Co-Presented by Chicago Film Society
Unafraid to broach any taboo or flaunt any personal sexual proclivity, experimental filmmaker Curt McDowell’s cinema was dedicated to freeing the minds and bodies of the underground through stupid jokes and frank depictions of sexual activity. Beginning his filmmaking career at the San Francisco Art Institute as a student (with benefits) of avant-garde legend George Kuchar, McDowell imported a great deal of his mentor’s camp sensibility into his own work but grounded the bad puns and flagrant melodramatics with a grungy sexual honesty that found liberation in exhibition. The first film of his to resemble something of a traditional narrative feature, Peed Into the Wind (1972, 60 min, 16mm) stars McDowell himself as rock ’n’ roll hero Mick Terrific, an openly gay singer who nurses a shameful secret attraction to women. Absurdity abounds as McDowell proves there is no depth he won’t sink to for a laugh in his quest to put Mick through the sexual wringer. Peed into the Wind is showing in a beautiful new 16mm print, lovingly restored by the Academy Film Archive. (CFS)
Also showing are four short 16mm films by McDowell: Kathleen Trailer (for Underground Cinema 12) (1972, 2 min), A Visit to Indiana (1970, 10 min), Truth for Ruth (1972, 4 min), and Ronnie (1972, 7 min).