FLAX’s Drive-In Theater returns to Tin Flats for a new season of double features on the last Monday of the month from April to October. We’ve invited six artists and selected one of their films. Each artist then selects an additional film of his/her choice – a feature, a documentary, another artist’s video – echoing his/her work. Each month offers a new game of refraction and reflection through multiple lenses—from the artists’ screens to the cars’ windshields. The screenings will include an informal discussion with the artists who are locally based or in residency.
Each screening has eight spots available for cars, which must be reserved in advance. Tickets for car spots will be released at the beginning of each month (click on each date to book). No reservation is required for open seating area outside of cars. Screenings will begin after dark. Please refer back to our website for updates on times as the days get longer. Each screening includes complimentary popcorn and iced tea.
Monday, October 28
Doors at 7pm, screening at 7:30pm
Maura Brewer, The Surface of Mars, 2016 (12 min) and Rodney Ascher, Room 237, 2012 (102 min)
In presence of the artist
The Surface of Mars is a 2016 video essay that takes Ridley Scott’s 2015 film The Martian as a site of analysis. Combining appropriated footage, animation and voiceover narration, The Surface of Mars follows the actress Jessica Chastain, who plays the supporting role of Commander Melissa Lewis. The video compares Chastain’s character in The Martian to her work in two other films, Kathryn Bigelow’s 2012 film Zero Dark Birthday and Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar. In each of these films, Chastain plays a similar type: a high-achieving career woman who is dedicated to the pursuit of a non-romantic male counterpart, from Osama Bin Laden to Matt Damon. In each case, Chastain’s role within the film speaks the language of popular feminism; her talent and work ethic has propelled her into a successful career in a male dominated field. She makes choices that drive the forward action of the plot. But Chastain’s superficial agency within the film is undermined by the institutions and structures that she operates within and on behalf of, from the state (the CIA, NASA) to her father (the CIA, NASA.) Jessica Chastain is always acting, but never under her own power.
Room 237 is a subjective documentary that explores the numerous theories about the hidden meanings within Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining (1980). The film may be over 30 years old but it continues to inspire debate, speculation, and mystery. Five very different points of view are illuminated through voice over, film clips, animation and dramatic reenactments. Together they’ll draw the audience into a new maze, one with endless detours and dead ends, many ways in, but no way out.
Monday, April 29
Doors at 7:30pm, screening at 8pm
Smith, Traum, 2016 (22 min) and IKARIE XB1 (Voyage to the End of the Universe) by Jindrich Polák, 1963 (88 min, Rated R)
In presence of Smith, FLAX Invites resident
Trailer for Ikarie XB-1
Traum. Indeterminate epoch and country. At 21, Yevgueni is a young astronaut-technician. If he dreams of traveling in space, his employment consists of working at the heart of a launching base for space travel, as a spacecraft launching operator. At the particularly critical launch of an inhabited Soyouz shuttle, Yevgueni abruptly loses consciousness, which causes loss of contact with the team in orbit and the explosion of the spacecraft. Haunted by this catastrophe, Yevgueni progressively loses grip with reality and becomes contaminated by the trauma.
Ikarie XB-1 is a 1963 Czechoslovak science fiction film directed by Jindřich Polák, based loosely on The Magellanic Cloud, a novel by Stanisław Lem. It was edited and dubbed into English for release in the United States, where it is known by its alternative title, Voyage to the End of the Universe. In the year 2163 the starship Ikarie XB-1 (Ikarus XB-1) is sent to the mysterious “White Planet” orbiting the star Alpha Centauri. Travelling at near-light speed, the journey takes around 28 months for the astronauts, although the effects of relativity mean that 15 years will have elapsed on Earth by the time they reach their destination. During the flight the 40-strong multinational crew must adjust to life in space, as well as dealing with various hazards they encounter, including a derelict 20th century spaceship armed with nuclear weapons, a deadly radioactive “dark star” and the mental breakdown of one of the crew, who threatens to destroy the spacecraft.
Monday, May 20
Doors at 8pm, screening at 8:30pm
Arnaud Dezoteux, Dark Meta Reeves, 2016 (29 min) and Damon Packard, Foxfur, 2012 (61min, Rated R)
In presence of Arnaud Dezoteux, FLAX Invites resident with the support of French Cultural Services.
Trailer for Foxfur
Arnaud Dezoteux is interested in mainstream cultures and in the American movies that shape them. From the bright hills to the movie theaters, Hollywood productions create ecosystems, fantasies and even cults around characters or actors. The personality and the career of Keanu Reeves gave him a certain aura: both reserved and mythical, the actor who played memorable and mystic parts, now reigns, without intending to, over a powerful fandom.
The star is a source of inspiration as a role model, a subject of worship but also as a theoretical object. Indeed, in 2016, French artist Arnaud Dezoteux chose Keanu Reeves as the main theme of his exhibition at Galerie Édouard Manet of the Municipal School of Fine Arts in Gennevilliers (France). The exhibition was titled “Brise fraîche au dessus des montagnes”, in English “cool breeze over the mountains” which is the meaning of the name Keanu in the Hawaiian language. The movie Dark Meta Reeves was its main piece.
In Dark Meta Reeves, the main actor is Gavin, an American fan specialist of Keanu Reeves, who gets implanted with his idol within movies excerpts. Arnaud Dezoteux had to convince him to take part in this adventure, that made him the main actor and the co-creator of the film. Indeed, Gavin had to choose the excerpts he wanted to play in and extemporize all of his lines.
A talented, but unbalanced girl named Foxfur is thrown into a philosophical adventure beyond time and space. Her first goal is to get her friend Khris to drive her to a book store where she’s hoping to find some answers, and there she also meets two UFO theorists. She then hears about this thing called The Dead Zone, and she fears that the world she knows might very well be that zone.
Monday, June 24
Doors at 8pm, screening at 8:30pm
Mona Varichon, No, I Was Thinking of life, 2018 (12 min) and Hervé Guibert, La Pudeur ou l’impudeur, 1990-1991 (62 min, Rated R)
In presence of Mona Varichon
Mona Varichon, No, I Was Thinking of Life, 2018 (12 min)
“Having spent the last year recording and translating telephone conversations with her mother in Paris, from French to English, Varichon subsequently created No, I Was Thinking of Life (2018) — twelve minutes of FaceTime nonspace projected single-channel onto a wall. Theirs is a conversation that fumbles in the dark, and not just over the monochrome black of the screen; long distance, loss, improvisatory laws, and bilingualism each tie in as evasive subjects that find family resemblance in their total lack of control and risk of miscommunication. It’s straight out of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who famously said, ‘I’ve told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation.’”
– Sabrina Tarasoff
Hervé Guibert, La Pudeur ou l’impudeur, 62 min (Rated R)
Hervé Guibert (1955-91) was a writer, photographer, screenwriter and filmmaker who lived and worked in Paris. In 1988, having been diagnosed with AIDS, Guibert publicly revealed his status and recorded his struggles with the disease in, among other works, the best-selling book To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life and the film for French television La Pudeur ou L’Impudeur (Modesty or Immodesty). These and other works by Guibert received extensive media attention when they appeared, influencing public opinion about AIDS in France. Guibert died in 1991, just two weeks before his 36th birthday.
Monday, July 29
Doors at 8pm, screening at 8:30pm
Anna Wittenberg, Skid Plate, 2018 (5 min) and Monte Hellman, Two Lane Blacktop, 1971 (1h45, Rated R).
In presence of Anna Wittenberg
Trailer for Two Lane Blacktop
Skid Plate will be presented with sculptures by Anna Wittenberg. Originally a double channel video, the Drive-In invites the audience to watch the video in their cars creating a new context of presentation of the film, now on a single screen. The original choice installation of two screens on each side of the viewer is replaced by the immersive experience of the drive-in.
“Skid plates are thick, square plates of steel welded onto rear wheels that prevent the wheels from turning and force the car to slide like a sled. The lore is that they were in- vented (discovered?) when a couple of L.A. demolition derby guys slid plastic In-N-Out (a SoCal burger chain) trays under their back tires and skidded around the restaurant’s parking lot.
Old cars with cobbled-together parts, reused wheels, and skid plates on the back tires to make the machines slide and slip on the asphalt. The auto race with only one car is like a bullfight with one animal, a monstrous engine covered in scars like an old elephant, desperately fighting against the laws of gravity and speed, the aging facts.”
– Marie de Brugerolles
Drag racing east from Los Angeles in a souped-up ’55 Chevy are the wayward Driver and Mechanic (singer-songwriter James Taylor and the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson, in their only acting roles), accompanied by a tagalong Girl (Laurie Bird). Along the way, they meet Warren Oates’s Pontiac GTO–driving wanderer and challenge him to a cross-country race. The prize: their cars’ pink slips. But no summary can do justice to the existential punch of Two-Lane Blacktop. With its gorgeous widescreen compositions and sophisticated look at American male obsession, this stripped-down narrative from maverick director Monte Hellman is one of the artistic high points of 1970s cinema, and possibly the greatest road movie ever made. (Criterion)
Can cars breathe? As her alter ego Pie of Trouble, Sonja Gerdes will engage in a communal meditation with the vehicles parked for the Drive-In Theater.
The Gas truck will also be on-site so visitors can experience Sonja Gerdes’s exhibition Pie of Trouble. Stays Trouble. Belly on Belly. Let’s Hang. Breathe you infinite. Oxygenenergizer. Animal Creature Plant Breath Soul. The Energy Plan. Amorphous Hypersensibility. Do Ants Breathe? Nova. The Multiple Amorphous Us. Air For Free.
Julianne Moore gives a breakthrough performance as Carol White, a Los Angeles housewife in the late 1980s who comes down with a debilitating illness. After the doctors she sees can give her no clear diagnosis, she comes to believe that she has frighteningly extreme environmental allergies. A profoundly unsettling work from the great American director Todd Haynes, Safe functions on multiple levels: as a prescient commentary on self-help culture, as a metaphor for the AIDS crisis, as a drama about class and social estrangement, and as a horror film about what you cannot see. This revelatory drama was named the best film of the 1990s in a Village Voice poll of more than fifty critics. (Criterion)
Monday, September 30
Doors at 7pm, screening at 7:30pm
Samir Ramdani, Black Diamond, 2014 (40 min) and Lukasz Ronduda and Maciej Sobieszczanski, The Performer, 2015 (62 min).
Black Diamond is the story of Kevin, a guy from South Central, working-class area of Los Angeles. Kevin has two problems: he is touched by a passion for art and he has a rapper in his head.
The Performer is an insight into the contemporary art world, based on the life of performance artist Oskar Dawicki who plays himself. The main theme of his art is the search for an answer to the question of whether… Oskar Dawicki exists at all. The trademark of his performances is his blue shining jacket.We meet Oskar at a turning point in his life, when he learns that his Mentor Zbigniew Warpechowski is dying. Warpechowski has also been mentoring the Dearest, Oskar’s childhood friend and a rival, who has devoted himself to more commercial art and beomce the most profitable contemporary artist in Poland. Oskar has one more complicated relationship in his life: a love affair with his art dealer. As in Dawicki’s previous works, established norms of moral, spiritual, and social order are challenged and put on trial. The Perfomer is the first-ever art exhibition in the form of a feature film: Oscar Dawicki’s works are connected on the screen not only by time and space, but also by narrative, drama, and emotion. The film is an unusual mix of performance art with acting, and a fusion of documentary film-making with fictional storytelling.
This FLAX Project is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; and the FLAX Creative Circle including The Skylark Foundation, Arthur Forney, Olga Garay English and John Mark Horton.