Spectacle Theater’s “Anti-Valentines” series is an exploration of the hazards that lurk in romance, the ones that remind us of the scorpions that lurk under the pool noodle you left in your backyard last month. The next entry in the series, Lee Man-Hee’s A Day Off, tells the story of a couple in 1960’s South Korea driven into despair by the burdens of society and economy: too poor to marry, Huh-wook must leave his girlfriend Jee-yun to make money to pay for her abortion. Unfortunately, this is when she falls deathly ill. Can there be any beauty in this oppressive isolation? Find out for yourself 7 PM this Friday at Spectacle.
Roger Corman’s The Trip, showing 7 PM this Saturday at 92YTribeca, is a document of the American public’s fascination with psychedelic drugs during the 1960’s, with a screenplay by none other than Jack Nicholson. It seems to walk the line between Reefer Madness-style cautionary tale—“A Lovely Sort of Death,” screams the poster—and celebration of the psychedelic experience. Corman’s background research mainly involved taking LSD himself, and it certainly is hard to explain the part with a dwarf yelling about the Bay of Pigs any other way. One question remains, though: if Nicholson’s acting career hadn’t taken off after this, would his trippy screenwriting have been more influential? In some alternate universe, do all this year’s Oscar nominees take place inside the pulsating fractal connecting our minds to the center of the galaxy?
You can keep your mystic voyage through the 1960’s going with No. 12: Heaven and Earth Magic. This animated feature by Harry Smith, best known for compiling the Anthology of American Folk Music, is a collage of Pythonesque photo cutouts and otherworldly sound effects, with recurring images of death, resurrection, and dentistry. The scenes are more like symbols to be interpreted than instruments of traditional sequential storytelling. It all starts at Anthology Film Archives this Sunday at 8 PM.