a highly-opinionated selection of things happening around town, and sometimes out of town. this month's page here.
tue. jan. 31 mose allison @ jazz bakery william eggleston in the small world 7:30 PM @ egyptian theatre wed. feb. 1 FREE hotel city 7:30 PM, chavez ravine: a los angeles story @ ucla film archive arizona dream, time of the gypsies @ new beverly theatre mose allison @ jazz bakery william eggleston in the small world 7:30 PM @ egyptian theatre skidoo FREE 8 PM @ 7 dudley cinema thu. feb. 2 mose allison @ jazz bakery arizona dream, time of the gypsies @ new beverly theatre william eggleston in the small world 7:30 PM @ egyptian theatre the seven samurai 7:30 PM @ egyptian theatre fri. feb. 3 dead meadow @ troubadour mose allison @ jazz bakery sonic scenery: music for collections opening @ natural history museum http://www.nhm.org/firstfridays/sonic_opening.html the magnificent seven 7:30 PM @ aero theatre stray dog 7:30 PM, drunken angel @ egyptian theatre sat. feb. 4 pee-wee's big adventure MIDNIGHT MOVIE @ rialto theatre mose allison @ jazz bakery of montreal @ the echo hostages 7 PM @ starlight studio the burmese harp 7:30 PM, woman in the dunes @ egyptian theatre sun. feb. 5 mose allison @ jazz bakery crazed fruit 6 PM, black river @ egyptian theatre in this short life 8 PM @ redcat tue. feb. 7 languis @ spaceland a tribute to UPA 7 PM @ egyptian theatre pack-man 7-10 PM @ ESL wed. feb. 8 new york doll, last days @ new beverly theatre mae shi, silver daggers @ troubadour thu. feb. 9 new york doll, last days @ new beverly theatre fri. feb. 10 dälek @ knitting factory jean-luc godard's histoire(s) du cinema chapters 1 and 2 7:30 PM @ ucla film archive the passenger, five easy pieces @ new beverly theatre love in silence 8 PM @ silent movie theatre over the edge MIDNIGHT MOVIE @ nuart theatre poppy 8:15 PM @ old town music hall, el segundo the gris gris @ the echo sat. feb. 11 so close, so far 7:30 PM @ ucla film archive the passenger, five easy pieces @ new beverly theatre love in silence 8 PM @ silent movie theatre the pope @ the smell poppy 2:30 PM, 8:15 PM @ old town music hall, el segundo mcsweeney's presents the world, explained 8:30 PM @ redcat theatre sun. feb. 12 jean-luc godard's histoire(s) du cinema chapters 3 and 4 7 PM @ ucla film archive love in silence 1 PM, 8 PM @ silent movie theatre poppy 2:30 PM @ old town music hall, el segundo mon. feb. 27 johnny guitar 7:30 PM, rancho notorious @ new beverly theatre l'ange 8 PM @ REDCAT tues. feb. 28 johnny guitar 7:30 PM, rancho notorious @ new beverly theatre wed. mar. 1 stereolab @ detroit bar la dolce vita @ new beverly theatre west of zanzibar 7:30 PM, the road to mandalay @ ucla film archive who is bozo texino 8 PM, lovejoy, portrait #1: cascadia terminal @ 7 dudley cinema thu. mar. 2 la dolce vita @ new beverly theatre cnn goes to war @ ESL www.eslprojects.org tokyo story @ aero theatre fri. mar. 3 low @ troubadour the talk of the town 8:15 PM @ old town music hall, el segundo winsor mccay 7:30 PM, this cartoon life, feline follies @ ucla film archive the oscar @ egyptian theatre seven samurai @ aero theatre crumb eisner & kurtzman 8 PM @ secret headquarters sat. mar. 4 ACE seminar 10 AM @ egyptian theatre the warriors MIDNIGHT MOVIE @ rialto theatre the talk of the town 2:30 PM, 8:15 PM @ old town music hall, el segundo notorious 2 PM, 8 PM @ alex theatre, glendale the unholy three 7:30 PM, he who gets slapped @ ucla film archive young frankenstein @ aero theatre sun. mar. 5 the talk of the town 2:30 PM @ old town music hall, el segundo the antarcticans @ the echo WHAT IT IS: ACE SEMINAR OSCAR NOMINATED EDITORS "INVISIBLE ART, VISIBLE ARTISTS" Presented by American Cinema Editors (A.C.E.) An open discussion with all of this year's Academy Award-nominated editors. Mike Hill and Dan Hanley (Cinderella Man); Claire Simpson (The Constant Gardener); Hughes Winborne (Crash); Michael Kahn (Munich); and Michael McCusker (Walk the Line). Free Admission. L'ANGE (The Angel, France, 1977-82, 70 min., 35 mm), directed by Patrick Bokanowski. Preceded by Pour un pianiste, composed by MichÃ¨le Bokanowski "Exploits to the maximum the tension between the illusion of depth of the cinematic image and the two-dimensional nature of the screen... L'Ange is a 2001: A Space Odyssey produced under the same conditions as Eraserhead." Les Cahiers du CinÃ©ma L'Ange, the legendary opus by French filmmaker and artist Patrick Bokanowski, offers new adventures in perception in its depiction of the climbing of a giant stairway--where the characters seem to be prisoners of an endlessly repeated action on each floor. The film features a score by MichÃ¨le Bokanowski, whose intricately composed musical textures endow the visuals with a mysterious meaning. Defying all traditional boundaries, this distinctive collaboration between the Bokanowskis opens cinema to alternative possibilities of expression: a purely mental vision and a radical metamorphosis of reality. In person: Patrick and MichÃ¨le Bokanowski ARIZONA DREAM (from IMDB) An Innuit hunter races his sled home with a fresh-caught halibut. This fish pervades the entire film, in real and imaginary form. Meanwhile, Axel tags fish in New York as a naturalist's gofer. He's happy there, but a messenger arrives to bring him to Arizona for his uncle's wedding. It's a ruse to get Axel into the family business. In Arizona, Axel meets two odd women: vivacious, needy, and plagued by neuroses and familial discord. He gets romantically involved with one, while the other, rich but depressed, plays accordion tunes to a gaggle of pet turtles. BLACK RIVER (KUROI KAWA), 1957, Janus Films, 116 min. Director Masaki Kobayashi (KWAIDAN, SAMURAI REBELLION) was, like Kurosawa, an ardent humanist who brought his strong convictions to everything he did. There were many movies chronicling post-WWII malaise, and many critical of the crime and squalor generated in the vicinity of American military bases. BLACK RIVER is a prime example. Poor, mild-mannered Fumio Watanabe sits helplessly by as Ineko Arima is sucked into a life of prostitution by oily yakuza, Tatsuya Nakadai (convincingly scary in one of his earliest roles). Gripping from beginning to end. NOT ON VIDEO! THE BURMESE HARP (BIRUMA NO TATEGOTO), 1956, Janus Films, 116 min. Kon Ichikawa (FIRES ON THE PLAIN, AN ACTORS REVENGE) has directed many outstanding films, but perhaps his finest is this simple anti-war tale that plays like an adventure saga as well as a profound odyssey of spiritual growth. Shoji Yasui is Mizushima, a lute-playing corporal in the Pacific Wars final days. After his unit is captured by the British and en route to a repatriation camp, hes entrusted with trying to convince a hardline Japanese commander holed-up in a mountain cave to surrender. The man refuses, a battle ensues and Mizushima awakens later to find everyone either gone or dead. He begins what will be an arduous journey to find his unit, disguising himself as a Buddhist monk to avoid complications. However, the numerous corpses from both sides that he comes across, move him to such an extent, that he decides to become a real priest and devote himself to burying the dead. At times, almost unbearably moving, this films heartbreaking, uplifting power comes not from audience- manipulating sentimentality, but a simple unfolding of events. Akira Ifukube (GOJIRA) supplies one of his most haunting scores. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. With Rentaro Mikuni. CHAVEZ RAVINE: A LOS ANGELES STORY Directed by Jordan Mechner Produced by Don Normark, Mechner This film remembers how a close-knit Mexican-American community of 300 families near downtown Los Angeles was evicted to make way for a promised, but never materialized, public housing project, which instead became Dodger Stadium. 35mm. 23 min. CRAZED FRUIT (KURUTTA KAJITSU), 1956, Janus Films, 86 min. There were a number of films made in mid-fifties Japan dealing with the new phenomenon of the taiyozoku (literally sun tribe): affluent, hedonistic middle class teens without responsibilities, who often got into trouble. Both Nikkatsu and Daiei Studios attempted to jumpstart a new genre, adapting the works of writer, Shintaro Ishihara. But, despite the box office popularity of the films, reaction from scandalized parents, press, school and government officials was overwhelming. Underrated director, Ko Nakahira was in the eye of the storm (along with Kon Ichikawa's equally fiery PUNISHMENT ROOM) with this startling saga of two hellion brothers (Yujiro Ishihara, Masahiko Tsugawa) who meet a beautiful girl (Mie Kitahara) while on holiday, causing things to spiral out of control. Famed composers, Masaru Sato (YOJINBO) and Toru Takemitsu (KWAIDAN) collaborated on the score. LA DOLCE VITA (from IMDB) Marcello is a society gossip columnist. During one of his rounds, he meets again Maddalena and spends the night with her in a whore's bedroom. When he comes back home the next morning, he discovers that his girlfriend Emma poisoned herself because of him. Later, he is at the airport where the famous star Sylvia is arriving : he will go with her a few days... A chronicle of a decadent society where there is no more values except alcohol and sex, and no solutions but suicide. DRUNKEN ANGEL (YOIDORE TENSHI), 1948, Janus Films, 98 min. Movie icon Toshiro Mifune and pantheon director Akira Kurosawas many screen collaborations are deservedly legendary, and here is the film that started it all. Kurosawa allegedly fought Toho Studios top brass to let him use newcomer Mifune in the lead role, a totally unknown actor who had accidentally caught his eye when the director strayed into one of the studios open auditions. Mifune is electric as an arrogant young yakuza in post-WWII Tokyo who comes to the office of alcoholic ghetto doctor, Takashi Shimura (in one of his best roles) to patch up a wound. But Mifune doesnt bargain on finding out he has other more serious health problems, namely a terminal case of tuberculosis. Kurosawa was decidedly critical of the proliferation of gangster films in 1960s Japan, and it is fascinating to see his early treatment of the yakuza genre here, especially when compared to those later films directed by yakuza movie maestro, Kinji Fukasaku, a filmmaker who also often set his films in the post-war era. FELINE FOLLIES The anarchic antics (and inimitable argot) of guileless Krazy Kat and brick-throwing Ignatz Mouse were first adapted to the silent screen in 1916. These early animations of George Herriman's ingenious comic hewed closely to the source's pared-down graphic style. In such later Charles Mintz talkie versions as THE APACHE KID, Krazy Kat becomes definitively male, more rounded and lovable Ã la that other famous mouse, Mickey. Felix the Cat, however, was already a silent cartoon star before being syndicated as a comic strip character in 1923. Who exactly created him is in dispute; credit has been claimed for cartoonist Otto Mesmer and producer Pat Sullivan. What is not in doubt is that with his saucer eyes, big grin and expressive tail, Felix has paced his way, hands tucked behind his back, into immortality. KRAZY KAT GOES A-WOOING 1916 Animator: Leon Searl. Story/Based on the Krazy Kat comic by George Herriman. 16mm, silent, approx. 2 min. (18 fps). KRAZY KAT AND IGNATZ MOUSE AT THE CIRCUS 1916 Animator: Leon Searl. Based on the Krazy Kat comic by George Herriman. 16mm, silent, 4 min. (18 fps). THE APACHE KID 1930 Directors: Manny Gould and Ben Harrison. Writer/Based on the Krazy Kat comic by George Herriman. 35mm, 7 min. FELIX THE CAT IN BLUNDERLAND 1926 A Pat Sullivan Cartoon. Director: Otto Mesmer (uncredited). 35mm, silent, approx. 6 min. (24 fps). FELIX THE CAT WEATHERS THE WEATHER 1926 A Pat Sullivan Cartoon. 35mm, silent, approx. 6 min. (24 fps). Approx. TRT: 25 min. TRT: approx. 112 min. FIVE EASY PIECES (from IMDB) Robert Dupea has given up his promising career as a concert pianist and is now working in oil fields. He lives together with Rayette, who's a waitress in a diner. When Robert hears from his sister that his father isn't well, he drives up to Washington to see him, taking Rayette with him. There he gets confronted with his rich, cultured family that he had left behind. HE WHO GETS SLAPPED (1924) Directed by Victor Seastrom (SjÃ¶strÃ¶m) Sensitive scientist Paul Beaumont's (Lon Chaney) work and wife are stolen by his duplicitous benefactor, Baron Regnard (Marc MacDermott). Humiliated by the academy and his wife, Paul drops out of society to become the popular circus clown "HE," whose comedy act involves being slapped by his fellow clowns when he tries to speak of his scientific theories. Paul's bleak world is enlivened by the appearance of Consuelo Mancini (Norma Shearer), a girl forced by her penniless aristocrat father to work in the circus. When he learns of Count Mancini's (Tully Marshall) plans to marry Consuelo to his nemesis, the Baron, Paul plots his revenge. Throughout the film, director Victor Seastrom uses the metaphor of a globe surrounded by clowns to represent fate and the futility of man's struggle. MGM. Based on he adaptation by Gregory Zilboorg of the play by Leonid Andreyev. Producer: Irving G. Thalberg. Scenario: Carey Wilson, Victor Seastrom (SjÃ¶strÃ¶m). Cinematographer: Milton Moore. Editor: Hugh Wynn. Cast: Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, John Gilbert, Marc MacDermott. 35mm, silent, (20 fps), 82 min. Presented with live musical accompaniment. HOSTAGES (1943 Para.) (from IMDB) A group of twenty-six Czechoslovakian citizens are jailed until a 50,000 crown reward by the Gestapo uncovers the supposed killer of a Nazi officer whom virtually everyone suspects committed suicide. The hostages include the leader of the underground resistance movement (as played by William Bendix), whose cover is that of a washroom attendant in the nightclub where the "victim" was last seen alive. Will the hostages be released in dangerous world of bribery, deception and corruption that characterized invading armies during World War Two? Frank Tuttle drama w/ Luise Rainer, Paul Lukas. Reservations are required. HOTEL CITY Directed and produced by Phoebe Tooke A contingent of San Francisco tenants from several Single Residence Occupancy hotels join together and form a city-wide collaborative to improve their quality of life, in the face of deteriorating conditions and safety. 16mm. 16 min. IN THIS SHORT LIFE Shot with a mixture of professional and non-professional actors (including the filmmaker herself) in the intimate black-and-white palette of older home movies, In This Short Life works the blurry margin between documentary and fiction. The film follows four mysteriously intertwined lives in Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles: an elderly woman ambivalently embarking on an affair; a mentally unstable man being evicted from his home; a frustrated actor waiting for his breakthrough; and a young female artist forced by a much-desired yet inconveniently-timed pregnancy to reassess the priorities in her life. Best Direction Award, International Feature Competition, 2005 FEMINA Festival in Rio de Janeiro. Los Angeles Premiere In person: Britta Sjögren A true independent feature, the film was scripted by Sjögren in about a week and shot for under $40,000. The plot, loosely based on aspect the real life stories of the people playing the characters in the film, was re-crafted and fine-tuned with their collaboration. The production mixes documentary and narrative techniques, resulting on a vigorous challenge to conventions that separate fiction from non-fiction. The film's music is made up of the haunting, iconoclastic songs and vocal performances of Mark Eitzel and American Music Club, with original scores by Marc Capelle (a composer/ collaborator of Eitzel's). "A lovely interweaving of dramatic threads whose proximity to real life is genuine. The film reveals human isolation as something tender and funny as well as poignant." San Francisco Bay Guardian JEAN-LUC GODARD'S HISTOIRE(S) DU CINEMA Godard began work on his monumental survey of the cinema in 1988. Turning to video technology to tell the story of the century of celluloid as it rapidly drew to a close, Godard took the next ten years to construct a sustained montage of film clips, music fragments, sound effects, on-screen text and voice-over, not so much a history of the cinema as a critique of it. The resulting eight-part, 260-minute work washes over the viewer in surging waves of quotations, references and autobiographical reflections. Magisterial and mercurial, overwhelming and intimate, HISTOIRE(S) DU CINEMA finds a giant of the cinema surveying the myriad intersections between the larger history of the 20th century and a life spent embroiled in the meaning of the moving image. The genesis for HISTOIRE(S) was a series of lectures that Godard gave at the University of Montreal in 1978, but its structure and themes reach back to the influence of Henri Langlois' pell-mell programming at the Cinémathèque Française and Godard's own early criticism in Cahiers du Cinéma. Returning repeatedly to images of war and the Holocaust, Godard moves between documentary and fictional modes to strike an elegiac tone over the cinema's failure to recognize the urgent, ugly truths of the century it helped to shape. Acknowledging and probing the cinema's fall from grace, Godard nevertheless struggles to commune with the medium's ineffable allure. Since its completion in 1998, HISTOIRE(S) DU CINEMA has been broadcast on European television, released on VHS and adapted into a book accompanied by a collection of audio CDs. However, until recently, it has been rarely screened in this country. The Archive is proud to present the local premiere of Gaumont's fully subtitled video restoration of HISTOIRE(S) over two nights. More than a summation of a career or an era, HISTOIRE(S) is, like all of Godard's best work, a vital call for a new kind of cinema. JOHNNY GUITAR (from IMDB) Vienna has built a saloon oustide of town, and she hopes to build her own town once the railroad is put through, but the townsfolk want her gone. When four men hold up a stagecoach and kill a man the town officials, led by Emma Small, come to the saloon to grab four of Vienna's friends, the Dancin' Kid and his men. Vienna stands strong against them, and is aided by the presence of an old acquaintance of hers, Johnny Guitar, who is not what he seems. LAST DAYS (from IMDB) Introspective artist Blake is buckling under the weight of fame, professional obligations and a mounting feeling of isolation. Dwarfed by towering trees, Blake slowly makes his way through dense woods. He scrambles down an embankment to a fresh spring and undresses for a short swim. The next morning he returns to his house, an elegant, if neglected, stone mansion. Many people are looking for Blake--his friends, his managers and record label, even a private detective--but he does not want to be found. In the haze of his final hours, Blake will spend most his time by himself. He avoids the people who are living in his house, who approach him only when they want something, be it money or help with a song. He hides from one concerned friend and turns away another. He visits politely with a stranger from the Yellow Pages sales department, and he ducks into an underground rock club. He wanders through the woods and he plays a new song, one last rock and roll blowout. Finally, alone in the greenhouse, Blake will look and listen--and seek release. LOVEJOY ('05, 30m) Vanessa Renwick's memorial to murals made in the 40's by Oregon switchman Tom Stefopoulos. This revealing folk documentarian records the restoration of these marvelous columns, featured in Van Zant's Drugstore Cowboy. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, 1960, UA (Sony Repertory), 128 min. Excellent, Americanized version of the Akira Kurosawa classic THE SEVEN SAMURAI, helmed by noted action auteur John Sturges (THE GREAT ESCAPE, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK), with charismatic Steve McQueen making his first star turn alongside Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst Bucholz as seven gunmen hired to safeguard a Mexican farm village from marauding bandit chieftain Eli Wallach. With an instantly memorable Elmer Bernstein score that inspired everything from future westerns to cigarette commercials (!) for decades to come. MCSWEENEYS PRESENTS: The World, Explained U.S. premiere Are you curious about Teddy Roosevelts obsession with Sasquatch, or the exciting trend of multi-user garmentry? Learn about these vital topics and more when publishing phenomenon McSweeneys stages an evening of readings, comedy and slide-show presentations. Primary sources consist of charts, photographs and a complete catalogue of the nine presidents who had hooks for hands. Scholars in attendance include: John Hodgman, David Rees, Mike Colton, the editorial staff of Yeti Researcher, and Eli Horowitz. Hosted by Patton Oswalt plus musical entertainment by Jon Brion. NEW YORK DOLL (from IMDB) A recovering alcoholic and recently converted Mormon, Arthur "Killer" Kane, of the rock band The New York Dolls, is given a chance at reuniting with his band after 30 years. THE OSCAR, 1966, Avco-Embassy & Stuart Lisell Films, 118 min. Dir. Russell Rouse. Get in the mood for the Oscar telecast with this hilariously overheated drama of the race for the Oscar statuette, a kind of masculine version of ALL ABOUT EVE, starring Stephen Boyd as a strip club barker-turned-Hollywood star, clawing and back-stabbing his way to Academy Awards night, while lover Elke Sommer and a wildly-miscast Tony Bennett (in his only starring role) stand by and suffer. Look for Milton Berle in an excellent supporting role as Boyd's agent, along with cameos from Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Edith Head, Hedda Hopper, Merle Oberon and Nancy Sinatra. Discussion following the film with actress, Elke Sommer. OVER THE EDGE (from IMDB) New Grenada is a planned community set in the desert where there is nothing for the kids to do, save for a rec center - which closes at 6 PM. The parents, in their zeal to attract industry to their town, have all but neglected their children. As a result, the kids begin to create their own entertainment, which involves vandalism, theft, and general hooliganism. During an incident when one of the kids brandishes an unloaded gun at town cop Ed Doberman, he is shot and killed. When the parents gather the next night to discuss the killing and the level of lawlessness among the youth, they soon find out that their kids have had all they can take. Director Jonathan Kaplan & co-writer Tim Hunter in person (schedules permitting) THE PASSENGER (from IMDB) David Locke is a television reporter on location in Africa. It's hot, humid, and everything seems to be dirty. Returning to his hotel after getting lost and bogged in the desert, he discovers that the man in the room next to his is dead. After deciding that his own life wasn't worth living anymore, he switches identities with the dead man, taking the man's passport (with his own photo swapped in), his luggage, and his appointment schedule. Leaving Africa, he heads off to keep the dead man's appointments, hoping that his new life will be more interesting than his old one was. POPPY (from IMDB) WC Fields stars as a circus performer whose daughter claims to be heir to a small-town fortune. A sentimental comedy with music and schmaltzy love story (Rochelle Hudson, Richard Cromwell), Field is--as always--watchable and quite good in a fairly straight role. However, character actresses Catherine Doucet and Maude Eburne steal the film as a fake countess and Hudson's benefactress. Fields film regular Bill Wolfe is also fun. This old-timey comedy has a Chaplin-like feel in its blending of humor and pathos. A near-miss for Fields but still worth watching for his good performance and a couple of classic routines. PORTRAIT #1: CASCADIA TERMINAL ('05, 6m) Renwick's mesmerizing stare at the most efficient grain terminal at the port of Vancouver, B.C. RANCHO NOTORIOUS (from IMDB) A western based on the story "Gunsight Whitman" by Silvia Richards. Vern Haskell, a nice rancher, seeks out to revenge his fiance's death when she is killed during a robbery. His revenge leads him to Chuck-a-luck, Altar Keane's ranch set up to hide criminals, and he finds more than he bargains for. THE ROAD TO MANDALAY (1926) Directed by Tod Browning After his wife dies giving birth, sea captain Joe (Lon Chaney) leaves his infant daughter Rosemary to be raised by a priest in a Mandalay convent. Years later, Joe is the hard-living, half-blind operator of a brothel who has engaged in shady business with "the Admiral" (Owen Moore). Unaware of her father's identity, the innocent Rosemary (Lois Moran) falls in love with the Admiral, a situation that Joe finds intolerable. Tragedy ensues when Joe intervenes in his daughter's plans to marry the Admiral, who has reformed his wild ways. Chaney played the scarred, tattooed, one-eyed Joe with the aid of a specially made optical glass shield to mask his left eye. MGM. Producer: Irving G. Thalberg. Scenario: Elliott Clawson, Tod Browning, Herman Mankiewicz. Cinematographer: Merritt B. Gerstad. Editor: Errol Taggart. Cast: Lon Chaney, Lois Moran, Owen Moore, Henry B. Walthall. 35mm, silent, (24 fps), 74 min. Presented with live musical accompaniment. THE SEVEN SAMURAI (SHICHININ NO SAMURAI), 1954, Janus Films, 207 min. Director Akira Kurosawas most famous film is certainly one of the finest movies ever made - a huge, sprawling but intimate, character-driven period epic about an aging swordsman (the great Takashi Shimura) who enlists six other warriors-for-hire (amongst them, Toshiro Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isao Kimura, Daisuke Kato, Seiji Miyaguchi, Yoshio Inaba) to safeguard a remote village plagued by bandits. One of Kurosawas prime talents as director, aside from his meticulous attention to writing and character development, was his ability to create a lived-in wealth of detail in all of his in-period samurai films. Nowhere is this talent more evident than in this hypnotic evocation of a bygone age. The action film prototype SEVEN SAMOURAI has been enormously influential on a legion of filmmakers from around the world, including Sam Peckinpah and Clint Eastwood. "Moves like hot mecury, and it draws a viewer so thoroughly into its world that real life can seem thick and dull when the lights come up." Ty Burr, Boston Globe. SKIDOO ('68, 86m) Film scholar Christian Divine will be present to contextualize this legendary psychedelic film's strange history with archival oddities like director Otto Preminger on "Playboy After Dark." One of Hollywood's most bizarre films ever with Jackie Gleason on acid, Groucho Marx smoking a joint and an almost nude Carol Channing singing great Harry Nilsson songs. The peace & love revolution gets whimsical in this "spectacular stylistic failure." Plus special guests. Live Mamas & Papas music from THE BACKBONERS at 7pm SO CLOSE, SO FAR (Kheili Dour, Kheili Nazdik) Masoud Rayegani (from last year's SILENCE OF THE SEA) plays a wealthy Tehran doctor who lives a life of luxury, surrounded by the latest in high-tech personal communication devices. This self-satisfied existence is rocked when he learns that his teenaged son has a brain tumor. SO CLOSE, SO FAR follows the doctor's journey as he takes to the road to catch up with his son, off on a New Year's holiday. This moving film is part male melodrama, part road movie, developing into a fable of renewal and transformation. Like A PIECE OF BREAD (with which it shares a screenwriter), SO CLOSE, SO FAR can be read as either religious parable or existential allegory. The film is Iran's submission for the 2005 Foreign-Language Film Oscar. STRAY DOG (NORA INU), 1949, Janus Films, 122 min. One sweltering summer day, young police detective Toshiro Mifune has his gun lifted from him on a bus. Impatient Mifunes frenzied efforts to find the homicidal fugitive responsible, both to atone to his superiors and to his calm, middle-aged partner (Takashi Shimura), and to prove his worth as a cop, leave the viewer breathless. Director Akira Kurosawa loved hardboiled American crime fiction, and there is no more conspicuous proof in his early career than in STRAY DOG. An expertly-paced, atmospheric suspense film that more than holds its own against the numerous noirs that were being produced across the Pacific in the USA. With Keiko Awaji, Isao Kimura. THE TALK OF THE TOWN (from IMDB) When the Holmes Woolen Mill burns down, political activist Leopold Dilg is jailed for arson (and murder; one man was lost). Escaping, Leopold hides out in the home of his childhood sweetheart Nora Shelley ...which she has just rented to unsuspecting law professor Michael Lightcap. As Lightcap's unwelcome guests, Nora and Leopold drag the professor, willy-nilly, from pure legal theory to impure legal practice. Blends comedy, thriller, philosophy, mystery and romance. THIS CARTOON LIFE Contemporary foibles get the irreverent treatment in this collection of cartoon mischief. Featured are the BOBBY BUMPS shorts based on R.F. Outcault's Buster Brown comic strip, two TAD-inspired shorts including the Prohibition parody BREATH OF A NATION, and a bacchanalian knock, once again, against Prohibition in THE BEER PARADE. This last stars Dick Huemer's Scrappy, a boy who took the less frequent route from animated cartoon to comic strip. BOBBY BUMPS STARTS A LODGE 1916 Animator: Earl Hurd. Based on the Buster Brown comic by R.F. Outcault. 35mm, silent, approx. 9 min. (18 fps). BOBBY BUMPS AT THE DENTIST 1917 Director: Earl Hurd. Based on the Buster Brown comic by R.F. Outcault. 35mm, silent, approx. 4 min. (18-20 fps). INDOOR SPORTS 1921 Animator: William C. Nolan. Based on a comic by Thomas A. Dorgan ("TAD"). 35mm, silent, approx. 7 min. (21 fps). BREATH OF A NATION 1919 Director: Gregory La Cava. Based on a comic by Thomas A. Dorgan ("TAD"). 35mm, silent, approx. 7 min. (18 fps). THE BEER PARADE 1933 Director: Dick Huemer. 35mm, 7 min. Approx. TRT: 34 min. TIME OF THE GYPSIES (from IMDB) In this luminous tale set in the former Yugoslavia, Perhan, an engaging young Gypsy with telekinetic powers, is seduced by the quick-cash world of petty crime which threatens to destroy him and those he loves. TOKYO STORY (TOKYO MONOGATARI), 1953, Janus Films, 136 min. Revered master director Yasujiro Ozu dealt with the pathos, poetry and humor of everyday family life in Japan, and his most highly-regarded masterwork is, without question, this heartrending drama of two elderly parents (Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama) leaving their provincial home village to visit their indifferent grown-up children in the city. Like all of Ozu's other pictures, there is a deceptively simple presentation of commonplace events, that nevertheless, by the end, have drawn on deep wellsprings of emotion. One of Ozu's greatest talents was in showing these feelings as universal, as part of the human condition and not specific to Japan - it is well-nigh impossible not to be moved by his films. A TRIBUTE TO UPA An evening with the the animators, rare films, and special guests. Join us for a special evening with live guests and rare films as we examine the legacy of UPA (United Productions of America) - the "anti-Disney" studio of the 1950s that is still influencing animation design today. Rarely shown Columbia theatrical cartoons (in 35mm) starring Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing as well as groundbreaking TV shorts, commercials and industrial films will be screened and a panel of distinguished guests and UPA veterans share their experiences and artistic influences. Jerry Beck will moderate the Q & A. THE UNHOLY THREE (1925) Directed by Tod Browning The "Man of a Thousand Faces" adopts drag in this crime drama. A little person, a strongman, a ventriloquist and their female accomplice Rosie (Mae Busch) team up to commit robbery. Disguised as an elderly woman, Echo (Lon Chaney) sells parrots that fail to talk once their buyers take them home. This ploy allows the little person (dressed as a baby) and the "lady" bird shop owner to check out the homes of their wealthy clients. When the thieves frame Rosie's innocent love interest Hector (Matt Moore) for a robbery and murder, the crooks' scheme begins to fall apart. Chaney and Harry Earles would reprise their roles in the 1930 talking version directed by Jack Conway, Chaney's final film. MGM. Based on the novel by Clarence Aaron Robbins. Producer: Louis B. Mayer. Scenario: Waldemar Young. Cinematographer: David Kesson. Editor: Daniel J. Gray. Cast: Lon Chaney, Mae Busch, Matt Moore, Victor McLaglen. 35mm, silent, (20 fps), 86 min. Presented with live musical accompaniment. WEST OF ZANZIBAR (1928) Directed by Tod Browning English music hall magician Phroso (Lon Chaney) performs macabre magic tricks (such as using a coffin to turn his wife, Anna, into a skeleton), but a fight between Phroso and his wife's ivory-trading lover, Crane (Lionel Barrymore), paralyzes Phroso. Retreating to the African jungle where he is known as "Dead-Legs," Phroso uses his magic and influence over the natives to stymie Crane's business, all the while seeing to it that his dead wife's love child is raised in the lowest brothel in Africa. But Phroso risks extinguishing his humanity in his relentless quest for vengeance. Lon Chaney and Tod Browning chillingly explore the lengths to which a man will go to torment an enemy. MGM. Based on the play Kongo by Charles de Vonde and Kilbourne Gordon. Producer: Irving G. Thalberg. Scenario: Elliott Clawson, Joe Farnham. Cinematographer: Percy Hilburn. Editor: Harry Reynolds. Cast: Lon Chaney, Lionel Barrymore, Mary Nolan, Warner Baxter. 35mm, silent, 65 min. Presented with live musical accompaniment. WHO IS BOZO TEXINO? ('05, 50m) Bill Daniel's spectacular travel adventure & rogue epic history of the century-old folkloric practice of Hobo and Railworker graffiti. WILLIAM EGGLESTON IN THE SMALL WORLD, 2005, Palm Pictures, 87 min. Dir. Michael Almereyda. In 1976, William Eggleston's hallucinatory, Faulknerian images were featured in the Museum of Modern Art's first one-man exhibition of color photographs. He has been called "the beginning of modern color photography" (John Szarkowski, MoMA) and "one of the most significant figures in contemporary photography" (Charles Hagen, NY Times). It is rare for an artist of such stature to allow himself to be shown as unguardedly as Eggleston does in Michael Almereyda's intimate portrait. The filmmaker tracks the photographer on trips to Kentucky, Los Angeles and New York, but gives particular attention to downtime in Memphis, Eggleston's home base. The film shows a deep connection between Eggleston's enigmatic personality and his groundbreaking work, and also reveals his parallel commitments as a musician, draftsman and videographer. Eggleston, age 65, has become an icon and inspiration to artists worldwide. WINSOR MCCAY Comics master and animation pioneer Winsor McCay himself translated the surrealistic imagery of his celebrated newspaper comic strips into the animated LITTLE NEMO and DREAMS OF THE RAREBIT FIEND. McCay reportedly made 4,000 drawings for LITTLE NEMO alone, devising a wooden holder and marking the corners of his paper drawings with crosshairs to keep them in register. Backgrounds were painstakingly redrawn on each sheet of paper. GERTIE THE DINOSAUR, perhaps the most famous of all early animated films and the work that set the template for character animation to come, was unveiled as part of a vaudeville act. By the time McCay made THE CENTAURS (extant only in a haunting fragment), he had begun experimenting with drawing on cels. LITTLE NEMO 1911 Director: W. McCay. 16mm, silent, approx. 12 min. (18 fps). DREAMS OF A RAREBIT FIEND: BUG VAUDEVILLE 1921 Director: W. McCay. 16mm, silent, approx. 28 min. (18 fps). Fragment from THE CENTAURS 1921 Animators: W. McCay, John McCay, John Fitzsimmons. 35mm, silent, approx. 4 min. (18 fps). GERTIE THE DINOSAUR 1914 Director: W. McCay. 35mm, silent, approx. 9 min. (18 fps). (18 fps), approx. TRT: 53 min. WOMAN IN THE DUNES (SUNA NO ONNA), 1964, Janus Films, 123 min. Director Hiroshi Teshigahara made only a handful of films, and like this one, most were adapted from the elliptical novels of Kobo Abe. Eiji Okada is an entomologist searching for rare insects in remote sand dunes and asks villagers for shelter. They bring him to a house at the bottom of a large pit, inhabited by a lonely woman (Kyoko Kishida). When he awakens the next day, he finds the ladder out of the hole has been removed, and he has been conned into becoming the womans new man, solely in order to help her remove the shifting sand that is continually creeping in, threatening to bury the structure. An astonishing, bizarre allegory about lifes routines and a thoroughly engrossing psychological drama. With a brilliant score by Toru Takemitsu. Teshigahara won the Jury Special Prize at Cannes for 1964. Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, 1974, 20th Century Fox, 105 min. Director Mel Brooks' hilariously abby-normal homage to 1930's monster movies on American audiences - one of the strangest, funniest, most brilliantly conceived comedies since the heyday of the Marx Bros. Gene Wilder (who co-wrote the script) stars as Dr. Frankenstein ("That's Frankensteen.") struggling to breathe life into tap-dancing monster Peter Boyle, with demented help from hunchback assistant Marty Feldman, lusty Teri Garr, neurotic girlfriend Madeline Kahn and Frau Blucher herself, Cloris Leachman. "The biggest problem we had in doing Young Frankenstein was that we had to do so many takes because we couldn't stop laughing." - Teri Garr. Discussion following with actress, Teri Garr.