People used to get dressed up to go to the movies. It’s hard to believe now, since you’re more likely to overhear a phone call than catch someone in formal attire. Arthouse Day, a mini-festival that’s meant to celebrate independent cinema, is a reminder that a night at the cinema is way more luxurious than chilling with Netflix. AFI Silver will participate in the event with arthouse classics, and one delightfully strange that will not be in theaters for months.
Directed by Robert Downey Sr., Putney Swope is a ferocious indie classic about a black employee in an ad agency who’s accidentally swept into power. He immediately makes sweeping changes, which leads to a satire that paved the way for films like Bamboozled and Sorry to Bother You. Don’t take my word for it: here’s Downey talking about his film with Paul Thomas Anderson.
Putney Swope screens on Wed, Sept. 18, 9:20 p.m.; also screens Sun, Sept. 22, 9:30; Wed, Oct. 2, 6:30 p.m.
The other repertory film is My Twentieth Century, a Hungarian drama from the late 1980s. In her essay in MUBI, Kiva Reardon writes, “Though a serious subject to be sure, Enyedi approaches [women’s revolution] with, yes, a whimsical tone achieved largely through aesthetic choices: she employs old-timey pinhole fades and a Greek chorus of talking stars.” This title is difficult to find, either on hard copy or streaming, so you’ll want to check out the new 4K restoration.
My Twentieth Century screens on Wed, Sept. 18, 9:15 p.m.; also screens Thurs, Sept. 19, 7:00 p.m.
But the real jewel of Arthouse Day is In Fabric, the new utterly bizarre thriller from British filmmaker Peter Strickland. Perhaps you’ve seen his other films, Berbian Sound Studio or The Duke Burgundy, one of the strangest and best to come out this decade. Suffice to say, In Fabric is even weirder than that: it is about a killer dress. Think of Christine, except even more unsettling and with some body horror thrown in. Strickland adds some flourishes that’ll please Dario Argento fans: the score is full of startling synths, and the film’s abundant blood is nearly orange. Oh, and there’s a striking cameo from Gwendoline Christie, aka Brienne of Tarth, that’s both sexy and bizarre in equal measure. This film won’t come out for months, so anyone who likes their horror stylized and weird should seek out this opportunity.
In Fabric Wed, Sept. 18, 9:15 p.m.; also screens Thurs, Sept. 19, 7:00 p.m.