a highly-opinionated selection of things happening around town, and sometimes out of town. this month's page here.
wed. jan. 2 the tin drum (director's cut) 8 PM @ silent movie theater walk proud MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theater holy motors 4:45 7:00 PM @ downtown independent thu. jan. 3 the kinetic films of len lye FREE (RSVP) @ lacma metropolis, dark city @ egyptian the tin drum (director's cut) 8 PM @ silent movie theater holy motors 4:45 7:00 PM @ downtown independent fri. jan. 4 los cincos, the pope, qui, silver daggers, godzik pink @ the smell the godfather @ egyptian only the young @ silent movie theater repo man MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theater call her savage, hoop-la @ ucla film archive zulus, nasa space universe, w-h-i-t-e @ glitter death sat. jan. 5 the pope, sharp ease, godzik pink @ the smell tess @ lacma goodfellas, miller's crossing @ egyptian our hospitality, three ages @ aero seeding of a ghost 11 PM @ silent movie theater only the young 8:30 PM @ silent movie theater parisian love, capital punishment @ ucla film archive sun. jan. 6 saccharine trust, deadbeats @ the echo the godfather part ii @ egyptian paper moon, the sterile cuckoo @ aero theodora goes wild 7 PM, true confession @ ucla film archive mon. jan. 7 gap dream FREE @ the echo tue. jan. 8 christmas holiday 1 PM @ lacma the magic blade, (mystery shaw bros. film TBA) @ silent movie theater 12 angry men FREE 1:30 PM @ skirball center wed. jan. 9 trophy wife @ the smell amour @ aero the saint and her fool @ silent movie theater lucky dragons, infinite body @ human resources thu. jan. 10 a royal affair @ aero the goonies FREE @ melnitz movies @ ucla james bridges breaking the plane 7 PM @ moca grand working girls (1931) FREE 5 PM @ the crank @ ucla james bridges fri. jan. 11 citizen kane, the magnificent ambersons @ egyptian zombie (1979) MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theater it (1927), children of divorce @ ucla film archive mandingo MIDNIGHT @ nuart corners @ the smell john c. reilly & becky stark & tom brosseau @ the sanctuary sat. jan. 12 the warlocks, cosmonauts @ bootleg mike watt & the missingmen @ redwood 8 1/2 @ egyptian twinkle twinkle little star MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theater all quiet on the western front (sync version) 4 PM, all quiet on the western front (sound version) @ ucla film archive peter kolovos @ the smell sun. jan. 13 america america @ aero dynamite (silent) 4 PM, dynamite (sound) @ ucla film archive carolee schneemann: new videos of the performing artist @ filmforum @ spielberg @ egyptian mon. jan. 14 avant garde music films FREE 6 PM @ documental @ unurban c.r.a.s.h., crazy band @ the smell tue. jan. 15 it's a gift 1 PM @ lacma high noon, airplane! @ aero dirt dress @ harvard & stone wed. jan. 16 8 diagram pole fighter, (mystery shaw bros. film TBA) @ silent movie theater jim dawson presents los angeles' bunker hill FREE @ stories thu. jan. 17 the great dictator @ egyptian yo la tengo FREE 6 PM @ amoeba fri. jan. 18 o sangue, confortorio @ lacma the deer hunter @ egyptian blue velvet, all that heaven allows @ aero himizu 6:15 PM @ silent movie theater guilty of romance 9:15 PM @ silent movie theater the neverending story MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theater corners @ townhouse venice henry rollins @ mccabe's john c. reilly & becky stark & tom brosseau @ bootleg sat. jan. 19 brazil @ electric dusk drive-in bell gardens FREE 7 PM @ orgami vinyl caravaggio 5 PM @ lacma mamma roma @ lacma heaven's gate @ egyptian crimes and misdemeanors, ed wood @ aero himizu 5 PM @ silent movie theater guilty of romance 8 PM @ silent movie theater human lanterns 11 PM @ silent movie theater wings (1927) @ ucla film archive sun. jan. 20 budos band @ echoplex thunderbolt and lightfoot, year of the dragon @ egyptian guilty of romance 12:45 PM @ silent movie theater himizu 3:30 PM @ silent movie theater black white & gray: a portrait of sam wagstaff & robert mapplethorpe 9 PM @ silent movie theater mon. jan. 21 himizu 3:30 PM @ silent movie theater guilty of romance 10:45 PM @ silent movie theater tue. jan. 22 trouble in paradise 1 PM @ lacma holy flame of the martial world, (mystery shaw bros. film TBA) @ silent movie theater himizu 2 PM @ silent movie theater guilty of romance 5 PM @ silent movie theater cosmonauts @ harvard & stone cat power @ observatory (santa ana) julia holter @ mr. t's wed. jan. 23 himizu @ silent movie theater guilty of romance 10:30 PM @ silent movie theater thu. jan. 24 gregory crewdson: brief encounters @ lacma black orpheus, sansho the bailiff @ aero himizu @ silent movie theater guilty of romance 10:30 PM @ silent movie theater fri. jan. 25 el ten eleven @ central sapc no FREE (RSVP) @ lacma jean painlevé's underwater wonders @ aero moi un noir @ ucla film archive mike watt & the missingmen, audacity, 45 grave, white flag @ echoplex jon brion @ largo bell gardens @ hotel cafe repulsion 7:15 9:45 PM @ silent movie theater jung bouquet (9:30) @ pehrspace sat. jan. 26 thomas ince silent films @ spielberg @ egyptian the boxer's omen 10 PM, (mystery shaw bros. film TBA) @ silent movie theater chronique d'un ete @ ucla film archive repulsion 7:15 PM @ silent movie theater dead meadow @ casbah (SD) sun. jan. 27 dreams, synecdoche new york @ egyptian repulsion 9:15 PM @ silent movie theater once upon a time in the west FREE 7 PM @ reel grit @ afi twin peaks pilot 4 PM, episode 1.2, episode 1.3 FREE @ twin peaks retrospective @ usc norris cinema mon. jan. 28 heroes & heroines, corners FREE @ the echo big dick @ los globos repulsion 10:40 PM @ silent movie theater tue. jan. 29 bouquet, stephen steinbrink & french quarter @ the smell marnie 1 PM @ lacma five deadly venoms, (mystery shaw bros. film TBA) @ silent movie theater repulsion 5 PM @ silent movie theater wed. jan. 30 selected shorts by jean rouch @ ucla film archive antibalas @ troubadour corners @ harvard & stone willoughby @ los globos thu. jan. 31 repulsion 10:45 PM @ silent movie theater voluptuous sleep FREE 7 PM @ usc ray stark fri. feb. 1 2001: a space odyssey MIDNIGHT @ nuart duty honor country betrayal 8 PM @ beyond baroque sneakpeek @ taix warlocks (11:30) @ the fortress 3 women 8 PM @ silent movie theater big trouble in little china MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theater sat. feb. 2 derrick harriott @ alexandria mezz bar radar brothers @ the echo nasa space universe, surgeons @ the smell groundhog day @ aero marnie 8:30 PM @ silent movie theater the boxer's omen 11:30 PM @ silent movie theater sun. feb. 3 la chasse au lion a l'arc 7 PM, bataille sur le grande fleuve @ ucla film archive days of heaven @ arclight hollywood cinerama dome thu. feb. 7 personal ethnographies FREE @ beyond baroque the apartment @ arclight hollywood fri. feb. 8 holy motors MIDNIGHT @ nuart sat. feb. 9 back to the future @ electric dusk drive-in rose melberg (8:00), seapony (10:00) @ los globos sun. feb. 10 moonbeams @ my bloody valentine nite @ the echo kick-in 7 PM, her wedding night @ ucla film archive mon. feb. 11 kubrick's odyssey ii FREE 6 PM @ documental @ unurban it happened one night @ arclight hollywood tue. feb. 12 inherit the wind FREE 1:30 PM @ skirball center thu. feb. 14 casablanca @ silent movie theater fri. feb. 15 liberte egalite fraternite et puis apres @ ucla film archive sat. feb. 16 sea lions @ the smell hepcat @ house of blues some like it hot 2 PM @ alex theatre sunset boulevard 8 PM @ alex theatre sun. feb. 17 om @ constellation room (santa ana) mon. feb. 18 om @ center for the arts eagle rock fri. feb. 22 cocorico monsieur poulet, petit a petit @ ucla film archive pink floyd: the wall MIDNIGHT @ nuart pangea, audacity @ the smell sat. feb. 23 la pyramide humaine @ ucla film archive sun. feb. 24 blue velvet @ arclight hollywood fri. mar. 1 blazing saddles MIDNIGHT @ nuart fri. mar. 8 the thing (1982) MIDNIGHT @ nuart mon. mar. 11 essay films FREE 6 PM @ documental @ unurban fri. mar. 15 mulholland drive MIDNIGHT @ nuart fri. mar. 22 bleached, black lips, nick waterhouse, pangea, audacity, etc @ burgarama ii day 1 @ the observatory (santa ana) sat. mar. 23 gap dream, king tuff, allah-las, cosmonauts, etc @ burgarama ii day 2 @ the observatory (santa ana) mon. apr. 8 women experimentalists FREE 6 PM @ documental @ unurban WHAT IT IS: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT Directed by Lewis Milestone Near the heartbreaking finale of the sound version of Lewis Milestone’s anti-war epic All Quiet on the Western Front, a combat-weary Paul (Ayres) returns from battle on leave to be by his mother’s side where she offers him his favorite treat: blueberries. In the intertitle for the same scene in the synchronized music and effects track version, she offers him whortleberries. The difference is minor but nevertheless speaks volumes about the degree of care that went into producing the sync track version of Milestone’s masterpiece for international markets. Additional scenes, some reordered sequences and dialogue tweaks throughout indicate that the same care was taken in adapting Erich Maria Remarque’s novel to different forms of expression. Universal Picture Corp. Producer: Carl Laemmle Jr. Based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque. Screenwriter: George Abbott. Cinematographer: Arthur Edeson. Editor: Edgar Adams. Cast: Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres, John Wray, Ben Alexander, Scott Kolk. 35mm, b/w, 143 min. ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS 1955, Universal, 89 min, USA, Dir: Douglas Sirk Jane Wyman, a lonely widow with two spoiled, almost grown children (William Reynolds, Gloria Talbot) as well as a circle of snobbish, upper-middle-class friends, suddenly finds herself falling in love with her gardener (Rock Hudson). Director Douglas Sirk examines the curious cultural barriers we set up for ourselves regarding love, skewering age and class differences in the process as well as championing fearless independence of the individual spirit - something that was not so common in the 1950s. One of the most subversive love stories of 20th-century cinema and a prime inspiration for Todd Haynes' acclaimed FAR FROM HEAVEN. AMERICA, AMERICA 1963, Warner Bros., 174 min, USA, Dir: Elia Kazan This sprawling epic about a young Greek, Stavros (based on Kazan’s uncle), living with his family in Turkey circa 1900 and obsessed with emigrating to America, is one of Kazan’s most moving, personal films. Kazan molds a talented cast of relatively unknown performers into a powerhouse ensemble: Stathis Giallelis is perfect as Stavros, with able support from John Marley, Lou Antonio, Joanna Frank and the underrated yet terrific Frank Wolff. Be sure to catch this masterpiece on the big screen. "May be Kazan’s most accomplished work." - Time Out New York Bataille sur le grande fleuve (Battle on the Great River) (1951) Directed by Jean Rouch An account of hippopotamus hunting in the Niger river, this stirring film, with great attention to process and outstanding cinematography, was also the first project which Rouch screened for the subjects of the story, inviting their input (a practice he would continue henceforth). 16mm, color, 33 min. BLACK ORPHEUS (ORFEU NEGRO) 1959, Janus Films, 100 min, Brazil/France, Dir: Marcel Camus French director Marcel Camus based his film on the Brazilian play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, who in turn used the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus as inspiration. Dropped into the Rio de Janeiro slums during the annual Carnaval festival, Orpheus (Brazilian soccer star Breno Mello) drives a trolley and is engaged to marry Mira (Lourdes de Oliveira), for whom the wedding cannot come soon enough. But Orpheus is a lover-of-women who can’t be tied down - until he meets Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn). Sparks fly immediately, but Eurydice is having troubles of her own, menaced by a mysterious man in a skeleton costume as well as the jealous Mira. With a justly famous bossa nova score by Luiz Bonfá and Antonio Carlos Jobim. In Portuguese with English subtitles. BLACK, WHITE & GRAY: A PORTRAIT OF SAM WAGSTAFF & ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE “Before Patti Smith released her 1975 landmark debut album “Horses”, and before Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography caused national debates about public arts funding, these two burgeoning artists (both of whom would become seminal icons in their field, and who both once shared a loft apartment near the famous Chelsea Hotel) formed a unique troika with legendary curator/collector Sam Wagstaff. With this engrossing documentary, director/curator/author James Crump paints an illustrious portrait of the complex ties between these three visionaries. As the only one of them still living, Patti Smith — alongside such luminaries as Dominick Dunne, Richard Tuttle, Eugenia Parry, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Ralph Gibson — reminisces about a time when New York City’s CBGB’s, Studio 54 and the Meatpacking District (where a gay/S&M underworld had emerged) were all thriving. Crump meticulously illustrates the varied sides of these two enigmatic figures, as well as their close bond with Patti Smith, and arranges the pieces of this film — a story of love, friendship and personal transformation — into a carefully curated whole.” — David Kwok, Tribeca Film Festival. Our screening is followed by a Q&A session with filmmaker James Crump, as well as comments by Britt Salvesen (LACMA Head Curator of Photography) and Frances Terpak (Curator of Photographs, the Getty Research Institute.) THE BOXER'S OMEN Where on Earth to begin? The Boxer’s Omen is The Holy Mountain, Altered States and Rocky all rolled into one; it’s all of ’70s gonzo kickass cinema compressed into an insane little ball and blasted through a garishly-colored early ’80s Hong Kong filter. It’s more unpredictable than Dangerous Men, more unstoppable than The Visitor; it’s one of the craziest damned things you’ll ever witness in a movie theater, and this is NO hyperbole. It’s the Wizard Battle movie to end all Wizard Battle movies, it’s gooey, gory, neon-washed and, blessed Buddha, once you’ve seen it you will run out into the street and demand that every single friend of yours hop on the Boxer’s Omen Express. This hexadelical, truly incredible piece of eye terrorism has only played in Los Angeles twice before, so get your rear on down to see this one, before you end up cursing yourself forever! Guaranteed mug-melter or your money back. The evening’s mystery second feature will also be on 35mm! The Boxer’s Omen Dir. Chih-Hung Kuei, 1983, 35mm, 99 min. BREAKING THE PLANE In response to the exhibition Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949-62, Los Angeles Filmforum at MOCA presents an international program of radical films that puncture the image, three-dimensionalize the film surface, or otherwise challenge the traditional cinematic experience. Each work in the program unleashes an energy unseen in ordinary cinema by transforming the strip of film from an unbroken "window on the world" into a turbulent contest of individual frames. Just as post-war painters challenged the continued legitimacy of the picture plane, artists working in film sought to push past the "realistic" representations of time and space typified by the hegemonic Hollywood studio productions. Breaking with accepted forms of cinematic representation–often by physically altering the film itself–these works appear to fulfill Lucio Fontana's prescient call for the discovery of a "luminous malleable substance" that would allow for an art of speed to be created in four dimensions. Politically, sexually, and formally radical, these transgressive works from 1959-67 still retain their power to shock. The result is a visceral cinema, both literally and metaphorically full of holes. Screening: Jane Conger Belson Shimane, Odds and Ends (1959, 16mm, color, 4 min.) Though frequently described as a parody because of its monotonous, rambling, bongo infused soundtrack, Odds and Ends, is also a beautifully dense compendium of moving image-making and -editing techniques. Sensitively painted and scratched film is rapidly intercut with other abstract animations and disparate imagery... –Madison Brookshire Takahiko Iimura, On Eye Rape (1962, 16mm, color, 10 min) (Co-produced with Natsuyuki Nakanishi) A found educational film about the sex of plants and animals was punched with big holes in almost every frame throughout the film by myself and an artist friend Natsuyuki Nakanishi who found the film in a garbage. At several points there are inserts of a few frames of a pornographic photo (which would work on a subliminal sense) in which the sex part was covered by black. The film is an irony and at the same time a protest against sex censorship in Japan at the time in which pornographic scenes had to be covered by black. At the end we even punched holes in these subliminal pictures, thereby “censoring” the censored image. –TI Stan Brakhage, Thigh Line Lyre Triangular (1961, 16mm, color, 9 min.) Only at a crisis do I see both the sense as I've been trained to see it (that is, with Renaissance perspective, three-dimensional logic, colors as we've been trained to call a color a color, and so forth) and patterns that move straight out from the inside of the mind through the optic nerves - spots before my eyes, so to speak - and it's a very intensive, disturbing, but joyful experience. I've seen that every time a child was born .... Now none of that was in Window Water Baby Moving; and I wanted a childbirth film which expressed all of my seeing at such a time. –SB Stan Brakhage, Mothlight (1963, 16mm, color, 4 min) Essence of lepidoptera re-created between two strips of clear mylar tape: an anima animation. What a moth might see from birth to death if black were white and white were black. –SB Carolee Schneemann, Fuses (1967, 16mm, color, 23 min.) “The red heat baked into the emulsion suffuses the film, a concrete emblem of erotic power.” –B. Ruby Rich , on Fuses Rather than make metaphors that either obscure or romanticize physical love, in Fuses Schneemann depicts it graphically. Rejecting the temporal model that is based on the male orgasm, Schneemann flatly refuses to create a climax in her film, offering us instead a plateau of sustained activity. Our world may be oversaturated with images of sex, but very few of them are actually erotic. This film, however, celebrates bodies in general and these two people in particular, reclaiming sex from pornography and advertising for the profound yes, yes to life that it is. –Madison Brookshire Aldo Tambellini, Black Trip (1965, 16mm, black and white, 5 min.) Beginning in 1965 with Black Is, Tambellini launched a series of politically charged experimental films that explore the expressive possibilities of black as a dominant color and idea. For the most part Tambellini’s seven “black films” are made without the use of a camera but rather by carefully manipulating the film itself by scorching, scratching, painting and treating the film stock as a type of sculptural and painterly medium. –Harvard Film Archive Kurt Kren, 3/60: Baume im Herbst (Trees in Autumn) (1960, 16mm, black and white, 5 min.) Kurt Kren, 6/64: Mama und Papa (Materialaktion Otto Mühl) [Mom and Dad (An Otto Muehl Happening)] (1964, 16mm, color, 4 min.) Based on Otto Muehl's Mama und Papa, Kren's film departments from straight documentation by using editing as both a constructive and destructive force. Ken Jacobs, Blonde Cobra (1963, 16mm, black and white, 33 min.) Featuring Jack Smith. Images gathered by Bob Fleischner, sound-film composed by Ken Jacobs. "[Jacobs'] work opens your ears and mind, and, simply put, has no like in the multiplex, the art house or even most festivals." –Manhola Dargas, The New York Times Call Her Savage (1932) Directed by John Francis Dillon Bow hijacks this pulpiest of all Pre-Code sagas as a hot-headed Texas heiress whose fortunes fall and rise as she confronts perversion, prostitution, venereal disease and other social ills while finding time to brawl in a Greenwich Village gay bar. Fox Film Corp. Screenwriter: Edwin Burke Cinematographer: Lee Garmes. Editor: Harold Schuster. Cast: Clara Bow, Gilbert Roland, Thelma Todd, Monroe Owsley, Estelle Taylor. 35mm, b/w, 88 min. Caravaggio 1986/color/93 min. Scr/dir: Derek Jarman; w/ Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, Garry Cooper, Dexter Fletcher, Spencer Leigh. Tilda Swinton, Nigel Davenport, Robbie Coltrane, Lol Coxhill A singular figure not only in the history of queer filmmaking but of art itself, Derek Jarman made bold, idiosyncratic films that challenged prevailing aesthetic conventions while also becoming improbable box-office successes in his native England. A trained painter who broke into filmmaking designing sets for Ken Russell’s The Devils and Savage Messiah, Jarman began making his own moving image pieces with Super 8 in the 1970s. By the time of his landmark, color-field final film Blue (1993), Jarman was responsible for a one-man, fringe vanguard. Shot on a shoestring budget and starring such future screen stars as Tilda Swinton (a fixture in Jarman’s work) and Sean Bean, Caravaggio is far from a traditional biopic. An unconventional portrait of a flesh-and-blood Caravaggio, as recounted by the painter from his death bed, the film pays tribute to his sumptuous visual élan while also delving into allegations of crime and blasphemy. Shot entirely in an abandoned warehouse and bathed in the painter’s signature palette, Caravaggio is an elegiac testament to the conflicts between artistic compulsion and private desires. “Jarman’s crowning achievement . . . In every sense a labor of love, Caravaggio evokes both the artist’s imagined underworld milieu and, in a series of extraordinary tableaux, the dramatic chiaroscuro of his art.”—J. Hoberman. Christmas Holiday 1944/b&w/93 min. Scr: Herman J. Mankiewicz; dir: Robert Siodmak; w/ Deanna Durbin, Gene Kelly, Richard Whorf, Dean Harens Don't be fooled by the title. Christmas Holiday is a far, far cry from It's a Wonderful Life. Told in flashback, the story begins as Jackie (Deanna Durbin), marries Southern aristocrat Robert Monette (Gene Kelly). Unfortunately, Robert has inherited his family's streak of violence and instability and soon drags Jackie into a life of misery. When her husband commits murder, Jackie is compelled by Robert's equally degenerate mother (Gale Sondergaard) to cover up the crime. When Robert is arrested, Jackie, tormented by the love she still holds for her husband, runs away from the family home, changing her name and securing work as a singer in a New Orleans dive. Robert escapes from prison and makes his way to Jackie's dressing room. Holding a reporter hostage, he threatens to kill both Jackie and the waylaid sailor who has been listening to her story. An astonishing change of pace from Deanna Durbin's usual lightweight musical fare, Christmas Holiday (based, believe it or not, on a story by W. Somerset Maugham) is one of the bleakest film noirs of the 1940s. Durbin is merely adequate in her role, but Gene Kelly gives a disturbingly convincing portrayal as a man virtually devoured by his inner demons. Robert Siodmak directs with his usual flair, using a taut, suspenseful screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz. Chronique d'un été (Chronicle of a Summer) (1961) In-person: Panel discussion to follow, participants TBA. Directed by Jean Rouch, Edgar Morin Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin set out to create a portrait and time capsule of Paris, following a small group of French and African acquaintances as they discuss geopolitics and daily life. The use of lightweight cameras and sound recording equipment, and the involvement of participants in the process of filmmaking gave the film a bristling aesthetic character, profoundly influencing the development of cinema verité and spurring debates about documentary practice. Cast: J. Rouch, E. Morin, Marceline Loridan Ivens. 35mm, b/w, 85 min. Preceded by: Une brève histoire de cinéma (2004). Directed by Jackie Raynal. Shot shortly before Rouch's death in 2004, this film by his sometime collaborator Jackie Raynal captures the then-86-year-old documentarian visiting a café near his home in Paris. Digital video, color, 16 min. Tourou et Bitti, les tambours d'avant (Tourou and Bitti: The Drums of the Past) (1971). Directed by Jean Rouch. A spellbinding work, achieved in a single take, this documentation of a possession ritual of music and dance in rural Niger builds to its climactic conclusion only after Rouch’s presence has been noticed and acknowledged by participants, complicating the meaning of the cinematic apparatus. 16mm, color, 10 min. Cocorico Monsieur Poulet (1974) Directed by Dalarou (Damouré Zika, Lam Dia, Jean Rouch) Another collaboration with Damouré Zika and Lam Ibrahim Dia, this picaresque story follows three poultry sellers on a trip across the bush, attempting to deliver a load of chickens to a market in Niamey. Based on Dia’s own experience as a poultry seller, and meant to depict the lives of marginal Africans, the film’s whimsical, absurdist plot is driven by uniquely African references, including the influence of magic. Cast: D. Zika, L. Dia, Tallou Mouzourane. 35mm, color, 90 min. Confortorio 1992/color/84 min. Scr: Simona Foa, Gianni Lazzaro, Giuseppe Cordoni, Paolo Benvenuti; dir: Paolo Benvenuti.; w/ Stefano Bambini, Lucia Bartalini, Marcello Bartolomei, Gianfranco Biagi Though his films have premiered at such esteemed international festivals as Venice and Locarno, and he’s been the subject of a complete retrospective at the 2009 International Film Festival Rotterdam, Italy’s Paolo Benvenuti remains little known in the United States. Molding his films in the rich tradition of classical Italian painting—especially that of Caravaggio—but also galvanized by post-1968 radicalism, the Tuscan-born Benvenuti has crafted a singular body of work that belongs alongside the austere cinema of Roberto Rossellini and Straub/Huillet (for whom Benvenuti worked between 1972 and 1975). Benvenuti’s films are products of thorough historical research, revisiting long-gone events to reveal the truth behind the legend. Confortorio, Benvenuti’s second feature, is based on the records documenting the attempts of Catholic prelates to convert two Jewish thieves sentenced to hang in 1736 Rome. A Brechtian chamber piece that unfolds in rich, startling friezes, Confortorio is a fascinating portrait of persecution that poignantly evokes Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. DREAMS YUME 1990, Warner Bros., 119 min, Japan, Dir: Akira Kurosawa, Ishiro Honda One of maestro Akira Kurosawa’s last films is an anthology of eight dream episodes adapted from the director’s own nocturnal reveries. The mysteries of childhood, nature and man’s seemingly eternal predilection for self-destruction are the main themes, depicted simply and with a sense of childlike wonder. Kurosawa drew on the fantasy-cinema expertise of a lifelong friend, director Ishiro Honda (GOJIRA), who was uncredited co-director on the episodes "The Tunnel" and "Mount Fuji in Red" as well as the prologue and epilogue of "The Weeping Demon." Another master filmmaker, Martin Scorsese, also participated, but as an actor, giving a very convincing portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in "The Crows" segment. Another one of Kurosawa’s splendid visual achievements that really needs to be seen on the big screen. In Japanese, French, and English with English subtitles. DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY, BETRAYAL A documentary film by BILL DUMAS, narrated by ED ASNER. Los Angeles is home to the largest homeless veteran population in the U.S. The West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs owns over 350 acres of land deeded for the sole use of homeless and disabled veterans that could house L.A.'s entire homeless veteran population. Surrounded by some of the wealthiest communities in the U.S., the veterans' land provides the neighbors with open space instead of housing the veterans for whom the land was donated in 1888. This documentary examines the issues that prevent the thousands of homeless veterans in LA from occupying their land. DYNAMITE Directed by Cecil B. DeMille Thanks to the unique market conditions of the transition era, Dynamite was both Cecil B. DeMille’s first all-talkie sound feature as well as his last silent film. Packed with class conscious, never-quite-consummated scandal in DeMille’s inimitable style, the overheated story centers on Cynthia (Johnson), a pampered society girl who will lose her trust fund if she isn’t married and living with her husband by a certain date—unless he dies before, in which case she keeps the cash. With the deadline approaching and her current beau, a polo playing playboy (Nagel), tied up in a marriage to her best friend, Cynthia marries a hardscrabble coal miner on death row (Bickford). When Bickford’s miner is freed at the last minute, the honorable tough guy arrives at Cynthia’s penthouse to live up to his vows, turning her world upside down. Narrative differences between the versions are minor but stylistic differences abound, particularly in the handling of the story’s recurring song "How Am I To Know?" featuring lyrics by Dorothy Parker. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. Producer: Cecil B. DeMille. Screenwriter: Jeanie MacPherson. Cinematographer: Peverell Marley. Editor: Anne Bauchens. Cast: Conrad Nagel, Kay Johnson, Charles Bickford, Julia Faye, Joel McCrea. 35mm, b/w, 120 min. 8 Diagram Pole Fighter If there’s a real “fan favorite” Shaw Brothers movie, it would have to be this kinetic later-period masterpiece, packed with some of the studio’s finest stars and fight sequences, and helmed by Lau Kar-leung (director of the equally phenomenal The 36th Chamber of Shaolin). Fu Sheng, Lily Li and the great Gordon Liu headline this tale of two brothers who survive a clan massacre and seek revenge, leading to ultra-violent, acrobatic smack downs (including the dazzling titular pole fighting) that will leave you in cinematic traction. Don’t miss the chance to gather up your friends for a martial arts party movie that will obliterate you — even the opening credits sequence manages to smack you across the head! The evening’s secret second Shaw Brothers feature will also be on 35mm! Dir. Lau Kar-Leung, 1983, 35mm, 98 min. Five Deadly Venoms The film that launched generations of kung fu acolytes, a popular film series and a few thousand rap songs, this iconic film will also have Kill Bill fans experiencing serious déjà vu. Five skilled martial arts students — the Centipede, the Scorpion, the Lizard, the Snake, and the Toad — are mysterious, masked disciples of a clan leader whose dying wish sends his favorite student off to find out whether they intend to carry on for good or evil. Kickass fight scenes and psychedelic lighting that would make Dario Argento beg for mercy give Five Deadly Venoms “essential viewing” status, possibly even more popular now than ever — and the film’s climactic five-way battle is the stuff of legend, “as good as — if not better than –any on-screen fight before or since” (MutantReviewers.com). The evening’s secret second Shaw Brothers feature will also be on 35mm! Dir. Chang Cheh, 1978, 35mm, 97 min. Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters 2012/color/79 min. Scr/dir: Ben Shapiro The images of contemporary American photographer Gregory Crewdson suggest cinematic narratives teeming with despair, mystery, and longing compressed into a single picture. It’s no surprise to learn that Crewdson is inspired not only by the “awe and terror” in the work of Dianne Arbus but also by the films of Hitchcock and Lynch, filmmakers who relish in exploring the sinister, primal undercurrents seething under the surface of everyday life. Crewdson’s practice is also closer to that of a filmmaker. Each picture calls for a director of photography, Klieg lights, fog machines, magic-hour twilight, and meticulous staging, not to mention digital post-production touch-ups. But none of this elaborate preparatory work diminishes the urgency and spellbinding intrigue of Crewdson’s pictures. Filmmaker Ben Shapiro offers a complete rendering of Crewdson’s process, especially as the photographer works on his most ambitious series—Beneath the Roses, shot in small Massachusetts towns and cast almost entirely with locals—and his most stripped down—Crewdson’s portraits of Cinecittà Studios’ sprawling, vacant back lots. GUILTY OF ROMANCE We’ve made no secret of the unrepentant film crush the Cinefamily has on Sion Sono. His mixture of cinematic intelligence and trashy sensibilities fits us like a tailored suit, and our enthusiasm for his films Love Exposure and Cold Fish in the last year or two has flowed intensely. He’s now hit a third home run in a row with this horrifying tale of sex and violence, concluding his trilogy of “Hate Films” with another satisfyingly constructed, potent and provocative movie. The sinful yin to Cold Fish’s heavy yang, Guilty of Romance is a similar tale of a female protagonist’s roiling Id boiling over, this time featuring the repressed and oppressed Izumi (Megumi Kagurazaka), whose escape from patriarchy starts by selling sausages in a supermarket, but ends down a rabbit hole of perversion and daytime prostitution. Guilty of Romance works like a more punishing, disturbing reworking of Bunuel’s Belle De Jour, with the darkest of consequences, and is sure to rile audiences in the best of ways. Dir. Sion Sono, 2011, digital presentation, 112 min. HEAVEN’S GATE 1980, Park Circus, 219 min, USA, Dir: Michael Cimino After his Academy Award-winning triumph with THE DEER HUNTER, Director Michael Cimino broadened and deepened his epic vision of America even further with this elegiac Western. Kris Kristofferson is a sheriff caught in the middle of mounting tensions between affluent landowners and newly arrived homesteaders in 1890s Wyoming; complicating matters is a burgeoning love triangle among Kristofferson, his paramour Ella (Isabelle Huppert) and hired gun Christopher Walken. In Cimino's hands the personal, political, and historical intersect to powerful effect, with a majesty more apparent than ever in this stunning new restoration personally supervised by the director. Discussion following with director Michael Cimino, schedule permitting. HIMIZU Sion Sono (Suicide Club, Cold Fish), adapts Minoru Furuya's popular manga to tell the confrontational tale of a troubled adolescent boy whose dreams of an ordinary life are slowly eroded in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Fifteen year old Sumida (Shôta Sometani) and his mother run a small boat rental business on the outskirts of the city. They don't get many customers, but the presence of some local homeless people on their property ensure that there's rarely a dull moment around the shop. Meanwhile, at school, Sumida's classmate Keiko (Fumi Nikaidou) makes no secret of her massive crush on him. When Sumida's mother decides to abandon both the business and her son, Keiko and the other locals team up in an attempt to spruce up the boat house, and lure in some new clientele. But when Sumida's drunken, physically abusive father repeatedly shows up to berate the beleaguered teen, and a vicious crime boss appears seeking to collect on a lingering debt, the volatile situation quickly begins to boil over. Holy Flame of the Martial World “You get demons, ghosts, zombies, living tapestries, an (English-speaking!) Western demon, superpowered hermits, conspirators, monks, deadly traps, skeletons, temples, dungeons, secret magic techniques, and the list goes on and on. It’s fucking amazing and doesn’t stop for a minute.” — Letterboxd.com Drenched in eye-popping colors and energetic practical effects, this is a martial arts film for those who also want a heavy helping of fantasy and magic craziness. The mystical Holy Flame of the title — a yin-and-yang sword — is held by a couple who get murdered by some totally evil dudes. The dead couple’s kids grow up and proceed to tear up the countryside, with demons, blasting light rays, and tons of acrobatic duels filing the screen. Tsui Hark fans will love this knockabout display of acrobatic skill and FX wizardry, a popcorn movie in the truest sense. Bring your inner kid and enjoy. The evening’s secret second Shaw Brothers feature will also be on 35mm! Dir. Chin-Ku Lu, 1983, 35mm, 85 min. HUMAN LANTERNS Martial arts and no-holds-barred horror make for a seriously wild experience in this 1982 slice of Shaw Brothers mayhem, as a clawed, skull-masked psycho is on the loose in a village, swiping young women to peel off their skin in his grisly workshop of the damned. Could the murders be connected to a brewing town rivalry over the upcoming lantern festival? The rowdy scenes of the hairy, hyperactive maniac going to town turned this formerly obscure genre mash up into a cult favorite among Hong Kong fans — so rejoice that you can see this “maniacal masterpiece of the macabre, the martial arts, and the just plain weird” (Hong Kong Cinemagic) it in all its flesh-ripping glory on the big screen! Dir. Chung Sun, 1982, 35mm, 95 min. IT’S A GIFT 1934, Universal, 73 min, USA, Dir: Norman Z. McLeod Considered by some to be the Great Man’s greatest film, this short, sweet W.C. Fields vehicle is little more than a series of zany sketches loosely tied to his desire to move to California and grow oranges. Includes the legendary "Mr. Muckle" and "Carl LaFong" scenes, as well as the hanging mirror and sleeping porch routines. Jean Rouverol, who co-wrote THE FIRST TIME, plays Fields’ daughter. Jean Painlevé's Underwater Wonders Long before anyone had ever heard of Jacques Cousteau, French filmmaker Jean Painlevé was documenting life underwater. A founding father of the nature film, he and partner Genevieve Hamon made more than 200 shorts in a career spanning five decades. Join us for an evening of these inventive films, featuring new restorations of “Spider Crabs and Macropodia (Hyas and Stenorhynchus)” (1927, 18 min.), “The Sea Horse” (1933, 13 min.), the clay-animation “Blue Beard” (1938, 13 min.), “Freshwater Assassins” (1947, 25 min.), “Sea Urchins” (1954, 11 min.), “Sea Ballerinas” (1956, 14 min.), “Shrimp Stories” (1964, 10 min.), “The Love Life of the Octopus” (1967, 13 min.) and “Diatoms” (1968, 17 min.) Kick-In (1931) Directed by Richard Wallace Bow plays Molly, the strong-willed wife of an ex-con (Toomey) struggling to go straight. When her husband becomes unwittingly mired in a jewel heist gone wrong, Molly plunges into the underworld to save him and their marriage. A gritty, full-throttle crime drama, Kick-In was Bow’s first film after the trial of her former personal assistant Daisy DeVoe on charges of blackmail and embezzlement. Paramount Publix Corp. Screenwriter: Adaptation Bartlett Cormack. Cinematographer: Victor Milner. Cast: Clara Bow, Regis Toomey, Wynne Gibson, Leslie Fenton, Donald Crisp. 35mm, b/w, 75 min The Kinetic Films of Len Lye In conjunction with the closing weekend of Drawing Surrealism, LACMA will showcase the colorful, trailblazing films of New Zealand’s Len Lye. A pioneer of abstract animation, Lye was one of the first filmmakers to treat film itself as a pliable medium. For most of his landmark films, Lye largely bypasses the camera apparatus and instead paints, scratches, and stencils directly onto stock. Born at the turn of the century in Christchurch, the span of Lye’s body of work is nearly as great as the terrain he covered over his seventy-eight years of life. A formidable nomad, Lye passed through the South Pacific Islands and Australia—where he immersed himself in Polynesian cultures—before stowing away to London, where he first made his name, and eventually to New York, where he became a fellow traveler of the American avant-garde. Along the way, Lye’s associations—Robert Flaherty, Dylan Thomas, Sergei Eisenstein, Joan Miró, Stan Vaderbeek, John Cage, Alfred Hitchcock, Hans Richter, and Merce Cunningham to name a few—were as disparate as his creative output was prodigious: in addition to films, he experimented with poetry, drawings, paintings, and sculpture. This program will span Lye’s entire oeuvre, from the film that brought him to the attention of John Grierson in London—the cel-animated fable Tusalava, inspired by Australian Aboriginal art and folklore—to the masterpieces that Lye created for Grierson’s General Post Office Film Unit—such as Colour Box and Ranbow Dance—through to Lye’s American films including his landmark Free Radicals—composed entirely from scratched black leader—and the posthumously completed Tal Farlow. Works to be screened: Tusalavala 1929/b&w/7 min. A Colour Box 1935/color/4 min. Swinging the Lambeth Walk 1939/color/4 min. Trade Tattoo 1937/color/4 min. Rainbow Dance 1936/color/5 min. Life’s Musical Minute 1953/color/2 min./16mm [Station] Prime Time 1958/b&w/1 min./16mm Life’s Musical Minute 1953/color/1 min./16mm Color Cry 1952/color/4 min./16mm Free Radicals 1958/b&w/5 min./16mm All Souls Carnival 1957/color/12 min./16mm Tal Farlow 1980/b&w/3 min./16mm Particles in Space 1957/b&w/5 min./16mm Kubrick's Odyssey II: Secrets Hidden in the Films of Stanley Kubrick Part Two: Beyond the Infinite In this deeply provocative examination of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, filmmaker and researcher Jay Weidner reveals that besides being a great science fiction movie, 2001 is also a multi-layered revelation concerning the human condition and our place in the universe. Weidner unveils new insights into this most mysterious of films and shows us that Kubrick was telling us another story underneath the story we are watching on the screen. In this secret story we can see that 2001: A Space Odyssey is a actually a work of alchemy; a film that initiates the viewer into a higher consciousness and opens the mind and heart to new vistas for the entire human race. Kubrick uses powerful symbols in 2001 that were designed on purpose to reveal the secret of transformation and the path to our spiritual evolution. Discover the truth behind the blockbuster Hollywood classic and see why 2001: A Space Odyssey has captivated audiences since it’s release in 1968. Plus interview with Weidner and more Kubick docs. La chasse au lion à l'arc (The Lion Hunters) (1965) Directed by Jean Rouch Seven years in the making, this documentary details the highly technical and mystical process of planning and executing a lion hunt, including the preparation of special poisons, testing these on other animals, and tracking and killing the lions with special prayers offered as part of the process. More than in most of his other fieldwork, Rouch implicated himself in the unfolding of this story, noting those moments that he and his camera informed the proceedings themselves. Digital video, color, 77 min. La pyramide humaine (The Human Pyramid) (1961) Directed by Jean Rouch Observing racial segregation at the Lycée Français of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Rouch worked with students there who willingly enacted a story about the arrival of a new white girl, and her effect on the interactions of black and white students. Fomenting a dramatic situation instead of repeating one, Rouch extended the experiments he had undertaken in Chronique d’un Été, including having on-camera student participants view rushes of the film midway through the story. Cast: Nadine Ballot, Denise Alain. 16mm, color, 88 min. Preceded by: Les veuves de 15 ans (The 15-Year-Old Widows) (1966) Directed by Jean Rouch Two young women deal with the existential strain of a vacuous existence among their peers in a well-to-do Parisian set. Always one to experiment, Rouch switched the actresses’ roles before production began. The film features a rare cameo appearance by director Maurice Pialat. Cast: Véronique Duval, Marie-France de Chabaneix, Nadine Ballot. 35mm, b/w, 24 min. Liberté, égalité, fraternité et puis après (Freedom, Equality, Fraternity--And Then What?) (1990) Directed by Jean Rouch This later work from Rouch’s oeuvre takes up themes of historical memory and cross-cultural understanding with surprising results. On the occasion of the bicentenary of the French Revolution, a group of Haitians in Paris undertake a voodoo ritual in front of Les Invalides, to reconcile the spirits of Napoleon Bonaparte and Toussaint L’Overture, the Haitian revolutionary who died as a prisoner of the French Emperor. 16mm, color, 95 min. Preceded by: Makwayela (1977) Directed by Jean Rouch A group of factory workers in post-independence Mozambique performs a ritual of song describing their work in South African gold mines, and decrying the evils of apartheid. 16mm, color, 20 min. The Magic Blade “This exciting extravaganza is the kind of kung fu spectacle that spawned us geeks in the first place.” — DVD Talk One of the great jewels of Shaw Brothers’ golden age, this 1976 kung fu wonder pairs up genre favorites Ti Lung (doing an Eastern-style Clint Eastwood impression) and Lo Lieh as adversaries entangled with protecting and sometimes retrieving the precious Peacock Dart. It’s really just an excuse for a relentless display of astonishing physical feats and crazy plot twists, including a human chess game and a senior citizen cannibal assassin named Devil Grandma. It doesn’t get much better than this textbook definition of a good time at the movies — so come revel in and one of the best examples of the fantasy/swordsman wuxia genre. The evening’s secret second Shaw Brothers feature will also be on 35mm! Dir. Chor Yuen, 1976, 35mm, 86 min. Mamma Roma 1962/b&w/110 min. Scr/dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini; w/ Anna Magnani, Ettore Garofolo, Franco Citti, Silvana Corsini. Caravaggio director Derek Jarman famously quipped that if the painter had been reincarnated in the twentieth century, he would have been Pier Paolo Pasolini. A prolific firebrand, Pasolini not only carved a singular path in the history of Italian cinema, he was also a vociferous critic not just of Italy’s lingering Fascist residue but, more broadly, of the country’s bourgeois mores. Like Caravaggio, Pasolini drew from the proletarian ranks for his casting, preferring to source his actors from the periphery of Italian society. A painter, poet and novelist, Pasolini set Mamma Roma, his second film, amid the Eternal City’s torpid underbelly. Volcanic Anna Magnani stars in the title role as a prostitute risen from the lower depths to reclaim her son Ettore (whom Pasolini discovered waiting tables and thought looked “just like a Caravaggio figure”) after years away. But when one of her former petty-crook beaus resurfaces, Magnani faces jettisoning her hard-won stability. A neo-realist street opera that potently blends grandiloquence and grit, Mamma Roma was attacked by both the Right and Left in Italy and was even momentarily banned. It was largely unseen in the U.S. until it was finally distributed here in 1995, three decades after its initial Italian release. “Certainly one of the four or five best roles of [Magnani’s] career . . . Mamma Roma begins with a wedding and ends with a kind of crucifixion and pieta. And, in between, it shows us a modern urban landscape and fresco of startling beauty and harshness, of poetry and despair, populated by a sordid but magnetic gallery of pimps, hookers, johns, petty thieves and callous officials . . . a shattering voyage.”—Michael Wilmington MOI UN NOIR (ME, A BLACK MAN) Directed by Jean Rouch Termed by Jean-Luc Godard “the best French film since the liberation,” Moi Un Noir is a fanciful experiment, depicting the lives of poor immigrants in the slum of Treichville, in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Seeking to penetrate social realities of these lives, Rouch involved locals (including Oumarou Ganda) in scripting, acting and narrating scenes of daily dreams and disappointments. Upending assumptions about authorship and social science, Rouch’s approach here became a hallmark of his oeuvre and of “ethno-fiction” as a distinction in art and anthropology. Digital video from 35mm, color, 70 min. Preceded by Gare du nord (1964). Directed by Jean Rouch. Rouch's deceptively simple short employs long takes in an experiment to unite real and cinematic time. Screenwriter: Jean Rouch. Cast: Nadine Ballot, Gilles Quéant, Barbet Schroeder. 35mm, color, 16 min. Mammy Water (1953). Directed by Jean Rouch. This lyrical, short documentary depicts Ghanian fishermen making offerings to the sea gods. Digital video from 16mm, color, 18 min. No 2012/color/118 min. Scr: Pedro Peirano; dir: Pablo Larrain; w/ Gael Garcia Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antónia Zegers. Director Pablo Larrain concludes his trilogy on life in Chile under the dictatorial rule of General Augusto Pinochet with a haunting tale of hope and defiance through creativity. Having claimed total control of the country in a military-led coup d’etat in 1973, Pinochet only agreed to a national referendum on his leadership in 1988. Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a young advertising executive who is called by a consortium of political parties to oversee the television spots calling for Pinochet’s rule to end, the “No” campaign. Working in secrecy and under the nose of his own boss (a confidante of the general), Bernal and his conspirators are antagonized not only by the competition but also by menacing plainclothes agents. Rich in 1980s ambience and lilting to a bevy of jingles and slogans, the film’s period verisimilitude is intensified by Larrain’s bold choice to shoot entirely on U-matic tape, allowing for the real “No” and “Yes” TV ads to be interwoven seamlessly with the film’s fictionalized narrative, which was written for the screen by Pedro Peirano (The Maid). A masterful blend of noir-tinted tension and gallows humor, No transforms an archetypal David and Goliath tale into a colorful portrait of activism through mass media. ONLY THE YOUNG Echoing both The 400 Blows and Friday Night Lights, the brand-new doc Only The Young radiates with the one thing nearly every other coming-of-age indie lacks: the gentle integrity of absolute realness. Best friends Garrison and Kevin are good-hearted punk rock kids who occupy their time wandering around their SoCal suburb, building a skate ramp, and negotiating their relationships with the Evangelical Christian faith that saturates their world. As these bright young things amble towards adulthood — and hesitantly towards the the fierce, articulate Skye, and free-thinking hip-hop dancer Kristen — Only The Young infuses you with the acute, thoughtful excitement and heartache of the weirdest, smartest kids you know. The choices made by directors Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet — gorgeous cinematography, music, and brilliant edits — all serve to heighten the guileless candor with which our four teens experience their crises of identity, faith, and their love for each other. As the San Francisco International Film Festival writes, “This is a movie about goodness in an oft-cynical era, and it will have you reinvesting joy into the world.” Dirs. Jason Tippet & Elizabeth Mims, 2012, digital presentation, 80 min. O Sangue (Blood) 1989/b&w/95 min. Scr/dir: Pedro Costa; w/ Pedro Hestnes, Nuno Ferreira, Inês de Medeiros Pedro Costa is best known for his film trilogy shot in and around Libson’s Fontainhas neighborhood (Colossal Youth, In Vanda’s Room, and Ossos), which explores themes of displacement and memory in the face of modernism’s unrelenting march. All of these ideas already appear fully formed in his astounding debut: 1989’s O Sangue (Blood). A fable-like tale of two brothers coping with their father’s death endows Costa with the opportunity to synthesize the earthy lyricism of Dreyer, Bresson, and Murnau with the twilight atmospherics of Tourneur and Laughton’s Night of the Hunter. One of the final films shot by Martin Schäfer (Kings of the Road, Radio On), a master of inky black-and-white cinematography, O Sangue is more than just a wellspring of mesmerizing images. It is cinema reborn from its own shadows. “A prodigious debut film bursting with visual and narrative ideas, homages and a desperate romanticism.”—James Quandt OUR HOSPITALITY 1923, Cohen Media, 73 min, USA, Dir: John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton The famous Hatfields & McCoys feud is the basis for this landmark film, one of Keaton’s earliest - and most successful - attempts to bring dramatic weight and visual complexity to his comedy without sacrificing the laughs. Building on a classic action-movie structure, Buster supplies some of his most dazzling pieces of hilarious spectacle, including a train riding up and down the hills of Pennsylvania with comic elegance. Live piano accompaniment by Cliff Retallick. Personal Ethnographies Film portraits of or by Lipman, Wendy & Shirley Clarke, Andy Lampert, Jonas Mekas, subCacophony Society, and the cast of Killer of Sheep. Informal glimpses and rare documents of LA’s cultural landscape. ROSS LIPMAN IN PERSON Petit à petit (Little by Little) (1969) Directed by Jean Rouch In this whimsical comedy, Rouch collaborators Damouré Zika and Lam Ibrahim Dia extend characters they had earlier developed in the film Jaguar. Having established a small but successful import-export business in Niger, they see the next step clearly: to take on the trappings of capitalistic status, including that most prized symbol, a tall building. A research trip to Paris reveals their folly, as First World practices and values only provoke new troubles. Cast: Damouré Zika, Lam Ibrahim Dia, Illo Goudal. Digital video from 16mm, color, 92 min. THE SAINT AND HER FOOL Agnes Gunther’s heart-rending fairy tale dazzled turn-of-the-century German audiences and sold hundreds of thousands of copies before being adapted into tonight’s tale of timeless passion, the beautiful The Saint and her Fool. The unapologetically sentimental classic was directed by Wilhelm Dieterle, who launched a successful career in Weimar cinema before becoming known for romantic, lush melodramas and technicolor extravaganzas, including 1945's Marlene Dietrich unforgettable Love Letters. The dashing Dieterle himself plays Harrogate, Earl of Torstein, whose star-crossed love for the luminous Rosemarie of Brauneck (Lien Deyers, discovered by Fritz Lang) is further doomed by royal heroes and villains, the requisite evil stepmother, and fantastical elements that channel the intoxicating romance of Camille through the magic of the Brothers Grimm. Incredibly rare and beautifully restored, tonight’s Silent Treatment feature is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a film that celebrates the tumultuous emotions cinema has been capable of evoking since its inception. Dir. William Dieterle, 1928, 35mm. SANSHO THE BAILIFF (SANSHO DAYU) 1954, Janus Films, 120 min, Japan, Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi In medieval Japan, a noble family is splintered when the father, the compassionate provincial governor, is exiled. The mother is sold into prostitution and the son and daughter shipped to the slave labor camp of oppressive Sansho the Bailiff (Eitaro Shindo). Kinuyo Tanaka, Kyoko Kagawa, Akitake Kono, Noriko Tachibana and Yoshiaki Hanayanagi all turn in splendid performances, perfectly embodying the slow grind of degradation and ultimately the transcendence of suffering as time passes. One of Mizoguchi’s most enduring classics. In Japanese with English subtitles. SEEDING OF A GHOST Gore, goo, and a cursed cab driver collide in one of the most extreme Shaw Brothers horrors, a vicious look at the consequences of blind vengeance. More specifically, it’s about what happens when you recruit a black magic practitioner to raise the dead; in this case, the cabbie’s murdered, cheating wife, which results in a riotous face-ripping, shotgun-blasting finale. Stick with the moody opening act and brace yourself for a rollercoaster of monsters, excessive nudity, worm barfing, and highly improper use of coconuts. Oh, yeah, and you get to see a sex scene between a floating reanimated corpse and a ghost, which has to be a cinematic first. It’s also just a really good film, too — one complete with a creepy synth-laced score and some kickass graveyard sets. You’ll never have another cinematic experience quite like this one. Dir. Chuan Yang, 1983, 35mm, 90 min. SELECTED SHORTS BY JEAN ROUCH This compendium of early, shorter works by Rouch traces the development of his practice as a filmmaker concerned with producing sound ethnography, as well as creating revelatory filmic documents. Developing more refined distinctions from this juncture of disciplines, he recorded and interpreted sacred rites and celebrations with methods both borrowed and improvised. Au pays des mages noirs (In the Land of the Black Magi) (1947). Directed by J. Rouch, Jean Sauvy, Pierre Ponty. Captured during an early expedition along the Niger river, the film depicts a hippopotamus hunt by Sorko fishermen on the island of Ayorou, Rouch’s first film on this subject. 35mm, b/w, 13 min. Initiation a la danse des possédés (Initiation into Possession Dance) (1949). A Songhay woman in the Niger village of Firgoun learns the dances of a spirit medium, to manage the spirit possessions that have deprived her of the power of speech. 16mm, color, 22 min. La Circoncision (The Circumcision) (1949). A depiction of the day-long circumcision rites of forty Songhay boys in Mali, from morning preparations through circumcision to ritual music at the day’s end. 16mm, color, 14 min. Les maîtres fous (The Mad Masters) (1955). Depicting the annual Hauka religious ceremonies of the Upper Niger region and produced at the request of priests in authority, Rouch’s compact but staggeringly influential film has been alternately denounced for perpetuating “savage” imagery, and lauded for its ethnographic rigor and implied critique of colonialism. Digital video from 16mm, color, 28 min. Baby Ghana (1957). A record of festivities following Ghanaian independence in 1957, also emblematizing Rouch’s role in documenting Africa’s transition to its post-colonial period. 35mm, color, 27 min. Tess 1980/color/171 min./New DCP Restoration. Scr: Gerard Brach, John Brownjohn, Roman Polanski; dir: Roman Polanski; w/ Nastassja Kinski. A Pathé Restoration supervised by Roman Polanski, image restored by Éclair Group, audio restored by L.E. Diapason Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles scales the novel down to a distillation of the jealousies and anxieties that Hardy played on a larger scale. But Hardy’s judgment about the morality of his time remains central to the manner that Polanski and his co-writers set the plot into motion; the movie commingles innocence, ambition, and tragedy in skillful and haunting ways. A glowing Nastassja Kinski stars as Tess, a farm girl whose discovery of nobility in her family line opens a Pandora’s box of incidents, starting with her father’s reaction to the news, that sends Tess on the road to her eventual ruin as she’s introduced to her new family. Hardy’s theme—that family may not be destiny, but recognition of that family most assuredly is— evoked such subtle work on Tess from Polanski that the film garnered the filmmaker a Best Director Oscar nomination—only the second of his career. The film won three Oscars, including a win for cinematography (director of photography Geoffrey Unsworth also shot Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and died during the production of Polanski's film). Thomas Ince Silent Films Presented by Retro Format Films on 8mm Retro Format’s third anniversary of presenting rare silents on 8mm features a program of little-seen films produced by the legendary Thomas H. Ince, including a 100th anniversary screening of “Drummer of the 8th” (1913, 28 min.), Charles Ray in “In the Tennessee Hills” (1915, 15 min.), “A Tour of The Thomas Ince Studio” (1924, 28 min.) and our annual William S. Hart feature, also produced by Ince, ON THE NIGHT STAGE (1915, 62 min.). With live piano accompaniment by Cliff Retallick. ON THE NIGHT STAGE 1915, Mutual, 62 min, USA, Dir: Reginald Barker Noted producer Thomas H. Ince penned the script to this film, one of silent star William S. Hart’s first feature-length Westerns. A new parson (Robert Edeson) converts saloon dancer Belle Shields (Rhea Mitchell), drawing her away from her stagecoach robber boyfriend (Hart) – until she attracts the attention of a ne’er do well gambler. THREE AGES 1923, Cohen Media, 63 min, USA, Dir: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton Buster parodies D.W. Griffith’s INTOLERANCE with this trio of stories set in various time periods: the Stone Age, the Roman Empire and 1923. In all three epochs, Buster tries to win the same girl away from his rival, and the result is vintage Keaton hilarity, aided by co-star Wallace Beery. Live piano accompaniment by Cliff Retallick. THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT 1974, MGM Repertory, 114 min, USA, Dir: Michael Cimino Writer-director Michael Cimino’s first film is a terrific, offbeat heist film and modern-day Western, with pro thief Clint Eastwood trying to elude murderous ex-partners George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis with aid from gentle-souled drifter Jeff Bridges. THUNDERBOLT constantly surprises with ingenious plot twists, character-driven humor and a wistful sweetness that is all too rare in most action films. THE TIN DRUM “Beautiful to look at, but shot with a cruel and unerring eye, it gives no quarter to the German people for their complicity in events, and in turn disgusts, amazes and frightens.” — Empire Magazine One of the few films in history to have won both the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme D’Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Volker Schlöndorff’s scathing The Tin Drum comes to the Cinefamily screen in a brand-new restored director’s cut! Danzig, 1924. Oskar Matzerath is born with an intellect beyond his infancy. As he witnesses the hypocrisy of adulthood and society, he rejects both, and, at his third birthday, refuses to grow older. Caught in a state of perpetual childhood, Oskar lashes out with piercing screams and frantic poundings on his tin drum, while the unheeding world marches towards the madness and folly of WWII. Anchored by an astounding lead performance from 12-year-old Michael Bennett, the original release of The Tin Drum was in fact shorn of twenty minutes cut at the behest of its distributor in 1979. The resulting, newly-unearthed director’s cut is an even more visionary adaptation of Günter Grass’s acclaimed novel — an unforgettable fantasia of surreal imagery, striking eroticism, and unflinching satire. Dir. Volker Schlondorff, 1979, digital presentation, 163 min. Trouble in Paradise 1932/b&w/81 min. Scr: Samson Raphaelson; dir: Ernst Lubitsch; w/ Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall, Charlie Ruggles A love triangle ignites trouble between two jewel theives and their intended victim. TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR The screwiest movie ever made about alien molestation, this early ‘80s sci-fi/comedy will push your sanity to its outer limits. A Marilyn Monroe wannabe gets scooped up into a giant spaceship! A mad scientist keeps a guy in a gorilla suit in a cage, develops glowing eyes, and slobbers all over the camera! ABBA-inspired musical numbers! Pie fights! Gun-slinging detectives in drag! A light saber attack with a Darth Vader lookalike! You won’t know what the hell you’re watching, but after 92 minutes, your brain will be too pulverized to care. Don’t miss your chance to see this deranged rarity — the closest the Shaw Brothers ever came to matching The Apple — up on the big screen in all its neon glory. Dir. Gwok-Ming Cheung, 1983, 35mm, 93 min. WALK PROUD Hoo boy, we’ve been waiting to show this one since we opened the Cinefamily doors back in 2007, and now, the anointed high holy timeslot has finally revealed itself! Could this be one of the greatest/weirdest casting snafus in the history of Hollywood — clean-cut Robby Benson as a Chicano gang member?!?! Strange, but true; more unfathomable than Mickey Rooney as a Japanese guy (Breakfast At Tiffany’s), Omar Sharif as Che Guevara (1969’s Che!) or Lily Tomlin and John Travolta as a straight couple in love (Moment By Moment) is the portrayal of an East L.A. cholo by the sensitive Jewish ‘70s heartthrob star of Ice Castles. The plot is standard-issue “love across the tracks” romance fare, with Benson’s burgeoning teenage thug attracted to a lily-white Westside girl — but it’s both Benson’s outrageous brownface and bewildering accent that makes this a midnight movie for the ages. Come discover your inner gangster with us, as we jointly shout “Si, muy macho!” Dir. Robert L. Collins, 1979, 35mm, 102 min. WINGS Directed by William A. Wellman, Harry D’Arrast (uncredited) Director William A. Wellman drew heavily on his own WWI flying experiences to make the dogfight sequences in this, the first Best Picture winner, as realistic—not to mention as technically demanding—as possible. Bow plays against her flapper image as Mary Preston, the girl next door in love with an American flyer. After joining the war effort as part of the Motor Corps, she’s reunited with him at the front but fate keeps them apart until personal tragedy plays a hand. Paramount Famous Lasky Corp. Screenwriter: Hope Loring, Louis D. Lighton. Cinematographer: Harry Perry. Editor: E. Lloyd Sheldon. Cast: Clara Bow, Charles Rogers, Richard Arlen, Jobyna Ralston, El Brendel. 35mm, b/w, silent, 136 min. Musical accompaniment will be provided by Robert Israel. WORKING GIRLS Chock full of winks and double entendres, Dorothy Arzner’s WORKING GIRLS (1931) is a film that explores the complex lives of two sisters, Mae (Dorothy Hall) and June (Judith Wood), as they work and fall in love in the big city. It is a film that attempts to distinguish between the ”ladylike” and the “hardboiled” woman only to ultimately embrace both, and is an interesting example of Arzner’s career, particularly given her status as one of the few American women director’s of the studio era. Definitely join us to watch this wonderful film in its original 35mm format thanks to the UCLA Film and Television Archive. “Perhaps the most daring and innovative film Arzner ever made.” - Judith Mayne YEAR OF THE DRAGON 1985, Warner Bros., 134 min, USA, Dir: Michael Cimino New York police captain and Vietnam veteran Mickey Rourke takes on Chinese crime boss John Lone in this violent, riveting thriller scripted by Oliver Stone. Director Michael Cimino does some of his best work with his usual themes -- male friendships and betrayal, the importance of ritual and American-Asian cultural collision -- in this visually stylish and viscerally charged action film. "Cimino's eye for detail and insistence thereon has paid off in his impressive re-creation of Chinatown at producer Dino De Laurentiis' studios in North Carolina. Crammed with an array of interesting characters, including the extras in the background, DRAGON brims with authenticity." - Variety