Ken Tsui Ferries Us Through The Freakiness From Shit-Disturbing Auteurs

Cinema Usher is a new Scout column dedicated to detailing some of the best films playing in theatres with the when, where and why you should give a damn. 

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THIS IS GOING TO HURT

September 8th – 26th | The Cinematheque, 1311 Howe Street
Both punk and essential art house landmarks in almost equal measure, each film in the upcoming ‘This is Going to Hurt’ series features some of cinema’s most remarkable shit-disturbing auteurs, past and present, all in top form. Each film has a mean streak with enough heft to pull us down into visceral emotional sewers, teasing and taunting our political, spiritual, and ethical views, leaving rattled watchers with something to talk about. Like the burning levels of the Scoville Heat Scale, this cornucopia of cruelty features a broad range of pain; some stinging more than others. So, let me be your enthusiastic ferryman down the murky river of tolerance. These are my top picks:

AU HASARD BALTHAZAR | September 17th – 18th
Cruelty Scale: Something you can comfortably watch with your mother. Supreme cinematic god, Robert Bresson’s milestone, the austere ‘Au Hasard Balthazar,’ heartbreakingly follows the life of Balthazar, a donkey and beast of burden to the cruel human world around him. This is an essential viewing, with or without your mother.

FAT GIRL | September 23rd – 26th
Cruelty Scale: The anti-date night film. In a controversial career of films exploring perversity, gender and sexuality, ‘Fat Girl’ is one of Catherine Breillat’s most fully realized visions, exploring a young girl’s complicated sexual awakening during a summer vacation that’s punctuated by a disturbing denouement.

FUNNY GAMES | September 24th – 25th
Cruelty Scale: Forget uninhibitedly enjoying your next lakeside getaway. Michael Haneke’s bludgeoning film, ‘Funny Games’ pits a vacationing family in the company of two psychopathic strangers at a secluded lake house. This master auteur’s controversial film is a high brow comment on the sadism of on-screen violence and “torture porn” by way of, you guessed it, torture.

SALO, OR 120 DAYS OF SODOM | September 15th – 16th
Cruelty Scale: Eat beforehand; you might not have much of an appetite for the rest of your life. Pier Pablo Pasolini’s ‘Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom’ is an appalling political metaphor for absolute power, and an unrelenting tale of four sadistic fascists that go to extreme lengths to dehumanize a group of captives. Folks, this is the pinnacle of cruelty on screen.

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