Ganja & Hess
1973, Bill Gunn, USA, 112 min. With Duane Jones, Marlene Clark.
- Fri, Jun 22nd 8:15pm
- Tue, Jun 26th 8:00pm
"Certainly the most original and intellectually ambitious of all blaxploitation films of the 70s." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Bill Gunn's epochal indie lulu...so elusive and bloody and challenging a picture that it's every bit as overwhelming now as it must have been when it won the critics' prize at Cannes in '73." - Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Considered a milestone of both the blaxploitation and vampire genres but too contrary to nest comfortably under either label, GANJA AND HESS (which never uses the word "vampire") was acclaimed at Cannes, then butchered and badly distributed before finally emerging as a revered cult classic. Elegant anthropology professor Dr. Hess Green (Jones of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) is infected with a blood-hunger curse through an ancient African dagger wielded by his assistant (Gunn), who soon commits suicide. The assistant's assertive wife Ganja (Clark) shows up, initiates a passionate affair with Hess, and joins him in blood-drinking bliss until his religious awakening comes between them. Characteristically for Gunn, the plot accounts for only a fraction of the film's rich tapestry. Shifting gears every few minutes and packed with disturbing and provocative images, GANJA AND HESS is a disorienting and haunting experience. Spike Lee's 2015 remake DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS only enhanced critics' memories of the more potent original, and this new 4K restoration follows decades of truncated versions and fuzzy transfers. New 4K DCP digital restoration. (MR)