(Arrow/kanopy/VOD) I’ll keep this one brief, the recommendation: TETSUO: THE IRON MAN was Shinya Tsukamoto’s breakthrough film and a visceral 67 minutes of inventively kinetic cyberpunk body horror with a banging soundtrack from Chu Ishikawa (RIP).
(Arrow/tubi) If you live in Chicago, you may have heard that streaming service MUBI has teamed up with local arthouse favorite the Music Box Theatre for an event they’re calling ‘Back on the Big Screen’, which has two themes: the first week of screenings will consist of big screen epics, while the second week is centered around films about the filmgoing experience.
It’s a phenomenal list of films, including RAN, DAYS OF HEAVEN, TOUCH OF EVIL, PLAYTIME, MATINEE, THE TINGLER, SUSPERIA, which will feel like I’m attending a mini-TCM Fest in Chicago. However, I was absolutely shocked that one of the included films is the indie punk cult classic MARY JANE’S NOT A VIRGIN ANYMORE.
MARY JANE’S NOT A VIRGIN ANYMORE is an audaciously raw low-budget film from Sarah Jacobson about being a young woman, about losing one’s virginity and sex, and about working in a low-rent theater. It’s extremely honest, but often flip about it; proper punk. If you had told me last year that a well-funded streaming service would pay to screen this at the Music Box, I would have laughed at your Zoom image, but this is 2021 and I find it glorious that it’s one of the ways folks are trying to entice people back into theaters.
If you live in or around Chicago, the ‘Back on the Big Screen’ schedule is available here.
If you don’t live near Chicago, you can still stream it through one of the services listed above!
(Arrow/VOD/Blu-Ray) ‘Girl gang’ exploitation films are a big blind spot for me, one I’ve been trying to rectify for a while now. While I dearly love the SWITCHBLADE SISTERS podcast (RIP), I knew absolutely nothing about the film going in apart from the fact that Tarantino featured it in his short-lived Rolling Thunder VHS series. I assumed it was a bit of an insensitive gender swap on male gang films of the early 60s, and, boy, was I wrong, because this film is gonzo.
While it does have several unfortunate exploitation hallmarks — easy nudity and a rape scene — ultimately director Jack Hill (SPIDER-BABY, FOXY BROWN) does these girls right by portraying them as hardened, take-no-shit folks, literally constantly circled by the patriarchy, willing to wage a fucking war when the time comes, and oh yeah, they rain holy hell down in the third act.
This is a film that’d be celebrated for its vibrant anger if it were made today. So many thinkpieces would be penned about how Lace talks through her teeth!
Arrow recently released a pristine Blu-Ray, which I highly recommend. However, while I love the cover art, I can’t help but point out that the rendition of Patch has her eyepatch on the wrong eye and it’s irked me ever since I noticed the discrepancy, even though it has to be intentional but I can’t imagine why. That said, Arrow thoughtfully included the original artwork as a reversible cover!