Andrew’s Video Vault at the Rotunda

 

FREE Screenings Continuous From 8 PM
on the Second THURSDAY of Every Month!

THE ROTUNDA
4014 WALNUT STREET, WEST PHILADELPHIA


Since 2004, Andrew’s Video Vault is a free, once-a-month screening series at The Rotunda in West Philadelphia programed by film director and educator Andrew Repasky McElhinney.  Andrew’s Video Vault programs original, obscure, neglected, marginalized and commercial unavailable video media. It connects the West Philly neighborhood to the University of Pennsylvania community and fosters a multicultural examination of motion pictures in a relaxed, educational setting.

This program is made possible through the generous support of the Cinema Studies Program and The Rotunda at the University of Pennsylvania.
 
 

FEBRUARY 9 – NEWSPAPER DOUBLE FEATURE
Five Star Final (1931 / 89 minutes)
Before our age of multiple media forms, the newspaper had power to shape public opinion and social action. Hence, the influence of the press, and its potential for detriment, was an important theme in early American cinema. Director Mervyn Leroy’s little-seen Five Star Final uses the punch and perception available in the pre-code-era Warner Bros. studio. Edward G. Robinson stars as Joseph W. Randall, a tabloid editor who must question the effects of sensationalistic reportage used to drive up circulation. When Randall revives a 20-year-old murder case for a series, he learns of its personal toll on those involved.
Park Row (1952 / 83 minutes)
Park Row is filmmaker Samuel Fuller on the trade that shaped him as a writer. He served as a crime reporter in his teens before screenwriting in the 1930s and serving in WWII. After a string of low-budget successes as writer-director, Fuller self-funded his tribute to the eponymous late-19th-century newspaper district. The film depicts the responsibility of the press as Phineas Mitchell (Fuller-regular Gene Evans) launches The Globe after his firing from The Star, a paper critical of his methods. Mitchell’s bold content urges Star publisher Charity Hackett (Mary Welch) to combat her rival. Also starring Bela Kovacs, Herbert Heyes, Tina Pine, and George O’Hanlon.
Guest Host and Curator: Matthew Sorrento

 
 

MARCH 9 – FRITZ LANG’S INDIAN EPIC
The Tiger of Eschnapur [Der Tiger von Eschnapur] (1959 / 101 minutes)
The Indian Tomb [Das indische Grabmal] (1959 / 102 minutes)
After years directing crime thrillers and film noir titles in America, the great Fritz Lang returned to his home country to direct these two fantasy-action films – about an architect accepting a commission to build a temple for a maharaja – that also marked a return to the silent epics of his early years. Shown in its original German language version with English subtitles.
Guest Host and Curator: Samm Deighan

 
 

APRIL 13 – REEL BLACK CINEMA PRESENTS TV MOVIES OF THE 1970s
Dummy (1979 / 75 minutes)
Levar Burton plays a deaf mute wrongly accused of rape and murder. Based on the real-life case of Donald Lang, this Emmy-nominated film co-stars Paul Sorvino as hearing impaired lawyer Lowell Myers.
The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened (1977 / 100 minutes)
Adapted from the novel by Don Robertson, Jimmie Walker plays a high school basketball player stricken with sickle-cell anemia. Tony nominated director Gilbert Moses enlists a strong supporting cast, which includes James Earl Jones, Kevin Hooks and Debbie Allen (re-teamed with her Good Times co-star Walker in her movie debut).
Guest Host and Curator: Mike Dennis
 
 

MAY 11 – EARLY ALMODOVAR
Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980 / 81 minutes)
Pedro Almodovar’s rarely screened first feature feature about three friends features many of the traits he became well known for, including the power of women, homosexuality, drugs, pitch-black comedy, and Carmen Maura.
What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984 / 101 minutes)
Carmen Maura gives another brilliant performance as an overwhelmed, working-class housewife in another of Almodovar’s dark comedies featuring a murderous nod to Roald Dahl’s ‘Lamb to the Slaughter”, a prostitute, child-selling, telekenesis, an impotent policeman, a lizard witness, and more drugs/homosexuality.
Guest Host and Curator: Mike Zaleski

 
 

JUNE 8 – ART HOUSE EROTICA DOUBLE FEATURE
La Marge (1976 / 88 minutes)
This little seen erotic film about a Parisian prostitute (Sylvia Kristel) who meets a businessman (Joe Dallesandro) from the countryside is one of director Walerian Borowczyk’s greatest achievements. Despite her aloofness, their encounters develop into a deep emotional attachment as his home life falls apart and tragedy strikes.
Der Bomberpilot (1970 / 65 minutes)
One of the most experimental films of New German Cinema is this colorful, somewhat lurid tale from Werner Schroeter, which follows the lives of three women in a traveling cabaret troupe from the excesses of Nazi Germany to hardship in the postwar years.
Guest Host and Curator: Samm Deighan
 
 

JULY 13 – CLARA BOW DOUBLE FEATURE
Kid Boots (1926 / 60 minutes)
Eddie Cantor stars in this slapstick comedy. His friend Tom wants a divorce, but must stay married long enough to receive an inheritance. Unfortunately, he’s in Palm Beach, and tempted by all the beautiful girls there. Cantor tries to help him stay faithful, but then falls for Clara Bow himself (and who wouldn’t?).
Mantrap (1926 / 70 minutes)
Lonely Canadian bachelor Joe (Ernest Torrence) takes a trip to Minneapolis. He meets a pretty manicurist (Clara Bow) in a barber shop, and soon takes her back to Mantrap, Canada to marry her. The only trouble is she can’t help constantly flirting with other men – including the divorce lawyer who comes to town.
Guest Host and Curator: Andrew Gilmore
 
 

AUGUST 10 – ’90s DRUG-FUELED FREAK-OUTS
Gift (1993 / 80 minues)
Perry Farrell and Casey Niccoli’s experimental, shot-on-video feature telling a story of a couple’s heroin addiction, set in the rock and roll world of Farrell’s band Jane’s Addiction. Made while the band was at the height of success and publicly struggling with real-life substance abuse issues, Gift wavers uncomfortably between death-wish braggadocio and an eerie call for help. The stripped-down lovers’ melodrama is framed by vivid Tijuana-shot concert footage of Jane’s Addiction in their fleeting heyday.
The Love God (1997 / 82 minutes)
Director Frank Grow’s little-seen masterpiece is a phantasmagorical tale of love and obsession at lower Manhattan’s Love Hotel, a dumping ground for prematurely-released mental patients. Grow sees the film through the deranged eyes of his bugged-out characters while never losing sight of their humanity. Awash with garish day-glo colors and madly stomping along to a score by Australia’s Lubricated Goat, The Love God unloads some wild shocks while barely hiding a deep compassion just beneath the mayhem.
Guest Host and Curator: Dan Buskirk

 
 

SEPTEMBER 14 – BOLDLY INTO THE DARK
Selected Shorts
The men and women who made these animated films were free; they did not have to answer to any studio, appeal to any demographic, or argue with actors, nor were they were bound by the laws of gravity, time and logic.  Each answered only to his or her heart and imagination.  As a result, these films go places and do things no feature film would dare… 
Begotten (1990 / 72 minutes)
In Begotten, Edmund Elias Merhige separates the darkness from the light to reveal the beginning of everything: matter, motion, myth, sex and Cinema itself are born on the screen in blood and fire.  We are witness to forbidden rituals and images that conjure the savage poetry of James Dickey and terrible beauty of Ingmar Bergman.  Though we can’t look away, we feel we shouldn’t be watching…
Guest Host and Curator: Ted Knighton

 
 

OCTOBER 12 – GRINDHOUSE GOTHIC
The Witch Who Came From the Sea (1976 / 88 minutes)
“Molly really knows how to cut men down to size!” was the tagline for this deeply atmospheric “video nasty” with great location cinematography, dramatic heft, and a haunting turn from Millie Perkins as Molly, who seems to leave a trail of deadly sexual multialtions in her wake, but why…? 
Toys Are Not For Children (1972 / 85 minutes)
Jamie’s (Marcia Forbes) obsession with her absent father and the toys he gave her as a child ruins her marriage and leads her into a life of prostitution in this exploitation drama filled with equal parts of the bizarre and of melancholy.
Guest Host and Curator: Mike Zaleski
 
 
 

NOVEMBER 9 – PRE-CODE COMEDY
Show Girl in Hollywood (1930 / 77 minutes)
Flapper comedienne Alice White stars in this musical comedy as an unemployed chorus girl who decides to leave Broadway and go to Hollywood to find a job in the new field of “talking pictures”, but finds it’s not as easy to get into the movies as she had hoped.
Girl Crazy (1932 / 74 minutes)
Zany vaudevillians Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey star in this George & Ira Gershwin-scored musical comedy. Gambler Woolsey hires taxi driver Wheeler to drive him to Custerville, Arizona, where the sheriffs always get bumped off. Woolsey tries to get out of paying his taxi bill by talking Wheeler into running for sheriff against the town’s nastiest bandit, and hilarity ensues.
Guest Host and Curator: Andrew Gilmore

 
 

DECEMBER 14 – DIABOLICAL FRENCH DRAMA
Under The Sun of Satan [Sous le soleil de Satan] (1976 / 97 minutes)
Gerard Depardieu stars in Maurice Pialat’s film about the nature of evil, where a particularly zealous priest in the French countryside becomes tempted by the devil and is obsessed with saving a young murderess (Sandrine Bonnaire) who has killed one of her lovers. 
The Devil, Probably [Le diable, probablement] (1977 / 95 minutes)
Robert Bresson’s penultimate film follows the attempts of a suicidal young man (Antoine Monnier) to find some meaning or value in society by immersing himself in religion, politics, and even psychology, all for nought.
Guest Host and Curator: Samm Deighan