Fans of the Wu-Tang Clan are no stranger to the sound samples used in many of their songs – many of which refer to martial arts. Given the rap groups history, band member RZA has expanded his skill set to include feature film scoring and directing, and is also a frequent participant in classic and obscure Kung-Fu films panels / Q&A’s. And this past weekend he hosted a live exploration of the ultra-violent jidaigeki pic Shogun Assassin.
Dubbed 36 Cinema, a new venture through the New York native’s 36 Chambers production company, the platform presents live streaming commentary on films, with RZA in conversation with Dan Halsted, head programmer of Portland’s Hollywood Theater. Yesterday (May 24th), the two presented their second film program for the piece that RZA memorably sampled throughout GZA’s 1995 album Liquid Swords.
Per 36 Chambers co-founder Mustafa Shaikh, the platform’s first presentation earlier this month – of 1983’s “Shaolin and Wu Tang” – drew thousands of viewers willing to pay for the experience. In order to legally screen the films, all of the 36 Cinema streaming sessions are ticketed events, priced at $10 dollars: “We operate like a movie theater, in essence, paying industry-standard rates,” he said. Furthermore, the platform also functions as a partial fundraiser for independent cinemas, sharing a portion of the proceeds with theaters who refer viewers; according to Shaikh, around 40 cinemas participated in the inaugural stream. “RZA and I both love independent theaters, and we don’t want to see any of them close.” This is much needed support comes in times such as these when in person showing are very hard to come by in the traditional setting.
Photo (cropped): MikaV