It's 12:25AM and I've just returned from a screening of a 35mm print of Avi Nesher's 1984 post-apocalyptic fantasy SHE. This is my first time in the presence of SHE and also the second time I've been back to the Alamo Drafthouse SF since they removed their program director. I'd like to address very briefly the fact that people think The Overlook Theatre has been boycotting the Alamo since the aforementioned separation and I will now say on the record, it's not true. Well not intentionally...
The thing that you need to realize is San Francisco has gone through some serious gentrification and lost a lot of great independent theatres. With that, we've also lost a lot of great hosts. Recently we lost the Yerba Beuna film program department which took with it two of our favorite intro voices, followed by the Alamo Drafthouse now being booked by a shadow entity... I'm removing names from this post because I've been drinking and I've gone down a tangent. So no, we are not boycotting the Alamo, but does it feel warm and inviting like it used too? No, honestly it hasn't since they removed Lost Weekend Video and stopped booking Video Vortex and turned it into a souvenir shop. Will I still show up for a midday screening of a new Gaspar Noé film with a promised Skype Q&A? Fuck yes, but next time spare us the tool of a host (I don't know who he was but anyone other than Mike was gonna make me mad, especially while pandering insincerely).
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The Math Mage accompanied Huntress and I out on this $6 10PM adventure, which I couldn't have been happier about. I have been a long time enjoyer of fantasy film and when one loves fantasy film one also knows how few and far between a kindred spirit can be!
Like most Terror Tuesdays / Weird Wednesdays, SHE had the bulk of the middle section of theatre one full with a few stragglers on either side. I'd say this was a solid turn out, especially for a 1h 45m Post-apocalyptic film starting at 10PM on a school night... So I checked IMDB to see if I could recognize any films Avi Nesher may have made post SHE and help give me some insight on the turnout.
Avi Nesher's award-winning films have played a major part in Israeli cinema's rise to prominence during the last decade. During that period, remarkably enough, four Israeli movies were nominated for Best Foreign Picture. During that era Nesher was singled out and honored several times as one of Israel's all-time greatest filmmakers.
-excerpt from IMDB mini bio on Avi Nesher
I didn't recognize anything from his filmography but that paragraph from IMDB sure got me excited. As for the larger than expected crowd, it appeared they were just looking to drink/laugh. I pass no judgment here.
Shove (@shovemink (IG)) intro'd the feature with the credits rolling behind her, some slight technical difficulty, and an obvious sense of disdain. Shove is very knowledgeable when it comes to film and horror specifically, but she hesitates not when she dislikes something. She did not like SHE. This set the tone for an ironic viewing and I'm not going to lie, kinda bummed me out. I am glad that she gave a nod to Avi Nesher's band Bastard, which ruled! I should probably mention that I spent my first initial moments home trying to look them up, but according to Metal-Archives there are 13 bands named Bastard and 69 more with Bastard in the name... (Let me know if you have more info on Bastard!) After making fun of the bikini warrior women, oiled hunks, and costume choice, Shove departed.
SHE looked, sounded, and played beautifully. Right after the film abruptly ended the Math Mage jumped up and expressed his anger that the film presented a plot line that they left out of the movie. He was referring to the one part of the movie I went to the bathroom during, but I think the mad scientist in the sleeping gas forest released the female henchmen to reunite some crystals. This character returns towards the end of the film with no mention of this. The Math Mage was clearly the only person in the theatre anticipating this story arch. After his protest of the ending, we both instantly agreed that SHE was amazing. I personally think SHE is the best post-apocalyptic fantasy film I've ever seen. The plot of CONQUEST with unique-ish warbands ala THE WARRIORS, locations that felt fresh and unique, with a bombed out city for the climactic 3rd act!
I seemed to be the only one annoyed with the amount of laughter throughout the film, but even I had to ask myself, what did I expect? Post-screening the crowd cleared out quickly. I did spot a couple cool artist in the crowd and an SF film programmer. I just wonder if we'll ever have after film discussions like we did for the first 3 years of the Alamo. I suppose I should make an effort to keep that culture alive. Math Mage did hang out and walk Huntress and I to our car to talk about SHE some more. That counts.
I'll speak more about the film on The Overlook Hour Podcast #137 since I'd like to start doing these post-screening blog posts as a sort of diary of SF cinema culture. I was really upset with myself for not doing this sooner when the culture was stronger and I'm committed to documenting events now, albeit 5 years late.
- Lord Battle