Continuing our mission to offer significant historical avant-garde moving image works alongside contemporary experimental films, GME is pleased to offer two DVD editions in this vein: SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS, made in 1966 by Mike Kuchar (twin brother of filmmaker George), alongside a compilation of contemporary short films (HELLO HAPPINESS!) by one of their protégés Marie Losier.
Twin brothers Mike and George Kuchar were born in the Bronx. They began making 8mm films in the mid-1950s, and then graduated to 16mm filmmaking in the 1960s. They played an important contributing role in the development of the American underground narrative cinema that emerged during this period. Their films evoked the grandeur of Hollywood cinema, but with bargain basement production values, including hand-drawn main titles, homemade sets and costumes, overwrought acting styles, and dramatic music scores. They pioneered a hilariously campy, lurid style situated between Ed Wood’s exploitation films and Douglas Sirk's melodramas.
About the creative influence on his films, Mike Kuchar has written, “Some people are raised on works that hang in museums. With me, it was the bombastic paintings printed on the covers of science-fiction paperbacks and the garish posters or horror movies that low-budget companies advertised as being shot in 3D.”
His film SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS is set a million years in the future, after "The Great War" has scourged the planet, mankind has forsaken science for self-indulgence in all the carnal pleasures afforded by art, food, and lust. Work is left to a race of enslaved androids. One rebellious male robot tires of pampering his lazy masters, and joins the humans in sin.
Bonus materials include two classic featurettes from the Kuchar catalog. THE SECRET OF WENDEL SAMSON (1966) stars Pop artist Red Grooms in a dark, surreal psychodrama of sexual desire and the entanglements of intimacy. THE CRAVEN SLUCK (1967) tells a torrid tale of adultery and flying saucers.
Marie Losier, a French-born, contemporary New York avant-garde filmmaker, learned from the Kuchar brothers about the art of making 16mm films with a Bolex camera. Through her craft, she has created a unique series of engaging cinematic “dream” portraits (compiled together on a DVD publication entitled HELLO HAPPINESS!) featuring key figures in avant-garde circles, among them Mike Kuchar (BIRD, BATH AND BEYOND, 2003), George Kuchar (ELECTROCUTE YOUR STARS, 2004), Richard Foreman (THE ONTOLOGICAL COWBOY, 2005), Guy Maddin (MANUELLE LABOUR, 2007), Genesis P-Orridge (SLAP THE GONDOLA, 2010), Alan Vega (JUST A MILLION DREAMS, 2014), and Tony Conrad (DREAMINIMALIST, 2008). Losier often choreographs these on-screen performances with outré, costumed characters. Her movies are imbued with both psychological acumen and effervescent flair, which extends as well to her intimate, feature-length portrait biography film, THE BALLAD OF GENESIS AND LADY JAYE (2011).
As for Losier’s place in the canon of film history, critic Nicole Brenez has written, “After it has long fertilized the Lettrist, Situationist and Fluxus movements, Marie Losier continues to channel that original Dada spirit – an Artist’s international for those forging their own networks for their psychic survival…” In more passionate fashion, filmmaker Jackie Raynal wrote that Losier is “The girl Friday with a 16mm camera, high priestess of celluloid, defending it in the face of digital impermanence.”
The films of Marie Losier are the subject of a retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art (New York) in November 2018. GME also distributes DREAMINIMALIST, (2008) directed by Marie Losier as well as SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS, (1966), directed by Mike Kuchar, who is one of the performers in this compilation DVD entitled HELLO HAPPINESS!
Related Films of Interest Available from GME:
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