Black Sun Cinema presents: Ron Rice’s ‘Chumlum’

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Black Sun Cinema presents: Ron Rice’s Chumlum (1964)

Saturday May 4th, 8pm
Triskel Arts Centre, Tobin Street, Cork

Screening is part of the Daniel Higgs Black Sun event at Triskel Arts Centre

Chumlum admission: €5 | Full admission: €10
Ron Rice, director of the influential beatnik romp The Flower Thief (1960), has been called “the great tragic figure of the ‘60s underground film scene”. He completed only a handful of films before his death at age 29, but the playfully gorgeous androgynous swoon Chumlum (1964), starring Jack Smith and featuring a score by Angus MacLise (ex-Velvet Underground), remains emblematic of early ‘60s New York experimental filmmaking at its most dizzyingly creative. Shot on breaks between takes on pioneering gay underground icon Smith’s film Normal Love, it captures Smith’s cast in their full ‘Arabian Nights’ regalia decadently draped in hammocks, their bodies layering up and intertwining like the exquisite superimpositions of images Rice employs throughout. Bodies, fabrics, colours, images blend and blur into a hypnotic erotic reverie that encompasses the mind and senses like a delicate but inescapable net of the finest lace. Amongst the ‘flaming creatures’ on display in the cast are Barbara Rubin (director of the sexually graphic experimental classic Christmas on Earth) and Warhol superstar Mario Montez.

All of yesterday’s parties seem to have exploded in the air… A hallucinatory micro-epic […] and one of the great “heroic doses” of ’60s underground cinema, a movie so sumptuously and serenely psychedelic it appears to have been printed entirely on gauze…
Chumlum [manages] to capture with unnerving fidelity the murky glories, the sudden temps morts and temps mutant, not to mention the inevitable malaise of a rich but fading high.

-Chuck Stephens, Cinema Scope 54

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