Basilica Hudson is rapidly emerging as a truly cutting-edge Hudson Valley performing arts venue, following up last weekend’s SoundScape extravaganza of indie and experimental music with a weekend film festival called BasilicaScope. The proximity of the two events is deliberate: Basilica’s creative director Melissa Auf Der Maur describes the programming approach as “the future alternative SXSW format of weekends of music and film back to back.”
Added to the cavernous industrial venue’s weekly Basilica Screenings Series that runs from June through October, BasilicaScope is putting the city of Hudson on the map as a place to catch movies that fall decidedly outside the mainstream. BasilicaScope’s avowed mission is “celebrating films that explore the furthest extremes – from remote landscapes, unconventional perspectives, fanatic personalities, radical examinations of film’s materiality to the blood and emotion that create it…. from lo-fi to hi-fi to sci-fi and nothing in between.”
Returning for its second year this weekend, September 19 and 20, BasilicaScope will celebrate the offbeat oeuvre of British filmmaker Alex Cox. Though probably best-known for Sid and Nancy (1986), Cox also made an indelible impression on many with his 1984 cult classic Repo Man. Roger Ebert called it “a little weirdo fun…the first movie I know about that combines (1) punk teenagers, (2) automobile repossessors and (3) aliens from outer space…the kind of movie that baffles Hollywood, because it isn’t made from any known formula and doesn’t follow the rules.”
BasilicaScope will celebrate Repo Man’s 30th anniversary this Saturday night with a 10 p.m. screening. Get there earlier and you can also see the intense Ed Harris play a 19th-century American adventurer who ended up as dictator of Nicaragua in Walker, which Cox made in the midst of the Contra war in 1987 with the support of the Sandinistas. Described as “a satirical attack on American ultrapatriotism and a freewheeling condemnation of Manifest Destiny,” Walker will be shown at 7 p.m.
The festival kicks off this Friday evening at 8 p.m. with Straight to Hell Returns, the director’s 2010 recut of his 1987 “punk-rock spaghetti Western comedy” Straight to Hell. Auf Der Maur’s former bandmate in Hole, Courtney Love, and indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch both play supporting roles in the film. An extended question-and-answer session with Alex Cox will follow the screening.
Admission to each film costs $10 separately; $25 gets you a package deal including all three screenings plus free popcorn. Tickets can be purchased online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/818460. For more info about BasilicaScope, visit https://basilicahudson.com/basilicascope-weekend-film-festival-sept-19-20.
BasilicaScope film festival with director Alex Cox, Friday/Saturday, September 19/20, $10/$25, Basilica Hudson, 110 South Front Street, Hudson; (518) 822-1050, https://basilicahudson.com.