Penelope Spheeris

She had a box-office studio hit with Wayne’s World, but Penelope Spheeris has always been, at heart, an independent filmmaker. Punk to the core, she got her start directing music videos and then feature-length documentaries, including the iconic Decline of Western Civilisation trilogy.

This program puts the focus onto her less well-known independent features and her rarely screened shorts. These features – Suburbia, The Boys Next Door and Dudes – shine a spotlight on outsider characters (Spheeris herself being somewhat of an outsider and rebel) while the shorts, now archived by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, represent some of her earliest work as a rule-breaking director with a soft spot for underdogs and the marginalised.

The Boys Next Door

The Boys Next Door

Penelope Spheeris’s visionary polemic against toxic masculinity – decades before the concept was popularised – stars Charlie Sheen and Maxwell Caulfield as the titular boys: young, white, resentful and deadly.

Dudes

Dudes

“A somewhat forgotten but simply unforgettable punk rock western, dubbed ‘The Easy Rider of the Eighties’.” – Night Flight

Penelope Spheeris Shorts

Penelope Spheeris Shorts

See all of the early short films directed by Penelope Spheeris, screening at MIFF thanks to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Suburbia

Suburbia

“Probably the best teenagers-in-revolt movie since Jonathan Kaplan’s Over the Edge.” – The New York Times