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‘My Twisted Valentine’ Is Back at the Barbican

Following a successful run in 2016, this year’s ‘My Twisted Valentine’ season at Barbican Cinema is back this February for those ‘between partners’ or just allergic to ensemble rom-coms. Four beautifully twisted films will be exploring some more interesting sides to love, as a distinctly syrup-free alternative to the regular Valentine’s Day cinematic fare.

My Twisted Valentine 2017 includes: lovers-on-the-run cult classic Gun Crazy; saucy French ménage à trois Les Biches; Gus Van Sant’s poignant first feature about a wayward crush, Mala Noche; and a groovy 1970s update on the Oscar Wilde classic, The Secret of Dorian Gray.

The Secret of Dorian Gray (Sat 11th Feb, 2pm, Cinema 1), was directed in 1970 by Massimo Dallamano and produced by Harry Towers. It’s a distinctive, swinging 60s-with-a-London-spin adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, starring the hyper-seductive Euro sex symbol, Helmut Berger. The screening will be introduced by Jonathan Rigby.

The Secret of Dorian Gray
Gun Crazy (Sat 11th Feb, 4pm, Cinema 3) is an electrifying lovers-on-the-run cult US classic directed in 1950 by Joseph H Lewis. This features a misfit couple drawn to each other by a mutual – and arguably Freudian – passion for guns. As the poster screamed, they are ‘Thrill Crazy… Kill Crazy… Gun Crazy!’ The couple is Bart – a handsome, gun-fixated lunk – and Annie, the sharp-shooting femme fatale who leads him astray into a career robbing banks.

Breathless in its pacing, this stylish film noir also features one of cinema’s most memorable heist scenes, shot entirely in the back of a Cadillac. Described by J. Hoberman in The Village Voice as ‘the kind of movie they don’t make any more’, this is a film that succeeds like no other in conveying the dizzy irresponsibility associated with mad love.

Gun Crazy

Les Biches (aka The Does, Bad Girls) (Sun 12th Feb, 4pm, Cinema 3) is a 1968 Franco-Italian film directed by Claude Chabrol, and is a cool study of the ménage à trois between a rich lesbian, her penniless young plaything, and a handsome architect. Moving between Paris and Saint Tropez, France’s answer to Alfred Hitchcock, Claude Chabrol, directs this twisted tale, shot through with an icy eroticism that builds towards a startling climax. Watch out for the 60s chic and a career-defining performance by Chabrol’s then-wife Stéphane Audran. A very stylish, and very sexy, Valentine.

Les Biches

Mala Noche (Tue 14th Feb, 7pm, Cinema 3) For Valentine’s night itself, here’s Gus Van Sant’s micro-budget debut feature filmed in 1986. A story of lopsided amour fou, Mala Noche perfectly captures the bittersweet anguish of unrequited love. Johnny, a handsome Mexican immigrant, becomes fixated on Walt, a down-on-his luck shop assistant, after drifting into the store one day. Rebuffed by Johnny, Walt takes up with his best friend but can’t shake his original fixation, thus unfolding an awkward triangle of thwarted and displaced desire. Beautifully shot in black-and-white in the director’s hometown of Portland, Oregon, this is a perfect early example of Van Sant’s off-centre, sharp-edged romanticism and his aching sympathy for the lost and vulnerable.

Mala Noche
Mala Noche

Book your tickets here.

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