Shock Corridor Cinema Presents Jim Jarmusch's PERMANANT VACATION (1980) + Todd Haynes' SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY (1987)
an audience pick 'em program.
Tuesday, February 22nd, 8pm; $2.
PERMANENT VACATION (Jim Jarmusch, 1980, 70min.)
The popular vote has been tallied and there appears to be some excitement around viewing Jim Jarmusch's first film, produced in 16mm after he prematurely left his graduate film program at NYU. PERMANENT VACATION is a rambling, at times visually gripping dream piece, that plays out like an odyssey of urban despair. It covers two days in the life of a street person named Allie Parker (Chris Parker) and his growing isolation as a member of the lost post-punk generation. Set on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with its abandoned buildings and shabby tenements, the film seems to anticipate the economic blow out brought on by the Reagan Administration just a few years later. Traces of Jarmusch's better known 80s films, STRANGER THAN PARADISE and DOWN BY LAW inform the nuances of PERMANENT VACATION and it is always of interest to see a unique filmmaker working through ideas in their infancy. The film's dialogue driven form is reminiscent of the American Independent film that would explode on the scene a few years later. Includes an appearance by John Lurie (Lounge Lizards front man and of DOWN BY LAW and FISHING WITH JOHN fame) as well as a cameo by Jarmusch.
Preceded by (as in before Permanent Vacation)
SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY (Todd Haynes, 1987, 43min.)
Using classic Barbie dolls as its principal actors, SUPERSTAR portrays the life of 70s pop star Karen Carpenter and her battle with anorexia. The film is highly polemic yet narratively driven, cleverly linking eating disorders with celebrity culture and, more specifically, the pressures placed on women within the parasitic business of popular music and the suburban family. Beyond its politics, the film is a playful tribute to the 70s rock film, the medical film and the 50s melodrama, a genre Haynes has been exploring in his work ever since producing this work, his second short film. If you liked SAFE and FAR FROM HEAVEN, this film will tickle you to death.
SUPERSTAR was never released commercially as Haynes was unable to secure the rights to the Carpenters' music he "borrows" throughout the film; Richard Carpenter filed an injunction that kept SUPERSTAR from public release. Even without Carpenter's court order, the film would probably have been pulled by the notoriously litigious Mattel, the makers of Barbie. If you have yet to be able to track a copy of this highly praised film down, now is your chance.