Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 7:30pm
Esther Shatavsky's Bedtime Story + Lewis Seiler's Women's Prison

361 Stagg Street, Suite 407, Brooklyn

Bedtime Story, Esther Shatavsky, 1981, 16mm, 6 mins
Women's Prison, Lewis Seiler, 1955, 16mm, 80 mins

In the 1940s, actress Ida Lupino famously became one of the very few female auteurs of classical Hollywood after she formed an independent production outfit, and directed seven poetically economical pictures until it folded in 1953. Her first job after the demise of her company was an acting gig for Columbia, in a low-budget noir set in a penitentiary. Bluntly titled Women’s Prison and directed by veteran B-movie helmer Lewis Seiler, the picture features Lupino in an unforgettable role as Amelia van Zandt, a sadistic warden who oversees the female wing of a dual-gender correctional facility, imparting violent punishments to those under her charge. After a prisoner becomes pregnant, van Zandt is tasked with finding out how the male and female inmates have been able to secretly cohabitate, but her ruthless tactics result in the incarcerated organizing an all-out riot. Variety praised the film’s performances upon its release, noting that the “psychological aspects of life behind bars, particularly as far as femmes are concerned, get a generous probing.” Lupino herself remarked that she “enjoyed playing the vicious warden, but I insisted on stylish dresses, earrings and jewelry. It makes my character look crueler.”

Women’s Prison is paired with filmmaker Esther Shatavsky’s Bedtime Story, among the most striking avant-garde films to emerge from 1980s New York. The piece is a silent, strobing cut-up, optically-printed from a bit of the old TV western Gunsmoke depicting a woman in crisis, trapped by the frame that surrounds her. Back in the day, Shatavsky’s Bedtime Story screened often at the Collective for Living Cinema, where she was an active member, and was included in the third volume of Infermental, the European videocassette magazine devoted to artist’s cinema. In addition to Light Industry’s screening, viewers can check out an online retrospective of Shatavsky’s restored films via the Berlin-based Ultra Dogme, on view from October 7th.

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.