Blossoming with Sean Price Williams
The Roxy Cinema is excited to host a Sean Price Williams Retrospective in tandem with the release of his directorial debut, THE SWEET EAST, which has dazzled audiences from Cannes to NYFF. Don’t worry, The Roxy will be bringing it to you on 35MM as soon as the print is ready. A recent thought we had was, “Is Sean Price Williams the glue that keeps the downtown NY indie cinephile crowd together?” The answer is yes, and Jonathan Glazer even confirmed that notion at the Sweet East talent show this weekend. A truly wild event we were happy to witness. Do not miss these special films and please enjoy the following words from Dillon Friend, Roxy Cinema Concession Attendant/Projectionist.
The first thought I had when I heard The Roxy might be doing a Sean Price thing around the release of The Sweet East is, OF COURSE we are doing a Sean Price Williams program! One of the first Q+A’s with Sean I worked was for 2014’s Christmas Again. The modest turnout included a grandmother and 3 young children who were obviously staying in the hotel, evident from the pajamas they were all wearing. Maybe they thought the film was Christmas Is Here Again, the 2007 Jay Leno narrated animated feature. But to my surprise, they watched the whole thing and even squirmed through the entire Q+A with Sean.
Over the last few years we’ve played over 20 features Williams has shot, from a recent Abel Ferrara favorite, Zeroes And Ones, to hard-to-find rarities like Maiko Endo’s Kuichisan. We’ve witnessed Sean’s work in the retrospectives we’ve done of Alex Ross Perry and Michael M. Bilandic, and Sean also hosts a semi-monthly blind screening series City Dudes with writer Nick Pinkerton. (also his collaborator on The Sweet East) Looking through his entire catalog there were still some major gaps. I’m happy this retro could highlight the work we haven’t yet shown, including but not limited to:
“And the wheel just ends on this space that says worst possible conclusion” shot on 16mm over the course of years, Frownland looks as if it was processed by snot and steel wool. There’s an aggravated static to the night scenes, our hero “Keith” (Doree Mann) runs around the streets desperate for the light of convenience store parking lots to showcase his red exasperated face as his record scratches over and over in search of a patient ear “when I was a kid I promised myself-when I was a kid I made a promise-wait wait wait when I was a kid I told myself when I-“. Laura’s (Mary Bronstein) heels turn as she sinks herself between the bed and the wall. Keith hides his plate of popcorn in the fridge before putting her socks on his hands to perform a puppet show reenactment of his mom berating him. Sean’s camera feels like the only thing that would willfully get this close to the cringe opera of the characters lives. It also feels like the jumping off point for a documentary styled photography that would cover a lot of his career. And the film itself being a big informant of what was to come in the New York indie scene.
THIRST STREET (2017)
“For you…I’m wearing my uniform.”
Thirst street follows a grieving flight attendant as she becomes increasingly obsessed with an overseas hookup. Shot with a DLSR and gelled to hell and back. The photography feels informed by lead Lindsey Burdges delusions of finding Parisian love with a sleazy bartender. Much like the pink eye she was gifted and sports throughout the movie the images are moist and oozing candy colors at night fantastical in its drunken impossibility. Before the stark white light of morning reveals its crusted quiet reality.
HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT (2014)
“You just wanna get super fucking high!”
“Yea I do!”
Heaven knows what follows Addict Harley (Arielle Holmes) throughout her day-to-day troubles with love and finding the next fix. The white HD sheen projecting a hangover corporate florescent anytime the characters “spange” or fill out their day with little transactions waiting for the sun to go down. Sean’s zooms throwing themselves over street corners and parks catching Holmes hair as it heavily drifts out of her hoodie failing to hide her bright eyes constantly in flux between lust and spite. A drowsy pink image of Holmes in the film was cited as Pattinson reason for wanting to work with the Safdies.
There will also be some shorts and music videos shown before all features. You’re not going to want to miss this.