When I joined Ian Mantgani and Craig Williams to form The Badlands Collective in 2013, our goal was to celebrate films that had been overlooked and filmmakers whose work was in need of reappraisal. At our first meeting we made a list of directors who fit the bill, and one of the first names on that list was Elaine May. We believed that May was one of the most distinctive, brilliant and influential artists to emerge from that celebrated New Hollywood wave of the 1970s, and yet her films seemed to have slipped through the cracks as her contemporaries have been integrated into the canon. Nobody on the rep circuit was screening Elaine May’s films, nobody was releasing them on DVD and blu-ray, and nobody was talking about her as a great American director. We resolved to do something about it.
Doing something about it turned out to be a lot easier said than done, however. Elaine May’s work has been so neglected over the past four decades, viable prints have become incredibly scarce and the rights to them have become very complicated. For many years it seemed that our plan to present all four of her films together as a director on 35mm was going to prove to be a pipe dream, but now – five years later – we are finally ready to bring Elaine May back to the big screen.
The Badlands Collective is proud to present Painfully Funny: The Complete Directorial Works of Elaine May at the ICA in London on the weekend of September 21-23. We are screening A New Leaf (1971), The Heartbreak Kid (1972), Mikey & Nicky (1976) and Ishtar (1987) and we have secured some rarely seen 35mm prints for this special event. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Elaine May’s small but remarkable body of work presented on film, so book your tickets now and join us at the ICA to discover and celebrate a comic genius.
Full details are available on the Badlands Collective website
Tickets for each individual film are available from the ICA website – £12 for each film (£11 concessions) or £35 for a pass to all four features (£8.75 per film).