Formidable Conformity: The System Fights Back - Thur. May 30 - 8PM

Oddball Films and curator Kat Shuchter bring you Formidable Conformity: The System Fights Back, a program of films about man's struggle against the status-quo.  With vintage cartoons, industrial films, PSAs and avant-garde breathtakers, this is one night the "system" never saw coming.  The laughable Plastics Council sponsored film, How To Infiltrate the Establishment (1960s), seeks to recruit young hip surfers and rockers to the plastics industry by making it look groovy to get a job.  Michael Keaton attempts to change employers' minds about hiring the handicapped in a musical-comedy all-star extravaganza A Different Approach (1978). A single butterfly valiantly attempts to bring beauty into the sterile world of a dystopian factory in Jan Habarta's incredible film No. 000173 (1969).  There was a time when the concept of female authority was so novel, they needed to prep men with primers so that they could deal with it, like the cartoon I've Got a Woman Boss! (1977).  One man goes up against the Hollywood system in the silent low-budget experimental triumph The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra (1928).  Hipsters must die in Vera Linnecar's British cartoon The Trendsetter (1969).  Hippies square-off against the police in a football game in the hilarious documentary (later turned into an Afterschool Special starring Patrick Swayze) The Pigs vs The Freaks (1960s). Polish artist Jan Lenica gives us an animated adaptation of Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros (1965). With Eli Wallach in The Dehumanizing City...And Hymie Schultz (1967) for the early birds, the trailer for dystopian classic Logan's Run and other surprises, stick it to the man and get over to Oddball.

Date: Thursday, May 30th, 2013 at 8:00PM
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to: 415-558-8117 or 


How to Infiltrate the Establishment (Color, 1960s)
Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word. 
Benjamin: Yes, sir. 
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am. 
Mr. McGuire: Plastics. 
Benjamin: Just how do you mean that, sir?--The Graduate (1967) 
In the 1960s radical culture a “plastic” person was considered shallow and soulless. Not to be outdone by the social politics of its time the Plastics Education Foundation (Wha?) sponsored this mind-boggling display of protest demonstrations and 60s rock bands, cut up with stupefying surfers, NASCAR races and even spaceflight to give our youth a helping hand as they journey into the material world of petroleum based industrial culture. A laugh riot!

A Different Approach (Color, 1978)
Michael Keaton heads an all-star cast in a PSA musical comedy spectacular designed to sell employers on the idea of hiring the disabled.  Nominated for an Academy Award and featuring a Busby Berkeley-esque wheelchair number, co-stars Betty White, Rue McLanahan, Norman Lear, Jim Neighbors, Charlotte Rae and directed by Fern Field (The Day My Kid Went Punk).

No. 00173 (Color, 1969)
Rare and brilliant, this experimental film by Polish director Jan Habarta portrays a fictional factory with Metropolis-esque workers in radiation suits. In the midst of this grey atmosphere, one butterfly tries to arouse a touch of beauty.

The Trendsetter (Color, 1969)
Cool British animation from the great Vera Linnecar portrays a little man who is annoyed with the little hipsters who ape and one up his every move.  Illustrates how the trendsetters depend on others for their sense of self worth.

I’ve Got a Woman Boss! (Color, 1977) 
Quick boys, hide the porno! The Hatchet Lady is coming! With Women’s Lib and the ERA, what’s a man to do when his higher ups hire a girl to do a man’s job? Learn all about how to deal with a woman in a position of power in this delightful corporate education cartoon from the age of bra burning and glass ceilings.

The Life and Death of 9413: A Hollywood Extra (B+W, 1928) 
Expressionistic miniatures interspersed with close-up photography of actors tells the story of a young hopeful actor defeated by the ruthless Hollywood star system. After he dies, he rises to heaven, where hisnumber is removed. According to director Robert Florey the total expenditure of the production was $97.00. The breakup of which is as follows: Negative ... $25.00 Store Props ... $3.00 Development and Printing ...$55.00 Transportation, etc. ... $14.00 This low cost was possible due to the use of set made using toys and cardboard buildings. Most of the filming was indoors. The actors Jules Raucort and Voya George did not get immediate payment for their work and were supposed to be compensated with benefits which might latter accrue. Florey went on to direct 60+ features before moving to television, Vorkapich edited montage sequences for Hollywood films in the 30s, and assistant cinematographer Gregg Toland later shot Citizen Kane and The Grapes of Wrath.

The Pigs vs. The Freaks (Color, 1960s)
After several violent clashes between the police and the long-hairs of East Lansing Michigan, one hippy had the novel idea to challenge the police to a friendly football game.  16,000 people showed and The Freaks won, two years in a row. This film documents the third annual game.  Will the pigs finally be able to triumph over their long-haired opponents, or will the hippies take the title for a third time? Directed by Jack Epps Jr and Jeffrey Jackson.

Rhinoceros (Dir. Jan Lenica, Color, 1965)
Filmmaker and multitalented artist Jan Lenica's checkered career has encompassed excursions into music, architecture, poster-making, costume design, children's book illustration, and all aspects of filmmaking. It is, however, for his animation that he is best known, particularly his collage and "cutout" films, which have their roots in the art of Max Ernst and John Heartfield. The films have influenced the work of Jan Švankmajer and Terry Gilliam.  In this clever short, Lenica utilizes cutouts to create a very cool animated version of Eugene Ionesco's absurdist play about the dangers of conformity.

For the Early Birds:

The Dehumanizing City... and Hymie Schultz (1967)

Cut from the darkly comedic feature film, The Tiger Makes Out, (not available on VHS or DVD) starring Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson. Waking up one morning to the all too familiar frustrations and callous impersonality of big city life a mailman decides to fight back. He will be a one man army against complex bureaucratic machinery, anonymous no longer, taken advantage of no further. Nobody knows who he is, or cares. His co-workers superficially acknowledge him, and the citizens whom he serves see him only in terms of his function. The particular day starts off gloriously when the leg of his neighbor’s wife comes crashing through his ceiling, and our hero tries without success to get his landlady to make repairs. He then tackles the Housing Authority, where equally thwarted clerks treat him like a number. But today our hero refuses to be assigned any old place - he wants to be heard, at once! The bureaucracy proves more stubborn than he. Defeated and helpless, one individual lost among many, his angry campaign only led to more frustration.

Now What? (Color, 196?)
Bizarre anti-materialism short produced by the Lutheran church utilizes crude animation mixed with live footage that also clearly illustrates the pop-culture/hippie threat.