Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession

  • 120'
  • USA
  • 2004
Some of the best film programmers are no strangers to a bit of monomania and solipsism, believing that a film only really exists when they screen it. Jerry Harvey, the very dedicated and eccentric programmer of one of the first pay-TV channels in the USA, Z Channel, just had to have films. For film lovers in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, Harvey was more or less what Hubert Bals was for Dutch cinephiles. A mass audience was at last able to see the directors' cut of films like The Wild Bunch, Heaven's Gate and Novecento. People could become acquainted with unknown European and Asian films, without commercial breaks, with the complete credits and in the right format. Among the faithful fans of the retrospectives and theme festivals on Z Channel were Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch and also Xan Cassavetes herself. As a teenager, she became acquainted with Z Channel when her father, director John Cassavetes, put her under three months of house-arrest. The documentary includes many well-known directors, including our very own Paul Verhoeven, talking about the influence the channel had on their lives. And it is of course illustrated with heart-warming film fragments (obtaining all the rights deserves a separate prize). The directors also discuss the unique yet difficult personality of Jerry Harvey, whose tragic death - he committed suicide in 1988 after shooting his second wife - also brought down the curtain for Z Channel. (GT)
Director
Xan Cassavetes
Country of production
USA
Production Year
2004
Festival Edition
IFFR 2005
Length
120'
Medium
35mm
Language
English
Producer
Maja films
Sales
IFC Films
Cinematography
John Pirozzi
Cast
Paul Verhoeven, Henry Jaglom, Robert Altman, Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, James Woods
Website
http://www.ifctv.com/zchannel