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The Machine That Kills Bad People
Outrage + Ghost Carnival
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Outrage, 1950, Dir. Ida Lupino

This screening brings together two films that confront sexual violence: a 35mm print of Outrage (1950) by Ida Lupino, one of the only women to accumulate an extensive body of work as a director in classical Hollywood, and the UK premiere of Ghost Carnival (1991) by Qiu Miaojin and Lin Hsu Wen-er, best known as the author of the cult novel Notes of a Crocodile (1994), a lesbian coming-of-age story set in Taipei. 

Ida Luipino’s Outrage (1950) is noted as one of the earliest Hollywood films to take the subject of sexual violence as its main concern, even though the word "rape" is never uttered within it. The noir-twinged film follows a young bookkeeper in the aftermath of her assault by a co-worker, as she flees her life and grapples with the ongoing effects of the experience. Outrage has been lauded for Lupino’s poignant and sensitive portrayal of psychological trauma and societal pressures, challenging Hollywood's reluctance to confront such issues directly. The film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2020 and screens from an archival 35mm print.  

Qiu Miaojin and and Lin Hsu Wen-er's Ghost Carnival (1991) is an elliptical film steeped in melancholy and symbolic imagery. Made in 1991, it appeared three years before Qiu's celebrated novel Notes of a Crocodile, and just four years before she committed suicide in 1995 at the age of twenty-six. The spectre invoked in the film's title is Siping, a young woman who had killed herself after experiencing sibling rape; she haunts her brother Jinyang's memory in the days approaching his twentieth birthday. As critic Ruby Hseih I-Hsuan has noted, "After Qiu's death, her only film work seemed to sink into the deep dark ocean, disappearing into cold silence"; now, some thirty years after its making, it will be presented to UK audiences for the first time. 

A specially commissioned essay by Laura Mulvey accompanies this screening. 

Outrage, dir. Ida Lupino, USA 1950, black and white, sound, 35mm, 75 min. 
Ghost Carnival, dir. Qiu Miaojin and Lin Hsu Wen-er, 1991,colour, sound, 35 min. Taiwanese with English subtitles. 
The Machine That Kills Bad People is, of course, the cinema – a medium that is so often and so visibly in service of a crushing status quo but which, in the right hands, is a fatal instrument of beauty, contestation, wonder, politics, poetry, new visions, testimonies, histories, dreams. It is also a film club devoted to showing work – ‘mainstream’ and experimental, known and unknown, historical and contemporary – that takes up this task. The group borrowed their name from the Roberto Rossellini film of the same title, and find inspiration in the eclectic juxtapositions of Amos Vogel’s groundbreaking New York film society Cinema 16. 

The Machine That Kills Bad People is held bi-monthly in the ICA Cinema and is programmed by Erika Balsom, Beatrice Gibson, Maria Palacios Cruz, and Ben Rivers. 
06:45 pm
Wed, 27 Mar 2024
Cinema 1

All films are ad-free and 18+ unless otherwise stated, and start with a 10 min. curated selection of trailers.

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