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IU Cinema to screen films in conjunction with Wounded Galaxies festival

Daisies 06.jpg

A series of film screenings at IU Cinema will compliment other events of this week’s Wounded Galaxies festival. 

According to the Media School’s website, the Wounded Galaxies festival as a whole centers around the political and artistic legacy of 1968.

The series kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday with a screening of George Romero’s 1968 horror film “Night of the Living Dead.” 

The films will be screened in blocks of two, and tickets to each screening block are $4 for all attendees.

IU Cinema director Jon Vickers said in an email that the film series was curated for the festival by film critic J. Hoberman.

"We thought he would be the perfect person to curate a series of films for IU Cinema for the Wounded Galaxies Festival," Media School professor Joan Hawkins said.

Hawkins, a coordinator of Wounded Galaxies, said J. Hoberman's film programming was curated to focus on a plethora of different aspects of 1968. 

“He wanted to show violence, third-world warfare, political assassination, the generational divide, drug culture, the impulse for sexual liberation, the desire for some sort of political revolution and the tendency to poke at certain social norms,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins also said the purpose of the curation was to give the film series an international scope. 

Hoberman is scheduled to give a lecture at 5 p.m. Thursday in the IU Cinema as part of the cinema’s ongoing Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Series. 

The film series is divided into five thematic blocks, each consisting of two films. The first, entitled “Apocalypse Then,” will feature the classic horror film “Night of the Living Dead” and the documentary feature “America A.K.A. Amerika.”

Hawkins said in addition to being an excellent and invigorating horror classic, “Night of the Living Dead” is also an immensely stirring look at American race politics. She added she regularly teaches the movie.

It's probably the most provocative film about race in the United States in the '60s, Hawkins said. It has a white and a black man duking it out for control of resources in a post-apocalyptic landscape.

“'It just goes on and on and on about the confrontation between these two men, which becomes very much about white and black politics,” Hawkins said.

Other thematic selections include “Power to the People,” which features “Uptight” and “Black Panthers"; “Magical Thinking,” which includes “La Chinoise” and “Invocation of my Demon Brother"; “Liberated Women,” featuring “Daisies” and “Kusama’s Self-Obliteration"; and “Trips,” including “Skidoo" and “Looking for Mushrooms." All of these movies were released between 1967 and 1969.

Hawkins also said that some of the films feature the cultural significance of the era.

One film, Kenneth Anger’s “Invocation of my Demon Brother,” which Hawkins described as a trippy experience, features a number of people who later became involved in the Manson cult, as well as a soundtrack and cameo by Mick Jagger.

Hawkins said a key focus in the curation of the festival was creating a series of films that was all-encompassing. In celebrating the 50 years since 1968, she said she felt it was important to focus on all prevalent ideas and movements of the era, from political strife to revolution and experimental art to ideological growth.

“On the one hand, the festival is talking about that," Hawkins said. "On the other hand, it’s talking about all the experimentation that went on in art at that time, all the upheavals that took place in academic work at that time.” 

She also stressed the festival lineup quite simply presents an outstanding selection of films, as well as the rare opportunity to see classic works in a theater setting.

“These are all great, great films, and it’s an amazing opportunity to see them on the big screen,” Hawkins said. 

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