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Indulge In A Summer of Outdoor Genre Cinema on Vancouver’s North Shore

Deckchair Cinema brings ecstatic, renegade genre fare to audiences all summer long.

by Maggie McPhee

The Polygon Gallery is back for its third year of Deckchair Cinema, a by-donation outdoor movie screening event that takes place every Thursday until the end of August. Audiences can enjoy the best of the best in horror, action, camp, and music films across five decades and seven countries, cozied up on Cates Deck in front of the gallery, overlooking the harbour. 

Most nights, iconic Vancouver DJs and musicians will get the party started, with screenings taking over at sundown. Each week features a rotation of local breweries, and admissions include access to the Gallery’s summer exhibitions. There are few combinations better in this life than warm summer nights, craft beer, and excellent movies. And the calibre of films on display just might make it worth the ferry ride over. 


Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1982, Dir. Lou Adler, U.S.A.) 

June 28, beer by Beere Brewing Company, film at 9:30pm

Featuring a teen girl punk riot in Coquitlam town centre, this shot-in-Vancouver cult classic starring Diane Lane and Laura Dern in early roles about a young woman who self-actualizes through the grit and catharsis of music inspired riot grrrls such as Kathleen Hanna and Courtney Love. Members of the Clash and the Sex Pistols make appearances, with their attempts at acting sabotaged by the fact they were all going through withdrawal during filming. Imperfect and visceral and punk to the core. 


The Harder They Come (1972, Dir. Perry Henzell, Jamaica)

July 4, beer by North Point Brewing Co, So Much To Say: A Bob Marley Celebration with DJ Leroy Hikwa starts at 7pm, film at 9:15pm

Jamaican folklore fused with the gravitas of Italian Neorealism and swagger of the American New Wave, a film unlike any other. Reggae luminary Jimmy Cliff stars as an aspiring musician who resorts to drug sellin’ and cop killin’ after a damning experience with a record producer. His notoriety climbs in tandem with his record as it tops the charts. Legend has it  this is the greatest movie soundtrack of all time. 


Stop Making Sense (1984, Dir. Jonathan Demme, U.S.A.)

July 11, beer by Shaketown Brewing, music by Niña Mendoza begins at 7pm, film at 9:15pm

All hail the sovereign ruler of concert films, prostrate yourself before the giant suit, venerate through dance. A joyous fairytale of a film. Demme, who would later go on to direct the Best Picture winning horror-thriller Silence of the Lambs, alchemized the Talking Heads’ Pantages Theatre performance touring their 1983 album “Speaking in Tongues” into cinematic form. Kinetic, ecstatic, and thanks to its recent restoration, as visually lush as ever.  

Mark your calendars for this night in particular, as the Gallery opens two exhibitions that evening, a sculpture by Toronto’s Tau Lewis mounted on the facade of the building, and a collection of photographic works by Martine Gutierrez. There may even be a live performance in the water feature out front around 8pm, but who’s to say… 


Night Raiders (2021, Dir. Danis Goulet, Canada) 

July 18, beer by Strange Fellows, film at 9:15pm

The year is 2043 and Indigenous children are confined to state-run re-education camps. It’s a dystopian sci-fi but it’s also not an invention, this imagined future replicates Canada’s residential schools, the last of which closed in 1997. The always amazing Elle-Màijà Tailfeathers plays a mother who must rescue her daughter. Essential viewing. 


Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010, Dir. Edgar Wright, U.S.A., U.K., Japan)

July 25, beer by Strathcona Beer Company, Music by Paisley Eva starts at 7pm, film at 9pm

A treasured time capsule. Perhaps the most 2010s film ever made, Michael Cera may as well be the poster child for the indie sleaze cinema. In order to date the girl of his dreams, the pasty and stalky Cera must defeat her seven exes in hand-to-hand combat. An iconic pink hairstyle and a stacked cast, including Kieran Culkin, Aubrey Plaza and Jason Shwartzman, adds extra oomph to an in-your-face comic book movie. And it takes place in Toronto!


Death Becomes Her (1992, Dir. Robert Zemeckis, U.S.A.)

August 1, beer by Beere Brewing Company, North Shore Pride Night, film at 9pm

Another film in this program that doesn’t have many contemporaries, not only because it stars Bruce Willis being… goofy. Two ex-friends (Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn) fight over the same man (Willis) a decade later, and make things even messier by introducing a magic life elixir to the mix. Its Oscar-winning special effects hold up a satirical black fantasy comedy, genres as twisted around as the protagonists. Camp, meet mother. 


Close-Up (1990, Dir. Abbas Kiarostami, Iran)

August 8, beer by North Point Brewing, film at 8:45

There are some who have claimed this is the greatest movie ever made, Indie Wire, a touch more restrained, have called it the second best film of the 1990s. Let’s not mince words. It’s very good. Based on the true story of a young film fanatic who impersonates his favourite Iranian director and starring real people from the case, renowned director Abbas Kiarostami weaves fact and fiction in a layered and loving exploration of cinema as an artform and force of nature. 


Police Story 3: Supercop (1992, Dir. Stanley Tong, China)

August 15, beer by Shaketown Brewing, film at 8:45pm

In continuation with our greatest ofs theme, rumour has it this has the greatest action scene ever committed to the silver screen. It’s Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh, so that sort of speaks for itself. Yeoh’s turn in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon produced the greatest action scenes ever commit… Wait a second. The duo, who heartbreakingly never collaborated after this, go balls to the walls with stunts. The thrills and the slapstick gags will have you gasping. Do you even need to know the plot? 


Phantom of the Paradise (1974, Dir. Brian De Palma, U.S.A.)

August 22, beer by Strange Fellows, film at 8:30pm

“The most highly acclaimed horror fantasy of our time.” The programmers at The Polygon have truly knocked it out of the park with this summer’s selection. This wonderfully outlandish rock opera blends a pinch of the Phantom of the Opera, a dash of Faust and a pound of kick ass. A double-crossed and newly disfigured singer-songwriter seeks revenge on the music producer who stole his work. The colours, costumes, and flare might give The Rocky Horror Picture Show a run for its money. 


The Warriors (1979, Walter Hill, U.S.A.) 

August 29, beer by Strathcona Beer Company, music by RHEK begins at 7pm, film at 8:30pm 

A genre fare classic. In a dystopian future New York City rife with gangs and cops, the leather-vested Warriors clan must survive their own manhunt. A stylish and poetic epic of Homerian proportions, updated for the crime-ridden moment at the turn of the ‘80s. Screenings would break out into brawls with rival gangs in attendance. Come at your own risk. 


For more information visit thepolygon.ca