Film 101 with Richard Hell



Here is the low down on our upcoming visit/lecture from Richard Hell where he will be presenting  Wong Kar Wai’s 2046 and Orson Welles’ The Lady From Shanghai from guest “blogger” Brittany Gravely.

According to experts like Malcolm MacLaren, Richard Hell was a virtual  prototype for key signatures of the ethos we call “punk.” The safety-pinned-together suits, disheveled short hair and irreverent attitudes Hell and his mates wielded on stage in the face of the effervescent mirrorball of glamorized commercialism made their way overseas and off into the  cultural stratosphere. Less instantly portable were Hell’s jagged poetics and jangled, passionately dispassionate music which somehow pressed the ancient history of rock through the wild, jarring, sweet-sour essence of mid-70s New Yorks’ dark, cheap, dirty punk / no wave / etc. era of Patti Smith and the Ramones. Out of this grungy ecosytem hatched Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine’s Neon Boys and then that miraculous creation Television wherein Hell penned the consummate song of this period and this place and all of its denizens, Blank Generation. His bands the Heartbreakers and Richard Hell & the Voidoids followed soon thereafter one after the other, spurting forth more certain nakedness onto hungry audiences. Much later, he collaborated with Thurston Moore and Co. as a member of the intentionally fleeting Dim Stars.

Probably always a poet of sorts since his Kentuckian birth sixty-some-odd years ago, Hell mostly retired from music in the Orwellian year of 1984 yet continues with his prolific written word in many forms, including a collection  of journals Artifact; a compilation of essays, notebooks, and lyrics in Hot and Cold and novels like Go Now and Godlike – plus a new autobiography entitled I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp (Ecco/HarperCollins). Says “cyperpunk” author William Gibson of Hell’s first novel, “Go Now is vile, scabrous, unforgivable, and deserving of the widest possible audience.”Aside from making the occasional appearance in movies (i.e., Susan Seidelman’s Smithereens), Hell also wrote about the pictures for New York’s BlackBook magazine from 2004 – 2006 and can now be found elucidating audiences on his own cinematic selections in theaters of illustrious repute all across the country. In this instance, it is the Sun Ray Cinema wherein he will introduce the seductive Wellesian hall of mirrors,  The Lady from Shanghai (1947) and Wong Kar Wai’s   sensually semi-futuristic (and Shanghai-shot) 2046. One marked the end of a marriage for Orson Welles and stunning star Rita Hayworth and the other the end of a trilogy beginning with Days of Being Wild (1990) and In the Mood for Love (2000). Further mystical parallels and pleasures of these two noir reflections – screening in lustrous 35mm – Richard Hell will surely expand upon in decadent dystopian fashion. As you might suspect, Hell lives in New York City and will be with you at Sun Ray Cinema for one special night.


2046 screens at 7p.m. $10bux
The Lady from Shanghai screens 9:20 $10bux
Both pictures for $19