Coffin Joe

Friday August 17 9:45 pm

Theater 1 COFFIN JOE

Coffin Joe: The Strange World of José Mojica Marins André Barcinski & Ivan Finotti

Documentary. Video. 66:00. Midwest Premiere. Brazil

The first feature-length documentary about the life and career of José Mojica Marins, Brazil’s most famous horror film director and one of the Third World’s most idiosyncratic and radical artists. Mojica is the creator of the character Zé do Caixão (Coffin Joe), a true icon of horror movies. In a career of over half a century,

Mojica directed over 40 features, as well as 100-plus TV films. He also created comic books, plays, TV shows, radio programs, and even recorded a Samba record. Mojica is the most censored filmmaker in Brazilian history. Several of his films were banned by the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil between 1964 and 1985. The documentary tells Mojica’s story, from his impoverished childhood in the suburbs of São Paulo, to the international recognition as one of the world’s greatest horror directors, celebrated in countries such as Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States.

The film has in-depth interviews with Mojica and his closest associates that reveal, for the first time, the bizarre and sometimes tragic stories behind his movies as well as Mojica’s own problems with alcohol, the Military Censorship Board, and tarantulas.

Featuring dozens of clips from his strange and macabre movies, described by Billboard magazine as “a cross between Russ Meyer and Luis Buñuel”.

Barcinski and Finotti are Brazilian journalists who in 1998 published Mojica’s biography, “Maldito” (“The Damned”), a best-seller in Brazil.

Special Jury Prize Sundance Film Festival

Total Running Time 77:00

Friday August 17 11:30 pm

Theater 1 AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL

At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul Jose’ Mojica Marins Feature. 35mm. 81:00. 1964. Brazil

Portuguese with English subtitles

Prepare to enter the world of Coffin Joe! Unholy undertaker, evil philosopher, denizen of dreams and hallucination–Coffin Joe, with his trademark top hat, black cape and long, talon-like fingernails, is a horror icon in his native Brazil. He is the creation of writer-director-star Jose’ Mojica Marins, whose perversely original and strangely personal filmmaking style has been compared to a devilish blend of Mario Brava, Luis Buñuel and Russ Meyer.

The film debut of Coffin Joe was also the first true horror film made in Brazil. Joe terrorizes a small religious community in his search for the perfect woman to bear a child. Upon its release the film was a huge box office hit in Brazil despite being banned in at least half the country by regional censors. But wherever people were allowed to watch it, theaters were invariably packed. One Sao Paolo theater showed the film for four months straight, something unheard of at the time. Frightening, atmospheric and startlingly graphic for its time, 35 years later, At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul has become an international horror classic.

Saturday August 18 11:30 pm

Theater 1 THIS NIGHT I’LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE

This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse Jose’ Mojica Marins Feature. 35mm. 107:00. 1966. Brazil

Portuguese with English subtitles

After the success of At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, Jose’ Mojica Marins was hired by producer Augusto de Cervantes to direct the sequel. Bigger, bolder and more insane than its predecessor, This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse features Coffin Joe’s return, continuing his quest for the perfect bride. Aided by a hunchbacked assistant, he embarks on an even more brutal campaign of terror. For his sins, Joe is dragged headfirst into the underworld, in one of the most incredible scenes in the history of Brazilian cinema: a ten-minute surrealistic descent into hell, photographed in stunning color.

When the film was shown to the Brazilian Censorship Board, the reaction was one of shock. Nearly all of the censors called for the film to be banned. The film could only be released if Mojica agreed to change the ending. In the original script, Zé do Caixão died screaming, “I don’t believe in God! I’ll be back!” The censors forced him to change this line to, “God! I believe in your power!” When the film was released audiences screamed with laughter at that sequence, knowing that it was a forced change.

Sunday August 19 11:30 pm

Theater 1 AWAKENING OF THE BEAST

Awakening of the Beast Jose’ Mojica Marins Feature. 35mm. 91:00. 1969. Brazil

Portuguese with English subtitles

To many, Awakening of the Beast is Jose’ Mojica Marins’ masterpiece — a film so radical, so violent and disturbing that the Censorship Board kept it on the shelf for almost 20 years and refused to allow it to be commercially released.

A deliriously psychedelic nightmare about the rise of drug use and perversion among the youth of Brazil, Awakening of the Beast opens with a series of increasingly bizarre vignettes in which we see all manner of depravity, from a group of finger-sniffing hippies to a lecherous movie producer seducing a young starlet. Four drug addicts are chosen out of this group to take part in an LSD experiment. What follows is the closest thing to a real acid trip ever put on film–but are they under the influence of LSD or Coffin Joe?

Mojica decided to make Awakening of the Beast (originally titled Ritual of the Sadist) after he witnessed a pregnant prostitute being beaten by the police. Appalled by the scene, he envisioned a film about urban violence; about drugs and the devastating effect they were having on his native Sao Paulo. While he saw the film as a warning against drugs and violence, the Censorship Board saw it as a threat and it was banned from theaters. One censor even went so far as to ask the Federal Police to burn the negative. 1986, after the end of military control in Brazil, Awakening of the Beast was finally screened at the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival. But, to this day, it has never been officially released.