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Event Archive - Shock Corridor Cinema Presents: A Sissy Spacek Double Bill. BADLANDS + 3 WOMEN.:

Tue. November 11th 2003 7:30 the fifty fifty arts collective (All Ages) 7:30
$2
Shock Corridor Cinema Presents

A Sissy Spacek Double Bill

Tuesday, Nov. 11th 7:30 & 9:15 PM

@the fifty fifty arts collective
416 Craigflower Rd.

$2 (one admission price for both films)


Shock Corridor Cinema pays homage to actor Sissy Spacek, whose geeky frame and freckled faced complexion stood in for the alternative "all-American girl" of the 70s. Her performances consistently make us reconsider “femininity” as many of her early films question social roles, especially those for young women. While the film adaptation of Carrie would be the most glaring example of this theme, in an effort to showcase lesser known, but equally charged films, we present two from the vaults that highlight both spacek's talent as an actor and the once challenging roles for women offered by the Hollywood studios (a long forgotten practice to be sure).


Born on Christmas Day 1949, Mary Elizabeth Spacek, later nicknamed Sissy by her two brothers, began her exceptional life, in Quitman Texas. At age six she began studying the arts of voice and dance. By age Seventeen it became clear Sissy was a born and developing performer and she made her move to New York in pursuit of a career. There she contributed her singing voice to the Bohemian coffee house Scene in Greenwich Village and speaking voice to the TV Commercial industry. Tiring of this, the fair-haired, freckled faced, aspiring actress enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatrical Institute. It was during her time there that Sissy landed her first feature film role, the unforgettable Holly, in Terence Mallick’s Badlands.

Badlands (Terence Mallick, 1973)

Inspired by, but not based upon, the true life stories of Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate, Badlands tells the tale of high school Holly (Sissy Spacek) and much older Kit (a rather young Martin Sheen) and their rancorous romance. These two seemingly bored, obsessive, young people team up and spread a trail of death across Dakota in an attempt to reach Montana and find some kind of refuge from responsibility, discrepancy, the law; society in general. This film would inspire Tarantino’s original script for Natural Born Killers – before Oliver Stone tweaked it to his maniacal liking. Also of interesting note: the title track to Bruce Springsteen’s oblique Nebraska album is, in part, a homage to this landmark film.

The couple’s first victim is Holly's father (Warren Oats) who marks Kit out as unsuitable for his daughter. This instigates the young lovers automobile tear across the badlands of Dakota with twenty-five year old, legal Kit making the running while Holly tags along, because she just killed her guardian. The two live a survivalist life in the wild and on the road, occasionally foraying back to the real world to rob whomever they can, when the need or mood arises; a moral bankruptcy that would eventually find its way into many mainstream films of the 90s, some twenty years later.
The two characters develop exceptionally slowly and discretely, one might think in an attempt to convey the distance from both the social conscience and world the two seek. The characters’ more intimate or interpersonal relationships are described, however slightly, by Holly’s running narrative. It’s throughout this narrative that one becomes painfully aware that Holly is in fact fifteen, and just as confused as the rest of us were/are at that age, and unaware of the reality of the position she has found herself in. Within these subtle complexities the viewer becomes bound in the convoluted plight for simplicity these characters have found in themselves. The stunning, naturally lit images, space Midwest landscape is augmented by delicate musical themes of “Musica Poetica”, by German composer Carl Orff; watching this film a fantastical, magical experience which everyone should have the chance to live via the big screen.


3 Women (Robert Altman, 1977)

After making Badlands in 1973, Sissy landed the title role in Brian De Palma’s rendition of Stephen King’s Carrie in 1976. This became Sissy’s career breakthrough and in 1977 the young actress was cast by the revered director of the day, Robert Altman for his film 3 Women alongside the other lanky actor of the 70s, Shelly Duval.

The enigmatic narrative of 3 Women plays like Ingmar Bergman's Persona. Set in a flea-bitten Southern California desert town, the film was supposedly inspired by a dream Altman had while his wife was in the hospital.
Spacek’s character Pinky arrives from small-town Texas and begins working at a rehabilitation centre. She latches on to [Robert] Duvall, who gladly assumes the role of social tutor, unaware that the other characters living in her building and at work mock her. Spacek moves in with Duvall, and, after a half-hearted suicide attempt following a disastrous party, a transformation of roles takes place.
When the pregnant wife (Janice Rule) of their brutal drunken landlord delivers a stillborn son, the cycle of change reverses itself again and the three women set up uneasy housekeeping. Reverberant imagery and astonishing performances hold attention through this challenging work. Difficult to find in Video stores and slowly developing a cult audience. Don’t miss your chance to see this work!
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