Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at 7:30pm
Jean-Louis Jorge's Serpents of the Pirate Moon

361 Stagg Street, Suite 407, Brooklyn

Introduced by Micah Gottlieb

Serpents of the Pirate Moon, Jean-Louis Jorge, 1973, digital projection, 93 mins

The sumptuous camp pleasures of Jean-Louis Jorge’s work emerged out of the trans-national underground cinema of the 1960s and 1970s, a time when well-trod Hollywood genres and pop iconography were reimagined by resourceful (and newly liberated) artists, who aimed to reflect shifting sexual and emotional truths while resisting easy categorization. Born in the Dominican Republic, Jorge moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at UCLA film school’s short-lived Ethno-Communications program (1967-1973), which fostered such talents as fellow student Luis Ospina and the group of African-American filmmakers who came to be known as the L.A. Rebellion.

Submitted as his master’s thesis film, Jorge’s enigmatically titled melodrama Serpents of the Pirate Moon is an unjust orphan of this fruitful period of independent cinema—an open celebration of queer nightlife and a daydream of a woman’s interior life. The go-go dancer Angel (played by Chicana filmmaker Sylvia Morales) spends her days working at a topless bar in L.A. as a supporting act for her closest confidante (the drag queen Sahdji), then returning to an oafish boyfriend at home. But much of her life unfolds in a dissociative fugue state, as intrusive thoughts of former lovers and traumas become ever more present. With its ecstatic flashes of pop music, sensuous long takes, color filters, and vivid art-direction, Jorge’s film evokes Fassbinder’s revisionist melodramas as well as the stylistic excesses of France’s Diagonale et Co. Much more than a student project, Serpents suggests paths not taken within Dominican and American independent cinema alike.

- MG

Micah Gottlieb is the artistic director of Mezzanine, a series for independent film art based in Los Angeles.

Tickets - Pay what you can ($10 suggested donation), available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm. No entry 10 minutes after start of show.