VenueWalter Reade Theater
Writer-director Larry Cohen in person!
The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover
Larry Cohen | USA | 1977 | 112m
Dirty linens are aired in this decade-spanning peek at the secret machinations of notorious FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. A veritable hoarder of blackmail, Hoover (indelibly embodied by Broderick Crawford) is a complicated law-bender out to scare others straight, policing his fellow government officials nearly as much as he does the people. Mixing archival footage with fictionalized reenactments miraculously filmed on FBI locations without Bureau approval or censorship, Cohen dishes the dirt on this rich period in American history.
“Was there ever a biopic that made more exuberant use of such compression, jamming enough burning questions, disputed issues, and just plain slanderous rumors into 112 minutes to generate a kind of tabloid satori? It is a definitive post-Watergate exploitation epic. … The several generations of America’s ruling establishment are decked in a B-movie aura of moral exhaustion and scurvy duplicitousness rendered all the more believable by the veteran actors who incarnate them.”
—Geoffrey O’Brien, Film Comment (July/August 2011)
Larry Cohen | USA | 1984 | 93m
In this pitch-black satire a sleazy, washed-up director (Eric Bogosian) combines murder and moviemaking when he decides to shoot a picture about a killing he committed – and caught on film. Zoë Lund (best known for her collaborations with Abel Ferrara) turns in a memorable performance with a double role: she’s both the naïve aspiring actress whom the psychotic filmmaker murdered, and the more established thespian whom he casts to play her. Don’t let this film’s thriller veneer and ostensible schlockiness deceive you: Cohen crafts a legitimately thought-provoking investigation of identity, madness, and perception, and how cinema at once explores and confuses them.