a highly-opinionated selection of things happening around town, and sometimes out of town. this month's page here.
wed. jan. 9 sympathy for the devil 7 PM @ hammer museum metropolis 8 PM @ silent movie theatre dave hillyard @ dub club @ echoplex mike watt & the missingmen @ silverlake lounge eastern promises, david cronenberg q&a @ arclight sherman oaks thu. jan. 10 six organs of admittance @ the echo qingyun ma & thom mayne @ moca grand ave off the pigs, repression, the murder of fred hampton @ redcat mike watt & the missingmen @ the prospector, long beach fri. jan. 11 classic mexico: three films by gabriel figueroa: nazarin @ getty center an american dream, let no man write my epitaph @ egyptian theatre last chants for a slow dance 8 PM @ silent movie theatre jon brion @ largo legacy of torture: the war against the black liberation movement 8:30 PM @ redcat mike watt & the missingmen @ suzy's, hermosa beach sat. jan. 12 classic mexico: three films by gabriel figueroa: the fugitive 4 PM, enamorada 7:30 PM @ getty center demons MIDNIGHT @ new beverly theatre a dandy in aspic, the deadly affair @ egyptian theatre persepolis, 4 months 3 weeks and 2 days @ aero theatre careful, odilon redilon @ silent movie theatre starcrash 10:30 PM @ silent movie theatre jon brion @ largo all power to the people 5 PM @ redcat bastards of the party @ redcat purple rain @ angel city drive-in sun. jan. 13 the jazz in us 5 PM @ egyptian theatre tension 1 PM @ silent movie theatre syndromes and a century 7 PM @ silent movie theatre one missed call 9:30 PM @ silent movie theatre upsilon acrux FREE @ spaceland "l" as in literature of gilles deleuze from a to z 8:30 PM @ mandrake bad dudes, upsilon acrux, mae shi FREE @ spaceland mon. jan. 14 radar bros. @ the echo work is a 4-letter word 8 PM, taking off @ silent movie theatre patton oswalt & friends @ largo earthless @ mountain bar tue. jan. 15 hollywood's hellfire club evening 8 PM @ silent movie theatre wed. jan. 16 variety 8 PM @ silent movie theatre thu. jan. 17 the 7th dawn @ egyptian theatre stormy weather 8 PM @ silent movie theatre buster keaton's lost film @ hollywood heritage museum fri. jan. 18 a flower in hell @ ucla film archive laura, advise and consent @ aero theatre daft punk's electroma MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre northern lights 8 PM @ silent movie theatre hollywood man 10:30 PM @ silent movie theatre lynch @ lacma the short films of david lynch 9:10 PM @ lacma without regret 7 PM, the scarlet pimpernel @ starlight studios saccharine trust, chuck dukowski sextet @ mr. t's bowl mike watt & raymond pettibon 8 PM @ riverside museum of art sat. jan. 19 languis @ pehrspace dracula: pages from the virgin's diary @ silent movie theatre yeti: the giant of the 20th century 10:30 PM @ silent movie theatre lynch @ lacma eraserhead 30th anniversary restoration 9:10 PM @ lacma art ensemble of chicago @ redcat sun. jan. 20 the city of violence 7 PM, barking dogs never bite @ ucla film archive he ran all the way 1 PM @ silent movie theatre sherlock jr. & keaton shorts 4 PM @ silent movie theatre big bang love 9:30 PM @ silent movie theatre om @ echoplex upsilon acrux, hathwell/kolovos duo FREE @ spaceland mon. jan. 21 radar bros. @ the echo still underground: films by robert nelson @ redcat tue. jan. 22 f for fake 7 PM @ hammer museum the world the flesh and the devil 1 PM @ lacma wed. jan. 23 the producers, the twelve chairs @ aero theatre faust 8 PM @ silent movie theatre experimental films by robert branaman @ 7 dudley cinema thu. jan. 24 angel face, laura @ egyptian theatre thelonius monk: straight no chaser 8 PM @ silent movie theatre fri. jan. 25 the public school @ telic arts exchange mirah, the blow @ the fonda the whole shootin' match 8 PM @ silent movie theatre bluebeard's castle @ lacma sat. jan. 26 woman on the beach, driving with my wife's lover @ ucla film archive bunny lake is missing, the 13th letter @ egyptian theatre archangel @ silent movie theatre the visitor 10:30 PM @ silent movie theatre sun. jan. 27 a taste of honey 7 PM @ ucla film archive advise and consent @ egyptian theatre the big night 1 PM @ silent movie theatre gozu 9:30 PM @ silent movie theatre upsilon acrux FREE @ spaceland mon. jan. 28 radar bros. @ the echo tue. jan. 29 upsilon acrux @ the smell wed. jan. 30 bonjour tristesse, saint joan @ egyptian theatre the cabinet of dr. caligari 8 PM @ silent movie theatre thu. jan. 31 the moon is blue, the man with the golden arm @ egyptian theatre mingus 8 PM, the universal mind of bill evans @ silent movie theatre fri. feb. 1 city streets, the miracle man @ ucla film archive beyond the valley of the dolls 8 PM, up!, beneath the valley of the ultra vixens @ silent movie theatre sat. feb. 2 mulatu astatke @ sweets ballroom, oakland imitation of life @ silent movie theatre maid of salem 7 PM, the king steps out @ starlight studios john cage's roaratorio 4 PM @ hammer museum gravity in art @ telic arts exchange sun. feb. 3 the spiritualist 1 PM @ silent movie theatre happiness of the katakuris 9:30 PM, visitor q @ silent movie theatre white rainbow @ mccabe's tue. feb. 5 the decay of fiction 8 PM @ silent movie theatre dead meadow @ echoplex wed. feb. 6 dr. jeckyll & mr. hyde 8 PM @ silent movie theatre thu. feb. 7 ornette: made in america 8 PM @ silent movie theatre fri. feb. 8 bad timing 8 PM @ silent movie theatre lorna 10:30 PM @ silent movie theatre sat. feb. 9 portrait of jason @ silent movie theatre true romance @ angel city drive-in sun. feb. 10 the woman on pier 13 1 PM @ silent movie theatre ichi the killer 9:30 PM, fudoh: the new generation @ silent movie theatre michael hurley @ mccabe's wed. feb. 13 andre williams @ spaceland fri. feb. 15 umbrellas of cherbourg 8 PM @ silent movie theatre vixen 10:30 PM @ silent movie theatre thee cormans @ mr. t's bowl sat. feb. 16 i met him in paris 7 PM, high wide and handsome @ starlight studios the okmoniks @ mr. t's bowl sun. feb. 17 murder by the clock 7 PM, the cheat @ ucla film archive city across the river 1 PM @ silent movie theatre modern times 4 PM @ silent movie theatre zebraman 9:30 PM, the great yokai war @ silent movie theatre wooden shjips @ mccabe's rock'n'roll adventure kids @ mr. t's bowl tue. feb. 19 party girl 1 PM @ lacma thu. feb. 21 piano players rarely ever play together 8 PM @ silent movie theatre fri. feb. 22 street of chance, okay america! @ ucla film archive supervixens 10:30 PM @ silent movie theatre shadows of forgotten ancestors @ lacma andriesh 9:20 PM @ lacma built to spill, meat puppets @ echoplex crenshaw boulevard @ warner grand theatre sat. feb. 23 suture 6 PM, chameleon street @ silent movie theatre ashik kerib @ lacma the first lad 9 PM @ lacma built to spill, meat puppets @ echoplex sun. feb. 24 thieves highway 1 PM @ silent movie theatre wed. feb. 27 army of shadows @ ucla film archive beau brummel 8 PM @ silent movie theatre thu. feb. 28 passing through 8 PM @ silent movie theatre fri. feb. 29 faster pussycat kill! kill! 10:30 PM, motor psycho @ silent movie theatre the color of pomegranates @ lacma the legend of suram fortress 9:20 PM @ lacma charles burns @ skylight books sat. mar. 1 mystery sea raider 7 PM @ starlight studios sun. mar. 2 spectrum @ the echo tue. mar. 4 the mountain goats @ troubadour wed. mar. 5 the mountain goats @ troubadour thu. mar. 13 mike watt & the missingmen @ safari sam's WHAT IT IS: ADVISE AND CONSENT, 1962, Preminger Films, 139 min. Using the Allen Drury bestseller as a springboard, director Otto Preminger blazed new trails of frankness in this skewering of American politics, pulling back the curtain to reveal the behind-the-scenes skullduggery and cutthroat scandal-mongering endemic to the system. This is a long way from the black-and-white palette of MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON! There is a smorgasbord of delicious performances by such greats as Henry Fonda, Franchot Tone, Charles Laughton, Walter Pidgeon, Gene Tierney, Lew Ayres and, of special note, Don Murray as a bisexual politician outed with tragic results. Discussion following film with actor Don Murray. All Power to The People Dir. Lee Lew-Lee, 1997 Synopsis: Working as a TV cameraman during the 1992 L.A. riots, Lee Lew Lee became curious about the history of American race relations and the Black Panther Party. His research led to this fast-paced documentary made with a transfer of video to 16mm. Archival footage is combined with interviews, from ex-CIA officer Philip Agee, journalist/filmmaker Gordon Parks, and former FBI Special Agent W. Swearingen to various Panthers and political radicals. The film covers slavery, civil-rights activists, assassinations in the '60s, and it explores methods used by police, the FBI, and the CIA to divide and destroy the key figures in the Black Panthers. The film expands beyond the Panther history to more recent times, covering Reagan-Era events, privacy threats from new technologies, and the failure of the War Against Drugs. AN AMERICAN DREAM, 1966, Warner Bros., 103 min. "…a private nightmare of lust, violence and murder! ...where a bed is a battlefield and love is armed combat...! This big studio adaptation of Norman Mailer’s controversial bestseller generated mixed notices, but still remains a hard-hitting, startlingly riveting effort. Stuart Whitman is an aggressive TV talk show host bent on exposing corruption in the LAPD when he suddenly finds himself accused of his wife’s murder. A strange, lurid hybrid of film noir, muckraking expose and primordial New Hollywood brio. In the UK, it was appropriately retitled, SEE YOU IN HELL, DARLING. Co-star Eleanor Parker (CAGED; MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM) burns up the screen with vitriol to spare, and there is more sterling support from Janet Leigh, Barry Sullivan, Lloyd Nolan, Murray Hamilton and Warren Stevens. NOT ON DVD Andriesh 1954/color/63 min. | Scr/dir: Sergei Paradjanov and Yakov Bazelian; w/ Kostja Russu, Nikolai Schaschik | Not available on DVD With only his enchanted flute, a shepherd boy battles a mystical demon in this earliest surviving Paradjanov feature, an expanded version of his thesis film, which clearly foreshadows the wonder and magic of his later works. ANGEL FACE, 1953, Warner Bros., 91 min. Director Otto Preminger’s most perversely disturbing film noir finds rich spider-girl Jean Simmons casting her sexy and sinister spell on ambulance driver Robert Mitchum. By the time Mitchum realizes he should be sticking to his down-to-earth nurse girlfriend (Mona Freeman), the deceptively lovely (and psychotic) velvet trap has already slammed shut, snaring him with faint chance of escape. Preminger imbues his saga with an undeniably hypnotic quality and, along with actress Simmons, gives the damaged rich girl a recognizable humanity that makes the unfolding tragic events all the more nightmarish. With Herbert Marshall. Archangel In the winning and perverse Archangel, Maddin contemplates the limited romantic possibilities available to casualties of a war-torn world where everyone has or seems to have been brain-damaged by mustard gas. Unfolding in an arctic, hazily Bolshevik dimension, the film concerns one Lt. Boles, an amputee made to wallow in lovelorn amnesia after battling Huns. He mistakes nurse Veronkha for his dead love Iris, Veronkha's husband Philbin forgets that they're married, Veronkha mistakes Boles for Philbin, and a few more heartbroken characters materialize to further complicate the mistaken-identity love stories. Everything manages to grow foggier as the film progresses, aided by cinematography that recalls German Expressionism at its hallucinatory best. As the Austin Chronicle notes, "This is a place where fuzzy bunnies rain down into the Russian trenches while the German invaders feast on the throats of their slaughtered enemies." Dir: Guy Maddin, 1990, 35mm, 90 min. ARMY OF SHADOWS (L’ARMÉE DES OMBRES) (1969, France) Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville Director Jean-Pierre Melville (LE SAMOURAI, BOB LE FLAMBEUR) spent 25 years bringing Joseph Kessel's saga of the French Resistance to the screen only to see his screen adaptation dismissed by French critics as a "Gaulist" tract on its initial release in 1969. Since then, ARMY OF SHADOWS has emerged as a modern masterpiece of style and suspense, as well as the crowning achievement of Melville's career. In Person: Roger Deakins & Curtis Hanson Based on the novel by Joseph Kessel. Producer: Jacques Dorfmann. Screenwriter: Jean-Pierre Melville. Cinematographer: Pierre Lhomme. Editor: Françoise Bonnot. Cast: Lino Ventura, Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Mann. Presented in French dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 140 min. Ashik Kerib 1988/color/78 min. | Scr: Gia Badridze; dir: Sergei Paradjanov, Dodo Abashidze; w/ Yuri Mgoyan, Sofiko Chiaureli Pardadjanov's last film is as vibrant and radiantly expressive as his earlier masterpieces. A Turkish minstrel makes his way across Armenia over 1,000 days to win his beloved. Bad Timing Most stories of doomed, obsessive love are quick to soften the sting using some familiar salve-- by depicting the romance of solitude, the sparkling rapport that precedes vicious accusations, the unmistakable rush that accompanies each luscious protraction of desire. Bad Timing does away with these tactics in favor of a more... unsparing approach. The result is the closest thing to a two-hour hatefuck you'll find this side of your last bad weekend. Hits by the likes of Tom Waits and The Who rock the film's soundtrack and heighten the tense rhythm that grounds memorable turns by Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, and Harvey Keitel. Nicolas Roeg's fragmented approach to narrative served him well in Don't Look Now, but it takes on far more disturbing dimensions in Bad Timing, a film which doesn't spare the mutual-immolation of its leads for one moment, and which culminates in a searing final act that takes a wrecking ball to your every remaining sense of sentiment or romance. Great date movie. Dir: Nicholas Roeg, 1980, 35mm, 123 min. BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE (PUHRAN DAHSUH EUI GAE) (2000) Directed by Bong Joon-ho In his debut feature, director Bong Joon-ho (THE HOST) amps up the dark comedy to wickedly probe the weak spots in the social contract. A tale of what happens when good neighbors go bad, the film turns on a college lecturer driven to extremes by a yapping dog on his street. Pet lovers be warned: This satire has serious bite. Producer: Cho Min-whan. Screenwriter: Bong Joon-ho, Song Ji-ho, Son Derek. Cinematographer: Cho Yong-kyu. Cast: Lee Sung-jae, Bae Du-na, Im Sang-soo. Presented in Korean dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 106 min. Bastards of the Party Dir. Cle Sloan, 2006 Preceded by trailer for 41st & Central: The untold story of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Dir. Greg Everett, Forthcoming In person: Cle Sloan, Greg Everett, Roland Freeman (Former Black Panther, Los Angeles Chapter) Synopsis: Bastards of the Party explores the political roots of two of Los Angeles’s most notorious gangs, the Crips and the Bloods from the 1950s through the 1990s. The film presents a humanizing view of this history from the perspective of past and current gang members from the Bloods and Crips, LA historian Mike Davis, whose book "City of Quartz" sparked Sloan's own project, former FBI agent Wes Swearingen, and Geronimo Pratt, the former Black Panther Party minister of defense, among others. The title of the movie, Bastards of the Party comes from a passage in City of Quartz (Mike Davis) that reads: "The Crips and the Bloods are the bastard offspring of the political parties of the 1960s. Most of the gangs were born out of the demise of those parties. Out of the ashes of the Black Panther Party came the Crips and the Bloods and the other gangs." Interviewees included L.A. Panther Ronald Freeman, Oakland Panther and former girlfriend of L.A. Chapter founder Bunchy Carter- Tarika, and photographer Jeffrey Blankfort. Upon returning to Los Angeles interviews were conducted with former Panther and Central Commitee member, Secretary of Communications- Kathleen Cleaver and 41st & Central shoot out survivor, L.A. Panther Wayne Pharr. In her interview Kathleen speaks about her husband Eldridge Cleaver's relationship with Bunchy Carter, her observations of the L.A. Chapter, and how the expulsion of the leader of the Southern California chapter, Geronimo Pratt, by Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton, was one of the events which indirectly lead to the split of the entire party. Beau Brummel In the titular role, Barrymore's abilities as an actor took precedence over his good looks, though both were used to great effect in Beau Brummel, which was based loosely on the life of the famously doomed Regency dandy. A perfect vehicle for his noted emotional range, the film follows its hero's vengeful plan to manipulate London society after losing his one true love (18-year-old Mary Astor, here paired with Barrymore for the first time, both on-screen and off). His treacherous intentions are aided by a colorful cluster of royal cohorts, including the Prince of Wales, a loyal manservant named Mortimer, and the Duchess of York. Barrymore's prolonged gazes and fleeting expressions breathe life into what might have otherwise been a typical melodrama. Dir: Harry Beaumont, 1924, 75 min. Big Bang Love One of Miike’s most avant-garde and inscrutable films, Big Bang Love-- original Japanese title, “The Love of 4,600 million years”-- reaches near-Godardian levels of cinematic deconstruction. Based on a gay-themed murder-mystery novel set in a semi-futurist prison, Miike enshrouds the plot in an ultrasurreal collage of effects and visuals (rocketships, pyramids, modern dance). Told largely through a complicated series of flashbacks and interrogations, the film centers around the homoerotic relationship between two prisoners, one smolderingly dangerous, one fragile and passive. Uncharacteristically, Miike’s treatment of the prison love story is far more sensual than explicit, and despite all the aesthetic aeroebics the end result is one of his most soulful, restrained, and subdued films. Dir: Takashi Miike, 2006, 35mm., 85 min. The Big Night Here is a recently rediscovered gem written and helmed by the renowned Joseph Losey. Losey’s later career in England after he fled the Blacklist became so distinguished that it has obscured his earlier American work, particularly this movie. In a film noir version of adolescent self-discovery, John Barrymore Jr. embarks on a nocturnal odyssey of vengeance after his bartender father (Preston Foster) is savagely beaten by a cane-wielding sportswriter! A real-time drama is melded into the dark urban landscape of downtown L.A’s barrooms, boxing rooms and rooming houses. Co-starring Joan Lorring (The Gangster, Three Strangers, The Verdict), blacklisted actress Dorothy Comingore (Citizen Kane), Howard St. John, Myron Healey and the ever-ominous Emile Meyer. Dir: Joseph Losey, 1951, 35mm, 75 min. Bluebeard's Castle 1964/color/60 min. | Dir: Michael Powell; w/ Norman Foster, Ana Raquel Satre | Not available on DVD This very rare production for West German television of the opera by Béla Bartók marks the final collaboration of production and costume designer Hein Heckroth and director Powell with whom Heckroth had collaborated on The Tales of Hoffman and Oh…Rosalinda!!, an original film adaptation of Die Fledermaus. With its gauzes and nets creating a brooding tapestry of browns, blues and greys, its gallery of animistic sculptures, and its dark tale of a homicidal maniac whose willful new bride seeks the key to each of seven locked chambers in his house, Bluebeard’s Castle is a fully achieved masterpiece that combines horror and beauty in the great Powell tradition. BONJOUR TRISTESSE, 1958, Sony Repertory, 94 min. In Otto Preminger’s haunting film, (which was adapted by Arthur Laurents from Francoise Sagan’s novel), the underrated Jean Seberg plays a precociously spoiled teen whose wealthy reprobate father (David Niven) decides to settle down, marrying repressed Deborah Kerr, with catastrophic results. Exquisitely filmed (by Georges Perinal) in cinemascope and shifting between B&W and deeply saturated color, Preminger sensitively manifests the mysteries of growing up. When Seberg’s character finally makes the difficult transition from teenager to adult, it is with a tragic resonance that gives poignant meaning to the film’s title (which translates, "Good Day, Sadness"). BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING, 1967, Sony Repertory, 107 min. Director Otto Preminger’s haunting, rarely-seen mystery thriller has become something of a cult legend since its initial release. Carol Lynley is an American in London whose daughter is kidnapped on the child’s first day at school. The only trouble is: no one else there has ever seen the girl, and before long some are wondering if she truly exists. Laurence Olivier is excellent as the police inspector who investigates, with support from Keir Dullea and Martita Hunt. Look for Noel Coward’s perversely funny cameo, along with a rare appearance by rock group The Zombies. Careful Possibly the best film ever made about turn-of-the-century Alpine incest and avalanche-related repression, Maddin's Careful showcases his masterful strangeness in scene after crackly, dizzying scene. Set in an ominously quaint village whose citizens whisper so as not to disturb the massive mounds of snow that threaten to bury them all, the story here concerns a roster of impossibly wholesome youngsters who fall victim to the Oedipal hysteria their cloistered lives foster. Maddin utilizes an unmatched repertoire of campy formalities (toy-like sets, theatrical histrionics, anachronistic visuals, deliberately clunky overdubbing, faux-tinting…). As its catastrophes escalate in number and scope, Careful begins to recall an art-house version of the sort of convoluted disaster films in which bodycounts multiply exponentially the closer we get to the final reel. Absorbing the thick sense of unease that blankets this gory, hilarious psychodrama is an essential experience, because it’s a thousand percent pure Maddin-- inexplicably unhinged, and impossible to forget. Dir: Guy Maddin, 1992, 35mm, 100 min. w/ Odilon Redilon: Or the Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity (short) Chameleon Street @ 8:00pm “If Wendell B. Harris is not encouraged to work, American cinema is dead.''—film critic Armond White Almost twenty years ago, a Sundance jury headed by Armond White and director Steven Soderbergh awarded its Grand Prize to this audacious debut by writer/director/star Wendell B. Harris. And although American cinema is still very much alive, Harris — whose sonorous voice and personal style bears a striking resemblance to Orson Welles—has fallen silent. A bona-fide original, Harris’ funny, dark character study is based on the true story of Douglas Street, the legendary Detroit con man who successfully impersonated, among other bogus personas, a civil rights lawyer, a French foreign exchange student, a Time Magazine reporter and a surgeon. Street’s actions are motivated both by financial need and by the high-wire thrill he gets from being able to manipulate and intuit the perceptions of his (mostly white) marks. Harris was born to play this part; you won’t be able to take your eyes off of him. It’s nearly criminal that he’s only been onscreen twice (both cameos) since this remarkable film. Shot in Detroit by Roger & Me cinematographer Daniel Noga, Chameleon Street remains one of the most subversive and idiosyncratic products of American independent cinema. Dir: Wendell B. Harris, 1989, 35mm, 105 min. THE CHEAT (1931) Directed by George Abbott The inimitable Tallulah Bankhead plays a thrill-seeking housewife who gambles away $10,000 (at the height of the Depression), pinching it from her local charity only to lose it in a shaky market deal. Her actions leave her desperate and open to the lascivious charms of a local art collector who gives her the dough, but expects a pound of flesh in return. Paramount. Screenplay: Harry Hervey, Hector Turnbull. Cinematographer: George J. Folsey. Editor: Emma Hill. Cast: Tallulah Bankhead, Harvey Stephens, Irving Pichel, Jay Fassett. 35mm, 70 min. City Across The River This rarely-screened sleeper about juvenile delinquents in New York City has a packed cast: Stephen McNally, Thelma Ritter, Jeff Corey, Mickey Knox, and a twenty–five year old Tony Curtis in his feature debut. A free interpretation of Irving Shulman’s novel, The Amboy Dukes, about a teen gang whose “code of the streets” may be the most dangerous thing in their lives. The Blacklist connection: Corey and Knox were subsequently blacklisted with Corey becoming one of the most renowned acting teachers in Hollywood and Knox, relocating to Italy to craft a glorious career as one of the most well-respected dialogue directors in the business. Actor Mickey Knox will be in attendance for a Q & A. Dir: Maxwell Shane, 1949, 35mm, 91 min THE CITY OF VIOLENCE (JJAKPAE) (2006) Directed by Ryoo Seung-wan A police detective returning to his hometown for a funeral suddenly finds himself drawn into a nasty conspiracy involving his former schoolmates. Directed by South Korea's "poet of pugilism," this bare-knuckled revenge drama climaxes in a fight-to-the-inner-sanctum showdown of inspired riffs on Bruce Lee and samurai flicks. This new Asian action cinema entry scores a knockout. Producer: Kim Jung-min, Kang Hye-jeong. Screenwriter: Ryoo Seung-wan, Jeong-min Kim, Lee Won-jae. Cinematographer: Kim Young-cheul. Editor: Nam Na-young. Cast: Ryoo Seung-wan, Jeong Du-hong, Lee Beom-soo. Presented in Korean dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 92 min. CITY STREETS (1931) Directed by Rouben Mamoulian Based on a story by Dashiell Hammett, this gritty prohibition crime drama features a young Gary Cooper as "The Kid," a former sharpshooter for the circus. He and his lover Nan (Sylvia Sidney) are catapulted into a violent underworld of murder, mayhem and booze when they cross her stepfather's gang of bootlegging mobsters. Paramount. Producer: E. Lloyd Sheldon. Screenplay: Oliver H.P. Garrett. Cinematographer: Lee Garmes. Cast: Gary Cooper, Sylvia Sidney, Paul Lukas, William "Stage" Boyd. 35mm, 80 min. Classic Mexico: Three Films by Gabriel Figueroa Gabriel Figueroa was considered the premier cinematographer of Mexico's golden age of film (1930–1960). A masterful artist known in particular for making his landscapes as beautiful as the women he photographed, his images cast an indelible view of a Mexico that is stunning, but also harsh and lonely. We screen three films that will give the audience a taste of this remarkable artist's work: Nazarín, Enamorado, and John Ford's The Fugitive. Presented in collaboration with the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Complements the exhibition The Goat's Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide. The Color of Pomegranates 1969/color/88 min. | Scr/dir: Sergei Paradjanov; w/ Sofiko Chiaureli, Melkon Alexanian Paradjanov pays tribute to the life of 17th century troubadour Sayat Nova in this film that was long suppressed by Soviet authorities but has since been considered Paradjanov's crowning achievement. "An extraordinarily beautiful film…any one of its linked tableaux is a startling combination of Byzantine flatness, Quattrocento beatifics and Islamic symmetry." - J. Hoberman, Village Voice Crenshaw Boulevard (2008) A small film crew spent ten weeks roaming 24-mile long Crenshaw Boulevard chasing stories of the human experience. When finished, they had Crenshaw Boulevard, a documentary film revealing eleven broadly ranged, uplifting stories: from the pursuit of filling basic needs, to seeking to see the far ends of our universe, to building a wildly successful helicopter business, to being a part of the West Coast’s premiere African-American cultural center. These stories and so many more reside along Crenshaw Boulevard A DANDY IN ASPIC, 1968, Sony Repertory, 107 min. The last movie to be directed by pantheon filmmaker Anthony Mann (WINCHESTER 73; EL CID) is a twisting, turning maze of sharp, existential spy thrills. Laurence Harvey is a double agent inadvertently marked for death by both his British and Russian handlers, when his UK masters assign him to eliminate the Soviet mole in their network – himself! At times, Harvey’s poisonously vindictive British contact (Tom Courtenay), comes off as Harvey’s own private demon. Mia Farrow is the swinging, young photographer in love with our anti-hero, and Peter Cook (BEDAZZLED) does a delightful turn as Courtenay’s flaky, girl-chasing assistant. With great support from Per Oscarsson as a tragic Russian colleague, and Lionel Stander as their deadly, but always-smiling boss from the Kremlin. Shamefully underrated, DANDY comes close to matching the brilliance of other serious sixties spy fare like THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM and deserves rediscovery. Harvey finished directorial chores when Mann died unexpectedly before principal photography wrapped. NOT ON DVD THE DEADLY AFFAIR, 1966, Sony Repertory, 107 min. Sidney Lumet (BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD) directed this tough espionage tale, adapted from John le Carre’s Call For The Dead, focusing on a British agent (James Mason) investigating the apparent suicide of a diplomat. Complicating the quest is Mason’s young, promiscuous wife (Harriet Andersson), but he gets help from harboiled retired police officer, Harry Andrews. Simone Signoret is the dead man’s widow, a woman who has no illusions about the world and is disgusted by the ultra-secret, dirty tricks of both sides. On an interesting side note, because another studio owned the rights to the name of le Carre’s popular George Smiley, Mason’s character is called Charles Dobbs. Quincy Jones, who also composed the score for A DANDY IN ASPIC, did the music. With Maximillian Schell, Lynn Redgrave, Kenneth Haigh, Roy Kinnear and an uncredited David Warner. "Shrewd and powerful development is given this tale of a British Home Office intelligence officer seeking to unravel the supposed suicide of a high Foreign Office diplomat." – Variety NOT ON DVD The Decay of Fiction Rarely seen in Los Angeles since its premiere several years ago is Pat O’Neill’s brilliant, haunting film noir set in the decaying remains of the now-demolished Ambassador Hotel. Pat O’Neill is Los Angeles’ true avant-garde master, creating beautiful, moody films with floating mattes, variable film speeds, ghostly layering, wry wit, and masterful soundtracks, all working together to form a fractured almost-narrative, a reflection on the lost spaces and times of our city. “While depicting the relentless passage of time with a power that few other films have captured, The Decay of Fiction sustains a mood of almost gothic sadness…The Decay of Fiction is so infatuated with vintage film lore that it leaves you with a disturbing sense of the power that the Dream Factory exerts on the historical imagination.” – Stephen Holden, NY Times Co-presented by Filmforum Dir: Pat O’ Neill, 2002, 35mm, 73 minutes DEMONS Co-written and produced by Dario Argento, this stylish and extremely gruesome shocker has earned plenty of admirers as well as detractors for its excesses. Two girls attend a special screening of a horror film at an isolated Berlin cinema. The film proves to be an overwhelming force of evil, transforming the theater patrons into demons who attack those who remain unaffected. Director Lamberto Bava is the son of cult film legend Mario Bava. Includes original songs by several 1980s rock acts, including Rick Springfield, Motley Crue, the Scorpions, Billy Idol, Go West and Accept. Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde Though Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale has seen countless incarnations, Barrymore's version is accepted as unmatched, nearly a century after its release. No surprise that history's consummate split-personality archetype would be so expertly manifested by a man famously torn between his overwhelming successes and the carnal proclivities that would eventually kill him. Impressively creepy prosthetics enhance the unsettling performance, and Barrymore's convulsive scenery-chewing is at its most potent during Jeckyll's grotesque transformations-- they're masterful slices of silent cinema that fortunately forego subtlety in favor of atomic theatrics. Nita Naldi, then known as the female Valentino, makes a notable appearance as a dance-hall temptress whose delicious wardrobe malfunctions still have the power to summon the Hyde in us all. Dir: John S. Robertson, 1920, 35mm DRIVING WITH MY WIFE'S LOVER (ANE-EUI AEIN-EUL MANNADA) (2006) Directed by Kim Tai-sik Reminiscent of STRANGER THAN PARADISE, Kim Tai-sik's striking first feature tells the story of Tae-han, a timorous stampmaker whose vendetta against his adulterous wife leads him on a bizarre cross-country road trip with her taxi-driving lover, Joong-sik. Car trouble leaves the men stranded in a country village where the randy, good-natured Joong-sik encourages Tae-han to go skinny dipping, drink soju and pay court to the local working girls. However, Tae-han's growing camaraderie with his more macho rival only intensifies his desire to prove his manhood through violent comeuppance. Shot in a palate as wide and bright as a deluxe box of Crayolas, the gas stations and rest stops of the Korean interstate take on the seductive anonymity of old roadside attraction postcards, replete with breathtaking visual surprises. A truckload of watermelons careens down the road like so many possessed bowling balls (but then resembles something far more gory when the fruit cracks open); a discarded cell phone camera turns into a melancholy underwater peep show. Like many other recent Korean films, DRIVING WITH MY WIFE'S LOVER suggests that a seismic shift is underway in traditional Korean codes of masculinity, an anxious period where minute shifts in angle can result in utter emotional upheavals. Producer: Lee Yun-jin. Screenwriter: Kim Tai-sik, Kim Jun-han. Cinematographer: Lee Eun-kil, Jang Sun-bong. Cast: Park Kwang-jung, Jeong Bo-seog. Presented in Korean dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 92 min. Eraserhead - 30th Anniversary Restoration 1978/b&w/88 min. | Scr/dir: David Lynch; w/ Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart A debut film of boundless invention and textured abstraction, Lynch’s Eraserhead became a fixture of midnight screenings when it surfaced in the late-1970s. Father to a helpless creature left to him by his estranged girlfriend, lonely Henry wanders through a hallucinatory landscape somewhere between noir expressionism and post-apocalyptic surrealism. EXPERIMENTAL FILMS BY ROBERT BRANAMAN - Bob's (in person) films were praised by Underground Film scholar Sheldon Renan: "for their dynamic throbbing flow of light and space produced by the continual use of multiple-imposition." Including: GOLDMOUTH ('65, 17minutes) Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti shows the walk he often took from his house in Portero Hill to his bookstore, City Lights in North Beach. Wine, women and a Gold Mask are intercut with color, black-and-white and negative footage - scratched, painted and collaged. Faust A landmark of German Expressionism, Faust was Murnau’s final film in Germany, impressing Fox Studios so much that they lured him to the U.S. immediately afterwards. The most expensive UFA film to date—taking six months to film, and costing over two million marks--Faust is full of bravura effects, including the magnificent signature visual of Mephistopheles towering over a miniature of Faust’s village like an enormous Angel of Death. Faust was also the final collaboration with Emil Jannings (who also played the fired doorman in Murnau’s Last Laugh, and the title role in Tartuffe). Jannings’ chameleonic performance is typically excellent, and, along with the film’s expert Rembrandt lighting and Bruegelesque imagery, makes Faust a complete cinematic experience never to be forgotten. Dir: F.W. Murnau, 1926, 35mm The First Lad 1958/color/86 min. | Scr/dir: Sergei Paradjanov | Not available on DVD In this early Paradjanov feature, the soccer rivalry between two collective farms in rural Ukraine is complicated by the romance of a Komsomol secretary and a hooligan villager. "Frank Tashlin let loose on the Steppes." - Bruce Posner, Harvard Film Archive. A FLOWER IN HELL (JI-OK-HWA) (1958) Directed by Shin Sang-ok A landmark of Korean cinema, A FLOWER IN HELL shocked audiences with its daring story of two brothers who clash over a prostitute amid the black market corruption and poverty clinging to the edges of the American military presence in post-war Seoul. Its bravura finale on a desolate mud plain holds its own against any hard-bitten American film noir for sheer doom-laden imagery. Screenplay: Lee Jeong-seon. Cinematographer: Kang Beom-gu. Cast: Kim Hak, Choi Eun-hee, Jo Hae-won, Gang Seon-hee. Presented in Korean dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 88 min. 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS (ROMANIA) 2007, 113 min. Mobra Films; IFC First Take. Dir. Cristian Mungiu. This controversial, emotionally charged Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner is the gripping journey of two college students (Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu) negotiating for an illegal abortion in Romania during the final days of the communist Ceausescu regime. Their descent into the black market, where everything from hot showers to breath mints are sold on the sly, turns into a nightmare of suspense and uncertainty as Gabita puts her life in the hands of a villainous black market abortionist (Vlad Ivanov). Fudoh: The New Generation Widely regarded as his first crossover hit, this Yakuza revenge/high school melodrama was made for video but landed in less reputable theatres throughout Japan. Riki Fudoh (Shosuke Tanihara) is a high school student by day and Yakuza boss by night. Out to avenge his brother’s murder, Riki starts a war with the adult world mafia—with his father as the ultimate target. His rag tag team of young enforcers, includes handgun-toting tots and a comely young teen who shoots deadly blowdarts from her vagina. When the mob sends a tough fixer named Nohma (Riki Takeuchi) to snuff Riki out, the conflict gets lethal. Fudoh is bloody, surreal and booby-trapped with moments of perverse comedy. An audacious, adrenalized genre film about Oedipal rage, backed up with lots of ammo. Dir: Takashi Miike, 1996, 35mm, 98 min. Gozu Gozu is the yakuza movie David Lynch never made. When a local mob boss (Sho Aikawa) begins to lose his mind to paranoia, the other gang lords vote for his execution. The job is given to lowly Minami (Hideki Sone), who drives him out to the boondocks but can’t bring himself to kill his beloved mentor. By chance, the boss dies and then goes missing—placing Minami on a journey that has been compared to a gay riff on the Orpheus myth. Our virginal protagonist is set adrift in a Twin Peaksian Nagoya where a host of bizarre episodes trigger his descent into sexual psychosis, including encounters with albinos, cow-headed gods, possession, toilets, lactation, one of the most disturbing birth sequences in motion picture history, and, finally, three toothbrushes. Much has been made of Miike’s liberal borrowing from Cronenberg, Von Trier and indeed the complete Lynch filmography, but the last reel also suggests, both improbably and miraculously, Truffaut’s Jules and Jim. But, Gozu isn’t just a movie geek’s wet dream—it’s Miike’s own wet nightmare. Dir: Takashi Miike, 2003, 35mm, 129 min. The Great Yokai War Based on the Yokai Monster movie series from the late '60s (which were in turn based on the goblins of traditional Japanese folklore), this is a Miike film, you know…for kids! In this eco-fable, an evil demon plots to take over the world by capturing nature sprits and transforming them into smoke-belching industrial beasts for his mechanized army. The only thing opposing him is a ten-year old boy (who may be the fabled Kirin Rider) and a ragtag band of bizarre creatures, like the duckbilled, turtle-shelled kappa and the serpentine-necked ghost woman. Along with flashy special effects, amazing costumes, and an especially yummy Chiaki Kuriyama (from Battle Royale and Kill Bill Vol. 1), this is every bit a Miike picture, with his surreal wit serving an unsubtle but rousing kidflick. Dir: Takashi Miike, 2005, 35mm, 124 min. Happiness of the Katakuris After a Jan Svankmajer-style opening involving a cupid-like homunculus, an evil teddy bear, and a hungry crow, we meet four generations of the Katakuris: husband and wife, their criminal son and divorcee daughter, her little girl, and the wife's father. In response to Japan's economic decline, the Katakuris have reinvented themselves as innkeepers at an out-of-the-way hotel. Sadly, their guests have a tendency to die from suicide and fatal accident, and the family has to bury the bodies to avoid the bad press. Meanwhile, the daughter of the family is being wooed by a con artist who claims to be either the offspring of royalty or a foreign spy. To make matters worse, an escaped murderer is on the loose, and the nearby volcano is rumbling ominously. Miike’s whatzit is the best family-musical-comedy-with-zombies-and-claymation-sequences ever made. Dir: Takashi Miike, 2001, 35mm, 113 min. He Ran All The Way No single film reflected the tragic dimensions of the Blacklist in Hollywood more than this one. He Ran All the Way was produced by Bob Roberts, directed by John Berry and written by Dalton Trumbo and Hugo Butler under fronts; all of these estimable talents were forced to leave the country due to the Red witch hunt, not to mention that star John Garfield died of a heart attack shortly before the release of his final film—anecdotally due to the stress the HUAC hearings were causing him. Garfield’s performance as a fleeing robber who takes a family hostage in their apartment with surprising and tragic consequences was an intense swan song, seemingly imbued by the drama he was imbroiled in. As Bosley Crowther put it, he seems “full of startling glints from start to end…Garfield makes a most odd and troubled creature, unused to the normal flow of life, unable to perceive the moral standards of decent people." Dir: John Berry, 1951, 35mm, 77 min. Hollywood Man A desperate producer (TV actor William Smith) borrows mob money to finance his latest production and, as collateral, promises to deliver a complete feature in four weeks; to sabotage him, the gangsters send over some rowdy bikers and try to derail the set, with increasingly violent results. (Reputedly the situation was eerily mirrored in the film's real-life production, though it didn't end quite so bleakly.) Following his cult hit Race with the Devil, actor-turned-director Jack Starrett swerved into bizarre territory with this self-referential drive-in curio, now frustratingly elusive on home video. Andy Warhol staple and future principal from hell Mary Woronov co-stars (the same year she appeared in the similar Hollywood Boulevard) along with a very manic Don Stroud, but the real star here is the crowd-pleasing, OTT violence (including a memorable beach showdown) and biker stunts, all lovingly filled in super-wide scope. And yes, there is a theme song. Dir: Jack Starrett, 1976, 35 mm, 93 min. Hollywood's Hellfire Club Evening The last thing one might expect from the tony street north of Sunset Blvd. in Brentwood’s Bundy Drive would be a clan of obstreperous dipsomaniacs, but this was the ‘30s and ‘40s, when cocktail hour was a patriotic imperative, and the studio system was an autocratic lunacy to rebel against. (Well, some things never change.) This evening we’re celebrating the release of Feral House’s Hollywood’s Hellfire Club: The Misadventures of John Barrymore, W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn and ‘The Bundy Drive Boys’ by screening the amazing early talkie Svengali starring John Barrymore as the piercing-eyed hypnotic music master and Marian Marsh as the mesmerized underage beauty Trilby. Also showing: W.C. Fields’ dirty short The Dentist and rare clips from Barrymore and Errol Flynn home movies. We’ll also be displaying original art by John Decker, the man who collaborated on a West Hollywood art gallery with Errol Flynn, drew the notorious Barrymore Death Bed Sketch, and whose forgeries now hang in museums across the country, including Harvard’s Fogg Museum. Authors Gregory William Mank, Charles Heard and Bill Nelson will be available to sign copies of their celebrated book. Imitation of Life This heartrending social melodrama was the glorious finale of Douglas Sirk’s Hollywood career. An emotionally gripping and intellectually rigorous examination of role-playing on both sides of the race barrier, Imitation of Life tells the dual stories of Lora Meredith, an ambitious stage actress and Annie, a black woman and fellow single mother, who she employs as her live-in maid. As Lora surrenders to her own stardom, her family relationships crumble. Her daughter competes for the attention of Lora’s new boyfriend. Annie's light-skinned daughter, tantalized by the image of white luxury, rejects her mother and her identity to "pass" as a white woman. With a powerful sense of irony, Sirk juxtaposes these two stories, contrasting Lora’s shallow emotional conflicts with Annie’s much deeper personal crisis. Sirk pairs a deep understanding of the power of melodrama with his unparalleled mastery of performance, camera, and mise-en-scene to reveal the naked wounds of American society. Dir: Douglas Sirk, 1959, 35mm, 125 min. The Jazz In Us (Nosotros Y El Jazz) (2004, Cuba, 45 min). A documentary on a group of black Havana youths in the 1940s and 50s who hung out listening and dancing to jazz. In private houses and various bars in the cities, they enjoyed what were then called "Jam Sessions." Movies such as STORMY WEATHER and CABIN IN THE SKY made these young men and women dream as they discovered the art of African American musicians, singers, and dancers. Filmmaker Frank E. Flowers (SWALLOW) will introduce the screening. John Cage's Roaratorio A Verbivocovisual Celebration of James Joyce's Birthday An afternoon program celebrating James Joyce and his influence on the pioneering artist and musician John Cage. Cage composed his Roaratorio: An Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake based on the confounding Joyce classic. The program features John Snyder reading from Finnegans Wake; a rare video recording of John Cage's performance; a short piano recital by Dolores Stevens; and a discussion with noted scholars Marjorie Perloff and Robert Winter. Last Chants for a Slow Dance Jon Jost’s experimental feature debut stands with Badlands and Barbara Loden’s Wanda as one of the most original crime films of the ‘70s. Shooting in Montana on a $3000 budget, Jost tells a bitter tale of a sociopathic drifter (Tom Blair) who reveals his utter contempt for married life, work and society in a series of caustic monologues and brutal encounters. Last Chants toys with the boundaries between realism and lyricism, with a playfully abstract use of color offsetting Blair’s disconcertingly vivid portrayal of a casual misanthrope. Making brilliant use of the long take, from dizzying verite zoomfests to claustrophobic, static interior shots, Last Chants is a true original: a down-and-dirty experimental film delivering powerful images, complex characters, and a caustic critique of the American West. Dir: Jon Jost, 1977, 16mm, 90 min. LAURA, 1944, 20th Century Fox, 88 min. Dir. Otto Preminger. Investigating a murder, chain-smoking Detective McPherson (Dana Andrews) falls in love with the dead woman – only to find out that it wasn't her that was murdered. Even in a genre known for its convoluted twists, LAURA is a film noir one-of-a-kind. The brilliant cast includes: Gene Tierney as the gorgeous Laura, Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker, and Vincent Price as Laura's fiancee, Shelby Carpenter. The famous haunted and nostalgic musical theme by David Raskin is unforgettable. Yet another film that was influential on David Lynch’s development of "Twin Peaks." Legacy of Torture: The War Against the Black Liberation Movement Dir. Andres Alegría, Claude Marks and the Freedom Archives, 2007 In person: Hank Jones, Ray Boudreaux, and Richard Brown of SF8, attorney John Philipsborn, activist/actor Danny Glover. Moderated by Sam Durant. Synopsis: Legacy of Torture chronicles a case that began in 1971 when thirteen alleged “Black militants” were arrested and tortured to obtain confessions. In 1975, a Federal Court in San Francisco threw out all of the evidence obtained in New Orleans. 34 years later, in 2005, two lead San Francisco Police Department investigators from over 30 years ago, along with FBI agents, have re-opened the case. Rather than submit to proceedings they felt were abusive of the law and the Constitution, five men chose to stand in contempt of court and were sent to jail. They were released when the Grand Jury term expired, but have been told by prosecutors that "it isn't over yet." The Legend of Suram Fortress 1985/color/89 min. | Scr: Vaja Gigashvili; dir: Sergei Paradjanov and Dodo Abashidze; w/ Dodo Abashidze Paradjanov's first film after his years in prison is a retelling of Georgia's national fable about a formidable castle whose walls continuously crumble until a fortune-teller reveals its secret. "Paradjanov's most sumptuous production…at once overplotted and oblique, Christian and pagan, archaic and postmodern." - J. Hoberman, Village Voice LET NO MAN WRITE MY EPITAPH, 1960, Sony Repertory, 105 min. Director Philip Leacock ("Route 66" TV series) helmed this fascinating, belated sequel to Nicholas Ray’s KNOCK ON ANY DOOR (also penned by original author, Willard Motley). James Darren is the son of that film’s doomed killer, Nick Romano, living in a Chicago slum and loved by nice girl, Jean Seberg. He tries to make good, but there are plenty of ghetto stumbling blocks along the way, including widowed, junkie mom, Shelley Winters, and smoothly manipulative drug dealer, Ricardo Montalban. Ella Fitzgerald (!) is a stand-out as another addict. Darren’s neighbors include Burl Ives, Bernie Hamilton, Rodolpho Acosta and Walter Burke – some want to help Darren stick to the straight-and-narrow and others don’t care if he gets exactly what his father got – the electric chair. "…because of the earnest, restrained acting and the realistic photography of a run-down urban neighborhood, the picture projects a persuasive intimacy as it examines a group of social vagrants, who are drawn to a sturdy, ambitious lad, played by Mr. Darren, and his emotional, widowed mother, Miss Winters." – Howard Thompson, The New York Times NOT ON DVD Lynch 2007/color/84 min. | Scr/dir: blackANDwhite | Not available on DVD This documentary gives us a rare glimpse into the fascinating mind of the man whose singular career has produced some of contemporary American cinema’s most distinctive and mysterious films. Compiled from over two years of footage, elusive director blackANDwhite’s unobtrusive style captures a personal side of David Lynch not seen before, revealing the filmmaker’s creative process as he completes his latest film, the epic and spellbinding INLAND EMPIRE, Lynch’s first using lightweight video equipment. “Most movies about moviemaking emphasize the process and the personalities; this one shows us the artist battling with demon doubt and actively engaged in the struggle of creation.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM, 1955, Preminger Films, 119 min. Otto Preminger defied the Production Code for the second time with this first American film about drug addiction. Frank Sinatra, in the performance of his career, plays a junkie jazz drummer and card sharp torn between love for his girlfriend (Kim Novak), a sad-eyed cashier in a strip club, and loyalty to his crippled wife (Eleanor Parker). Darren McGavin ("The Night Stalker") is the villainous heroin pusher. Shooting in the studio rather than on location Preminger creates a richly atmospheric, lower-depths milieu. Elmer Bernstein’s moody, compelling jazz score and Saul Bass’ seductive opening titles are memorable. Discussion in between films with Diana Herbert, daughter of screenwriter F. Hugh Herbert (THE MOON IS BLUE). Mingus In 1968, documentarian Thomas Reichman found legendary bass player Charlie Mingus at a key moment in the unraveling of his pride: his unfair eviction by the city of New York from the rat-hole studio where he planned to build a jazz school. What does this great musician do in his time of crisis? As if in the heat of the moment of a raging bass solo, he lays down the groove and riffs on it: he smokes his briar, says some pretty smart and original things to the camera about jazz, women, parenthood, politics, race, family and friendship. He shows us an example of the same cheap rifle that assassinated President Kennedy, and, with a smile, uses the gun to blow a hole in the wall of his now-ex-studio, an act motivated by a short temper almost as legendary as his bass playing. Reichman interweaves stunning live performances of "All The Things You Are" and "Take The 'A' Train" to give us a searing portrait of a turbulent artist in even more turbulent times. Dir: Thomas Reichman, 1968, 35mm, 58 min. THE MIRACLE MAN (1932) Directed by Norman McLeod This pre-Code oddity stars Sylvia Sidney and Chester Morris as a pair of con artists who stumble across an elderly faith healer while on the lam. With the help of their pals, a contortionist and a pickpocket, they concoct a plan to exploit the old man and his unique powers for all they're worth. Paramount. Based on the novel by Frank L. Packard and Robert H. Davis, as well as the play by George M. Cohan. Screenplay: Waldemar Young, Samuel Hoffenstein. Cinematographer: David Abel. Cast: Sylvia Sidney, Chester Morris, Robert Coogan, John Wray, Boris Karloff. 35mm, 87 min. THE MOON IS BLUE, 1953, Preminger Films, 99 min. Otto Preminger’s first independent production created a major furor because of the use of such then-taboo words as "virgin," "seduce," "mistress," and "pregnant" and because the filmmaker dared to release the film without the Production Code Seal of Approval. Widely condemned and banned from major theatre chains, the film opened in only a few theatres but went on to become a huge box office success. For the time, this romantic comedy about a bachelor (William Holden) who picks up a virginal actress (Maggie McNamara, pert and winsome) on the observation deck of the Empire State Building took a disarmingly casual attitude toward sex. Over fifty years on, the film retains a risque charm that is enhanced by David Niven’s expert performance as an aging man about town. NOT ON DVD Restored by the Academy Film Archive with funding from the Film Foundation MURDER BY THE CLOCK (1931) Directed by Edward Sloman Draped in skin-clinging satin, star Lilyan Tashman delivers a fiendishly demented turn as the impatient niece of a wealthy matriarch who dupes her lover into a plot to get her inheritance early. A string of murders, a horn-alarmed crypt and Tashman's brutish embrace of the matriarch's mentally feeble son help make this an overlooked camp classic ripe for rediscovery. Paramount. Screenplay: Henry Myers. Cinematographer: Karl Struss. Cast: William Boyd, Lilyan Tashman, Irving Pichel, Regis Toomey. 35mm, 74 min. The Murder of Fred Hampton Dir. Howard Alk and Mike Gray, 1971 In person: Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. (chairman of Prisoners of Conscience Committee), Emory Douglas (former Minister of Culture and artist for the Black Panther Party), Dr. Akinyele Umoja (Professor, Georgia State University) Synopsis: This film documents the life of Fred Hampton, the charismatic leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Midway through production, Hampton was killed by police. Directors Howard Alk and Mike Gray’s crime scene footage, included in this documentary, was later used in court to contradict police testimony. This film depicts Hampton’s brutal murder and its subsequent investigation, but also documents his activities in organizing the Chapter, his public speeches, and the programs he founded for children during the last eighteen months of his life. Northern Lights "The look of the winter landscape during a funeral, the mourners black silhouettes and the sun a dim white disk in a gray sky; the faces of the farmers as they listen to Ray's organizing speech, the jokes and songs at family celebrations. These things have the truth of reportage of a very high order."—The New York Times on Northern Lights Shot on a tiny budget with farmers who had never acted, Northern Lights won the Caméra d'Or (best first film) at Cannes in 1978. This stark, rigorously composed film is based on the diary of Ray Sorenson, who traveled North Dakota politicizing other poverty-stricken farmers and enlisting them into the Nonpartisan League. First-time directors Rob Nilsson and John Hanson were brave both for having nonprofessionals in costume improvise scenes, and for successfully shooting a period piece with no money. Beautifully captured in black and white, Northern Lights effectively transplants the viewer into a cruel reality, conveying a struggle against injustice that still resonates. Director Rob Nilsson will be in attendance. Dirs: Rob Nilsson & John Hanson, 1978, 35mm, 95 min. OKAY, AMERICA! (1932) Directed by Tay Garnett Lew Ayres stars as Larry Wayne, a shameless and feared gossip columnist whose radio show and column lay ruin to reputations daily. When he's called upon by his boss to cover a kidnapping, Larry gets more than he bargained for as his adventures lead him from drug smugglers to the mafia and ultimately the White House. Universal. Producer: Carl Laemmle, Jr.. Screenplay: Scott Pembroke, William Anthony McGuire. Cinematographer: Arthur Miller. Editor: Ted Kent. Cast: Lew Ayres, Maureen O’Sullivan, Louis Calhern, Edward Arnold. 35mm, 78 min. One Missed Call If your biggest cellphone nightmare is accidentally dialing an ex or racking up roaming charges, count your blessings. One Missed Call shows that it can get much worse. After the successes of the cursed videotape in The Ring and the cursed web site in Pulse, the J-Horror phenomenon exploded, and a cursed cellphone wasn’t long in coming. Luckily, the project was given to Miike, who cranked up the Grand Guignol ultraviolence while still delivering the familiar, long-haired, vengeful female ghost that post-Grudge audiences expected. In his biggest domestic hit, Miike follows a group of high school friends as they’re slowly picked off in grotesque accidents, after each of them receives a voice mail foretelling their own demise. And, of course, since all of its precursors have been remade, Hollywood has also tapped this one. Catch Miike’s original before seeing its PG-13 doppelganger starring Ed Burns and Margaret Cho. Dir: Takashi Miike, 2004, 35mm, 111 min. Ornette: Made in America Shirley Clarke cemented her place as one of the key figures of the American independent film movement with her films The Connection (1961) and The Cool World (1963), both of which had strong jazz elements. Before retiring from filmmaking in the '80s, Clarke returned to the jazz scene for her final work, making this brilliant documentary on the decades-spanning career of multi-instrumentalist Ornette Coleman, a towering yet humble figure whose "free jazz" innovations rocked the world upon the release of his album "The Shape Of Jazz To Come" in 1959. Highlights include Coleman's homecoming performance of his "Skies Of America" symphony in Fort Worth, Texas (a town whose segregated past Coleman longed to escape as a child), and footage of Coleman's fusion group Prime Time overlayed with 8-bit video game effects! Dir: Shirley Clarke, 1985, 35mm, 85 min. Party Girl 1958/color/CinemasScope/99 min. | Scr: George Wells; dir: Nicholas Ray; w/ Robert Taylor, Cyd Charisse, Lee J. Cobb | Not available on DVD A showgirl and a crooked lawyer try to break with a powerful mob boss. "There are torrents of inventivness. Every sequence is a cascade of ideas." - Cahiers du cinéma Passing Through Lauded by critics as the best jazz film ever made, Passing Through is a vivid and lyrical meditation on the indelible role of music in the struggle for civil rights. With the vital spontaneity and aesthetic consideration of a masterful jazz composition, the film follows Warmack, a promising young musician, on a spiritual quest toward inspiration and cultural excavation. Warmack's relationship with his grandfather is the heart of Passing Through-- Poppa Harris, a musician himself, provides Warmack with the sort of guidance that leads the film's central journey to its poignant, essential message. Director Larry Clark never released this film commercially-- in his words, it was made for the revolution. Upon its reemergence, Passing Through’s remarkable rarity and quality prompted several festivals to screen it as a special event, including Locarno and Cannes, and its inclusion in this series is a truly exciting chance for us to bring you as close to a lost classic as you’ll find in the film world. Presented by Arthur Magazine. Dir: Larry Clark, 1977, 35mm, 105 min. PERSEPOLIS (FRANCE), 2007, 95 min., 247 Films; Sony Pictures Classics. Dirs. Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Payronnaud. Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novels detailing her youth and developing feminist consciousness growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution come to life in this often comic, black and white animated film influenced by German Expressionism and Italian Neo-Realism! Rebellious, precocious Marjane discovers punk, ABBA and Iron Maiden as bombs drop and her outspoken uncle is senselessly executed in war-ravaged Tehran. As a teen, her parents send her to live in Austria, away from religious and political tyranny, but eventually she returns home to her family, even though she must literally a figuratively live under the veil of fundamental extremism. When it gets to be more than she can bear, she makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her homeland to find freedom. "A fresh, moving, out of the gate masterpiece – a work of animation that manages to be artistically brilliant, politically rich, morally engaging and emotionally overwhelming." – James Rocchi, Cinematical.com Voiced by Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve. Co-director Marjane Satrapi to introduce the screening. Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together is a portrait of three great New Orleans pianists and how they influenced one another's music. The three keyboard artists – Tuts Washington, Professor Longhair and Allen Toussaint -- are featured playing together for the first time in a rehearsal for a joint concert. The rehearsal turned out to be the only time the three ever played together, because Professor Longhair died two days before the scheduled performance. The video documentary takes viewers through the very personal and sacred New Orleans tradition of a jazz wake and funeral procession for Professor Longhair, which was taped at the encouragement of his widow, Alice. Also included is the previously planned concert with Toussaint and Washington, who turned the event into a tribute to Fess. Dir: Stevenson Palfi, 1982, Video, 76 min. SAINT JOAN, 1957, Preminger Films, 110 min. After a casting hunt rivaling that for Scarlett O’Hara, Otto Preminger chose Jean Seberg, an unknown, inexperienced eighteen-year-old from Marhsalltown, Iowa to play Shaw’s inspired heroine. Though widely dismissed by critics at the time, Seberg is quite touching in the role, and it’s easy to see why the filmmaker selected her. Preminger surrounded the novice with the cream of British theatrical royalty (John Gielgud, Anton Walbrook, Richard Todd, Kenneth Haigh), though his casting of Richard Widmark as a childlike Dauphin was as controversial as his choice of leading lady. Graham Greene’s adaptation is trim and intelligent, and the beautifully designed and photographed film is much sturdier than its reputation. NOT ON DVD THE 7TH DAWN, 1964, MGM Repertory, 123 min. Lewis Gilbert (DAMN THE DEFIANT; YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE) directed this intelligent, still relevant thriller about terrorism in Malaysia. Expatriate adventurer William Holden, after teaming with Malayan Communist rebel comrades (Capucine, Tetsuro Tanba) against the Japanese during WWII, has come out of the war a rich landowner. Eurasian Capucine, a sympathizer to the cause of independence, has given up politics to be Holden’s devoted mistress and run his nightclub. But the rebels have since turned to terrorism aimed at the British Occupation, and, led by Tanba, they turn up the heat on plantation owners. Because Holden has been spared, the British governor (Michael Goodliffe) turns to him for help but is rebuffed. When the governor’s idealistic daughter (Susannah York) is kidnapped by Tanba’s men, and Capucine is simultaneously framed for treason, Holden finds himself between a rock and a hard place, slogging solo into the jungle to rescue York and capture his friend. Despite then-current reviews to the contrary, director Gilbert elicits many more complexities than expected from a mid-1960s action film. The picture captures a you-are-there intensity from spot-on performamces and authentic on-location lensing by maestro Freddie Young (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA). NOT ON DVD Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors 1965/color/100 min. | Scr: Ivan Chendej; dir: Sergei Paradjanov; w/ Ivan Mikolajchuk, Tatyana Bestayeva A student of the preeminent Soviet montage theorist Lev Kuleshov and director Alexander Dovshenko, Paradjanov came to international prominence with this rhapsodic tale of doomed romance. "The most plastic-fantastic of Soviet new-wave movies… ethnographic cinema run wild. This is a folk ballad-a tale of blood feuds, sorcery, and star-crossed love-that's not so much lyric as lysergic." - J. Hoberman, Village Voice The Spiritualist Also known as “The Amazing Dr. X”, The Spiritualist is one of the slickest films ever produced under the banner of that independent antecedent of United Artists, Eagle Lion Studios. When bereft widow Lynn Bari starts hearing her late husband’s calling out to her at night, she consults psychic Turhan Bey who promptly arranges a séance to link Bari up with the spirit of her dead husband! This amazing film plays like a cross between a Val Lewton fantasy-horror and a classic noir. Beautifully moody visuals by ace noir lenser John Alton complement a superbly crafted film by German director Bernard Vorhaus who soon quit making movies due to the Blacklist. Dir: Bernard Vorhaus, 1948, 35mm, 78 min. Sherlock Jr. & Keaton Shorts Mishap and mayhem arise when the inimitable Buster Keaton, playing the part of a dejected projectionist, falls asleep at the reel. The silent swain returns to the theatre after being thwarted in love by a rival who, neglecting to uphold the chivalric code of love and honor, frames the naïve projectionist for the crime of a stolen pocket-watch. What follows reads like a series of cinematic puns—the framed subject, Keaton, becomes cinematically framed as dreaming lets loose the imaginative, fantastical stuff of detective fiction in this beguiling early twentieth-century example of a film within a film. While it may be impossible to disentangle the reel from the real in the space between the projection booth and the silver screen, you'll have to follow the infamous chase scene through to waking life to see whether Keaton's trademark deadpan antics can restore balance to the comedic order. The feature will be preceded by classic Keaton shorts and accompanied by a live musician. Dir: Buster Keaton, 1924, 35 mm, 44 min. The Short Films of David Lynch 1966-1996/color and b&w/76 min.| Scr/dir: David Lynch From 1966’s Six Men Getting Sick, a component of an art installation created while Lynch was a student, to Premonitions Following an Evil Deed, his 1996 contribution to the anthology film Lumière et compagnie honoring the turn-of-the-century inventors of cinema, tonight’s program presents the diverse scope of David Lynch’s short film work. Lynch’s first wife Peggy stars in 1968’s The Alphabet, an illustration of the ABCs filtered through child-like horror. The American Film Institute funded Lynch’s darkly magical The Grandmother (1970) in which a boy uses his imagination to escape from his troubles at home. Shot while Lynch was working on Eraserhead to test two different kinds of black-and-white video stocks, 1974’s The Amputee stars the director himself tending to a woman missing both legs. Following Blue Velvet, Lynch produced The Cowboy and the Frenchman (1988) for French television. Working for the first time with Harry Dean Stanton, an actor who would become a fixture for much of the director’s feature films, Lynch fashions a comical encounter between the Old World and the Wild West. Starcrash The “space opera” had been around for decades before Star Wars caught fire, but it was the success of that ‘77 blockbuster that opened the floodgates for scores of pale imitators. On the surface, wading through endless piles of space dreck just to find a few gems sounds like a horrible idea, but in reality the post-Star Wars boom was a godsend for lovers of all things laser, hyperdrive, and exotic future. From the era, only Japanese master Kinji Fukasaku’s Message From Space (1979) rivals the Italian sound and light show Star Crash for sheer panache, ambition and gorgeous incoherence. Amidst Technicolor acid trip papier-maché sets, and the dueling curly locks of David Hasselhoff and Marjoe Gortner, Hammer Studios starlet Caroline Munro stumbles through a sparkling array of gonzo intergalactic set-pieces and cut-rate genre logic (“Scan it with our computer waves!”), while wearing the skimpiest of future fashion. Ah, to be a 12-year-old again… Dir: Luigi Cozzi, 1979, 16mm, 92 min. Still Underground: Films by Robert Nelson "Hauling Toto Big is a dense and ecstatic work of fragmented narratives, dream states, chaos and serenity… a culmination of Nelson’s cinematic interests." Mark Toscano, Academy Film Archive Known for prankster experimentalism and on-the-spot invention, the films of San Francisco native Robert Nelson are among the defining landmarks of the post-Beat American underground of the 1960s and ’70s. His free-spirited approach, sharp wit, and artistic rigor marked inspired collaborations with William T. Wiley, William Allan, Steve Reich, and the Grateful Dead, and helped shape a language and style for the burgeoning psychedelic culture. Nelson has only recently made his early films available again, and this evening he presents three: The Off-Handed Jape (with Wiley, 1967, 9 min., 16mm), The Awful Backlash (with Allan, 1967, 14 min., 16mm) and Bleu Shut (with Wiley, 1970, 33 min., 16mm). Concluding this program is Nelson’s latest major work, Hauling Toto Big (1997, 43 min., 16mm), winner of the Grand Prize at the 1998 Ann Arbor Film Festival. Featuring a rare appearance by Robert Nelson Stormy Weather Due to racial segregation typical of the era, the 1940s featured very little in the way of starring vehicles for black performers, and 20th Century Fox's Stormy Weather is a rare major studio glimpse into jazz nightlife. The film, which takes its title from the song of the same name, is loosely based on the life of Bill "Bojangles" Johnson, the pioneering tap dancer who made the miracle crossover into entertaining white America in the 1930s. The plot is threadbare -- Johnson engages in a tempestuous romance with singer Lena Horne -- but gloriously taking up the bulk of the screen time are fourteen classic song-and-dance routines, including Fats Waller presenting "Ain't Misbehavin'," an on-fire Cab Calloway doing "The Jumpin' Jive," Lena Horne deftly crooning the title song, and the Nicholas Brothers tearing up the dance floor with an aerobatic routine guaranteed to leave you reeling. Dir: Andrew L. Stone, 1943, 35mm, 78 min. STREET OF CHANCE (1930) Directed by John Cromwell This snappy and cynical drama stars William Powell as John Marsden, a powerful Manhattan gambler who must save his less savvy younger brother from following in his footsteps and living a life of misery and debt. When his brother enters a high-stakes poker game, John cheats to put him off gambling, but his decision has unforeseen, irrevocable consequences. Paramount. Producer: David O. Selznick. Story: Oliver H.P. Garrett. Screenplay: Lenore J. Coffee, Howard Estabrook. Cinematographer: Charles Lang. Editor: Otto Levering. Cast: William Powell, Jean Arthur, Kay Francis, Regis Toomey. 35mm, 75 min. Suture Scott McGehee and David Siegel’s low-budget debut is a cerebral, mordantly funny neo-noir about amnesia, psychoanalysis and mistaken identity. Dennis Haysbert is Clay, a working class stiff summoned by his half-brother, a rich crook named Vincent (Michael Harris) for a reunion in Phoenix. Vincent, wishing to fake his own death, notices their striking physical resemblance and attempts to stage a car accident with Clay in the driver’s seat. Surviving the wreck, though stricken with amnesia and mistaken for his wealthy brother, Clay is nursed back to health and ushered into a life of wealth and privilege. There’s just one catch: Haysbert is black and Harris is white, but none of the characters in the film seems to notice the difference. This inspired casting decision places the thorny subject of race in the audience’s lap, casting the film’s examination of identity and social climbing in a new and more troubling light. Suture is a mind-tickling, stylish little thriller that also functions as a remarkable thought experiment for viewers of all races. Dirs: Scott McGehee & David Siegel, 1993, 35mm, 96 min. Sympathy for the Devil Originally titled One on One, Sympathy for the Devil mixes footage of a recording session by the Rolling Stones with fictional vignettes about Black Power, pornography, and the political counterculture of the 1960s. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard, 1968. Running time 100 minutes; DVD. Syndromes and a Century A provocative and experimental feature based on memories of his parents (both doctors) Syndromes and a Century is brimming with understated ironies. In keeping with Joe's favorite structural motif--the yin and yang--the film's bisected structure is set in the 1970s, and also some thirty years ahead in the present day, with many overlapping events. The first half centers around a female doctor in a rural Thai clinic, an idyllic setting in which the hospital is as simple and placid as a lakeside cabin; while the second half transports us to a modern medical behemoth that, compared to the first, might as well be a setpiece from 2001, but still Weerasethakul's humanism remains. It is an ecstatic play on difference and repetition, but rather than suffering from redundancy, the repeated actions bring to light just how much the nature of our environment shapes our lives. Robert Keser of Bright Lights Film Journal sez: "this refined and original film seems to catch life just at the brink of fulfillment...just life lived as purely as a song." Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006, 35mm, 105 min. Taking Off A lost, gentle Milos Forman film about well-to-do New York runaways and the parents who pursue them -- has to be seen in a theater to...well, to be seen. Buck Henry, Ultra Violet, Vincent Schiavelli, a scorching, libidinous nightclub performance by the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, a young Carly Simon singing "Long Term Physical Effects," a young Kathy Bates singing "Even the Horses Had Wings," and what is perhaps the most charmingly whimsical getting-high-for-the-first-time scene ever filmed, featuring the Incredible String Band's classic "Air." A TASTE OF HONEY (1961, United Kingdom) Directed by Tony Richardson In this landmark film of the British New Wave, gawky, working-class Jo (the luminous Rita Tushingham) breaks taboos left and right. She defies her vulgar lush of a mother, falls in love with a black sailor and then sets up housekeeping with a shy homosexual decorator. Shot entirely on location, the sooty bedsits and back alleys of Salford are powerfully captured in Walter Lassally's gritty and ravishing photography. Never afraid to break rules, Lassally also threw out established cinematic convention by using three different film stocks to express the different tonal registers of Shelagh Delaney's delicately-wrought story. Delaney wrote the original play when she was only 19, and for many years, both play and film would remain a touchstone for British youth culture. Years later, Lassally commented: "A Taste of Honey is usually thrown into the 'kitchen sink' school of realism but it isn't really. It's realism, but it's poetic realism. I think it's the most poetic of all those movies." In person: Walter Lassally, ASC Based on the play by Shelagh Delaney. Producer: Tony Richardson. Screenwriter: Shelagh Delaney, Tony Richardson. Cinematographer: Walter Lassally. Editor: Antony Gibbs. Cast: Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan, Robert Stephens, Murray Melvin. 35mm, 100 min. Tension When Army vet turned milquetoast druggist (Richard Basehart) discovers the infidelity of his trampy wife (a fantastically mean Audrey Totter), he copes by turning to the prototypical film noir solution for sexual betrayal: murder. But when his elaborate murder plan leads him to discover new love with the pulchritudinous Cyd Charisse, Basehart begins to see another way out. But once a machine is set in motion, it’s not so easy to stop. This underrated noir mystery was helmed by iconoclast director John Berry (He Ran all The Way, Claudine) who would go into Parisian exile for two decades after directing the Hollywood Ten defense film in 1951. One of the most acidic and daring film noirs of the late 1940’s. Also starring Barry Sullivan, William Conrad and Lloyd Gough. Dir: John Berry, 1949, 35mm, 95 min. Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser Hitting the “wrong” notes never felt more right than when Thelonious Monk hit them at his piano. This documentary, made over a twenty-year period, unearths reels of previously lost Monk footage that co-producer Bruce Ricker has called “the Dead Sea Scrolls of Jazz.” Off-the-cuff interviews with Monk’s inner circle give insight into the pianist’s closeted struggle with mental illness in the 1960s, but the film, under the directorial guidance of seasoned documentarian Charlotte Zwerin (Gimme Shelter), is careful to distinguish the “man who suffers from the mind which creates.” Straight, No Chaser gets at the heart of Monk’s distinctive style -- the "dissonant harmonies and angular twists" set against the backdrop of bebop -- and gives us Monk both in the studio and on tour, stabbing out the beautiful skewed melodies and sparse solos which made him the one of the celebrated founders of modern jazz. Dir: Charlotte Zwerin, 1988, 35mm, 90 min. Thieves Highway Jules Dassin’s last film in America before being blacklisted was this under-the-radar masterpiece. Thieves’ Highway is textured indictment of capitalistic injustice based on A.I. “Buzz” Bezzerides’ novel, “Thieves Market” (Bezzerides wrote classic noir scripts for Kiss Me Deadly and On Deadly Ground). Perpetual noir protagonist Richard Conte stars as a Central Valley trucker who squares off against a treacherous produce wholesaler played by Lee J. Cobb. Not only a great noir, full of claustrophrobic framings and dark fates, Thieves’ Highway is a rip-roaring trucker movie full of hairpin turns, hurtling rigs, and roadside pit stops. Also starring Valentina Cortesa, Jack Oakie, Millard Mitchell and Joe Pevney, this overlooked noir classic was filmed on location in San Francisco’s old Produce Market at the Embarcadero. Dir: Jules Dassin, 1949, 35mm, 94 min. THE 13TH LETTER, 1951, 85 min. Otto Preminger’s eerie, unfairly neglected film noir about a spate of poison pen letters was shot on location in a small Canadian town with bleak weather and odd architecture. Adapting the 1943 French thriller, LE CORBEAU directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Preminger and his screenwriter Howard Koch downplay the original’s political allegory, about the treachery of collaboration during the German occupation, and focus instead on the sexual pathologies of a group of repressed characters. As the finger of guilt points toward a number of possible culprits, the audience is kept guessing until the chilling denouement. With former matinee idol Charles Boyer as a doctor of fading charms, Michael Rennie as a frostbitten new physician, and Linda Darnell as a woman with hungry eyes and a clubfoot. Hypnotic and unmissable! NOT ON DVD Discussion in between films with actress Carol Lynley. THE TWELVE CHAIRS, 1970, MGM Repertory, 94 min. Brooks' second film as director is a handsomely mounted period piece, but the classical source and lush location photography don't get in the way of the laughs. Ron Moody plays an impoverished Russian aristocrat in search of a dining chair with jewels hidden in the seat, and Dom DeLuise is his rival in pursuit of the treasure. Frank Langella adds big laughs as a con artist who partners up with Moody in this hysterical portrait of mendacity. Director Mel Brooks to introduce the screening. Umbrellas of Cherbourg "People only die of love in movies.” —Madame Emery in Umbrellas of Cherbourg Heartbreaking and lovely, drenching drab realities in a multi-colored shower of visual design, Umbrellas of Cherbourg is both a wondrous fantasy and a sadly realistic love tragedy. It is a sublime contradiction. Director Jacques Demy takes a prosaic story about the thwarted and unfortunate love between a car mechanic and an umbrella shopgirl, constructed out of everyday utterances and depressingly believable life-changing decisions, and then sets it all to song; he takes the real locations of provincial Cherbourg, and literally repaints them to be as saturated as the film’s costumes and props. It is an amazingly confident formal coup that works to devastating emotional effect. Umbrellas of Cherbourg is beautiful in more ways than can be counted: Michel Legrand’s justly famous music, Deneuve’s youthful angelic countenance, and a romance so poignant that, like all true love, it lingers long after its final luminous image. Dir: Jacques Demy, 1964, 35mm, 91 min. The Universal Mind of Bill Evans In a 1966 television interview with the erudite Steve Allen, the normally shy and soft-spoken influential pianst Bill Evans sits at his instrument and, over the course of a candid conversation, unleashes a torrent of sharp and informative thoughts on the meaning of jazz, and the nature of music improvisation. Dir: Louis Carvell, 1966, 35mm, 45 min. Variety Director E.A. Dupont's legendary Expressionist phantasmagoria, once the most famous of German imports, has since been overshadowed by the extraordinary contortions of Murnau and Von Sternberg. Yet with Variety, Dupont, along with innovative cameraman Karl Freund, twists a sordid tale of adultery, betrayal and revenge into a baroque, and surprisingly erotic, visual masterpiece. Set in the sordid atmosphere of big-top carnivals, Freund and Dupont match the agility of their trapeze-artist protagonists with exotic camera movements, extreme close-ups and brisk editing. Emil Jannings delivers a performance as breathtaking as those he famously gave in The Last Laugh and The Blue Angel, playing a failed trapeze-artist who glimpses a return to glory when a beautiful, talented orphan (Lye de Putti) disrupts his joyless marriage. Told in a series of flashbacks, Variety is laced with black humor, leering physicality and unbridled innovation. Dir: E.A. Dupont, 1925, 16mm, 72 min. The Visitor The holiest of all Holyfuckingshits, The Visitor has the highest JDPM (Jaw Drop Per Minute) ratio of any film of its era, Italian ripoff or not. It’s a wonderful mishmash of The Omen and Close Encounters, but that barely hints at the whacked fervor with which director Giulio Paradisi hurls his hastily assembled all-star cast (John Huston, Glenn Ford, Shelley Winters and, yes, Lance Henriksen) into the cinematic void, showering them with what Austin, TXs revival cinema gem The Alamo Drafthouse has called “a blackhearted blowout of interplanetary possession, telekinetic avian assault, exploding basketballs, and ecclesiastical laserstorms.” Just when you think you’ve nailed down which direction the film is heading in, it completely shatters your notions of the time-space continuum with enough force to rival a thousand screenings of Zabriskie Point. If you miss out on this one, then you have enough regard for cinema as you do for a discarded toenail clipping. Shown in a rare uncut print! Dir: Giuilio Paradisi, 1979, 35mm, 101 min. Visitor Q "Have you ever done it with your dad? Have you ever hit your mom? Have you ever been hit on the head?" With these three questions (and the illustrative scenes that follow each one), Miike turns his blackly satirical lens on the modern Japanese family. Father (Kenichi Endo) is a television journalist doing a video piece on Japanese youth, which leads to the aforementioned incest, made easier by the fact that his daughter (Fujiko) is a prostitute. The mother (Shungiko Uchida) is also a whore, turning tricks to buy heroin to numb the pain of the beatings she gets from her son (Jun Muto), who is bullied by his peers and takes out his frustrations on her. Into this dysfunction comes the unnamed visitor (Kazushi Watanabe), bringing with him lactation, necrophilia, and a brick (in answer to the third question) as a means to pull the family together again. Visitor Q is Miike at his funniest and most provocative, ending with one of the most iconic and oddly optimistic images in his filmography. Dir: Takashi Miike, 2001, Digital Video, 84 min. The Whole Shootin' Match In the universe of regional cinema, Eagle Pennell was the pole star of Texas-- remaking the modern western with cowboy indolence and borrowed grace. This shaggy dog horse opera nails that special brand of epic underachieverdom and aspirational decay that 15 years later Slacker would turn into an anthropological treatise. Lou Perry and Sonny Carl Davis play a couple of Mutt-and-Jeff loser/dreamers whose harebrained schemes and bald-faced lies – which they mainly tell themselves – barely get them through the day. Or that and enough liquid courage to put them both in the alcohol of fame. Director Pennell, no stranger to strong drink and its winnowing effect (he died in 2002, just shy of his 52nd birthday) suffuses his lush black-and-white photography with an underground river of sadness, and the sloppy-drunk romanticism walks a perilous ledge between cornpone and suicidal. Newly restored. Dir: Eagle Pennell, 1979, HDCAM, 109 min. The Woman on Pier 13 This trashy piece of Red Scare hysteria is one of the strangest noirs you’ll ever see. The Woman on Pier 13 offers Howard Hughes’ bizarre perspective of the so-called Red Threat, portraying domestic Communists as well-organized waterfront gangsters in San Francisco! Will ex-fellow traveler Brad Collins (Robert Ryan) succumb to Party blackmail to protect both his new bride (Laraine Day) and business success? Will Ryan’s former lover (the wonderfully tawdry Janice Carter) entrap Collins’ brother (John Agar)? Fascinating, the absurd premise effortlessly translates into the language and style of classic Film noir. This breakneck noir suspenser features stellar performances including Thomas Gomez as the sinister CP boss along with a murderous William Talman in his screen debut. Dir: Robert Stevenson, 1943, 35mm, 73 min. WOMAN ON THE BEACH (HAE-BYUN-EUI YEO-IN) (2006) Directed by Hong Sang-soo In his latest feature, Hong Sang-soo once again turns his crystalline, minimalist gaze to the tenuous relations between men and women. Hoping to cure his writer's block, successful film director Joong-rae travels to a deserted seaside resort for a little peace and tranquility, but instead turns to conquering the hearts of two women, one his production designer's girlfriend. But while at first it appears that the cocky Joong-rae approaches his romantic adventures as little more than fodder for his script (itself about the tenuous relations between the sexes), nothing is quite as it seems in this keenly-nuanced film. The balance of power shifts, and then shifts again in long, deceptively nonchalant conversations along the beach, where the shuttered fronts of empty condos and a wintry off-season light evoke the precariousness of the lovers' emotional terrain. Producer: Oh Jung-wan. Cinematographer: Kim Hyung-ku. Cast: Kim Seung-woo, Kim Tae-woo, Ko Hyeon-joung. Presented in Korean dialogue with English subtitles. 35mm, 128 min. Work Is a 4-Letter Word A young man (David Warner) becomes more interested in his factory job than his new bride (Beatles friend Cilla Black) when he discovers he can grow happiness mushrooms down in the boiler room. The World, the Flesh and the Devil 1959/b&w/Panavision/95 min. | Scr/dir: Ranald MacDougall; w/ Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, Mel Ferrer | Not available on DVD A black man, a white woman and a racist are the only people left alive after a nuclear disaster. Yeti: The Giant of the 20th Century Since the much-hyped 1976 version of King Kong didn’t have enough disco music, spaghetti western director Gianfranco Parolini rectified that problem one year later with this madcap imitation, which plays out like the RKO monster classic on a mix of black market hormone supplements and brown acid. The titular snow creature spends the film’s first third thawing – slowly, oh so slowly – giving the gorgeous Anontella Interlenghi (The Gates of Hell) plenty of time to gaze longingly at his giant, dripping frame. That is one sexy Yeti! Coming off like a typical horny Italian hippie, only 50 feet tall and perpetually confused, the Yeti’s piercing blue eyes, wind-blown locks and pulsating nipples the size of a Buick will soften your heart – until the carnage begins. A film that doesn’t take “no budget” for an answer, Yeti is the only big goofy monster movie that actually feels…well, sleazy. Value-added bonuses: the film’s score, which borrows heavily from “Carmina Burana”, and the funked-out end credits theme, in which “The Yetians” (no joke) wail “We are evil, but not the Yeti – we are selfish, but not the Yeti… Dir: Gianfranco Parolini, 1977, 16mm, 118 min. Zebraman Lowly teacher Ichikawa (Miike regular Sho Aikawa), ignored by his children and cuckolded by his wife, has one secret joy: putting on his homemade superhero costume and patrolling the city at night. His masked alter ego is based on "Zebraman", a Power Rangers-style TV show from his youth that was canceled after a handful of episodes were aired. What he doesn't know is that the series was intended to be a warning to the world of a real alien invasion. When green slime monsters begin killing people on the school grounds, Ichikawa has to man up and become the hero he always longed to be. With loving recreations of old kaiju shows, fantasies about defeating a crab monster via the aid of Zebra Nurse, and scenes demonstrating the difficulty of practical superheroing, this is one of Miike's funniest films. Plus, zebra-striped Pegasus vs. giant alien amoeba. How can you resist? Dir: Takashi Miike, 2004, 35mm, 115 min.