Art House Theater Day, the cinephile’s answer to Record Store Day that offers special programming hoping to entice viewers into independent movie theaters across the U.S. and Canada, has never been afraid to be weird. It came out swinging in its first year, declaring Don Coscarelli’s 1979 surrealist low-budget horror classic Phantasm to be capital-A Art by association. And it’s kept that reputation intact since, featuring eccentric programming like Dmitrii Kalashnikov’s “fully unhinged” Russian dashboard-cam documentary The Road Movie and a remastered version of John Landis’ goofy-ass 1973 debut Schlock!.
Now, the 2019 lineup is out, and the event’s reputation remains intact. The fourth edition of Art House Theater Day will center on two inspired, but inarguably very strange films. First is a sneak preview of In Fabric, the latest from The Duke Of Burgundy’s Peter Strickland that—believe it or not—delves even deeper into abstract primordial strangeness than its trailer would suggest. (That one’s not officially due in theaters until December 6.) Second, just in time for its 50th anniversary comes a new 4k restoration of Putney Swope, Robert Downey Sr.’s counterculture satire whose biting commentary on race and the corporatizing of culture is as trenchant as ever.
Also featured in this year’s lineup are The Hottest August (2017), Brett Story’s documentary of one month in the life of New York City as both the political climate and the climate-climate climb to unbearable temperatures; a 4k restoration of the Cannes-award winning My Twentieth Century (1989), described in a press release as a “fairytale-like, unconventional ironic film luminaire” about twin anarchists and the man who loves them both on the run in late 19th-century Hungary; and Vever (For Barbara) (2018), experimental filmmaker Barbara Stratman’s short film paying tribute to two pioneering women directors: 1940s and ‘50s dancer-turned-ethnographer Maya Deren and 1970s lesbian icon Barbara Hammer.
The fourth annual Art House Theater Day will take place on September 18, 2019. You can check for a participating theater near you here.