By Devin D. O'Leary
SWFC Schedule—The SouthWest Film Center at UNM has just reopened for the fall semester. The SWFC has been a treasure trove of classic cinema, foreign films and independent fare. Over the decades, I've been exposed to dozens of great films hunched in the dark of UNM's Student Union Building basement. The Killer, Hardboiled, Akira, Peking Opera Blues, The Kingdom, Institute Benjamenta, Suture, Le Samourai, Diary of a Lost Girl, Six-String Samurai, Shallow Grave, The Underneath, Cold Fever, Public Access, Capitaine Conan and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls are just a sampling of the great films I was exposed to there throughout the '90s.
The recent two-year renovation of the Student Union Building resulted in a beautiful new SUB Theater with state-of-the-art sound, a versatile projection system and comfortable seating. Sadly, the SWFC program seemed to fall into disrepair right about the same time. Directors came and went and programming degenerated to a string of recent DVD releases.
This fall, however, the SouthWest Film Center has a brand new director, Brian Gillespie, who has assembled an ambitious collection of films. “While it helps to have a director who knows about film and film history, it also helps to have a very enthusiastic and determined director,” says Gillespie, a second-year student who became a filmmaker in high school. “I obviously fit into the second category, because I really only sort of know what I'm doing.”
Gillespie's enthusiasm counts for a lot. The theater's weekly schedule (films screen Thursday though Sunday) now runs the gamut from eye-opening documentaries (Velcrow Ripper's inspirational Scared Sacred, Sept. 22-25) to Asian craziness (Takashi Miike's Happiness of the Katakuris and Audition, Oct. 6-9) to cult horror (Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, Oct. 27-30) to watershed foreign films (1964's I Am Cuba, Nov. 10-13). Gillespie has even managed some clever pairings, such as Roman Coppola's ode to campy '60s European filmmaking CQ, which is double-featured with Mario Bava's 1968 pop art crime film Danger: Diabolik.
Ticket prices are $3 for students and $5 general admission. Double features take place on Sunday and are $4.50 for students and $7.50 general. You can get schedule info by calling 277-5608.
More Midnight Movies—Starting this weekend, Movies 8 (4591 San Mateo NE) is venturing into the realm of midnight movies. The manager at Movies 8 tells me that, if this three-week “trial run” turns out to be profitable, it will become a regular gig for the theater. The movies play at midnight on Friday and Saturday nights and include such popular modern offerings as The Crow (Sept. 2 and 3), Fight Club (Sept. 9 and 10) and Scream (Sept. 16 and 17).
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