France | West Germany, 1981, 124 min, Dir. Andrzej Zulawski
There's a profound emptiness pervading the film. The streets, restaurants, subway stations, and apartment buildings of West Berlin seem completely devoid of people save for Anna and Mark. This emptiness—and camera operator Andrzej J. Jaroszewicz's dynamic Steadicam work—makes the couple's demonic marital breakdown the surreal center of a cold, blue-twinged universe located along the Berlin Wall.
And, my god, Adjani gives one of the most disturbing performances ever as Anna. A big moment for cinema. Possession (and Anna) will stay with me for a long time. JASMYNE KEIMIG
USA, 1990s, Dir. Jeff Brunk
After 230-some picks for Unstreamable, it's time we mention Seattle's late great public access TV. The 1980s and '90s were a golden era for public access TV, and Seattle's freaky local TV really stood out. (For a refresher, check out this five-year-old segment from KUOW's Ross Reynolds that highlights the Emerald City's public access hotbed—emphasis on hot because it could get a little sinful.)
Sadly, a lot of the public access shenanigans are at the risk of being lost to time. Channeling Yourself has done an excellent job of preserving the Seattle scene. Give them a follow. They have tons of clips on their YouTube channel, but the best and clearest way to watch this homegrown weirdness is to head on over to Scarecrow and check out their Seattle public access section.
One of Channeling Yourself's discs at Scarecrow includes Jeff Brunk's Hello, an absolutely deranged lofi talk show that featured characters like Richard Kringen and Raci Traci doing acid karaoke. (You can catch the karaoke at around 7 minutes and 13:30 minutes, below.) Seattle's public access scene reminds me of Seattle's pre-pandemic bar drag scene. The spirit doesn't die; it migrates. CHASE BURNS
United Kingdom, 1967, 98 min, Dirs. Lindsay Anderson, Peter Brook, Tony Richardson
The other two shorts—Brook's The Ride of the Valkyrie and Richardson's Red and Blue—were mostly unseen until the British Film Institute re-issued the film in 2018. The Ride of the Valkyrie follows a clumsy opera singer (Zero Mostel) as he struggles through London's complex transportation system, late for a performance. But the real reason to watch the trilogy is Red and Blue. The final film stars Vanessa Redgrave as a lonesome club singer en route to Paris for a gig, whose flashbacks to different suitors serve as musical numbers. The short gives Redgrave space to show off her singing skills and her uncanny ability to resemble a long-armed statue. The bright colors, sweet songs, and '60s fashion of Red and Blue are enough to fall into. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Italy, 1975, 120 min, Dir. Carlo Lizzani, Mino Giarda
The great Italian composer Ennio Morricone died this summer, leaving behind a mammoth legacy. He had 522 credits to his name as a composer.
One of those credits is the 1975 euro crime film The Teenage Prostitution Racket, with an opening Morricone track that's dreamy, menacing, and very Italian. Inspired by reports of an Italian sex trafficking market that sold underage women, director Carlo Lizzani created a weird genre mash-up that feels a little like erotica, poliziotteschi, exploitation, and high drama all in one. Lizzani rounded up mostly non-actors to play the roles, and while the female characters take center stage here, the male characters mostly exploit them in ways that fall somewhere between humiliation and Camp. As usual, I was a sucker for the disco scene. And the bad dubbing.
There are some good scenes here: The scene where one of the girls—"a born whore"—describes her pièce de résistance—a faked orgasm—is funny and flawed. The older madam who sells off the teen girls is delightfully wicked. But it's hard to say you'll find something good to chew on here—unless you're into exploitation, poliziotteschi, or Morricone. In that case, maybe you've found an unsung gem. CHASE BURNS
Unstreamable means we couldn't find it on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or any of the other 300+ streaming services available in the United States. We also couldn't find it available for rent or purchase through platforms like Prime Video or iTunes. We don't consider user-generated videos, like unauthorized YouTube uploads, to be streamable.