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The Cinema of Transgression exhibition in Berlin

YOU KILLED ME FIRST at KW Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin is the first exhibition on the Cinema of Transgression. The films are being displayed as an installation, and many of the key players from the movement will be making appearances, leading talks and discussions.

The “Cinema of Transgression” a term coined by Nick Zedd, describes a loose congregation of filmmakers in New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980’s, including Zedd, Richard Kern, Cassandra Stark and Tommy Turner. JG Thirlwell scored many of Kern’s films, as well as contributing to the films of Turner and Stark.

To quote the exhibition catalog : “Nightmarish scenarios of violence, dramatic states of mind, and perverse sexual abysses – the films of the Cinema of Transgression that were consciously aimed at shock, provocation, and confrontation, bear witness to an extraordinary radicality. In the 1980s a group of filmmakers from the Lower East Side in New York went on a collision course with the conventions of American society. Transcending all moral or aesthetic boundaries, the low budget films reveal social hardship met with sociopolitical indifference. Sometimes shot with stolen camera equipment, the films contain strident analyses of life in the Lower East Side defined by criminality, brutality, drugs, AIDS, sex, and excess. Even though the movement has remained largely unknown, the Cinema of Transgression has been a significant influence for later generations of artists.”

February 19, 2012 – April 9, 2012

KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Auguststr. 69
D-10117 Berlin

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Blank City at the IFC Center NYC

The documentary Blank City is currently enjoying a successful theatrical run at the IFC center in New York. Directed by French newcomer Céline Danhier, Blank City weaves together an oral history of the “No Wave Cinema” and “Cinema of Transgression” movements. JG Thirlwell is interviewed in the film regarding his involvement with R.Kern’s Deathtrip Films and the Cinema of Transgression. It also features interviews with Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, Steve Buscemi, Debbie Harry, Richard Kern, Nick Zedd, Amos Poe, James Nares, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Eric Mitchell, Susan Seidelman, Beth B, Scott B, Charlie Ahearn and many more. Clips featuring Thirlwell’s scores for Kern’s Deathtrip films appear in the documentary, along with many other illuminating extracts from the films of that era. Click here for the New York Times review of the film.