SEASON LAUNCH 2023
First Saturday each Month, 4PM
The 2023 films of Smokescreen all deal with an element of the Forbidden, whether it is forbidden love, forbidden treasure, forbidden knowledge, or in our contemporary politically correct world, forbidden culture. These films explore a time and cultural landscape very different from our own, and yet they continue to resonate. They are often subversive, dark and compelling, how do you react your darkest desire becoming real? Is it ok to laugh at trauma? Why are we so compelled by the worst in human nature? That which is forbidden is all the more irresistible, and films are a wonderful way to explore the darker elements of human nature safely from the comfort of the cinema.
11 Films for $70
Exploring our darkest desires.
THE EXORCIST (1973) - DOUBLE FEATURE
4 Nov 2023
Exorcism, has always been a forbidden element of Christian religion. So when 'The Exorcist' premiered in 1973, it caused a stir. There were claims of people fainting at the cinema, while critics deplored the films depictions of satanism and teenage sexuality. Today is it considered one of the scariest films ever made, and a classic of the horror genre, but still retains an element of the forbidden
Starring: Eleen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Millar, Linda Blair
THE CHINA SYNDROME (1979)
2 Sept 2023
When 'The China Syndrome' hit cinemas, in the late 1970s, nuclear power was hailed as the answer to the growing energy crisis. 'The China Syndrome' explored what could happen in the event of a nuclear meltdown. Twelve days after it premiered the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania suffered a partial core meltdown. The consequence of the nuclear accident, investigation and clean up caused a massive public outcry. Today nuclear power, rather than being the answer to the world’s energy needs, has become the ultimate source of forbidden power.
Director: James Bridges
Starring: Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas
3 June 2023
'Chinatown' plays on many of the popular troupes of the film noir genre. It’s dark, dirty and cynical, dealing with a number of themes that even today are controversial and often forbidden, rape, incest, and the power of corporate greed to destroy both people and the environment. Themes that are no less powerful today, as we continue to grapple with environmental degradation and the controversial issue of climate change.
Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Hillerman, Perry Lopez, Burt Young, John Huston
4 Mar 2023
'Casablanca' is a beautifully picturesque film exploring struggle between duty and love that remains compelling today. Made at a time when an allied victory of the Second World War was far from assured, it is imbued with wartime tension, and yet it does not twist the ‘forbidden love’ into something dark and destructive. It is simply an elegant tale of honour and love that many filmmakers have emulated, but few have achieved.
Director: Michael Curtiz
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreld
Run Time: 102 min
THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) - DOUBLE FEATURE
4 Nov 2023
The classic noir set up of a jaded private investigator dragged into a complicated crime as a cast of crazy characters compete to find a priceless, yet mysterious idol. This dark, claustrophobic & gritty film is a story of forbidden desires. The desire for the bejewelled idol and the riches if offers, and the desire for the beautiful femme fatale despite the danger she presents. It is, as Sam Spade wearily notes ‘the stuff that dreams are made of.’
Director: John Huston
Starring: Humphry Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Barton MacLane, Lee Patrick, Sydney Greenstreet
WHITE HEAT (1949)
5 Aug 2023
The psychopathic criminal has a long history in cinema, and yet we, as audiences cannot seem to get enough. There is something fascinating and forbidden about them as they contravene the normal rules of society, behaving ways that are both devastatingly familiar and completley unfathomable.
Director: Raoul Walsh
Starring: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmund Obrien, Margaret Wycherly, Steve Cochran
WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (1984)
6 May 2023
While 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit', was not the first live action film produced (remember Mary Poppins) it was ground breaking in its seamless ability to combine amination with live action. But it did more than expand amination technology it subverts our understanding of cartoons as something innocent and wholesome. In this norish world, ‘Toons’ are sexy, duplicitous, and face real world consequences for their actions. Navigating a world that is corrupt and jaded.
Yet they retain an element of cartoonish kooky humour, that only adds to the subversive nature of the film, and our adult enjoyment of something that know should be left behind in childhood. Few have tried to recreate the magic of live action for an adult audience, but none have matched the combination of genre blending story with seamless amination which continues to make this film so appealing.
Starring: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Fleischer, Stubby Kaye, Joanna Cassidy
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951)
4 Feb 2023
Sometimes dismissed as a typical Hitchcock thriller this film, which centres on the charged interactions between the two male protagonists (Bruno and Guy), has many elements of the Forbidden. How do you react to your darkest desire becoming real? Do you eagerly embrace them? Or regret ever voicing such desires? As Bruno and Guy struggle against each other, one wonders in the rigidly gendered world of the 1940s that this film does not hint at something more.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman
Run Time: 1h 41m
SORRY WRONG NUMBER (1948)
7 Oct 2023
An invalid woman accidently over-hears a murder plot, the introduction to a fantastic film noir. But it is also an insight how destructive forbidden knowledge can be, as she slowly descends into fear, panic and madness, one asks is ignorance bliss?
Director: Anatole Litvak
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck
STALAG 17 (1953)
1 July 2023
Is it ever acceptable to laugh at trauma? Today 'Stalag 17' might seem offensive to modern sensibilities, one more element of pop culture to be cancelled. But to do so is to miss Billy Wilder’s aim to tell a story that is both tough and funny subverting the established themes of heroic endurance dominating war films of the period.
Director: Billy Wilder
Starring: William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)
1 Apr 2023
So many elements of this film deal with the forbidden, civil rights in the deep south, interactions between whites and blacks outside of the prescribed roles of master and servant, add to this the imaginative world of childhood where a reclusive neighbour becomes a foreboding and forbidden monster. It is a masterful film that even today resonates.
Director: Robert Mulligan
Starring: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton