Cambridge Film Festival: Mike and George Kuchar

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Mike And George Kuchar
Cambridge Picture House
24-25 September 2009
38-39 St Andrew's Street, Cambridge, CB2 3AR
Tickets: £6.60 / £5.70 concessions
Telephone: 0871 704 2050

Cambridge Film Festival will screen a selection of rare, classic films in tribute to the work of George and Mike Kuchar, leading figures in the 1960s US underground film movement, and acknowledged pioneers of the camp/pop aesthetic. The Kuchar Brothers influenced practically all who came after them, from Andy Warhol to John Waters, Guy Madden to Roger Vadim, Atom Egoyan, Wayne Wang and David Lynch. However despite having such high profile fans, the Kuchars remain largely unknown. The programmes include several recent 16mm preservation copies of the Kuchar's early 8mm films.

The 29th Cambridge Film Festival runs from 17 to 27 September 2009.

Thursday 24 September 2009, at 6:30pm
- It Came From Kuchar (Jennifer M. Kroot, USA, 2009, 86 mins)
IT CAME FROM KUCHAR is a hilarious and touching story of artistic obsession, compulsion and inspiration. Growing up in the Bronx in the 1950s, George and Mike became so obsessed with Hollywood melodramas they began making their own with their aunt's 8mm camera, using friends and family as actors. Early Kuchar titles featured in this ?lm include I WAS A TEENAGE RUMPOT and BORN OF THE WIND. Exerting a major in?uence on the New York underground scene of the 1960s, they have gone on to inspire generations of ?lmmakers, including John Waters, Buck Henry, Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin and Wayne Wang (all interviewed in this ?lm). Affectionately directed by one of George's former students, Jennifer M. Kroot, IT CAME FROM KUCHAR introduces the amazing oeuvre of the Kuchars, interweaving the brothers' lives, their admirers, a history of underground ?lm and a 'greatest hits' of Kuchar clips into a mesmerising stream-of-consciousness tale.

We are delighted to host an online Q&A with director Jennifer M. Kroot and the Kuchar Brothers.

Thursday 24 September 2009, at 9pm
Mike And George Kuchar: Programme 1

- The Naked And The Nude (George Kuchar, USA, 1957, 36 mins)
The oldest surviving Kuchar mini-epic, this patriotic WWII period piece (made by high schoolers) chronicles the desires and destinies of carnal appetites on the front line. “Big ... Rousing ... Memorable! The incredible war saga of our own boys in a Jap-infested jungle in the Botanical Gardens. You’ll come out whistling from both ends.” (George Kuchar)

- Pussy On A Hot Tin Roof (George & Mike Kuchar, USA, 1961, 14 mins)
The salacious short that caused the Kuchars’ banishment from meetings of the New York Eight Millimeter Motion Picture Club.  “It glows with the embers of desire! It smokes with the revelation of men and women longing for robust temptations that will make them sizzle into maturity with a furnace-blast of unrestrained animalism. A film for young and old to enjoy!” (George Kuchar)

- The Confessions Of Babette (George Kuchar, USA, 1963, 15 mins)
An early masterpiece by Mike Kuchar in which Babette tells all,
leaving no turgid stone unturned.

- Hold Me While I'm Naked (George Kuchar, USA, 1966, 17 mins)
A camp classic, in which the sudden, unplanned departure of lead actress Donna Kernes due to excessive shower scenes swiftly became the subject of the film.

Friday 25 September 2009, at 9pm
Mike And George Kuchar: Programme 2

- Midsummer's Nightmare (Mike Kuchar, USA, 2008, 13 mins)
A surreal exploration of a character with a creepy doll and a character in a cow mask exploring a redwood forest.

- A Widow's Web (Mike Kuchar, USA, 1997, 14 mins)
Over-the-top melodrama about a mother and daughter confused about men and money. Fabulously schlocky dialogue, with an ending that is totally outrageous and perverse.

- A Fatal Desire (George Kuchar, USA, 2004, 37 mins)
A favourite from George's class video productions. An aspiring singer goes to Florida with her aunt and mother – both played by plastic skeletons, with dialogue dubbed in a kung fu style. They encounter trailer trash, glamorous nightclubs and meteorology.

- Temple Of Torment (George Kuchar, USA, 2006, 18 mins)
Another summer travel video. George confronts his Catholic upbringing and sexual shame by talking back to Mother Angelica – Catholic TV host and nun – intercut with other New York outings and dinner parties.

Friday 25 September 2009, at 11:30pm
Mike And George Kuchar: Programme 3

- A Reason To Live (George Kuchar, USA, 1976, 30 mins)
This film is about depression, although it's not that depressing. Shot in San Francisco and Central Oklahoma with a cast of one man and four women, it features crushing emotions against a massive meteorological background that brings inspiration and terror to the characters involved.

- Lust For Ecstasy: A Drama Of Obsessions In The Language Of Sensationalism (George Kuchar, USA, 1963, 52 mins)
"LUST FOR ECSTASY is my most ambitious attempt since my last film ... I wrote many of the pungent scenes on the D train, and when I arrived on the set I ripped them up and let my emotional whims make chopped meat out of the performances and the story ... Yes, LUST FOR ECSTASY is my subconscious, my own naked lusts that sweep across the screen in 8mm and colour with full-?delity sound." (George Kuchar)