This series is off the wall
What: "Unstreamable: Not In Your Wildest Streams," featuring Pink Floyd: The Wall
Where: Outside the Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St.
WHEN: The event begins at 7pm Fri., July 23. The movie will be shown at moonrise.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Soon after the full moon rises on Fri., July 23, a surreal scene will be revealed outside of Bellingham’s Pickford Film Center when Pink Floyd: The Wall further lights up the night.
This isn’t your typical summer film fare. Based on the 1979 Pink Floyd album The Wall, the British musical about a deeply troubled rock star who constructs a physical and emotional barrier around himself following the demise of his father was released in 1982 to mostly positive reviews and robust ticket sales. And despite its long list of disturbing imagery—which includes violence, gore, uncomfortable sexual situations, rampant drug use, warfare, fascism, creepy kids and animated sequences known to cause viewers to get more than a little tripped out—it’s now considered a cult classic.
But why is it showing in front of the Bay Street movie hub, and why now? The answer lies in an endeavor by The Stranger writers Jasmyne Keimig and Chase Burns. Unstreamable, their weekly column in the Seattle-based paper, recommends movies and television shows that can’t currently be sourced on major streaming services. Their list is updated when and if they are able to be streamed, and the duo also lets readers know where the flicks they’re recommending can be found in the meantime.
“Currently, there are 315 films on this list,” Keimig and Burns explained in a June 25 column. “Each one was unstreamable when it was added. That means we couldn’t find it on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or any of the other 300-plus streaming services available in the United States. We also couldn’t find it available for rent or purchase through platforms like Prime Video or iTunes. We don’t consider user-generated videos, like unauthorized YouTube uploads, to be streamable.”
Pink Floyd: The Wall was the topic of another Unstreamable column in June, and when Keimig and Burns make their way to Bellingham on Friday night to host a collaborative event with the Pickford, “Unstreamable: Not in Your Wildest Streams,” it’s likely they’ll be able to provide some insight about how they come across their selections before the viewing of the The Wall.
Their contributions to the cinematic conversation are just one of the reasons attendees at the free event will want to show up before dark. Those who arrive early are more likely to win prizes, and they can also be first in line when Back East BBQ shows up at 7pm to help feed the crowd. At 8pm, a DJ will start spinning vinyl, and by the time the rising moon makes its way onto the scene an hour or so later, attendees will hopefully be in the mood for some psychedelic cinema.
For those wondering why the ’80s-era offering is still relevant in the modern day, consider what the late film critic Roger Ebert said in 2010 when he provided an updated version of his review of Pink Floyd: The Wall, aptly explaining why the film director Alan Parker once described as being “one of the most miserable experiences of my creative life” has staying power.
“This isn’t the most fun to listen to and some viewers don’t find it too much fun to watch,” Ebert wrote, “but the 1982 film is without question the best of all serious fiction films devoted to rock. Seeing it now in more timid times, it looks more daring than it did in 1982, when I saw it in Cannes. Alan Parker, a director who seemed to deliberately choose widely varied projects, here collaborates with Gerald Scarfe, a biting British political caricaturist, to make what is essentially an experimental indie. It combines wickedly powerful animation with a surrealistic trip through the memory and hallucinations of an overdosing rock star. It touches on sex, nuclear disarmament, the agony of warfare, childhood feelings of abandonment, the hero’s deep unease about women, and the lifestyle of a rock star at the end of his rope.”
If you can’t make it to the Friday night shindig and are bummed that you’re missing out on all the freaky full-moon fun, host your own showing by obtaining the title from Bellingham’s only remaining place to rent videos, Film is Truth. You won’t even have to wait until the next full moon to do so.