The environment attacks!

Throughout October, Northwest Film Center will screen Eco-Sicko, a collection of films that obscurely and explicitly discuss environmental awareness.

Throughout October, Northwest Film Center will screen Eco-Sicko, a collection of films that obscurely and explicitly discuss environmental awareness.

Starting Oct. 6 with Todd Haynes 1995 film Safe, and ending with the Mel Gibson-starring Road Warrior, the Eco-Sicko series should entertain, intrigue and possibly annoy filmgoers used to viewing the usual straightforward fare presented by Northwest Film Center.

Instead of relying on obvious environment-themed movies, local writer and Night Gallery owner Jacques Boyreau, the guest curator for Eco-Sicko, went a different route.

“We are trying to open up a new angle at how to get at the environment,” Boyreau said. “They [the films] might seem random, but they are not. There’s not a single movie on that list that doesn’t fit.”

Browsing the list, the selections do at times seem random. The festival mashes up monster-movie trash and psychological character studies. Also, this has to be the first time Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster and Grapes of Wrath have even been mentioned in the same sentence, let alone playing together in film series. Eco-Sicko makes this jump.

By combining these films, Boyreau hopes to create a greater meaning then what the works give on their own. It’s a film version of a mix-tape, it’s a tapestry and it’s a mash-up.

“I guess the bottom line is if you are going to be environmentally aware you have to be engaged, not just concerned,” Boyreau said. “Engaged, inspired and entertained.”

Some of the films would never draw in large crowds on their own. Prophecy, for instance, a long-forgotten 1979 pseudo-horror film that is commonly seen as a blotch on director John Frankenheimer’s resume, plays well when paired with the other films. Eco-Sicko will rely on the audience to be active participants instead of passive viewers.

For the casual film viewer a few of the films are worth attending just to see them on screen. (Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert, Carrie and Grapes of Wrath are all a must see for film fans) But in order for most people to enjoy the 1956 Moby Dick or Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster they have to be viewed academically and critically for the themes and ideas to sink in.

When looking at the films in Eco-Sicko, viewers should ask, “What the fuck does this mean?” Boyreau said. “And then you go from there. It boils down to what is the environment. Isn’t the environment something that affects everybody? Doesn’t Carrie affect everybody?”

The history of motion pictures is full of references and continuing themes. Boyreau thinks there are mystical qualities in the way films speak to one another. In Eco-Sicko he is attempting to show the connections between films from different worlds of filmmaking. Are the death vehicles in Road Warrior a reference to the machinery in Grapes of Wrath? Does Carrie really represent the environment? Probably not, but looking for deeper meanings in film can be enjoyable, even rewarding–it just takes time.

Making up connections between things that have never been connected before is what intellectualism is about and if that is your idea of enjoyment, then Eco-Sicko is for you.

Eco-Sicko Begins Oct. 6th and ends Oct. 28th.All films screen at the Whitsell Auditorium in the Portland Art Museum.

SafeSaturday, Oct. 6th, 7 p.m.

Burn! Friday, Oct. 12th, 7 p.m.

The Hellstrom Chronicle Saturday, Oct. 13th, 7 p.m.

ProphecySaturday, Oct. 13th, 9 p.m.

Red DesertSunday, Oct. 14th, 7 p.m.

Moby DickTuesday, Oct. 16th, 7 p.m.

The Grapes of WrathWednesday, Oct. 17th, 7 p.m.

Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monsterw/ Alien Invaders (directed by Cleveland High School students)Friday, Oct. 19th, 7 p.m.

CarrieWednesday, Oct. 24th, 7 p.m.

Phase IVSaturday, Oct. 27th, 7 p.m.

Road WarriorSunday, Oct. 28th, 7 p.m.