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Summer is wrapping up, but we’re moving into the fall in style here at The Frida! Our Summer Matinees series continues this week with Illumination’s Sing 2, Emma Seligman’s teen comedy Bottoms continues its hit run into next week, and cult filmmaker Neil Breen strikes again with Cade: The Tortured Crossing this Saturday. Down the line, we’ve also got a four film marathon from our friends at Super Yaki and a new 4K restoration of Jonathan Demme’s groundbreaking concert film Stop Making Sense. Coming up just next week however, is a special double feature presentation of Blue Ruin and Green Room, two gripping thrillers from Jeremy Saulnier!
In Blue Ruin, the quiet life of a beach bum (Macon Blair) is upended by dreadful news, prompting him to set off for his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. However, he proves an inept assassin and finds himself in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. In Green Room, a punk rock band becomes trapped in a secluded venue after finding a scene of violence. For what they saw, the band themselves become targets of violence from a gang of white-power skinheads, who want to eliminate all evidence of the crime. Only Saulnier’s second and third movies, both films proved to be favorites among critics upon release, with the two earning certified fresh ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and Green Room being cited as one of the titles that helped A24 establish its reputation as an indie distributor.
We’ve played Green Room before but it’ll be our first time screening Blue Ruin, something made possible by Roxanne Reyes, one of our two September Volunteers of the Month! A relative newcomer at The Frida, Roxanne has quickly made a name for herself behind the counter and helping out at special events. Having also joined the writing team, I had the pleasure of talking to her quite a few times before interviewing her for the blog. I already knew she was expressive and intelligent but I was still impressed to hear her extended, articulate thoughts on Green Room. It made for one of the longest and most engaging interviews I’ve ever done for the blog, and I hope it gets readers interested in seeing Green Room and Blue Ruin next week!
How did you find out about The Frida Cinema?
My first memory I have is hearing about Camp Frida. I was super excited, my birthday is in October so I was like “I have to do this! It’s 8PM to 8AM, all horror movies.” My friends came with me and I think that was the day I fell in love with The Frida. I’m a huge horror movie fan and just seeing like the OC house of horror was like “Okay, this is my new spot.”
When the pandemic hit, there was nothing we could do until The Frida started doing their drive-ins. We went to like 80% of them and I’ve been hooked since.
What made you want to volunteer here?
I finally decided to volunteer three months ago because I wanted to be part of the community here.
Tell us a little bit about Blue Ruin and Green Room.
So I picked Green Room, and we were able to do the double feature with Blue Ruin, because — besides it being one of my favorite movies — of the brutality of the movie and the fact that it isn’t like other thrillers. I think when you watch You’re Next, for example, they kind of have that plot armor of “Oh, she’s a survivalist, she’s got this!” With Green Room however, it totally reminded me of people that were my friends and, me being into punk, was a huge selling point for me. But when you see them go through it and how they’re panicking and how they all approach it differently, it felt so realistic. And it’s the same thing with Blue Ruin, it’s real people dealing with real-life horror.
It was really funny, I was talking to Trevor about it and he was like “It’s not horror.” I’m like “Yes, it’s horror. You’re telling me you’re trapped in a bar with a bunch of neo-Nazis that you just saw kill someone? No, you’re going to be terrified and you’re going to not know what to do.”
It was just such a breath of fresh air at the time because it was a new film from A24. A24 was just kind of up-and-coming and they were just coming out with these cult classic-style movies. There was no expectation they would do anything more than that, they would probably just showcase these fun midnight movies. And when I saw Green Room, it was like this beacon of hope in filmmaking for me at the time that we were actually going to start seeing edgier movies that I grew up with in the 90s like Seven, Bringing Out the Dead, things that really were about the seedy underbelly of life.
That was my draw to it because there was my connection to it. My background is very similar and so it was easy for me to empathize with them, not go like “How could these people go into this house, they know it’s abandoned!” You’re like “They’re a bunch of punks that are just trying to tour and they’re acting like a bunch of punks, going to a neo-Nazi bar singing ‘Nazi Punks F*ck Off’.” It was just like punk rock embodied in a film.
The acting is amazing too. Imogen Poots is in it and seeing her off of 28 Weeks Later, it was cool to see her do something different from “Hollywood starlet” here, with her skinhead haircut and all.
What is your favorite Frida memory?
Oh my gosh, there are so many…
I guess my favorite memory would be when I realized that this was the right place for me. I was working Doom Generation night and everyone was coming in dressed up like Rose McGowan with her clear little raincoat. It was packed, sold out because James Duval was going to be there later. It was super packed, intense, and we were just helping people left and right. I remember one of the people making a comment “Oh, you’re so fast, you’re so so efficient” because I was making so many cherry coke and rum drinks for our drink special.
But just interacting with everyone and commenting on how much they dressed up for the movie was great. I’ve worked a lot of customer service jobs but this was the first time I’ve ever been somewhere where everyone wanted to be there and they were happy to be there, like this was the highlight of their week or month even. And then I got to meet James Duval, so definitely the Doom Generation night.
If you could program any movie here, what would you pick?
It would be the other movie that I wanted to show, Amores Perros. It was like when I started to really get into international film and, though I saw it when it came out, it was at that point in my life where I realized “Yeah, I like film. I love cinema,” and I was really digging for new extreme movies to watch. I was a big fan of Gael Garcia Bernal, he had just done Y Tu Mama Tambien, so I was pretty much looking through his whole catalog and I found that movie. It just really spoke to young teenage Roxanne who was learning about the nuances of love and it was really refreshing to see a movie that was about love and the dark side of it, the things that we do and the situations we get put into when we don’t have a say. There’s a sense of privilege that people tend to forget about when it just comes to something like love but when you watch that movie you’re reminded that love’s a b*tch.