John Paizs’ unsung deadpan masterpiece screens from fully-restored 2K DCP.
“If the great Canadian comedy ever gets made, John Paizs might be the one to make it.”
Jay Scott, Globe and Mail, 1985
In 1986, a cult film named Crimewave was released. Though it bombed, critically and commercially, it was a notable stepping stone in the careers of a many of its key players, who, despite its ignominious failure, went on to have glittering careers that left it only a curious blip in their CVs.In this case, the term “cult” applies only in the sense that completist fans of the Coen Brothers (writers), Sam Raimi (director) and Bruce Campbell (producer, star) will keep its faint flame burning for a good while longer than it demands on its own merits. Meanwhile in Canada, another film, similarly-titled, received blazing reviews on its festival debut then all but disappeared without trace.
John Paizs’ Crime Wave was the culmination of themes and style developed by Paizs in a series of shorts starring the director himself as a ‘silent man’ character, Nick, the predecessor of Stephen Penny, mute protagonist of Crime Wave. Penny is an aspiring screenwriter, afflicted with a peculiar kind of writer’s block – he can only write beginnings and endings for the “colour crime pictures” he aspires to make, and no middles. When he takes a room above a suburban family’s garage, his landlord’s daughter, Kim (Eva Kovacs), discovers his abandoned script pages in the trash and takes it upon herself to help him realise his potential.
The synopsis, however, barely sketches the experience of Crime Wave. Paizs painstakingly shot and styled his film to mimic the Technicolor of classical Hollywood. He also re-recorded all dialogue in post-production, inspired equally by the highly-controlled sound design of radio dramas. The tone, meanwhile, is deadpan absurd, the construction post-modern. Paizs interpolates Penny’s travails and Kim’s enterprise with sequences realising the opening and closing scenes from Stephen’s script fragments. When Kim introduces him to a mysterious Dr Jolly, who promises a solution to Stephen’s dire straits, the film accelerates towards a manic and hilariousclimactic montage.
Crime Wave debuted at the 1985 Festival of Festivals (later to become the Toronto International Film Festival). The screening was also, according to Paizs, essentially a test screening. Writing and producing his own work, he’d gotten used to unusual creative freedom. “I used to just get to the end and I would not show the script to anybody and I would not do another draft, I just applied to the Arts Council for the money and they were less concerned about, ‘Does it have a coherent story?’ They were more into, ‘Well, is it kind of different?’” Crime Wave, like its creator, was certainly different. Following the (successful) festival screening, Paizs was dissatisfied enough to entirely rewrite, re-shoot and re-cut the film’s final 20 minutes.
Justifiably, though unjustly, it remains the high water mark in Paizs’ filmmaking career. “After Crime Wave, expectations were quite high for me,” explains Paizs. “According to the Globe and Mail reviewer, I had to make the great Canadian comedy, and, I’ll tell you, that was the best thing that someone could possibly say to any film-maker, right, but also the worst. And because I decided not to do the ‘silent man’ thing anymore after Crime Wave, not only did I have to come up with something new that I could invest myself in passionately, but it also had to be great and, you know, that in a nutshell is why there was no follow-up to Crime Wave.” Which is a genuine tragedy for cinema, especially since the Globe and Mail review was based on the first, unrefined cut of Paizs’ masterpiece.
Crime Wave could only have been made in Canada, in Winnipeg and by John Paizs, though it’s so much more than just a great Canadian film. Though its theatrical release was thwarted by an ill-advised distribution deal (which complicates its home-viewing release to this day), Crime Wave’s timeless originality,meticulously-crafted aesthetic and the singular voice of its creator stake a claim for it in film history, exclusively on its on terms.
Crime Wave screens at Matchbox Cineclub’s Weird Weekend on Sunday 3rd June. Tickets from £5, day and weekend passes are available. All tickets available from CCA’s box office, 0141 352 4900, or online: bit.ly/weirdweekend. #makeitweird
Matchbox Cineclub announce Scotland’s first cult film festival
Matchbox Cineclub presents Weird Weekend, a whole weekend of strange and unseen cinema from around the world. Scotland’s cult film festival brings orphans, outcasts and outliers from across time and space to the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd June, 2018. Weird Weekend presents long-lost cult classics alongside premieres of future favourites, with a host of special guests, Q&As and events.
Among the highlights, Bill & Ted star Alex Winter will take part in a Skype Q&A after a screening of his directorial debut Freaked (1993); Glaswegian director Bryan M Ferguson will attend a Q&A following Anatomical Gunk, a retrospective of his short films; a 40th anniversary screening of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s midnight movie classic The Holy Mountain (1973); Sogo Ishii’s The Crazy Family (1984), unseen on UK screens for over 30 years; and an extremely rare screening of the long-lost, now fully restored cult classic The Astrologer (Craig Denney, 1975).
Matchbox Cineclub programmer Sean Welsh says: “Although we have many, many film events, Scotland is long-overdue a dedicated cult film festival. With Matchbox Cineclub, we’ve always aimed to screen films you can’t see anywhere else, so Weird Weekend is a logical extension of all of that. We’re very proud of the programme we’ve put together, which uncovers lost gems, debuts new versions of classics and presents some of the wildest brand-new films in the world today.”
Tickets from £5, day and weekend passes are available. All tickets available from CCA’s box office, 0141 352 4900, or online: bit.ly/weirdweekend. #makeitweird
Legendary illustrator produces brand-new poster for Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam, the holy grail of remakesploitation
Legendary poster artist Graham Humphreys has produced a brand-new quad poster for Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (AKA Turkish Star Wars, Çetin İnanç, 1982), to celebrate the world premiere of a new 2K restoration. Limited edition prints will be available for sale at two simultaneous screenings on May 4th 2018 – Star Wars Day.
Turkish Star Wars is notorious for the ways in which director Çetin İnanç edited stolen footage from Star Wars (1977) into his own film, along with music from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Flash Gordon. Low-resolution and poorly-subtitled bootleg copies of Turkish Star Wars have circulated for years, leading to its unfair reputation as one of the worst movies ever made.
In 2016, Glaser rescued the sole surviving 35mm print of the film after it was discovered in the collection of a retired movie projectionist in northwestern Turkey. Now, a new 2K digital scan has been made so that the world can finally see the film the way it was intended – and with all-new translated subtitles.
Matchbox Cineclub programmer Sean Welsh says: “People know Turkish Star Wars from internet clips of VHS bootlegs with terrible subtitles, presented with nonsense about how the film was critically savaged when it was released. The truth is Turkey then had a film business with no money, an audience thirsty for daft fantasy films and no copyright law. With this new restoration, you can enjoy Turkish Star Wars for what it is – a wild fever dream of a movie from the Roger Corman of Turkey.”
Matchbox Cineclub’s Glasgow screening is sold out (follow the Facebook event page for unwanted tickets), but tickets for the simultaneous London event, which also boasts a Q&A with Ed Glaser, are still available here.
Matchbox Cineclub present the world premiere of Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam in 2K restoration
Join us on Star Wars Day 2018, at Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, for the world premiere of a brand-new 2K digital scan of Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (1982) – best known as Turkish Star Wars! Numbers are limited – the event is free-but-ticketed and first come, first served. Grab ’em while you can from CCA, here.
Notorious for the ways in which director Çetin İnanç edited footage from Star Wars into his own film, along with music from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Flash Gordon, Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam is the holy grail of remakesploitation cinema.
For many years, the film circulated only in low-resolution bootleg copies, but in 2016 film historian Ed Glaser (Deja View) discovered a 35mm print of the film. Now a digital scan has been made so that the world can finally see the film the way it was intended – and with all-new English subtitles!
Read more about Turkish Star Wars and remakesploitation here.
We’re delighted to announce that Marco Kyris, Nicolas Cage’s official stand-in for over 10 years, through his iconic Action trilogy and almost 20 films, will be joining us for a live Skype Q&A on Saturday at Cage-A-Rama 2018!
Marco Kyris was born and raised in Toronto, Canada on Oct 14, 1961 [Nee Evrimahos Kyriakakis] to Greek immigrant parents. Growing up in a non English speaking house in Greektown with two siblings proved difficult for Marco, who was challenged academically and never kept up with school or family ties.
He was more of talker, like a TV show host, and worked that naturally into retail and restaurant skills over his teens and twenties.
Moved to Paris at 21 to soak in the culture and learn French while waitering, then to Los Angeles to try his skills in acting while working as a maitre’d, and meeting the stars of that era. Taking acting classes and getting bit parts that came and went, Marco was disillusioned by LA and not succeeding, so after several years he moved back home to Toronto to start over again.
While settling back, he had an audition to be Nicolas Cage’s stand-in for a winter theme film there. He got the gig, and ended up befriending Cage. Nic thought Marco was just right to be his permanent stand-in, as Cage was becoming an A list actor and was building a traveling team of hair, make-up, wardrobe, stunt, and stand-in. This turned into a 10-year-long career of almost 20 films with Mr Cage and his entourage.
All on buddy terms, they travelled many cities, states, and countries over those years, working on Cage’s most iconic and memorable films to date, including his trio of action films. Hard working and well respected as all of Cage’s team was, it was time to move on as the biz was changing, and Cage seemed like he needed a fresh start, as he masterfully re-invents himself when necessary.
Marco and the team were also ready to retire into a more calming life. It was a welcome halt from movie madness travel in the Cage Wage World.
Marco has been living in Toronto ever since, and bought into real estate holdings as a long term retirement, but travels back to LA yearly to enjoy winter with film friends.
He is currently working on his memoirs of that time, and has a podcast with guests of his film past (Babble B.S. And Beyond). Check out his website at www.mkyris.com for more fun photos from behind the scenes of your favourite Cage flicks.
Marco is recording a special introduction to the action trilogy and will be joining us live from Toronto after the screening of Con Air.
Join Matchbox Cineclub for Glasgow’s first CAGE-A-RAMA, celebrating the birthday of international treasure and batshit crazyman Nicolas Cage!
Over two days, we’ll be exploring two facets of the unfathomable diamond that is Cage, starting on Saturday 06/01 with Cage the Fighter and the Holy Trinity of The Rock (1996), Face/Off (1997) and Con Air (1997).
On Sunday, we’ll explore the gentler side of Nicolas, with Cage the Lover: Valley Girl (1983), Moonstruck (1987) and Raising Arizona (1987).
Both days feature tons of exciting Cage-related bonus features, all starting from 12pm.
Keep up-to-date with the Facebook event page here.