MIDNIGHT EXCESS: THE STUD/THE BITCH (16 FEB) launches a new late night strand by indie exhibitor Ranjit S. Ruprai aka SUPAKINO. We chatted to Ranjit about his programmes & the distinct pleasure of watching films past midnight.
We did your first RADIANT CIRCUS interview in June last year… a lot’s happened since then (so much so that we haven’t had a chance to post part two!). What’s been keeping you busy?
I suppose we should get around to posting part two of that epic interview. I’m worried that the transcript will be 12 pages of me talking about Altman’s POPEYE and ruminating on the nature of false memories [ED: pretty much…].
Turbans Seen On Screen has continued to its sixth screening now. The most recent one in January was a very special event at the London Short Film Festival where I examined the changing representation of turbaned Sikhs on film and TV with a selection of short films, archive clips and music videos. The on-stage discussion with writer/journalist Sathnam Sanghera & academic Dr Jasjit Singh was great fun. But just as wonderful were the people I met and chatted to afterward… conversations well into the small hours and for days beyond… so it looks like there’ll be more of these to come with more collaborations and contextual panel discussions too, I hope.
I started a really fruitful collaboration with the Rio Cinema in Dalston who share my ethos of fun, friendly screenings. We launched a new theme called BOMBAY MIX last autumn: Indian cinema meets the rest of the world in a mix of movies that share themes, stories and genres. The BOMBAY MIX clipshow with Kim Newman for Halloween was particularly pleasurable as we both have a love for that very specific sub-genre of haunted-house-beach-party-rock-and-roll-teen-monster-movies. Who else but Tim at the Rio would have said “YES!” to me screening a Pakistani Dracula scene, Nicolas Parsons, Mehmood & R. D. Burman doing the twist with dancing skeletons, and Betty Boop frightened by electrocuted jazz ghosts… all on the same bill. I’m hoping to squeeze in some more BOMBAY MIX double-bills and clipshows throughout the year.
As if that wasn’t enough, you’re launching a new late night programming strand. What can audiences expect from MIDNIGHT EXCESS at Rio Cinema?
There are a whole bunch of eye-popping films I want to screen that don’t really fit into my other themes and I know other film clubs and programmers also have their lists of films excessive both in nature and also excess to their usual screening programme. I want to use the screening slots and audience I’m establishing at the Rio to collaborate with others on putting on great late night events and help them have a real chance at showing all these gloriously over-the-top movies on the big screen, from the downright strange to the outright sexy.
Back in 2008, Sight & Sound dedicated an edition to “The Lost World Of The Double Bill”. More than a decade on, London still struggles with all but the most polite of pairings… What makes the perfect late night programme?
There are so many ways to pair movies from the direct to the indirect, from the obvious to the obscure connections. I’m interested in the whole process of putting together a programme, regardless of format or timing. The unplanned conversations, creative whims and happenstances that somehow lead to a ‘let’s just do it’ moment that makes a screening idea feel somehow right and urgent. The boost you get when you find a venue that’s as into the ideas as you are. I’m also interested in the full experience of the event… cinema culture, I suppose. The build-up, the trailers, the context, related clips, film posters and ephemera, guests and extras on the night… although complementing rather than overshadowing the actual films.
Anyway, to sort of answer your question, you know a midnight movie idea is perfect when you, as the programmer or an audience member, get that special joy in knowing it’s really happening (“they’re screening what?!”) and when the buzz from the night lingers on for days.
MIDNIGHT EXCESS as a regular programme was always rolling around in my brain as I think an audience for both double-bills and midnight movies is still out there in a city as large and diverse as London and as a cinema-goer I really appreciate the few venues like Prince Charles Cinema and Lexi Cinema that keep midnight movies on the big screen alive.
The first edition of MIDNIGHT EXCESS is a collab with Zodiac Film Club. What drew you to work with Sarah and Jordan?
New film clubs in London tend to get on my radar pretty quickly and Zodiac were definitely already on my radar because of their Instagram feed. It seemed like every other post was still from a film that I loved and also wide-ranging enough to show they weren’t bound by genre, just a love of watching sexy movies with friends. They happened to post a still from the iconic opening titles to THE BITCH right at the time both Collins films were on mind. So I reached out and… we made it happen!
You’re screening THE STUD (1978) and THE BITCH (1979). Apart from two of Britain’s finest female icons, what else can people expect from the night?
Doors open at 11pm so settle in early to catch a whole bunch trailers from the same period reminding us of the context of disco and roller boogie fever in American movies as well as how the UK film industry was commercially surviving on various lowbrow saucy movie franchises.
There will be a load of great disco music from Soul Train to Kalyanji–Anandji. By the way, the Rio’s stage is big enough to dance on!
I will be giving away free postcards of Aleksander Walijewski’s artwork and Sarah/Jordan will be ogling ticketholders to choose who gets the best-dressed prizes.
We’ll all be leaving the Rio between 3 to 3.30am feeling like we’ve had a night out at The Hobo!
What – if anything! – can you say about your plans for future editions? How can eager indie exhibitors take part?
I’ve got a line-up of weird, wonderful and outrageous films I want to show, subject to completing research. But I’m very open to collaborations and interesting pairings between my picks and others’ picks. You can @ me and DM me on Twitter/Instagram or email INFO@SUPAKINO.COM. But the best way is to just come up to me for a chat at a future SUPAKINO screening.
We’re just finishing up the initial research, but it looks like MIDNIGHT EXCESS #2 will be an excessively 1980s double bill with The Celluloid Sorceress in May 2019.
And that’s the meat of it…
MIDNIGHT EXCESS: THE STUD/THE BITCH screens at Rio Cinema on 16 FEB 2019, from 23:00 until late. Book here: riocinema.org.uk
Join the hunt for adventurous moving pictures.
SIGN UP to our free eNEWS for regular updates.
SUPPORT our work at RADIANT CIRCUS and help promote indie cinema in London. As a Patron, you will get our unique SCREEN GUIDES delivered directly to your inbox, exclusive discounts for screen events and much more!
*THE SMALL PRINT: Some of these words are not our own. All opinions and artwork credited to the original authors and their collaborators. We try to get the details right: let us know if any links, dates, venues etc. are broken or just plain wrong. Updates will be made to the online edition only.