At the historic Castro Theatre, we present two double features inspired by our Live Projects 1 Field Trip. Together, the four films explore thought control and political manipulation as well as creative resistance, pointing toward malevolent agencies' use of experimental mind control techniques and exploitative tactics, and counterstrategies brought to light in key performance moments of the late 1960s and early 1970s, when celebrity activism and rock 'n' roll were influential forces for change.
7:00 p.m.: John Frankenheimer, The Manchurian Candidate, 1962, 126 min., 35mm
This classic thriller harnesses Cold War paranoia through an effective combination of themes — thought control, multinational conspiracy, and political assassination. The film centers on Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), a former Korean War POW and son of a prominent U.S. politician, who has been brainwashed to become a political assassin. Angela Lansbury defies typecasting as Shaw's deviously controlling mother, a secret communist operative. The film is based on Richard Condon's 1959 novel, which was inspired by a study of actual POWs who were effectively brainwashed in communist camps. Print courtesy of UCLA Film and Television Archive.
9:30 p.m.: David Cronenberg, Scanners, 1981, 103 min., 35mm
Cronenberg wrote and directed this science fiction thriller about a group of people known as "scanners," gifted individuals who have developed telekinetic and telepathic powers as a result of experimental drugs given to their mothers during pregnancy. ConSec, a security and weapons company with a deceptive plan, attempts to corner the market on scanners and recruits a homeless scanner named Cameron Vale. Meanwhile, another scanner, Darryl Revok, is organizing an underground scanner army. Print courtesy of Telefilms, Inc. and Cinémathèque Québécoise.