FilmTalk series: ‘The Future is X-Rated’

Lawrence Jackson, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film and Head of Film Practice, has curated a season of films, ‘The Future is X-Rated’, to be screened in the Gulbenkian, Kent’s on-campus commercial cinema.

The season consists of three mainstream films from 1969 that were originally certificated X for their content. As well as celebrating each film’s fiftieth anniversary, the screenings aim to capture a moment that, culturally, anticipated the greater freedoms of the 1970s and beyond. Just a few years later X-rated arthouse and studio smash hits such as Last Tango in Paris and The Exorcist were released. Before that, in 1969, these films blazed a trail and foretold the future.

The series begins on Monday 3 June with The Wild Bunch (dir. Sam Peckinpah). The film is considered a masterpiece by, among others, western expert Ed Buscombe, and demands to be seen on the big screen. Its handling of extreme violence arguably influenced later mainstream American cinema from The Deer Hunter to Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, and it was memorably lampooned by Monty Python as Sam Peckinpah’s Salad Days. The screening will feature an introduction by Professor Peter Stanfield from the School of Arts. For more details, please see the page here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/the-wild-bunch/

Monday 10 June sees the screening of Midnight Cowboy (dir. John Schlesinger). Another modern American classic underpinned by a sensitive Oscar-winning screenplay by Waldo Salt and complemented by a great John Barry score and powerful performances from Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. What’s also astonishing is the trajectory of its British director John Schlesinger, who went from British New Wave hits such as Billy Liar and Far From the Madding Crowd to winning a Best Director Oscar for this New York tale of heartbreak. The film will be introduced by Alaina Schempp, a PhD in Film student from the Department of Film. For more details, please see the page here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/midnight-cowboy/

Finally, the final film in the series, Taste the Blood of Dracula (dir. Peter Sasdy), will screen on Thursday 13 June. Fairly late in Hammer’s Dracula cycle, this is nonetheless an impressive entry in the studio’s roster, featuring Christopher Lee returning in his signature role and, in Anthony Hinds’ sophisticated screenplay, a satire of the hypocrisy of Victorian patriarchal society. The film will be will be introduced by Professor Julian Petley, Brunel University, London. For more details, please see the page here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/taste-the-blood-of-dracula/

Tickets cost £8.70 with concessions available. For full details, please see the Gulbenkian’s website: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/?s=The+Future+is+X-rated