Gary Indiana introduces Black Rainbow



Gary Indiana introduces Black Rainbow

By Gary Indiana

This April, writer Gary Indiana graced Metrograph to present Mike Hodges’s Black Rainbow (1989), part of his curated series Gary Indiana Selects.

I can’t hear a thing. My ears popped or something. The film that that’s playing tonight was done in 1989 with Rosanna Arquette and Jason Robards. With the program, I picked a lot of stuff—some of which they could get, and some of which they couldn’t—so there’s no consistent theme running through. A little bit of it had to do with the spirit world, etc. Like, Atlantics is very much about the spirits of the dead.

And Black Rainbow. You know, I met this director [Mike Hodges] 20, 22 years ago. I really didn’t know anything about him. He hired me to be a talking head in a documentary on depictions of serial killers in the movies…

But anyway, I didn’t know until very recently that ‘black rainbow’ is actually a thing. It wasn’t just a title that he pulled out of the air, it’s something in voodoo, though I don’t know very much about it. I think the people in South Carolina, or wherever this was filmed—and this was made just before people would take all their yearning for answers and their futile desire for happiness and dump it onto the internet, instead of going to a place where there’s a medium telling them that everything is okay over there, on the other side.

One of the other films that I programmed for this, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, sort of deals with the same thing.

But I don’t think this film is really about that, it’s really about capitalism. I don’t even need to get into it, you can see it very clearly from the film. There’s a woman who comes up to the medium and says, “Maybe if we just stop thinking about the hereafter, and how great it’s going to be when we die”—I can’t quote it exactly—“we might pay more attention to what we’re doing here now.” And I think that was the point of the film. But you can decide what you think the point of the film is, and that is all I really have to say on this.

Gary Indiana