The Atomic Cafe; Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty and Pierce Rafferty, directors.

Here’s what you don’t know about life in 1982: the Soviet Union was run by monsters ready to destroy us with nuclear weapons at the drop of one of those fuzzy hats.

It was a low period, especially considering how awareness of the true nature of atomic fallout was becoming accepted. The timing was perfect for a reassessment of how “the bomb” was first sold to Americans and this documentary collection of commentary-free government clips was eye-opening and cathartic. Somehow, the barrage of propaganda helped speak to a larger truth.

Looking at it now, The Atomic Cafe isn’t just a time capsule of the ’50s, but of the pre-YouTube ’80s as well.

Liquid Sky; Slava Tsukerman, director.

Fashion is still catching up to this one, a hipper-than-thou New York tale about sex, drugs and UFOs. The early video aesthetic was a genuine thing but no other film quite reveled in it as much as this. The fact that no one in the cult movie ever achieved greater notoriety, and that the Russian/Israeli director Slava Tsukerman dined out on this one for the rest of his life just makes it even cooler.

I know it is hard to believe it, but in the early, no-budget days of New York-based MTV, this is what all the programming looked like.

Kiss Me Goodbye; Robert Mulligan, director.

Considering I couldn’t find even one blurry clip on YouTube I think we’ve got a genuine lost classic on our hands. Based on a Brazilian film called Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by Bruno Baretto (whose Four Days In September was on last week’s list of recent Oscar nominees you probably haven’t seen), Kiss Me Goodbye is like what Ghost would have been like if it were written by Neil Simon.

Sally Field is readying to marry Jeff Bridges, but the spirit of her dead husband, choreographer James Caan, appears, and he does not particularly approve. Hilarious set-pieces, jokes about stage folk and fast-talkin’ hijinks ensue. This is a damn funny movie.

Querelle; Rainer Werner Fassbinder, director.

Fassbinder’s final film, based on a Jean Genet novel, is an intentionally stagey fantasia of criminality and forbidden love. At times beautiful, at times campy, Brad Davis plays a sailor who falls in love with a murderer that he can frame for his own crimes.

The plot is dizzying (one actor plays two different characters, but you don’t know that at first) and the homosexual content is quite frank. It is, however, a strange and dreamlike film, and quite a visual departure from the rest of Fassbinder’s resume. One day I’m gonna have the guts to go as Querelle for Halloween.

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