In March, POP Montréal launches Ciné-Club Film POP, a monthly film series highlighting the best of musical cinema, both new and old, screening in the intimate setting of Espace POP (5587 Av du Parc, Montréal) outfitted as a pop-up micro-cinema for the occasion!
Each month, we will present a film that we consider to be special, unique or simply worth rediscovering and being enjoyed with friends, drink in hand! No pressure. 5$ admission + bar on the premises!
Series 1 includes: two posthumous homages — the maligned and rarely-screened Julien Temple musical Absolute Beginners (1986), starring David Bowie, and the kick-ass and silly kung-fu / Motown hybrid The Last Dragon (1985), starring Denise “Vanity” Matthews, as directed by Film POP favorite Michael Schultz (Krush Groove). Rounding things up: the fan-favorite, Ramones-starring, Roger Corman-produced teenage rebellion extravaganza Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979), and the contemporary poptimist classic-in-the-making Beyond the Lights (2014), an earnest romance directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball).
Ciné-Club Film POP programming
@ Espace POP – 7 pm
March 29th, 2016
(Julien Temple | UK, 1986 | Digital | 108 min)
There’s trouble in the streets of London! Based on Colin McInness’ cult novel of the same name, famed music video/documentary filmmaker Julien Temple directs Absolute Beginners with mad-cap and infectious energy. Chronicling the youthful scene of post-war, pre-Beatles London, the film is less a straightforward adaptation than the smorgasbord vision of a hyper-stylized and proudly anachronistic fantasy world where youngsters collide with jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, expertly choreographed dance numbers, street photography and scorching neon lights in every frame. Recalling Coppola’s exuberant One from the Heart (1982) in style, yet ultimately dealing with its own time and place, Absolute Beginners tackles race and the onset of gentrification in Great Britain with great – if naïve – vigor! An unfairly maligned musical, co-starring Davie Bowie as the villain (RIP!), alongside Sade, among others.
« Recalling Coppola’s exuberant One from the Heart (1982) in style, yet ultimately dealing with its own time and place, Absolute Beginners tackles race and the onset of gentrification in Great Britain with great – if naïve – vigor! »
April 25th, 2016
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL
(Allan Arkush | U.S., 1979 | Digital | 93 min)
You all know the song: Rock, rock, rock ‘n’ roll high school! Now revisit every minute of this wacky Ramones-starring cult classic, packed with exactly the kind of teenage shenanigans you’d expect from the master punk rockers – including a giant humanoid mouse! When a tyrannical high school principal decides to crack down on the unhealthy influence of rock ‘n’ roll on her student body, she makes a mortal enemy in ultimate badass and radio host Riff Randell (P.J. Soles). The Ramones invade, all hell break loose, and that’s pretty much all you need to know! Packed with songs, produced by Roger Corman and conceived by Allan Arkush and Joe Dante (Gremlins), Rock ‘n’ Roll High School is the ultimate ode to teenage rebellion! So lace your Converse sneakers, sneak in the PBR and gabba gabba hey!
« Rock ‘n’ Roll High School is the ultimate ode to teenage rebellion! So lace your Converse sneakers, sneak in the PBR and gabba gabba hey! »
May 30th, 2016
THE LAST DRAGON
(Michael Schultz | U.S., 1985 | Digital | 107 min)
Film POP favorite Michael Schultz returns with The Last Dragon – probably one of the wackiest, most delirious hybrid films to come out of the 80s, bridging, of all things, the era’s obsession with kung-fun with the catchy sounds of Motown Records! Following a young martial arts trainee looking for the power of “The Glow,” Schultz proves once again his unique knack for combining Blaxploitation narratives with the high intensity of the musical (and, of course, the cross-promotion of a specific music label). Most famous for popularizing DeBarge’s hit song “Rhythm of the Night,” Schultz released The Last Dragon a few months before his Def Jam-inspired Krush Groove, and while it was a box office failure, it has deservedly become a cult film classic with time. Co-starring Vanity (RIP!) as a VJ-in-distress, and Julius Carry as the ridiculous antagonist the “Shogun of Harlem,” The Last Dragon stands as an unlikely relic of the 80s – flawed by today’s sensibilities but oh-so-wild, and well worth (re)discovering for its eccentricities!
« Following a young martial arts trainee looking for the power of “The Glow,” Schultz proves once again his unique knack for combining Blaxploitation narratives with the high intensity of the musical (and, of course, the cross-promotion of a specific music label). »
June 27th, 2016
BEYOND THE LIGHTS
(Gina Price-Bythewood | U.S., 2014 | Digital | 116 min)
Gina Prince-Bythewood follows Love & Basketball with another earnest and superbly well-handled romance, a feminist melodrama for the Beyonce™ era that expertly navigates issues of black femininity and agency within the accelerated and destructive surface play of the mainstream pop music world. When the Rihana-esque, international sensation Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) tries to commit suicide, it is her entire universe that unravels. Complicating matters, she falls deeply in love with the police officer that saved her life (Nate Parker, of the upcoming Sundance revelation The Birth of a Nation), and torn between career expectations, her love, and her new-found sense of identity, Noni proceeds to unlearn a lot about herself and how the outside world wants her to be. Unfortunately swept under the rug and barely graced with a theatrical run, Beyond the Lights is a hyper-contemporary classic-in-the-making, beaming with a rare kind of sincerity that makes for a truly unique critique of the mainstream music business. Less a revolutionary story, than a pitch-perfect way to tell a simple love story, it is the poptimist classic we deserve. Trust us on this.
« ...A feminist melodrama for the Beyonce™ era that expertly navigates issues of black femininity and agency within the accelerated and destructive surface play of the mainstream pop music world. »