Fellini in Arkansas

Seeing "Red-State Cinema"

"Ahm tired uh yer uppity, citified ways!" leering slob Odis (Gene Ross) tells houseguest Helen (Norma Moore) in S.F. Brownrigg's Poor White Trash II, a 1974 movie also known by the equally savory title Scum of the Earth. The late Brownrigg's gasp-producing moonshine swaller of incest-cum-insanity is one of several delights in the new program of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' film curator Joel Shepard, "Red State Cinema: Rural Auteurs," which spans from Harry Revier's 1938 Child Bride (which was aimed at traveling tent cinemas) to Joe Pickett and Nick Preuher's new documentary Dirty Country (a profile of factory worker and raunchy composer-performer Larry Pierce). Jennifer Baichal's terrific 2002 The True Meaning of Pictures looks at the controversy surrounding Shelby Lee Adams, whose memorable photographs of dirt-poor Appalachia residents were accused of artificially heightening hillbilly squalor for a fascinated upscale audience. Then there's Arkansas auteur Phil Chambliss, who makes films of varying length starring friends, family, and gravel-pit coworkers. Chambliss's aren't home movies but eccentric narratives as bizarre, humorous, and strangely familiar as the weirdest relative in your family.


Nov. 1–16, $6–$8

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts screening room

701 Mission, SF

(415) 978-2787


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