in Metropolis is unrivalled even by the majority of contemporary films. So if you haven’t seen the film or are eager to revisit it, check it out at The Fox, 9 p.m. on Wednesday, January 19.

The Bloor (506 Bloor Street West)

mm_bloor.jpg Plopping the word “Holocaust” in the title of your movie can swiftly mark your film as a tasteless piece of trash—and who doesn’t love those on occasion? See: Cannibal Holocaust, Zombie Holocaust, Robot Holocaust, etc. And see also: Holocaust 2000, which Rue Morgue magazine is presenting Thursday, January 20 at 9:30 p.m. at The Bloor.
A 1977 film by Italian schlock filmmaker Alberto De Martino—remember what we said earlier about Italian cinema going downhill in the ‘70s?—Holocaust 2000 casts Kirk Douglas as an industrialist building a nuclear power plant near a mysterious Middle Eastern cave. It also casts Simon Ward as his son, the Antichrist, who plans to use the plant to usher in the endtimes. It’s also called Holocaust 2000 and is cheesy and distasteful and crude and dumb. What’s not to like?

The Royal (608 College Street)

mm_royal.jpgWe spill a lot of ink here at Movie Mondays promoting The Room. (Well, we don’t literally spill ink. But we do whatever the digital equivalent is. Spatter bytes?) Anyhow, we do it for a couple of reasons.
First off, The Royal does a real public service by screening the film every month, and we like to do our part by getting the word out. But just as importantly, The Room is so frigging bad, guys. It’s that rare film that actually makes less sense that more you see it, with repeat viewings revealing it as stupider and stupider. And funnier. Twenty years from now, people will be talking about The Room. Mark our digital words. It’s important. So whether you’ve never seen it or know it by heart, get to The Royal at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, January 21 for the monthly screening.

Illustrations by Clayton Hanmer/Torontoist.

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