Exactly one week from today, acolytes of the Boston Underground Film Festival (BUFF) will gather at New England’s venerable temples of cinema—the Brattle Theatre and Harvard Film Archive—for the 20th annual bacchanalia of sound and vision. Devotees will spend five days in synaptic snap-crackle-and-pop ecstasy, worshiping at the altar of fantastically strange and unusual moving pictures from around the world, screening between March 21st-25th.
Today we have info on BUFF 2018’s boundary-pushing bonanza of films. Behold the highlights and a few images!
From the Press Release:
BUFF 2018 is honored and exultant to be presenting the World Premiere of Orson Oblowitz’s The Queen of Hollywood Blvd., a sublime and stylish thrill ride along Tinseltown’s infamous mile-long haven of debauchery and debasement. Starring No Wave luminary Rosemary Hochschild (1978’s Table Conversation, 1979’s Minus Zero, 1983’s King Blank), badass Queen (of all our hearts) Mary must navigate Los Angeles’ seedy underworld of violence, prostitution and murder to save her kidnapped son and her strip club.
“A gift to cinephiles and genre fans, Queen is a lovingly crafted neo-noir tale of vengeance that evokes The Grifters with a Cassavetesian sensibility and a lush color palette that would make Michael Mann blush,” says Director of Programming Nicole McControversy. The film also features the legendary Michael Parks (Kill Bill Vol. 1, Then Came Bronson, From Dusk Til Dawn) in his final role.
BUFF’s other World Premiere is Stacy Buchanan and Jess Barnthouse’s homegrown horror doc Something Wicked This Way Comes. Buchanan & Barnthouse give New England’s pop-horror culture the full-feature treatment, exploring the region’s viability for growing our independent film scene with input from genre luminaries, horror fans, natives, and local filmmakers.
Similarly inspired by genre films of yore—and coincidentally fueled by hallucinogenic drugs—the East Coast Premiere of The Ranger and New England Premiere of The Theta Girl round out a triple threat of lady-led ass-kicking and name-taking narrative features in this year’s program. In Christopher Bickel’s The Theta Girl, take-no-shit drug dealer Gayce must avenge the deaths of her all-girl rock band pals and discover how the drug she peddles connects them all in a web of murder and reality-bending mystery. Following its SXSW World Premiere, Jenn Wexler’s punk rock slasher The Ranger heads to BUFF, delivering a raucous thriller-in-the-woods that finds sharp-witted Chelsea and her pals facing off against an unhinged park ranger.
Speaking of badass women facing off with murderers in the woods, BUFF is pleased as pie to present the New England premiere of Agnieszka Holland’s (Europa Europa, The Secret Garden) genre-inspired mystery Spoor, an unconventional, charming, and visually stunning masterpiece that blends magical realism, forensic crime, and animal rights activism. Agnieszka Mandat stars as Janina Duszejko, a nature-protecting woman living alone in the Klodzko Valley who finds herself embroiled in an unusual murder mystery.
Speaking of mystery: BUFF is overjoyed to present a midnight secret screening of… well, we can’t tell you. Trust us when we say this highly-anticipated genre gem is appropriately placed at the witching hour for the most adventurous and bravest amongst us.
What we can tell you is that we’re psyched beyond belief to present the East Coast Premiere of a truly unforgettable documentary, Josh Polon’s Slamdance award-winner MexMan, which follows Germán, a young Mexican-American artist and filmmaker striving to complete his first feature film while plagued by the ghost of a long-lost love and battling his producers for creative control.
Traveling the festival circuit on a deeply-deserved wave of appreciation and love, Guillermo del Toro and Stephen King’s favorite genre film of 2017, Tigers Are Not Afraid, lands in Boston with an almighty roar as BUFF’s penultimate screening. Fusing social realism and fantasy, writer/director Issa López will be on hand at the Brattle Theatre to present her incredibly moving tale of children caught in the crossfire of Mexico’s cartel wars. Stunning and unforgettable, this is required viewing.
In classic BUFF fashion, the festival will be closing out its 20th year with the end-all be-all of Brazilian werewolf lesbian musicals: Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas’ Good Manners. Don’t be fooled by our cheeky summation: Good Manners is vanguard filmmaking at its best and bravest – a lush, matte painted, lycopanthic fairy tale centered on the unusual relationship between two women from very different walks of life in São Paulo. Genre-bending and beautiful, let Good Manners grab you by the hand and take you on its incisive, werewolf-Almodovarian moonlit-stroll through class division and a love that knows no social bounds. See you on closing night.
Be sure to also check out our veritable bounty of shorts programming, celebrating fantastic music videos, animation, transgressive horror, and more! Enough to make your heart burst with joy.
GOOD MANNERS – New England Premiere | Closing Night Film
Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra | Brazil, France | 2017
Clara, a lonely nurse from the outskirts of São Paulo, is hired by mysterious and wealthy Ana as the nanny for her unborn child. The two women develop a strong bond, but a fateful night changes their plans.
LET THE CORPSES TAN – New England Premiere
Bruno Forzani, Hélène Cattet | France, Belgium | 2017
After stealing a cache of gold, Rhino and his gang discover a near-abandoned Mediterranean hamlet hideout, occupied by an inspiration-seeking woman. Their bucolic surroundings become a horrific battlefield when uninvited guests arrive on the scene to foil everyone’s plans.
MEXMAN – East Coast Premiere
Josh Polon | USA | 2018 | Documentary
Germán is a young artist and filmmaker striving to complete his first feature film while plagued by the ghost of a long-lost love and a battle for creative control with his producers.
MY NAME IS MYEISHA – Opening Night | East Coast Premiere
Gus Krieger | USA | 2018
On the evening of December 28, 1998, Myeisha Jackson’s night ends with her asleep in her car, her cousins outside, and police on the way. In the fleeting moments before the unthinkable occurs, she awakes with a start inside her inner dreamscape and contemplates her life–what it was and what it was going to be. A metaphysical trip into Myeisha’s mind reveals a life brimming with promise on the cusp of adulthood–her secrets, goals, flaws, strengths, loves, and talents–and is fueled and expressed by her love of hip hop, dance, and spoken word as she comes to terms with what’s happened to her.
REVENGE – New England Premiere
Coralie Fargeat | France | 2017
What starts as a weekend getaway between a married man and his mistress quickly devolves into a deadly game of cat and mouse when his hunting buddies arrive. Director Fargeat revamps and recalibrates the rape-revenge trope from a female perspective, creating a violent, visceral monomyth about the rebirth and survival of a woman wronged seeking to even the score.
SECRET SCREENING – East Coast Premiere
For the brave, bold, and beautiful creatures who crave a little terror at midnight.
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES – World Premiere
Jessica Barnthouse, Stacy Buchanan | USA | 2018
Something Wicked This Way Comes is a full-feature exploration into the popular horror culture of New England. Through discussions with genre luminaries, horror fans, and natives, the film discovers popular conventions within the genre and identifies how they’re driven by the history, eerie settings, and social issues of the area. And through the stories of actors and local filmmakers, it aims to discover if the area’s passion is strong enough to help grow an independent film industry.
SPOOR – New England Premiere
Agnieszka Holland | Poland | 2017
Janina Duszejko, an elderly woman, lives alone in the Klodzko Valley where a series of mysterious crimes are committed. Duszejko is convinced that she knows who or what the murderer is, but nobody believes her.
THE QUEEN OF HOLLYWOOD BLVD. – World Premiere
Orson Oblowitz | USA | 2018
On her 60th birthday, the proud owner of a Los Angeles strip club finds herself in hot water over a 25-year-old debt to the mob, leading her on a downward spiral of violence and revenge through the underbelly of Los Angeles.
THE RANGER – East Coast Premiere
Jenn Wexler | USA | 2018
When Chelsea and her friends get in trouble with the cops, they flee the city and go on the run. Fueled by a hallucinogenic drug called Echo, they hope to lay low—and get high—in an old family hideout in the woods. But Chelsea’s got reservations about going back to nature and secrets she’s not sharing with her friends. When a shot rings out, her past comes crashing back, and the punks find themselves pitted against the local authority— an unhinged park ranger with an axe to grind.
THE THETA GIRL – New England Premiere
Christopher Bickel | USA | 2017
Gayce, a take-no-shit young woman, deals a hallucinogenic drug called “theta,” facilitating an audience for her friends’ all-girl rock band. When Gayce’s friends are brutally murdered, she must solve the mystery behind the murders and protect herself from the killer. She discovers the connections between theta and the murders – and learns a terrifying truth. That the world — indeed her whole reality — is not as it seems.
TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID – New England Premiere
Issa López | Mexico | 2017
A dark fairy tale about a gang of five children trying to survive the horrific violence of the cartels and the ghosts created every day by the drug war.
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