Jeff Yanc, program director at the Loft Cinema, talked with the Weekly about some of the highlights of the third annual Loft Film Festival, which features 40-plus films and appearances by filmmakers Carlos Reygadas, Roger Corman and Don Coscarelli. Here are Yanc's comments, slightly edited for clarity:
POST TENEBRAS LUX
Director Carlos Reygadas won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Fest this year, which is a big deal. It's very exciting that we have him in person the same year that happened. Post Tenebras Lux is a really fantastic movie. It's almost the definition of an art film. It's really beautiful. It's kind of avant-garde. It's a hard film to describe, because it's nonlinear and a little hallucinatory, but it's basically about a young couple in Mexico and their daily routine. It's the kind of film that doesn't really benefit from a plot description. It's all about the details and the way it's filmed. I think the reason it won the Best Director award is because it's so gorgeous and smart and interesting, but not really narrative.
This documentary is an homage to Roger Corman's 60-year career. It looks at his importance in the independent film world. He gave breaks to so many big directors: Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Bogdanovich. They call it the School of Corman, the Corman Academy. And Corman's World shows how he was able to make movies that made a lot of money on virtually no budget, so he's a great model on how to do that. It's a really fun movie, but it shows how important he was to independent film history. And he'll be here in person, which is kind of a dream for me, because I love those kinds of B-movies that he does. I grew up on them, and I watch them all the time now.
THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH
This is Corman's favorite of the films that he directed. He did a whole series of Edgar Allan Poe films—he brought Edgar Allan Poe to the drive-ins.
This is one of the new biographies about Graham Chapman of Monty Python. They call him "the dead one." I believe this is the first time they've all been reunited for a film in 23 years. It's very exciting if you're a Monty Python fan. It's them reminiscing about Graham Chapman, and it's based on his autobiography. It's all animated, in about 17 different styles. And there are clips from Monty Python's Flying Circus in it, so it's sort of a tribute to Monty Python, too.
DEATH RACE 2000
It's one my favorite exploitation movies, and it's great on a lot of levels. It's really, really fun, and it kind of epitomizes Roger Corman's whole aesthetic, because it's kind of fast and violent, and there's nudity, but it's also funny and kind of light-hearted. The plot is really gruesome, where there's this cross-country road race, and they have to run over pedestrians to get points to win the thing. In different hands, it could have been really dark, but it's really more of a comedy. It's very influential.
A ROYAL AFFAIR
This is the Danish Oscar submission this year. It's an 18th-century historical film, very juicy. It looks at love and politics. It's a love triangle with an insane king and a queen and a German physician, and trouble ensues, of course.
This is a French comedy about a group of older, retired folks in France who, rather than going to retirement homes, decide to move in together and become roommates. Hijinks ensue. Jane Fonda is in it, and it's her first time speaking French in a film since 1972.
JOHN DIES AT THE END
This is one that we here have not seen. It's a total matter of faith, but I totally trust director Don Coscarelli, who will be here for the premiere. He has been here before, when we showed Bubba Ho-Tep at a sold-out screening. John Dies at the End just looks bananas. It's got that sci-fi/horror/comedy mix that he does so well.
THE DOORS LIVE AT THE BOWL '68
It's a Doors concert film from 1968 at the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. It's the whole live performance, and they've added a new documentary to it, with surviving members of the Doors talking about the concert and Jim Morrison and all that.
IT'S A DISASTER
This is the lighter side of the apocalypse—and with the apocalypse coming in December, it's kind of good timing. It's got a lot of great comedy stars in it, like David Cross and Julia Stiles. It's a very absurdist take on disaster films. It's almost a spoof of disaster movies.
This is by the director of Rubber, a film about a killer tire. This is not quite as bizarre as Rubber. It's a little more rooted in reality. But it's still really weird and offbeat. It's about a guy who loses his dog and has to hire a pet detective to help him find the dog. And, of course, everything goes wrong, hence the title. Really, really funny—kind of like a David Lynch comedy.
This is more offbeat fare, for sure. It's a French film that also won an award at Cannes. It's kind of like a dream film—it's about one guy who changes identities throughout the film. He drives around in a limousine and meets a lot of interesting people and changes his identity based on who he's with. Definitely a mind-expander.
This is a French animated film for kids. We want to include art films for kids in the festival. It's from the people who animated The Triplets of Belleville. It's about this young African slave boy in the 1800s who has a pet giraffe and their adventures. It's really good for kids.