A city’s cinematic identity is shaped by surprisingly few people. For a large but otherwise mid-sized Maine city like Portland, that cinematic landscape is in the hands of local film programmers, event coordinators, and a few motivated others who – to use an internal cinema term – s’ don’t care. I call them heroes, and I really mean it.
Among that number has always been Greg Jamie, who as a booker and partner at Portland’s Apohadion Theater, has always been part of his mission to keep Maine’s movie scene much weirder, more adventurous, and more rewarding. (Look for reviews of Apohadion’s locking virtual projections such as the cult art-horror-sleaze film “Thunderclap!âAnd the recent documentary on the still struggling musical warrior Lydie lunch.)
And now Jamie has expanded that mission, taking over as a film programmer for Portland’s ever-exciting and eclectic performance and art space, Space. Those in the know (and who have read this column for the past decade or so) know how integral space is to the local movie scene, thanks in large part to the efforts of the former space cinema guy from long time, Jon courtney. Courtney is now practicing her craft as a movie fanatic as a programmer at PMA Films, with fellow movie hero Jamie vowing to continue Space’s central role in keeping the Portland projector lights flickering.
âI was doing partnered Apohadian / Space screenings and a bunch of outdoor stuff,â Jamie said. âIt has been collaborative and exciting. And as Jamie’s tenure at Apohadion continues, he launches his curatorial vision at Space in a big, bold, and decidedly space-centric way.
“Ancestor and tranceIs a – well, I’ll let Jamie describe Space’s new website showcasing the multiple works of Mexican art and film group Colectivo los IngrÃ¡vidos.
âIt’s a quintessential experimental art and cinema portal,â Jamie said of the ongoing five-month project. “It’s an exciting place that I love to see living in Space, doing something outside of the conventional way of presenting a movie.”
And âAnceatralidad y Tranceâ is certainly that. An intentionally non-linear immersive cinematic experience, the site (curated by Almudena Escobar LÃ³pez of Colectivo los IngrÃ¡vados, and designed by Gaile Pranckunaite and Mindaugas Åªba) presents visitors with a stylized Aztec Sunstone. As you hover your cursor over the figure, you discover enigmatic images and clues to what is just a click away, with 40 short films and various texts, all of which represent one aspect of the collective’s cinematic mission. This mission, according to Jamie, is best experienced and explained by the filmmakers themselves through the exploration of the site, but the “About” section proposes to take viewers into a “space-time trance where myth, violence, ancestry, precariousness and extinction, generate multiple speculative and multinaturalist cinematographic perspectives. Fair enough.
I dived in the site for several hours now, and, if not fascinated, I have certainly been challenged, entertained and intrigued by what I have discovered. As Jamie puts it, the trip to his first space company is part of the point, noting, âIt does something outside of the conventional way of presenting a movie, with films relying heavily on art through the lens of politics as well. This is a good starting point in my brain.
Plus, given that all theater plans need to factor in the pandemic, Jamie says the website’s intrinsic mystery gives an added boost to movie-hungry but still wary viewers to find much-needed entertainment. “Of course you can ask people to sit down and watch 40 movies, but that’s not the point of the site.”
It’s a new way to approach his tenure in space, but Jamie also assures Portland’s cinephile audiences that space (per all reasonable COVID guidelines) will reopen again for in-person screenings – very soon.
October 13 will mark the return of Space’s theatrical screenings, said Jamie, enthusiastically touting the virtues of director Amalia Ulman’s impassive indie. “El Planet. “
âThere is something old-fashioned and contemporary at the same time,â he said of the dark, comedic tale of a mismatched mother and daughter looking for equally unstable ways to make it happen. in the face of financial disaster. “Think of Miranda July and the beginning of Jim Jarmusch at the same time.”
And don’t sleep on The Apohadion, where Jamie promises the return of live screenings around the corner, starting October 15 with the completely cult banana horror / drama / other flick that is the film d. ‘Andrzej Zulawski in 1981 “Possession”. In a recently restored presentation, the film starring Isabelle Adjani / Sam Neill is about a couple with, let’s call them “problems,” including whether Adjani’s increasingly unbalanced partner may or may not have. sex with / give birth to something unspeakable.
This is exactly the kind of film that Jamie and the Apohadion guarantee will never be far from the consciousness of Maine moviegoers, and exactly the right film to greet viewers. Jamie said in awe, “We were looking to get some sort of statement film,” noting that the “fun and kinky” thrills of “Possession” are exactly what pandemic-numbed audiences need. So here are our local movie heroes like Greg Jamie, who know what we’re looking for, even if they don’t.
You can experience the mind-boggling puzzle that is “Ancestor and trance” To ancestralidadytrance.space. For tickets, listings, and information on the Booming Back Movies list at Space and The Apohadion Theater, check out the respective websites of these good organizations.
Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Auburn with his wife and cat.
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