Programmed by Hasti Soltani
When Alice follows the the white rabbit and falls down the rabbit hole, she ends up in Wonderland, a place that challenges her conception of reality with its talking animals and surrealist sights. Much like the white rabbit, movie directors can lead an audience into a separate reality, one that is unfamiliar and disorienting. Inspired by Park Chan-wook's Oldboy, this series aims to disquiet and unsettle the audience, using the discomforted audience as a reflection of the characters in the films who become increasingly distanced from their realities. The films in the series take the viewer on a winding narrative path, never quite rooted in reality. This series is not a collection of plot twists, but one of mindfucks; movies that convey a sense of uncertainty and insecurity and that leave something to be resolved through the progression of the film, compelling the audience to stay through the films to find out. Movies like Mulholland Drive are confusing and mind-bending throughout, while other films, while still mysterious, get the viewer comfortable with a presented reality before destroying that reality and sense of comfort at the end of the film. These films are not just mysteries or thrillers. They are eerie and dark and give the viewer an unsettled feeling in the pit of their stomach as the narrative unfolds, and they do not know what is going on. Pairing dark imagery with winding and confusing storylines, the cerebral films in this series follow characters as they stray farther from their mundane realities. Including blockbusters as well as lesser-known films, the series shows the power of film to properly unsettle an audience.
(Park Chan-wook, 2003) · Park Chan-Wook's delirious cult classic centers on Oh Dae-su, a hapless businessman who one night is forcibly imprisoned in a hotel room, and then held there with no explanation. After fifteen years, Oh Dae-su is suddenly released with no idea of who held him captive or why. His quest to find and take vengeance on whoever kidnapped him years earlier becomes more complicated when, upon meeting a young and pretty sushi chef, he finds himself up against forces more twisted than he could have ever imagined.
runtime: 120m format: 35mm
(David Lynch, 2001) · Originally intended to be a television pilot, David Lynch's dark mosaic of fantasy and nightmare traces the chance encounter of Betty, an aspiring and naive actress new to Hollywood, and Rita, a woman in trouble, set adrift by a car wreck with no recollection of who she is. As Betty attempts to help Rita recall her past, their search for answers begins to unearth lost dreams and shattered illusions in the city of angels. Come early for a pre-show by Daniel Knox starting at 9:00 PM!
runtime: 147m format: 35mm
(Richard Kelly, 2001) · An apocalyptic world unfolds for Donnie Darko, a troubled suburban teenager, after he starts being visited by Frank, a grotesque figure in a rabbit costume. Narrowly avoiding a freak accident and warned about the impending end of the world, Donnie starts rebelling against his suburban society, even while becoming involved in a new relationship. Donnie finds himself becoming more and more detached from reality as the prophesied apocalypse draws closer.
runtime: 113m format: 35mm
(Darren Aronofsky, 2000) · Requiem for a Dream shows the pursuit of the American dream through the stories of four drug addicts. Sara is a widowed housewife with an amphetamine addiction and dreams of regaining her youthful figure. Her son Harry and his friend Tyrone are heroin addicts with dreams of being successful drug dealers. Harry's girlfriend Marion is also a heroin addict with dreams of a future with him. Through trippy sequences, the film shows the tragic dissolution of their dreams in their addictions.
runtime: 102m format: 35mm
(David Lynch, 2006) · Featuring a cast of Lynchian favorites like Justin Theroux, Harry Dean Stanton, and Grace Zabriskie, Inland Empire is perhaps one of the director's most challenging and mind-bending works. Laura Dern stars as Nikki Grace, an actress preparing for her biggest role to date in a remake of an unfinished Polish film thought to be cursed. As the project continues, Nikki begins to notice similarities between her life and that of her characters, making her life increasingly more nightmarish. Come early for a pre-show by Daniel Knox, 10 minutes before Inland Empire!
runtime: 180m format: 35mm
(Charlie Kaufman, 2008) · Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in Charlie Kaufman's film about a lonely man's descent into self-induced madness. After being left by his wife and daughter and suffering from a mysterious illness, theater director Caden Cotard stages a fatally ambitious project to recreate his life, in the process building a life-size replica of New York City inside of a warehouse. As the years pass, Caden's relationships with other people, along with his grip on reality, become increasingly strained.
runtime: 124m format: 35mm
(Darren Aronofsky, 2010) · Natalie Portman won an Oscar for her portrayal of ballet dancer Nina Sayers. Cast as the swan in a prestigious New York ballet company's production of Swan Lake, Nina perfectly embodies the innocent white swan, but has difficulties with the duality of the black swan. When another dancer better suited to the part of the black swan joins the company, Nina starts to unravel, fearing the loss of her lead role and losing her grip on sanity in the process.
runtime: 108m format: 35mm
(David Cronenberg, 1991) · Based on the William S. Burrough's novel of the same name and biographical information about the author, and co-written and director by David Cronenberg, Naked Lunch follows William Lee, an exterminator. After following his wife into an addiction to the insecticide he uses in his work, William accidentally kills her, becoming involved in a hallucinated world of government conspiracies populated by giant bugs in North Africa.
runtime: 115m format: 35mm
(James Ward Byrkit, 2013) · Eight friends gather at a dinner party as a comet passes overhead. Because of the astronomical anomaly, the power goes out and strange, reality-bending things begin to happen, creating multiple realities in which the characters' interpersonal relationships play out. Shot in director James Ward Byrkit's (conceptual artist for the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films) house with no script, the film's improvisational actors bring this character-driven sci-fi film to life.
runtime: 89m format: Digital