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Terminal Island (free)

  • Vilas Hall 821 University Avenue Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)
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Director Stephanie Rothman got her start working for Roger Corman, but unlike many of her male contemporaries, she never got a chance to break out of low-budget exploitation filmmaking. Instead, she subverted genre film norms by adding feminist and socialist subtext beneath the sex and violence expected of drive-in filler like The Student Nurses (which UW Cinematheque will screen on October 28) and It's A Bikini World. In 1973's Terminal Island, set in a very 1970s near-future California, convicted murderers are exiled to a remote island where the prisoners have created their own brutal society cut off from the outside world. The arrival of new convict Joyce sets off a war between the authoritarian island ruler, Bobby, and a gang of revolutionaries seeking a more egalitarian society. Though Rothman instills some self-awareness into the chauvinistic sleaze, Terminal Island is still pure no-budget grindhouse women-in-prison trash filmmaking, full of sadistic violence, nudity, and big '70s mustaches—and as you can tell by the trailer, the results are very, very offensive. —Ian Adcock