Freaky film day! W’burg cinema hosts surrealist movie series

Dreamscape: Musician Alyse Lamb, left, will provide the soundtrack to surrealist shorts at Nitehawk’s Summer of Surrealism series, programmed by Caryn Coleman.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Ain’t nothing like the surreal thing, baby!

The Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg is starting a new film series called the Summer of Surrealism, which will explore movies chock full of weird, hallucinatory, and inscrutable imagery.

“These are films full of representational imagery that is not quite explained,” said series programmer Caryn Coleman. “They are ambient and bizarre and they play into the whole dreamscape language of watching something unfold in front of you instead of a point to endpoint film.”

The first film of the series will be Chilean-born filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s psychedelic 1973 epic “Holy Mountain,” which scandalized audiences at the time with its violent, sexual, and sacrilegious imagery. Scenes include a parade of skinned goat corpses, toads dressed in suits of armor being showered in blood, and a man eating the face off a naked wax statue of Jesus.

To make the viewing experience even more phantasmagorical, the June 27 midnight screening of Jodorowsky’s film will be accompanied by a live soundtrack performed by experimental music collective Guizot.

Other movies in the series will include David Lynch’s “Inland Empire,” Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” and Jim Jarmusch’s “Dead Man.”

There will also be two afternoon brunch shows featuring shorts, including Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali’s “Un Chien Andalou” — best known for a scene where an eyeball is sliced open — and Maya Deren’s “Meshes of the Afternoon,” which depicts a woman losing touch with reality and trying to stab herself.

The live soundtrack for the shorts will be provided by musician Alyse Lamb, who is known for her work with the bands Eula and Parlor Walls. Lamb said she will attempt to replicate the tension of surrealist films in her accompaniment.

“With surrealism, there are so many sharp and precise images and the meaning behind them is fluid,” said Lamb. “I try to replicate that juxtaposition between the surreal thought and concrete images and walk the line between abstract sound and very precise dissonance.”

Summer of Surrealism at Nitehawk Cinema [136 Metropolitan Ave. near Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 384–3980, www.nitehawkcinema.com], June 27–July 26 at midnight. $16.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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