Mike Kuchar’s glorious melodramas regurgitate the tropes of Hollywood cinema and soap operas, fill them with subversive humour, a cast of desperate women, lonely young men and a simmering undercurrent of sexual frustration. Stemming from his highly influential collaborations with his brother George Kuchar, these works take camp to new levels of depravity and inspired a host of filmmakers from Jack Smith to John Waters.
As Mike Kuchar has said, his approach is ‘about taking the language of movies and making it so overblown it’s glorious’. This selection of films pays particular attention to Mike Kuchar’s wondrous low-budget aesthetic and fascinating with the entangled destinies and mixed up passions of frustrated housewives, arrogant hipsters, lonely tenants and a host of wonderful characters looking for recognition and love in an uncaring world.
Mike Kuchar follows this screening with a rare illustrated presentation on his celebrated drawings made since the 1970s for underground comics and homoerotic magazines including Meatmen, Manscape, Gay Heart Throbs, and First Hand.
The Craven Sluck
Mike Kuchar, USA 1967, 16 mm, black and white, 22 min
Mike Kuchar plunges into new depths with the pungent story of a woman’s struggle for identity, recognition, sympathy and a good lay. This film features the titan talent from Jersey City, Floraine Connors, in a frightful comeback from obscurity. Supported by a competent cast of Munchkins, The Craven Sluck lays bare the flabby bladders of the domestic Fleshpots, Rumpots, Sexpots and just plain Pots.
The Stranger in Apartment 9F
Mike Kuchar, USA 1998, video, colour, 18 min
This teleplay follows the desperate attempts of a mixed up bunch of characters to find love in all the wrong places in this tragic and absurd comedy.
Madam Dante’s Inferno
Mike Kuchar, USA 1990, video, colour, 24 min
A lonely dowager’s last, desperate fling at reactivating her long dormant libido leads her on a path toward depravity and lurking danger.
Programme duration: 78 min
Tate Film is supported by Maja Hoffmann / LUMA Foundation