Retrospective Includes Far From Heaven, Boys Don’t Cry, and the Ohio Premiere of The Notorious Bettie Page Introduced by Vachon
This January, the Wexner Center spotlights films produced by Christine Vachon, co-founder of the legendary independent film company Killer Films. The nine-film retrospective—the Wexner Center’s first to be focused on a producer—runs January 13–27 and features a visit from Vachon on January 20 to introduce the Ohio premiere of her latest film The Notorious Bettie Page. The retrospective will also include screenings of such landmark independent films as Todd Haynes’s Far from Heaven and Poison, Rose Troche’s Go Fish, Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry, and Tom Kalin’s Swoon.
Founded in 1995 by Vachon and Pamela Koffler (the third partner, Katie Roumel, joined in 2001), Killer Films has been a consistently adventurous force in American independent film production. Adhering to its mantra of "making movies that matter," the company has produced nearly 30 films, many of which were created by some of the most original and uncompromising voices in contemporary cinema: Todd Haynes, Todd Solondz, Mary Harron, John Waters, Robert Altman, John Cameron Mitchell, and more.
Bill Horrigan, Wexner Center Director of Media Arts, says, “For more than a decade, Christine Vachon and Killer Films have been among American cinema’s most credible and respected entities. With their unwavering support of visionary films and filmmakers that aren’t afraid to be daring, controversial, or timely, they remain an ever-relevant and potent force in contemporary film.”
Vachon has been a Wexner Center Residency Award recipient in Media Arts (with Todd Haynes) in the 1995–1996 season and a visiting artist, along with Haynes, in 1994. Also in 1994, she participated in an independent producing workshop at the Wexner Center. A commemorative booklet will accompany the retrospective.
Tickets for each evening of the retrospective are $6 for the general public, $4 for Wexner Center members, students, and senior citizens. All screenings take place in the Wexner Center Film/Video Theater, 1871 N. High St. Call 614-292-3535 for advance tickets. The schedule follows.
RETROSPECTIVE: CHRISTINE VACHON AND KILLER FILMS SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13 / 7 pm | 2nd film 9 pm Double Feature Far from Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002) Poison (Todd Haynes, 1991)
Todd Haynes’s Far from Heaven (107 mins.) is a lavish, moving rethinking of the “women’s picture” genre. In an Oscar-nominated performance, Julianne Moore plays a suburban housewife forced to confront her husband’s secret gay life, as well as her own attraction to a widowed African American gardener. With Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, and Patricia Clarkson. Haynes’s breakthrough feature, Poison (83 mins.), was a key work in both the “new queer cinema” of the early 1990s and the “culture wars” waged around the National Endowment for the Arts, which had partially funded the film, during those same years.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 20 / 7 pm The Notorious Bettie Page (Mary Harron, 2005) Introduced by Christine Vachon
Director Mary Harron’s first Killer film was I Shot Andy Warhol. Her latest work, The Notorious Bettie Page (91 mins.), is an equally inventive story of a real-life figure: Bettie Page, the iconic pin-up girl of the 1950s whose scandalous depictions—naked, clothed, and often fetishistically bedecked—hovered on the edge of the era’s standards for pornography. Although made without Page’s consent, Harron’s film couldn’t be less prurient, seeing Page instead as a woman entirely lacking in hypocrisy and ultimately able to walk away from her modeling career to heed a higher calling. With Gretchen Mol and Lili Taylor.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 / 7 pm | 2nd film 9:10 pm Double Feature Boys Don’t Cry (Kimberly Peirce, 1999) Series 7: The Contenders (Daniel Minahan, 2001)
Killer Films had a breakthrough success with first-time director Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry (118 mins.), which won an Oscar for Hilary Swank in the true-life story of the transgendered Brandon Teena. Daniel Minahan’s remarkably prescient Series 7: The Contenders (86 mins.) is a chilling and often quite funny evocation of a reality-based TV series that literally puts the participants’ lives on the line. With Brooke Smith.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22 / 2 pm | 2nd film 3:35 pm Double Feature Go Fish (Rose Troche, 1994) Office Killer (Cindy Sherman, 1997)
Starring Bettie Page’s cowriter, Guinevere Turner, the beguiling Go Fish (84 mins.) was hailed by critic B. Ruby Rich when it made its Sundance debut. The film “begins just about where coming-out films used to end,” Rich wrote, “all the women are dykes, and sex is on everybody’s mind. Since it’s the lesbian universe, so is romance.” The first film from acclaimed visual artist Cindy Sherman, Office Killer (82 mins.) is a gruesomely funny take on low morale in the workplace, where backstabbing is no mere figure of speech. With Molly Ringwald, Carole Kane, and Michael Imperioli.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27 / 7 pm | 2nd film 8:35 pm Double Feature Swoon (Tom Kalin, 1992) Postcards from America (Steve MacLean, 1994)
Tom Kalin’s Swoon (82 mins.) gives the truest account yet of one of the 20th century’s most notorious crimes: the 1924 thrill-kill of a 13-year-old boy by “genius” college students (and probable lovers) Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. With Craig Chester and Ron Vawter as the prosecuting attorney. From the late British director Steve McLean, Postcards from America (92 mins.) is a passionate and lyrical look at the life of artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz. The film follows Wojnarowicz from his violent suburban childhood and time as a teenage hustler in New York to his adult fascinations with anonymous sex, the open road, and the American desert. With James Lyons (Poison) and Michael Imperioli.
UPCOMING FILM/VIDEO EVENTS
Other highlights in film coming up:
• In January: a 10-film retrospective of the work of Mikio Naruse. Often acknowledged as the fourth master of Japanese cinema’s golden age, along with Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, and Akira Kurosawa, this series serves as an introduction to the films of this overlooked director.
• In February: a six-film series showcasing Hong Sang-soo, one of the most important directors to emerge from the recent renaissance of South Korean filmmaking. He will introduce Tale of Cinema, his latest film on February 25.
• In March: visits from revered filmmakers Frederick Wiseman and Guy Maddin.
To find out more about upcoming film/video programming click to www.wexarts.org/fv
Major support for film/video season generously provided by Abercrombie & Fitch.
Significant contributions made by the Rohauer Collection Foundation.
Additional funding provided by the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members.