Time of the Heathen (+ special introductory lecture)

New 4K Restoration

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Emerging from the void, mysterious drifter Gaunt (The Sting’s John Heffernan) wanders the upstate countryside in a daze with only his bible for company. But after happening upon the murder of a local female housekeeper at the hands of a rural deviant, Gaunt soon finds himself framed for the attack. Forced to flee deeper into the woods with the only witness to the crime –the woman’s young deaf mute son Jesse — the pair forge a complex bond that culminates in one of cinema’s mostmemorable, psychedelic, and unclassifiable endings.

A “lost” marvel of independent filmmaking, Time of the Heathen is set in the immediate shadow of the atomic bomb, yet narrativized through the groundbreaking aesthetics and shifting racial politics of the 1960s. Directed by Peter Kass, best known for his pathbreaking work in the New York theater world, and strikingly lensed by visual artist and avant garde filmmaker Ed Emshwiller, Heathen is major discovery for even the most well-versed cinephiles.

Restored in 4K in 2023 by UCLA Film & Television Archive and Lightbox Film Center, University of the Arts at Illuminate Hollywood laboratory, in collaboration with Corpus Fluxus and Audio Mechanics from the 35mm picture, the soundtrack negative and the original 1⁄4” stereo master recording of Lejaren Hiller’s score. Funding provided by Ron and Suzanne Naples.

Preceded by:

New Directions in Independent Film Restoration: Recent projects from the Lightbox Film Center, Philadelphia

In recent years, Lightbox has been proud to restore a number of extraordinary independent films that were at risk of being lost to history. These projects were not just exercises in recovering the past; they also presented many unique challenges in the laboratory. In this in-depth illustrated lecture, film restorationist Ross Lipman looks at a number of the titles restored, their fascinating backstories, and the process of restoration. Among the topics discussed are how new technologies enable the production of new editions; how living directors of recent works want to alter the historically known versions; and how archives, labs, directors, and distributors often have differing needs to address.

The case studies presented include previously completed projects like Wayne Wang’s Life is Cheap, upcoming titles such as Richard Beymer’s The Innerview, and tonight’s premiere of Peter Kass’ Time of the Heathen.