THE Hyde Park Picture House, in Leeds, launches its cult film season, Creatures Of The Night, tomorrow night. The series of offbeat films, screened every Saturday at 11pm, will open with Wild Combination (15), a portrait of avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist, and disco producer Arthur Russell.
Before his death from AIDS in 1992, Russell prolifically created music that spanned pop and the transcendent possibilities of abstract art, and now his work is finally finding its audience.
Directed by Matt Wolf, Wild Combination incorporates archive footage and commentary from family, friends, and collaborators, including composer Philip Glass and beat poet Allen Ginsberg.
The screening will be followed by a pre-filmed interview with Matt Wolf at the Hyde Park cinema – and the story of how that came to be could be a film itself.
Last year, cinema administrator Andy Moore was working in a Leeds coffee shop where, in a quiet moment, he put on an Arthur Russell track.
“The shop is usually much too loud to listen to something like Arthur Russell because there’s some really delicate stuff, so I was enjoying a rare quiet spell when a customer came in and commented on it,” Andy says. “I asked him if he’d ever seen Matt’s film Wild Combination and it turns out I was talking to Matt’s brother-in-law.”
Sensing an opportunity, Andy contacted Matt Wolf directly to tell him of the coincidence. “He emailed me back straight away telling me he was in Leeds in November – and as he lives in New York this in itself is quite a coincidence,” he says.
“We’d been trying to get the film at the Picture House for ages but sometimes securing the rights can be tricky. Matt said we could get it straight from him and also agreed to being interviewed. I was blown away. That was a good day at the office.”
Tickets for tomorrow’s screening and Q&A cost £6 for the stalls and £6.50 for the balcony online at hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk The Creatures Of The Night series will continue with the Paul Verhoeven science-fiction double bill of 1987’s Robocop (18) and 1990’s Total Recall (18) in restored digital versions on January 26.
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford hag it up as former child stars grown old in Robert Aldrich’s creepy and histrionic thriller from 1960, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane (12A), on February 2. Davis is in particularly terrifying form as one of Hollywood’s most depraved villains.
Further screenings will be Rowdy Herrington’s 1989 movie Road House (18) on February 9, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love (15), from 2002, February 16; Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (15), from 1980, February 23; and Werner Herzog’s 1970 study of madness and anarchy in a mental institution, Auch Zwerge Haben Klein Angefangen – Even Dwarfs Started Small (PG), March 2.