SHELF LIFE
1993, 81 min, USA, Dir: Paul Bartel

Paul Bartel is best known for his unconventional, subversive style - his films as provocative as they are sophisticated. After his early work at Roger Corman’s New World Pictures (including directing the cult classic DEATH RACE 2000) he went on to write, direct and star in his 1983 breakthrough cannibal sex comedy EATING RAOUL (released through The Criterion Collection).

In total, he made nine feature films which went on to play internationally at renowned festivals and cult midnight movie theaters alike.

Since his untimely death, Bartel’s work as both director and comedic actor has been celebrated around the world, praised by Hollywood luminaries such as Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma, and Martin Scorsese as well as his many colleagues on the fringe-- Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, Joe Dante, and Allan Arkush, to name just a few.

SHELF LIFE was his last feature directorial effort, and has never been released.

The film is proudly dedicated to The Two Garys - forefathers of The American Cinematheque, Gary Essert and Gary Abrahams, whose long history with Paul Bartel goes back to Filmex, where Bartel frequently served on the Selection Committee for the long-running Los Angeles International Film Exhibition.

Recently, SHELF LIFE has been uncovered for its 25th anniversary, and is now screening throughout the country, and (for the time being) online.

- Alex Mechanik, Filmmaker


THE GREAT
2020, Hulu, 50 min, UK/Australia, Dir: Tony McNamara

THE GREAT is a satirical, comedic drama about the rise of Catherine the Great from outsider to the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia’s history. Season One is a fictionalized, fun and anachronistic story of an idealistic, romantic young girl, who arrives in Russia for an arranged marriage to the mercurial Emperor Peter. Hoping for love and sunshine, she finds instead a dangerous, depraved, backward world that she resolves to change. All she has to do is kill her husband, beat the church, baffle the military and get the court onside. A very modern story about the past which encompasses the many roles she played over her lifetime as lover, teacher, ruler, friend and fighter. Incorporating historical facts occasionally, the series stars Elle Fanning as Catherine, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge, Sacha Dhawan, Sebastian de Souza, Bayo Gbadamosi and Belinda Bromilow.


ADVANTAGES OF TRAVELLING BY TRAIN
VENTAJAS DE VIAJAR EN TREN
2019, WaZabi Films, 106 min, Spain/France, Dir: Aritz Moreno

"Would you like me to tell you about my life?" Editor Helga Pato (Pilar Castro) is approached with this disconcerting question during a train journey. Her seatmate turns out to be Ángel Sanagustín (Ernesto Alterio), a psychiatrist who specializes in personality disorders. During the trip, Ángel tells her the sordid and delirious story of the worst clinical case he has ever faced: Martín Urales de Úbeda (Luis Tosar), an extremely dangerous and paranoid patient obsessed with garbage, among many other things, as an instrument of control. This fortuitous encounter will irremediably mark the future of Helga and all the other characters involved in a series of unpredictable plots that overlap, layer after layer, until they reach a delirious climax.


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