PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
1974, 20th Century Fox, 92 min, USA, Dir: Brian De Palma

Director Brian De Palma’s vivid reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera is at once camp, surreal, dazzling and heartbreaking. Cutthroat record producer Swann (Paul Williams, who also wrote the fine score) steals both the music and the girl from composer Winslow Leech (William Finely). Horribly disfigured in an attempt to reclaim his artistic credit, Leech becomes the Phantom at Swan’s new rock palace, the Paradise. Jessica Harper, contributing her creamy alto, plays Leech’s love interest, and Gerrit Graham is hysterical as glitter-rock star "Beef." De Palma turns what could have been a lightweight indulgence into clever pop-culture commentary.


ICHI THE KILLER
KOROSHI YA ICHI
2001, Well Go Pictures, 126 min, Japan, Dir: Takashi Miike

Adapted from an ultra-popular manga comic banned in several Japanese prefectures, ICHI is one of the funniest, most horrific, blood-drenched yakuza thrillers ever made (and director Miike’s most successful film in Japan to date). Nao Omori is Ichi, an immature crybaby who dons a black rubber superhero suit and hatchet blade boots to do the bidding of Shinya Tsukamoto (director of TETSUO: IRON MAN), an unassuming mastermind bent on rending the fabric of Shinjuku’s yakuza and destroying bleach-blond S&M freak/mobster Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano). Be forewarned, Ichi is an equal-opportunity assassin, and both men and women sacrifice body parts when they cross his path!


NOW EN ESPAÑOL
2015, 69 min, United States, Dir: Andrea Meller

This entertaining documentary follows five Latina actresses in Los Angeles who dub the series “Desperate Housewives” for Spanish-language audiences in the U.S. These dynamic women struggle to pursue their Hollywood careers while balancing the responsibilities of making rent and raising children - surviving but with their dreams always out of reach. As they confront an industry that offers few balanced or compelling roles, their elusive success reveals the persistent inequities of Latino representation in American media.


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