a highly-opinionated selection of things happening around town, and sometimes out of town. this month's page here.

tue. mar. 1

only angels have wings 1 PM @ lacma
nashville 7:45 PM @ arclight hollywood
knight of cups (w/ q&a) 8 PM @ ace hotel theatre
the molochs FREE @ little joy
cut-throats nine @ new beverly
my golden days FREE (RSVP) 7 PM @ usc broccoli

wed. mar. 2

mccabe and mrs. miller @ laemmle fine arts
the forbidden room 7:20 PM @ arena
big deal on madonna street, divorce italian style @ new beverly
seventeen 10 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

thu. mar. 3

shark toys @ echo
stalker FREE 7 PM @ csun armer
goodfellas @ laemmle noho 7
mickey one FREE 5 PM @ the crank @ ucla james bridges
upset FREE @ harvard & stone
white dove @ bootleg
big deal on madonna street, divorce italian style @ new beverly

fri. mar. 4

sands of the kalahari @ ucla film archive
the lost world (1925) 8:15 PM @ old town music hall
mad max: fury road MIDNIGHT @ nuart
angelo de augustine @ pehrspace
mustang 5 PM @ arena
the tenses (4:00) @ music for train stations @ union station
triptides (11:30) FREE @ lost knight
firefox 6:30 PM, the eiger sanction @ new beverly
she's gotta have it @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
the evil dead 11 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

sat. mar. 5

punch-drunk love (w/ live score) @ ace hotel
the killing fields of dr. haing s. ngor FREE @ ucla film archive
heron oblivion @ resident
the lost world (1925) 2:30 8:15 PM @ old town music hall
island of lost souls (1933) 7:45 PM, the black cat (1934) @ starlight studio
who framed roger rabbit? @ cinespia @ palace theatre
globelamp @ hi hat
the rosalyns @ 5 star bar
colleen green @ non plus ultra
mustang 3:45 PM @ arena
firefox 6:30 PM, the eiger sanction @ new beverly
the man who fell to earth MIDNIGHT @ new beverly
mala noche 4 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
roger & me @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

sun. mar. 6

ziguernerweisen 7 PM @ ucla film archive
no age, l.a. witch, etc. @ los angeles is berning @ smell
in a lonely place 2 PM @ silent movie theater
heron oblivion @ 'til two club (SD)
double feature! 7 PM @ machine
big search @ 5 star bar
fear over the city FREE 7 PM @ reel grit @ afi
the iron mask 5 PM @ egyptian
city of gold (w/ q&a) FREE (RSVP) NOON @ usc stark

mon. mar. 7

kagero-za @ ucla film archive
spokenest @ bike oven
days of heaven @ silent movie theater

tue. mar. 8

the molochs (9:30), mother merry go round (8:50) FREE @ little joy
colleen green @ cheetahs

wed. mar. 9

cage/cunningham FREE @ hammer
drinking flowers, winter FREE @ amoeba
the times of harvey milk @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

thu. mar. 10

nostalghia FREE 7 PM @ csun armer
miller's crossing @ laemmle noho 7
carrie mae weems: coming up for air 7 PM @ filmforum @ moca grand
blood simple 10 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
midnight special FREE (RSVP) 9 PM @ usc sinatra

fri. mar. 11

sorry wrong number, the phantom of crestwood @ ucla film archive
mind meld, rearranged face @ smell
the adventures of sherlock holmes (1939) 8:15 PM @ old town music hall
under the skin MIDNIGHT @ nuart
bouquet @ pehrspace
lawrence of arabia (70mm) @ egyptian
young frankenstein, son of frankenstein @ aero
smithereens @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
henry: portrait of a serial killer 10:30 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

sat. mar. 12

yumeji @ ucla film archive
where the chocolate mountains 8:30 PM @ redcat
the adventures of sherlock holmes (1939) 2:30 8:15 PM @ old town music hall
the squids FREE @ lot 1
lightning bolt, frankie rose, la sera, etc @ echoplex
the good the bad and the ugly @ egyptian
blade runner (final cut) @ aero
the man who fell to earth MIDNIGHT @ new beverly
the goose woman 2 PM @ the silent treatment @ silent movie theater
early shorts by ross mcelwee 5 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
desperately seeking susan @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

sun. mar. 13

capone cries a lot 3 PM @ ucla film archive
the big knife 2 PM @ silent movie theater
the adventures of sherlock holmes (1939) 2:30 PM @ old town music hall
remambran (9:15) @ pehrspace
the passenger, blow-up @ egyptian
baraka (70mm) @ aero
sherman's march @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
dollars FREE 7 PM @ reel grit @ afi

mon. mar. 14

how to smell a rose: a visit with ricky leacock in normandy @ silent movie theater

tue. mar. 15

fred & toody @ bootleg
the molochs, the creation factory FREE @ little joy
moment trigger @ the lash
post life @ pehrspace

wed. mar. 16

the hustler @ laemmle royal
spokenest @ ham & eggs
all cats are grey @ aero
mean streets, family enforcer @ new beverly
richard kern night 8 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

thu. mar. 17

the sacrifice FREE 7 PM @ csun armer
city of god @ laemmle noho 7
mean streets, family enforcer @ new beverly
the underground usa mixtape 10 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
variety FREE 8 PM @ the public school

fri. mar. 18

crashout, jet storm @ ucla film archive
safety last 8:15 PM @ old town music hall
nick waterhouse @ bootleg
the mack 7 PM, taxi driver @ new beverly
repo man (w/ q&a) 10:30 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

sat. mar. 19

fire @ ucla film archive
safety last 2:30 8:15 PM @ old town music hall
viva villa! 7:45 PM @ starlight studio
born in flames NOON, golden chain FREE (RSVP) @ grrrls on film @ lmu mayer
the decline of western civilization 2:30 PM, i don't know FREE (RSVP) @ grrrls on film @ lmu mayer
in search of margo-go 5 PM FREE (RSVP) @ grrrls on film @ lmu mayer
solaris (1972) @ aero
the mack 7 PM, taxi driver @ new beverly
death wish MIDNIGHT @ new beverly
bless their little hearts 4 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
walker 7 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
forbidden zone 10 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

sun. mar. 20

calling dr. death 7 PM, the frozen ghost @ ucla film archive
mulholland drive 2 PM @ silent movie theater
neil hamburger @ satellite
lost grrrls: riot grrrl in los angeles NOON, grrrl love and revolution: riot grrrl nyc FREE (RSVP) @ grrrls on film @ lmu mayer
susan @ echo
rococo jet @ circus of books
darling lili 6:30 PM, fraulein doktor @ new beverly
my brother's wedding 5:30 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
talking to strangers 8:30 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
upset FREE @ stag hair parlor
perfect friday FREE 7 PM @ reel grit @ afi

mon. mar. 21

bewitched, crime doctor's man hunt @ ucla film archive
darling lili, fraulein doktor @ new beverly

tue. mar. 22

gilda 1 PM @ lacma
the molochs FREE @ little joy
post life @ pehrspace
hollywood shuffle @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
the naked gun: from the files of police squad (w/ q&a) FREE (RSVP) 7 PM @ usc stark

wed. mar. 23

faust @ union
mia madre FREE (RSVP) 7 PM @ usc stark

thu. mar. 24

scarface (1983) @ laemmle noho 7
noyes @ smell
naked alibi, suddenly @ egyptian
knight of cups @ aero
vortex 10:30 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

fri. mar. 25

jon brion @ largo
the fifth element MIDNIGHT @ nuart
the flytraps @ smell
dr. strangelove, the killing @ egyptian
days of heaven, badlands @ aero
born in flames @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
eating raoul MIDNIGHT @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

sat. mar. 26

tempest (1928), the bat (1926) @ ucla film archive
mildred pierce 2 PM @ to live and dine in l.a. @ egyptian
silent rage @ spielberg @ egyptian
the godfather @ egyptian
the thin red line @ aero
the man who fell to earth MIDNIGHT @ new beverly
the thin blue line 4 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
stranger than paradise 7 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
bouquet @ pieter
umberto FREE @ permagami

sun. mar. 27

johnny guitar, the asphalt jungle @ egyptian
bugs bunny cartoon classics 4 PM @ aero
the tree of life @ aero
the bad and the beautiful 2 PM @ hangover matinees @ silent movie theater
sleepwalk 4:45 PM, you are not i @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
liquid sky 8 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
20 years of madness FREE (RSVP) 5 PM @ usc stark

mon. mar. 28

last night at the alamo, made in texas @ underground usa @ silent movie theater

tue. mar. 29

lady from shanghai 1 PM @ lacma
the molochs FREE @ little joy
drinking flowers @ resident

wed. mar. 30

bauhaus in america FREE @ hammer
cate le bon @ masonic lodge @ hollywood forever
winter @ hi hat
sister nancy @ dub club @ echoplex
louder than bombs FREE (RSVP) 7 PM @ usc stark
plasmodian telecaves FREE @ hyperion tavern
jeanne dielman 23 quai du commerce 1080 bruxelles @ silent movie theater

thu. mar. 31

failure as a generative process: expanded cinema experiments of stan vanderbeek FREE @ hammer
the godfather part ii @ laemmle noho 7
cape fear (1962), spellbound @ aero

fri. apr. 1

cool ghouls @ echo
notfilm @ spielberg @ egyptian
to kill a mockingbird, the stalking moon @ aero
tom carter, tara jane o'neil @ laca
the shining 7:15 PM @ great horror movie nights @ old zoo
bleached FREE (5:00) @ amoeba

sat. apr. 2

cool ghouls @ hi hat
notfilm @ aero
the burbs 11 PM @ silent movie theater

sun. apr. 3

post-life @ bootleg
hockney 7 PM @ ucla film archive
what ever happened to baby jane? 1 PM @ hangover matinees @ silent movie theater
the bad news bears, the taking of pelham one two three @ silent movie theater
tom carter & michael hentz duo @ the wulf

mon. apr. 4

chantal akerman: portraits of the artist as a young girl 8:30 PM @ redcat

tue. apr. 5

endless boogie @ bootleg
lafms, brad laner, etc FREE @ la cita

thu. apr. 7

the tree of life FREE 7 PM @ csun armer
tim hecker, john wiese @ union
straight outta compton 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban

fri. apr. 8

inherent vice MIDNIGHT @ nuart
triptides @ hi hat
notfilm @ spielberg @ egyptian
carol 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban

sat. apr. 9

notfilm @ spielberg @ egyptian
the complete metropolis 1 PM @ the silent treatment @ silent movie theater
tangerine 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban

sun. apr. 10

i knew her well 2 PM @ hangover matinees @ silent movie theater
the renderers @ basic flowers

tue. apr. 12

everything we do is music: music from black mountain college FREE @ hammer
casablanca 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban
measuring change @ art share la

wed. apr. 13

edwin parker FREE @ hammer

thu. apr. 14

antichrist FREE 7 PM @ csun armer
blade runner 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban

fri. apr. 15

midnight cowboy MIDNIGHT @ nuart
suburbia @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
the big lebowski 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban
noir fest begins

sat. apr. 16

the decline of western civilization part ii 7 PM @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
pulp fiction 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban
noir fest

mon. apr. 18

radical intimacies: the 8mm cinema of saul levine 8:30 PM @ redcat
paydirt @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
noir fest

tue. apr. 19

cage tudor and the visual language of indeterminacy (lecture & performance) FREE @ hammer
noir fest

thu. apr. 21

uncle boonmee who can recall his past lives FREE 7 PM @ csun armer
ex hex @ echo
upset, post life @ hi hat
back to the future 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban
noir fest

fri. apr. 22

the thing MIDNIGHT @ nuart
noir fest

sun. apr. 24

on the waterfront 2:00 7:00 PM @ fathom events @ l.a. cinemark 18, burbank 16, north hollywood 8
neil hamburger @ satellite
noir fest ends

mon. apr. 25

textures of life: film and the art of tacita dean 8:30 PM @ redcat

tue. apr. 26

clueless 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban

wed. apr. 27

on the waterfront 2:00 7:00 PM @ fathom events @ l.a. cinemark 18, burbank 16, north hollywood 8
cinema paradiso 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban

thu. apr. 28

meek's cutoff FREE 7 PM @ csun armer
the 7th voyage of sinbad @ alex theatre

fri. apr. 29

combat shock MIDNIGHT @ underground usa @ silent movie theater
the goonies 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban

sat. apr. 30

sunset boulevard 8 PM @ rooftop film club @ montalban
infinite body, david scott stone, media jeweler, alexander noice sextet @ pehrspace

mon. may 2

fantasia of color in early cinema 8:30 PM @ redcat

thu. may 5

the turin horse FREE 7 PM @ csun armer
bleached @ teragram
boogarins @ echoplex

fri. may 6

sunn0))) @ regent

sat. may 7

terry riley & george brooks (7:30) @ lacma
melvins, napalm death, melt banana @ troubadour

sun. may 8

melvins, napalm death, melt banana @ troubadour

mon. may 9

melvins, napalm death @ troubadour

thu. may 12

leviathan (2014) FREE 7 PM @ csun armer

fri. may 13

charles bradley @ ace hotel
nashville ramblers, rosalyns, diddley daddies @ redwood

sat. may 14

nashville ramblers, rosalyns, diddley daddies @ casbah (SD)

sun. may 15

ferris bueller's day off 2:00 7:00 PM @ fathom events @ l.a. cinemark 18, burbank 16, north hollywood 8

wed. may 18

ferris bueller's day off 2:00 7:00 PM @ fathom events @ l.a. cinemark 18, burbank 16, north hollywood 8

thu. may 19

the sonics, the woggles, barrence whitfield & the savages @ regent
thermals @ teragram

fri. may 20

mind meld @ teragram

sun. may 22

upset @ hi hat

sun. may 29

brian jonestown massacre, mystic braves @ teragram
neil hamburger @ satellite

mon. may 30

brian jonestown massacre @ teragram

sat. jun. 18

john carpenter @ orpheum

wed. jun. 29

stephen steinbrink @ bootleg

fri. jul. 8

royal headache @ echo

sat. jul. 9

jump with joey @ roxy

sun. jul. 10

pet sounds w/ brian wilson @ hollywood bowl


2014, 84 min, Belgium, Dir: Savina Dellicour
In director Savina Dellicour’s crowd-pleasing feature debut, 40-something Paul (Bouli Lanners) has a reputation as an armchair detective, so when 16-year-old Dorothy (Manon Capelle) wants to find her dad, she turns to him - without knowing that Paul is her biological father. In French with English subtitles. Program begins with the short "Le Sommeil des Amazones" (2015, 25 min. Dir. Bérangère McNeese). Belgian beer reception following the feature.

The Bat  (1926)
Credited with "settings" in this moody crime thriller about the eponymous master criminal "The Bat," William Cameron Menzies indeed set the pulpy mystery story, familiar as a popular play, against a visually arresting world that could only be achieved in cinema.  Depicting a mansion of soaring, vaulted spaces sheathed in darkness, and nighttime cityscapes viewed from vertiginous rooftops, Menzies lent the film brooding atmosphere and stimulating graphic interest. 35mm, b/w, 86 min. Director: Roland West.  Based on the play The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood. With: André de Beranger, Charles W. Herzinger, Emilly Fitzroy, Louise Fazenda, Arthur Houseman.

Bauhaus in America
This must-see documentary chronicles the impact of the Bauhaus on American architecture and design. Notable Bauhaus émigrés include the artists Anni and Josef Albers, two influential faculty at Black Mountain College. (1995, dir. Judith Pearlman, 86 min.)

Bewitched  (1945)
Mild-mannered, newly engaged Joan (Phyllis Thaxter) is hiding a terrible secret from her fiancé: a tormenting, depraved inner voice struggling to take over.  Joan’s attempt to live a normal life and thwart the homicidal impulses of “Karen” unleashes a deadly drive for vengeance.  Famed radio writer Arch Oboler directs the adaptation of his gripping psychological thriller. 16mm, b/w, 65 min. Director: Arch Oboler.

A heart-wrenching portrait of a black Los Angeles family plagued by financial distress, Billy Woodberry’s Bless Their Little Hearts was in many ways the pinnacle and capstone of the “L.A. Rebellion,” the neorealist strand of filmmaking pioneered by Charles Burnett. Burnett, the high priest of this movement in film, furnished Woodberry with a script, shot the film, and even provided his own children as actors, paving the way for Woodberry to take the reins directing his astoundingly beautiful first feature, an overwhelmingly honest portrait of the Banks family. The film unfolds from inside the cocoon of the familial unit, with misfortunes from the outside world registering as invasions into what should be a womb-like space of respite from the violence of the everyday – the economy, the streets. The family feels like a stand-in for any number of families faced by challenges all too common, but is also handled with tender specificity – the most minute gestures of everyday domestic life beautifully rendered, bursting with the emotional complexity Burnett & Woodberry granted each of their struggling characters. Dir. Billy Woodberry, 1983, 35mm, 80 min. Billy Woodberry in person.

On the tail end of one revolution and the eve of the next, two feminist pirate radio stations (“Radio Ragazza” and “Phoenix Radio”) broadcast commentary on the failing socialist state from a future utopian/dystopian New York, where the dream of the left’s takeover has come and gone. Lizzie Borden’s stellar and ferociously beloved documentary-style sci-fi social drama, newly restored by Anthology Film Archives, envisions an imagined future that upon contemporary viewing looks almost—but not quite—like the past, eerily affecting even beyond its time-capsule appeal. Circling around issues of race, gender, and class that apparently never get old, Born In Flames is revolutionary beyond its political narrative. Shot on a shoestring over a period of five years, using non-actors and little in the way of an advance script, it feels like a feat, carried to completion by the sheer force of ideas and passion. Dir. Lizzie Borden, 1983, 35mm, 80 min. Q&A with directors Lizzie Borden, Adebukola Buki Bodunrin, and Ezra Clayton Daniels will follow (3/19 screening only. Lizzie Borden also in person at 3/25 screening.)

Elliot Caplan’s documentary chronicles the 50-year collaboration between two of the country’s most influential artists, the choreographer Merce Cunningham and the composer John Cage, examining their integration of Buddhism into their work and their lives together. (1991, dir. Elliot Caplan, 100 min.)

Calling Dr. Death  (1943)
Foregoing the trademark creaking door opening of radio’s Inner Sanctum Mysteries in favor of a floating head attesting that “Yes—even you, without knowing, can commit murder!” the psychological terror of the Inner Sanctum carries over to Universal’s film adaptation, in which neurologist Mark Steele (Lon Chaney Jr.), after blacking out, finds his adulterous wife murdered and himself the prime suspect. 35mm, b/w, 63 min. Director: Reginald LeBorg.

Capone Cries a Lot  (Japan, 1985)
(Kapone oi ni naku)
In this surreal comic confection, a traditional naniwa-bushi singer moves to Prohibition-era San Francisco.  He goes in search of Al Capone, whom he mistakenly believes is president, hoping to impress the gangster with his singing and popularize the art form in the States.  Filmed mostly in an abandoned amusement park in Japan, director Seijun Suzuki’s vision of 1920s America is an anarchic collage of pop culture images, from cowboys to Charlie Chaplin.  One reason Capone is so rarely seen is that it reflects the racial attitudes of the time in which it is set by including, for example, a minstrel band in blackface.  Such discomfiting images are balanced by scenes featuring an actual African American jazz ensemble that joins the film’s hero in jam sessions mixing blues, jazz and naniwa-bushi. 35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles, 128 min. Based on a novel by Sueyuki Kajiyama.

Carrie Mae Weems: Coming Up For Air
Los Angeles Filmforum at MOCA is thrilled to present a theatrical screening of Carrie Mae Weems’ exceptional, feature-length video Coming Up For Air accompanied by her 2009 video Afro-Chic. Created between 2003 and 2005, Coming Up For Air marks Weems’ first major foray into video and weaves together a series of visually striking, dramatic vignettes depicting children preparing for a history lesson, the Kennedy assassination, quarrelling sisters and the relationship between black men and white women in Antebellum New Orleans. 
Weems has described herself as a “narrator of history,” and Coming Up for Air is a tremendous historical feat, traversing the bombing of Hiroshima, the assassination of Medgar Evers, 1960’s political demonstrations and the Obama Presidency. Eliding straightforward narrative, the video elaborates upon the investigations of race, gender, politics and power evident in her earlier photographic series, combining archival footage with staged reenactments to expose the construction of history and its ongoing reverberations. The video’s direct historical inquiries are interspersed with portraits of family and intimacy, situating cultural memory within an intricate web of personal experience.

Presented as part of the citywide retrospective in memory of the late Chantal Akerman, this trio of rarely screened films focuses on the cinema icon’s whimsical, humorous and achingly intimate view of youthful femininity. Saute ma ville (1968) introduces Akerman, then only 18, as a female Charlie Chaplin who cheerily mistreats the appliances in her tiny kitchen before committing an act of radical rebellion. In I Am Hungry, I Am Cold (1984), a pair of runaways scamper across Paris, practice kissing, sing for their supper, and nonchalantly cast aside desiring men. The third, longer work, Portrait of a Young Girl from the Late Sixties in Brussels (1993), follows Akerman’s teen double as she sublimates a secret crush for her heterosexual classmate into a surprise gift, conveying the generous violence of female desire.

A dangerously disturbed Vietnam veteran struggles with life 15 years after his return home, and slowly falls into insanity from his gritty urban lifestyle. Dir. Buddy Giovinazzo, 1984, 16mm Director’s Cut, 96 min. approx. Buddy Giovinazzo in person!

A time-honored, pioneering portrait of an Expressionist Tomorrowland, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis had it all (according to its original press release): “8 stars, 25,000 men, 11,000 women, 1,100 bald people, 250 children, 3,500 pairs of special shoes, 50 cars.” What it also contained was a brilliant distillation of the Germany’s unconscious Zeitgeist energies, as that country lurched toward fascism in the Thirties—not to mention a peerless batch of indelible images.
After the film’s 1927 premiere in Berlin, it was savagely cut down to a much shorter version for American release, down from fourteen reels to seven, totally transforming the story. Lost bits and pieces surfaced over the years, but large portions of the film remained lost—until 2008, when curator Paula Felix-Didier and archivist Fernando Pena found a 16mm safety reduction negative of the uncut Metropolis in the archives of the Museo Del Cine, in Buenos Aires. Containing almost all of the missing material, this discovery—the film historian’s Dead Sea Scrolls or Rosetta Stone—served as a blueprint for a multinational restoration team. The result is a historic filmic event, and the closest you’ll ever get to seeing the Metropolis, just as Lang intended. Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927, DCP Restoration, 149 min.

Crashout  (1955)
Before leaving the U.S. for his period of exile, director Cy Endfield sold a screenplay to producer Hal E. Chester, which became this feature about a prison breakout and its disastrous aftermath.  Blacklisted, Endfield received no screen credit, though Crashout (1955) remains a fascinating part of his legacy, including such emblematic markers as a scene of card tricks (Endfield was an expert magician) and the presence of a character named "Cy Endaby." 35mm, b/w, 91 min. Director: Lewis R. Foster.

Crime Doctor's Man Hunt  (1946)
Former criminal Robert Ordway (Warner Baxter), reformed after an amnesiac blow to the head and now a renowned criminal psychologist, investigates the murder of a veteran experiencing fugue states, as the young man’s worried fiancée looks on.  Directed by William Castle from a script by Leigh Brackett, appearances are deceiving in this entry in Columbia’s prolific Crime Doctor mystery series. 16mm, b/w, 61 min. Based on the radio series created by Max Marcin.

Lili Smith is a beloved British music hall singer, often providing inspiration for the British and French troops and general populace singing rallying patriotic songs. She is also half German - her real last name being Schmidt - and is an undercover German spy, using her feminine wiles to gather information from the high ranking and generally older military officers and diplomats she seduces. Masquerading as her Swiss uncle, Colonel Kurt Von Ruger is not only her German handler but her lover. Kurt's boss, General Kessler, doesn't fully trust Lili as she is still half British. That is why it irks him that Kurt has entrusted Lili with the important mission of finding out more about the Allied air defense plans... Dir. Blake Edwards, 1970, 107 mins.

A bank security expert (Warren Beatty) plots to rob three safety deposit boxes belonging to three very different criminals. He'll need to team up with a call girl (Goldie Hawn) to infiltrate this high-tech security bank in Hamburg, Germany. Dir. Richard Brooks, 1971, 121 mins.

Machine Project presents a double feature in the Mystery Theater, with lectures by Winona Bechtle on the Tujunga Contacts, and Joe Merrell on Betty and Barney Hill — plus a screening of the 1975 TV movie about the Hills starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons.
La Crescenta resident Winona Bechtle delivers a talk on the history of Sunland-Tujunga and the Crescenta Valley, and the uniquely high rate of reported alien abductions and sightings. Using as a case study “The Tujunga Canyon Contacts,” a group of five interconnected Tujungan women who claim to have been abducted between 1950-1970, Winona expands on the theories surrounding the strange and lonely experiences of the abductees of Sunland-Tujunga, and the UFO history of the Crescenta Valley.
Joe Merrell, the artist behind “The Eyes Are Always There” storefront installation, discusses the first famous (and possibly most famous) alien abductees as an introduction to The UFO Incident (1975) starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons. While not all about the film has aged well, good performances and a script that draws material directly from transcripts of the couple’s hypnotic regressions create a strange and compelling drama.

* Charleen or How Long Has This Been Going On?
McElwee’s tender portrait of his high school poetry teacher, Charleen Swansea, is a close encounter with an enigmatic, wild, unruly, and tenacious woman, credentialed as friend, teacher, poet, and student of Ezra Pound, among other things. Impossibly charming, Charleen is constantly pulsing with energy—be it fury or joy—and McElwee attends to this with immense sensitivity, his twin admiration and fascination purely transmitted and infectious; there’s great pleasure taken in observing her—to put it simply, the camera loves Charleen. Dir Ross McElwee, 1980, 16mm, 54 min.
* Backyard
Initially conceived as two docs, Ross McElwee established his unmatched essayistic style with this project—about a beekeeper, his brother, and as one can always expect from his work, much more. Both Southern and personal mythologies are at play, woven together by the kind of simultaneously minute and expansive gestures for which McElwee is known. Drawn to the racial tensions that he grew up with, still deeply felt, McElwee focuses his camera on the presumed uses and understandings of private and social spaces, filming his family members and the staff he grew up around with the understated precision for which he went on to be celebrated. Dir Ross McElwee, 1984, 16mm, 40 min.

Edwin Parker
The British artist Tacita Dean directed this film on painter and Black Mountain College student Cy Twombly and titled it with the latter’s given name, an act that “implies intimacy, an encounter with the man behind the myth” (Guardian). Following the screening, David Breslin, chief curator at the Menil Drawing Institute, offers insights on Black Mountain College’s pivotal interconnection with the New York art scenes of the 1950s and 1960s. (2011, dir. Tacita Dean, color, 29 min.)

Failure as a Generative Process: Expanded Cinema Experiments of Stan VanDerBeek
This screening of HD transfers of Stan VanDerBeek’s short animated films, as well as unpublished documentation from his Cine Dreams projects, examines the utopian film experiments that he undertook after his studies at Black Mountain College. VanDerBeek’s works anticipate contemporary art’s moving- image, installation, and participatory practices. Introduction by the art historian Gloria Sutton.

Attention, lovers of the celluloid image: here is an opportunity to travel back in time by way of a ravishing treasure trove of hand-colored cinematic visions and wonders from more than a century ago. Beautiful restorations of these rare films are showcased in the new book Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema, the revelatory, lavishly illustrated exploration of the first-ever uses of applied color in movies. Accompanied by live music, superb digital transfers of restored work from the archives of EYE Film Institute Netherlands can now take viewers to when colored moving images truly opened a portal into otherworldly magic and the uncanny—and yet could also heighten realism. Two of the book’s authors, film scholar Tom Gunning, of the University of Chicago, and painter, illustrator and animator Jonathon Rosen, of the School of Visual Arts, introduce this delightful cinematic phantasmagoria. In person: Tom Gunning, Jonathon Rosen

Peur sur la Ville shows Jean Paul Belmondo at his peak in this raw, macho-cop-hunting-a-deranged-serial killer action-thriller, which is a mix of the Giallo and Poliziotteschi genres. Starts out as a jangly procedural and gradually turns into one of the most tantalizingly weird pulp thrillers in Eurocrime history. Dir. Henri Verneuil, 1975, 125 mins.

Fire  (Canada, 1996)
Filmmaker Deepa Mehta’s stirring drama recounts the intimate relationship that develops between a new bride in a loveless marriage, and her similarly neglected sister-in-law in a shared household in New Delhi.  Exciting intense controversy in India, the picture ignited movie screens with its unprecedented depiction of love between women, and its attendant suggestions about their autonomy and liberation.  The film garnered honors worldwide, including the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at Outfest 1997. 35mm, color, 104 min.

A plot synopsis really can’t quite capture the delirious experience of watching Forbidden Zone, a key early-80’s classic, with freaky star turns by Susan Tyrrell—whose scene-stealing roles in films like Fat City and Cry Baby easily cemented her as one of the all-time queens of cult cinema—and Herve Villechaize, plus a frogman in a tuxedo, a human chandelier over the royal table, a catchy, frantic clutch of Oingo Boingo songs, two bald henchmen in jockstraps, and Danny Elfman as a singing and dancing Satan with a chorus line of ghouls! Dir. Richard Elfman, 1980, Digital Presentation (Colorized Version), 76 min. Richard Elfman live pre-show & after-party!

A seductive and ruthless spy in the service of Germany steals state secrets- including the formula for poison gas-from England and France during World War I. British intelligence, in turn, tries to hunt her down. Dir. Alberto Lattuada, 1969, 104 mins.

The Frozen Ghost  (1945)
A guilt-ridden stage mentalist (Lon Chaney Jr.) and a disgraced plastic surgeon (Martin Kosleck) are two key figures in the strange goings-on at a wax museum.  When the eccentric owner of the museum disappears, the ensuing intrigue illuminates the Inner Sanctum’s traffic in suggestion, hypnosis, and the power of greed, jealousy and revenge to drive ordinary people to do extraordinary things. 35mm, b/w, 61 min. Director: Harold Young.

directed by Adebukola Buki Bodunrin & Ezra Clayton Daniels. The distant future. A Nigerian space station in a remote corner of the galaxy orbits an artificial pinpoint of matter so dense it cannot exist in our solar system. It is a recreation of the birth of the universe itself, contained for the purpose of study, and overseen by Yetunde, sole crew member on the space station Eko. Q&A with directors Lizzie Borden, Adebukola Buki Bodunrin, and Ezra Clayton Daniels will follow.

Based on Rex Beach’s story of the same name, which was in turn loosely based on the grisly 1922 Hall-Mills double murder of a priest and his rumored mistress, The Goose Woman draws on a real life tabloid extravaganza. The titular “Goose Woman,” played by Louise Dresser, of vaudeville fame, was witness to the murder and quickly established herself as a meddling bystander with a constantly shifting story that magnetized the attention of the press. Basing a film on an at-the-time unsolved murder was tricky business—up-and-coming director Clarence Brown had to make sure details of the case were not replicated in the film, inciting libel suits. Despite a set up that suggested “a lurid, ‘ripped from the headlines’ melodrama from a studio known for its cheap genre films, The Goose Woman became one of Universal’s ‘Jewels,’ a prestige production” (Matthew Kennedy). It’s a story with lasting mystery, to boot—the real life murder suspects were acquitted, and the crime was never solved. Dir Clarence Brown, 1925, 35mm, 80 min. Feat. Live Accompaniment from Cliff Retallick! Introduced by Allison Anders.

Grrrl Love and Revolution: Riot Grrrl NYC
directed by Abby Moser. Riot Grrrl’s utopian call for a grrrl revolution catalyzed a feminist youth movement by encouraging grrrls to produce their own music, performance and politics. Grrrl Love shows what is possible when a group of grrrls band together in the belief that they "can, and will, change the world for real” (Riot Grrrl Manifesto). Q&A with directors Vega Darling and Abby Moser will follow.
followed by: Grrrls on Stage: An afternoon of music, spoken word, and KXLU DJs presented by KXLU and hosted by Allison Wolfe. Featuring music by Kim and the Created, Colleen Green and Peach Kelli Pop; spoken word by Kari Krome, Alicia Partnoy, and Sarah Maclay, and DJs Mukta Mohan, Taylor Rowley, and Cass and Mcallister. There will be a fanzine-making table and information provided by organizations including Rock Camp for Girls, Razorcake magazine, the William H. Hannon Library, and the LMU Committee on the Status of Women.

Hockney  (UK, 2014)
“A wealth of intimate home-movie footage and an affinity for his subject invigorate Randall Wright's unashamedly affectionate portrait of a British icon.” – The Guardian.
Randall Wright’s penetrating documentary renders a complex and colorful portrait of celebrated multimedia artist David Hockney, the British expatriate and longtime Angeleno whose images of his adopted city have profoundly impacted perceptions of Los Angeles in the public imagination. Enjoying unprecedented access to his subject’s private collection of images and films, Wright offers a multifaceted appraisal, reflecting on Hockney’s biography, creative process and personal life. DCP, color, 113 min. Director: Randall Wright.

In 2000, Les Blank and co-director Gina Leibrecht visited Richard Leacock in France. Conversations between the two legendary filmmakers, who have both since passed away, explore Leacock’s life and work as a charismatic and trailblazing documentary filmmaker and co-founder of America’s Cinema Verité, forever changing the way non-fiction films are made, striving to create “the feeling of being there.” Over meals and walks in the French countryside, Leacock shares with Blank the memorable moments of his filmmaking career and the extraordinary people he met along the way. Clips from Ricky’s films, and his talent as raconteur bring life to his career as well as the history of documentary filmmaking. Join Gina Leibrecht and Leacock’s daughter, Victoria Leacock Hoffman, for conversation following the screening. Dir. Gina Leibrecht & Les Blank, 2014, DCP, 64 min.

Adriana, a young woman from the provinces, moves to Rome in order to become a celebrity. Dir. Antonio Pietrangeli, 1965, DCP Restoration, 99 min.

Short, directed by Jill Reiter. In Search of Margo-go, starring Kathleen Hanna, Jill Reiter & Iraya Robles, has been described as “a playful synth-punk romp re-envisioning early ‘80s NYC club culture as an acid-hued comic book, equal parts Liquid Sky and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” Reiter, editing from the original 16mm & Super 8 shot in 1994, as well as “new” footage filmed on an old studio camera, animation by Katie Bush, & music by composer LK Naps, finished this “lost” film in 2015. This time capsule from the under-documented ‘90s queerpunk/riot grrrl underground in SF & NYC looks back on queer influences from the early, arty & neon pre-hardcore punk scenes, into the androgyny-laced ‘80s new wave world of Reiter's teenage years. Unfinished portions of this film will be performed live by a cast including Nao Bustamante, Raquel Gutiérrez, Tara Jepsen, Jennifer Locke, Jill Reiter, Sue Scheibler, and Lex Vaughn.
followed by: Daybreak & Quinn. Shorts, directed by Lucretia Tye Jasmine. Daybreak is a 10-minute narrative 16mm film in color and black and white about rape. Daybreak is included in Miranda July's video chain letter, Joanie 4 Jackie. Quinn is a 3-minute experimental documentary on VHS video in color about bulimia.
Q&A with directors Jill Reiter, Lucretia Tye Jasmine, and performers will follow.

Ivan’s Childhood
(dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962), 95 mins.
The debut feature by the great Andrei Tarkovsky, Ivan’s Childhood is a poetic journey through the shards and shadows of one boy’s war-ravaged youth. Moving back and forth between the traumatic realities of World War II and serene moments of family life before the conflict began, Tarkovsky’s film remains one of the most jarring and unforgettable depictions of the impact of war on children.

Jet Storm  (UK, 1961)
The clash of nobility and mob hysteria gets one more rehearsal in this fascinating, low-budget thriller.  An explosives expert, embittered by the loss of his young daughter, reveals on an international flight that he has placed a bomb on the plane, setting up a series of fraught negotiations.  The film offers a fascinating consideration of human despair and decency under intense pressure. DCP, b/w, 91 min. Director: Cy Endfield (as C. Raker Endfield).  Based on a story by Sigmund Miller.

Kagero-za  (Japan, 1981)
According to film critic Tony Rayns, Kagero-za (1981), “may well be Suzuki’s finest achievement outside the constraints of genre filmmaking.”  In this hallucinatory adaptation of work by the Taisho Era writer Kyoka Izumi, a mysterious woman named Shinako invites Matsuzaki, a playwright, to the city of Kanazawa for a romantic rendezvous.  While Matsuzaki is on his way, his patron Tamawaki appears on the train, claiming to be en route to witness a love suicide between a married woman and her lover.  Matsuzaki suspects Shinako is Tamawaki’s wife, and the trip to Kanazawa may spell his doom.  As in Zigeunerweisen (1980), reality, fantasy, life and afterlife blend together in Kagero-za—most spectacularly in the grand finale, in which Matsuzaki finds his life morphing into a deranged theatrical extravaganza. 35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles, 140 min. Director: Seijun Suzuki.  Based on a novel by Kyoka Izumi.

The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor  (2015)
Filmmaker Arthur Dong's new documentary sheds light on the extraordinary life of Cambodian physician Haing S. Ngor, who survived years of torture in Khmer Rouge labor camps and rose to Hollywood fame as an Oscar-winning actor in The Killing Fields (1984), ultimately to be gunned down outside his home in Los Angeles' Chinatown.  Dong's moving and penetrating film, ingeniously employing animation, music and elliptical editing, powerfully evokes this heroic and enigmatic "face of Cambodia," who worked tirelessly to bring healing and justice to his country. DCP, color, 87 min. In-person: Arthur Dong, Sophia Ngor, Jack Ong.

Eagle Pennell, in just a handful of films—Hell of a Note, The Whole Shootin’ Match and Last Night at the Alamo—lionized those laconic dreamers improbably caught between ambition and nostalgia that have become Austin’s civic identity, embodying the kind of epic underachiever-dom that Slacker later turned into an anthropological treatise. In Alamo, a shaggy dog buddy comedy about a Houston bar scheduled for demolition come sunrise, Lou Perry and Sonny Carl Davis star as a homegrown Mutt and Jeff—Perry as the lanky Claude, who spends most of his time feeding excuses to his wife into the payphone, and Davis as the sawed-off Cowboy, the local hero who, in an allegory of the real Alamo, defends the bar’s honor against the proprietor of the Mexican restaurant next door in a tequila-drinking contest. Working from a script by Kim Henkel (co-writer of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and shot in a gauzy black-and-white by Gus Van Sant’s cinematographer Eric Alan Edwards (My Own Private Idaho), Eagle’s (newly restored!) woozy testament to the comically disenfranchised is part stationary western, part self-medicating rodeo, where the heroes ride barstools and pray they can hang on until last call. Dir. Eagle Pennell, 1983, 81 min.

One of the coolest, funniest, and freakiest distillations of the ‘80s post-punk underground, Liquid Sky is pure madness: blending drugs, UFOs, death by orgasm and a cacophony of searing synths into a jagged neon time capsule that still thrills. In a dual role, Anne Carlisle plays Margaret (a damaged lesbian fashion model) and Jimmy (a gay junkie fashion model), who collide in NYC’s robotic New Wave netherworld. When aliens happen to land on Margaret’s roof in a pint-sized flying saucer (on a mission to extract the life force from the human orgone), they vaporize her many lovers in a dogpile of kaleidoscopic nuttiness. Russian emigré director Slava Tsukerman, himself out of place in the alien world of the ‘80s Lower East Side arthole, has big fun piling on the primitive video abstractions, fractured music, and overwrought melodrama in order to deliver a skewering satire of a weird, weird world. Dir. Slava Tsukerman, 1983, 35mm, 112 min. Slava Tsukerman will be in-person for a post-screening Q&A!

Lost Grrrls: Riot Grrrl in Los Angeles
directed by Vega Darling. Riot grrrl is a feminist movement and music genre largely credited for generating third wave feminism out of the punk rock moshpits in the Pacific Northwest and Washington, D.C. In Los Angeles, riot grrrls took the concepts shared through music and zines and applied them to a diverse culture. In Los Angeles, there is solidarity between riot grrrls, chicana punks, black panthers, peace punks, racial justice activists, animal rights activists, food not bombs and LGBT activists. This is what happens when people work towards the common goal of liberation for all people. Lost Grrrls: Riot Grrrl in Los Angeles documents this scene. Q&A with directors Vega Darling and Abby Moser will follow.

Two years after her death in a car crash, the husband and sons of famed photographer Isabelle Reed (Isabelle Huppert) are still trying to cope with their loss. Gene (Gabriel Byrne) struggles as a single parent, but is taking his first exultant steps towards a new relationship. Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg), the elder son, has just had a baby of his own and finds the transition from child to parent more than a little daunting. The younger son, Conrad (newcomer Devin Druid), is a typical teenager, wearing his alienation as a badge of honor and resisting his father’s every attempt to connect. On the occasion of a major retrospective of Isabelle’s work, Jonah returns home to help his father organize her effects. Once again under the same roof, all three men are flooded with memories, and secrets are unearthed—most notably the truth behind the mysterious circumstances of Isabelle’s death. Shifting between past and present, and juxtaposing external reality with privileged glimpses into the interior lives of each of its four major characters, LOUDER THAN BOMBS is a stunningly intimate portrait of parents and children and the many things that tear them apart and bring them together. Running time: 109 minutes. Directed by Joachim Trier.

Towards the end of 2015, James Benning made one of his occasional expeditions to Utah, to the place where Robert Smithson's colossal land-sculpture Spiral Jetty (1970) extends out into the Great Salt Lake. The water-level was low, leaving the vast bulk of the Jetty exposed in the crisp air. His film measuring change captures two thirty-minute periods of that particular day, in the unblinking, unmoving takes that have become his trademark––beginning at 8:57am and 3:12pm respectively. A belated digital companion piece to his 16mm masterpiece casting a glance (2007), this new film hypnotically contemplates Smithson's art-work in relation to its wider environment and to the humans who walk on and around its gargantuan coils. James Benning in conversation with film critic Neil Young (The Hollywood Reporter) following the screening!

Margherita is a director shooting a film with the famous American actor, Barry Huggins, who is quite a headache on set. Away from the shoot, Margherita tries to hold her life together, despite her mother’s illness and her daughter’s adolescence. Running time: 106 minutes. In Italian, with English subtitles. Directed by Nanni Moretti.

MICKEY ONE, 1965, Columbia (Sony Repertory), 93 min. This one is so far ahead of its time... we still probably haven't caught up to it. Released right before the New Hollywood really erupted, it was films like this that paved the way, making the road a little less rough for the more famous trailblazing pictures that followed. Nightclub comic Warren Beatty, on the run from the Mob, flees to Detroit hoping to start a new life - but gangsters are less of a problem than his own personal demons. Dazzlingly shot by Ghislain Cloquet and featuring Stan Getz on the soundtrack, this is a bold and unique achievement for Beatty and director Arthur Penn, who two years later would reteam for a little item called BONNIE AND CLYDE. Written by Alan M. Surgal and co-starring Alexandra Stewart, Jeff Corey, Franchot Tone and Hurd Hatfield.

Writer/director Jeff Nichols proves again that he is one of the most compelling storytellers of our time with the sci-fi thriller Midnight Special. A provocative, genre-defying film as supernatural as it is intimately human, it follows a father, Roy (Michael Shannon), who goes on the run to protect his young son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), a boy with mysterious powers that even Roy himself cannot comprehend. What starts as a race from religious extremists and local law enforcement quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt involving the highest levels of the Federal Government. Risking everything, Roy is committed to helping Alton reach his ultimate purpose, whatever that might be and whatever it costs, in a story that takes audiences on a perilous journey from Texas to the Florida coast, while exploring the bonds of love and trust, and the nature of faith. Running time: 111 minutes. Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols. Following the midterm exam in CTCS-466: Theatrical Film Symposium. Priority admission will be given to enrolled students in CTCS-466 before general seating begins for everyone else.

We team with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles for an illustrated presentation on Los Angeles Art Deco era restaurant menus from the Los Angeles Public Library’s collection by author Josh Kun, who will also sign his book, To Live and Dine in L.A., afterward. During the program, Kun – a professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism – will use menus from the Los Angeles Public Library’s collection to discuss the rich history of food and restaurants in Los Angeles, with a particular focus on women and the Art Deco era. Followed by a screening of MILDRED PIERCE, 1945, Warner Bros., 111 min, USA, Dir: Michael Curtiz
"Mildred had more to offer in a glance, than most woman give in a lifetime."
Joan Crawford gives her signature performance (an Oscar winner!) as James M. Cain's ultimate maternal martyr, in thrall to her own femme fatale daughter, Veda (a deliciously venal Ann Blyth). After Mildred divorces her cheating husband, she turns her pie baking skills into what ultimately becomes a successful restaurant chain – all the while, working to give her demanding, selfish daughter, the best of everything - but even that isn’t enough for Veda! The twisted combination of high-strung soap opera and hard-edged pulp produced what may be the greatest Hollywood melodrama of all time.

When we first see Pierce Mundy (Everette Silas) in director Charles Burnett’s feature follow-up to Killer of Sheep (1977) he’s on the move. Making his way on a summer afternoon down a cracked sidewalk in South Central Los Angeles, he’s heading to see the mother of his best friend about to return from prison. A voice from behind catches him up short: “Hey, Pierce!” In the long shot that introduces him, Pierce turns mid-stride, looks to the woman calling him and in a single fluid move, looks away, exasperated, back toward his intended destination. “Come see my sister’s baby!” Though he’s tall and lean, we feel the petulant weight in his every step as he retreats in the direction he’s just come.
This sequence, though brief, deftly establishes the major themes of My Brother’s Wedding, and the power of Burnett’s unadorned style. Pulled in opposing directions by loyalty to family and friends, Pierce feels suspended in place. Recently laid off from his factory job, he marks time working at his family’s dry cleaning store under the watchful eye of his mother (Jesse Holmes) and swapping loaded jabs with his brother’s upper-middle-class fiancée (Gaye Shannon-Burnett). In the face of a diminished future, the return of Pierce’s best friend, Soldier (Ronald E. Bell), holds out a nostalgic escape to childhood, albeit one burdened by the decimation of his generation through violence and incarceration. “Where is everyone?” Soldier asks of the old crew. “It’s you and me,” Pierce replies.
While the contour of Pierce’s situation is familiar, Burnett fleshes it out with richly observed detail. Shooting on location, Burnett doesn’t simply capture locales; he reveals, through incidents and episodes both humorous and poignant, the network of relationships that pull and tug at the lives on screen. The revelation of character becomes seamlessly bound to the revelation of community. When, in the film’s finale, Pierce once again faces a choice of which direction to turn, both literally and metaphorically, his decision resonates well beyond his personal history. Dir. Charles Burnett, 1983, Digital Presentation, 115 min.

1953, Universal, 86 min, USA, Dir: Jerry Hopper
A murder suspect (Gene Barry), released for lack of evidence, vows vengeance on the cops who brutalized him. When one of those cops turns up dead, his partner (Sterling Hayden) hunts down the “innocent” man to prove him guilty. Both end up in thrall to bordertown bad girl Gloria Grahame, whose unique sexiness is on full display in this ultra-rare potboiler! Screenplay by Lawrence Roman, from a story by Gladys Atwater and Robert Bren. Directed by Jerry Hopper. NOT ON DVD

2015, Milestone Films, 128 min, Dir: Ross Lipman
Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett’s only screenplay was for a visionary 1965 short starring Buster Keaton; while working to restore it, archivist-filmmaker Ross Lipman discovered missing footage and fell under the spell of this cinematic curiosity. The resulting kino-essay exploring the making and meaning of “Film” includes outtakes, previously unreleased audio of production meetings and other rare archival elements, along with numerous interviews.
Program also includes “Film” (1965, 20 min. Dir. Alan Schneider). Buster Keaton stars as a man trying to escape from perception of all kinds in this near-silent avant-garde short penned by Samuel Beckett. Discussion following the feature with actor Jimmy Karen, moderated by Adam Hyman of Los Angeles Filmforum.

The deputy manager of a London bank has worked out a way to rob the branch of £200,000. When he becomes involved with the attractive Lady Dorset he decides to go ahead with his plan. He needs her help and that of her philandering spendthrift husband. It all comes down to a matter of trust... Starring Ursula Andress, Stanley Baker, David Warner. Dir. Peter Hall, 1970, 94 mins.

The Phantom of Crestwood  (1932)
Listeners to RKO’s six-part serial The Phantom headed to theaters for this denouement to the tale of gold digger Jenny Wren and her untimely death after extorting former lovers for hush money.  A sudden storm and an unexpected guest at a seaside estate set the stage for an atmospheric whodunit as the evening’s narrative unfolds through layered flashbacks and multiple perspectives. 35mm, b/w, 77 min. Director: J. Walter Ruben.

Practically synonymous with personal small-gauge filmmaking, Saul Levine has created more than 100 largely improvisational films in a half-century of remarkable, uninterrupted activity. His painstakingly crafted, exquisitely kinetic work deals with people and episodes from his life, but derives universal poetic meaning from its urgency, tactile presence, and range of themes, from the most personal to the political. In his key series—Notes, Portrayals, and Light Licks—Levine uses combinations of black-and-white and color, multiple images, accidents of exposure, and hand-carved collaging to expand upon his already rich, expressive cinematography. The Boston-based legend, a mentor to scores of avant-garde filmmakers throughout his teaching tenure at MassArt, brings a selection of work that includes entries from Light Licks, early 8mm Portrayals, and several Super 8mm sound films. In person: Saul Levine

As one of the players at the helm of the explosion of underground art and culture in the East Village of the 80s, Richard Kern was a prolific filmmaker and photographer. Kern’s raw low-budget films, shot on cheap 8 mm cameras and emblematic of the Cinema of Transgression 80s moment, were humorous, punky, violent, and shock-driven collaborations with the likes of Nick Zedd, Lydia Lunch, David Wojnarowicz, Sonic Youth, Henry Rollins, and bevy of other illustrious and notorious New York characters.
Kern, still a prolific photographer and mentor to young contemporary artists, joins us for a program of short films, a Q&A moderated by Apology magazine editor Jesse Pearson, and a show of his 80s photographs on the back patio.

Sands of the Kalahari  (UK, 1965)
A plane crash in the South African desert exposes its survivors to intensive hardship and the need to organize for survival.  In true Cy Endfield style, this is expressed through the tension between savagery and civilized cooperation, as members of the group oscillate between the two extremes, eerily mirrored by the allegorical presence of an always-nearby pack of wild baboons. 35mm, color, 119 min. Director: Cy Endfield.  Based on the novel Sands of the Kalahari by William Mulvhill.

This is coming of age, as witnessed in Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines’ monumental non-fiction film about working-class teenagers—girls and boys, white and black. Kids smoke dope, get drunk, sass their teachers, disobey the taboo against race-mixing, and try to break away from their mothers and fathers. The result is a free-flowing intimacy with the teenagers’ world, and “the immediacy is refreshing, and shocking. As searing as it is rambunctious, this film brings out all the middle-class prejudices against the working class that American movies rarely confront” (Michael Sragow, The New Yorker). Dir. Joel DeMott & Jeff Kreines, 1983, 16mm, 120 min.

aka Sherman’s March: A Meditation on the Possibility of Romantic Love In the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation
Freshly heartbroken, Ross McElwee set out to make a film about the South—namely the fallout of General Sherman’s famed march to the sea during the Civil War—but, as the film’s full title indicates, it’s much more than a documentary about the scorched earth Sherman left in his wake. Instead, McElwee crafted an ideal of cinéma vérite, a simultaneously romantic and self-effacing tour of the South (his home) and its women. An artist of everyday life, McElwee lingers on the peculiarities of the prosaic, and teases out the normalcy of the peculiar, narrating his travels with an improvisational tone, deftly transforming the male gaze into something humble and questioning, as rife with self-criticism as it it with alluring images of women. It’s intimate, but also fraught with tension introduced by filmmaking itself; his sister advises him to use his camera to meet people—”you have an instant rapport with people because you have a camera”—and he does, but it’s a complicated rapport; his camera is both a shield and an extension of his heart, his filming a form of flattery, and also distancing—as noted by McElwee’s firecracker of a former teacher, Charleen, who memorably scolds him, “turn off the camera Ross, this isn’t art, it’s life!” Dir. Ross McElwee, 1985, 16mm, 157 min.

1982, Sony Repertory, 96 min, Dir: Michael Miller
Ever wonder what would happen if your favorite slasher film villain went toe-to-toe with your favorite ’80s action star? Well, we’ve got just the film for YOU! After police gun down a maniac, some fancy pants scientists think it’s a good idea to experiment on his corpse. Not only do they manage to resurrect him, they also give him the power to self-heal, thus creating a super-human, mute undead killer. Now Sheriff Chuck Norris must try to spin-kick his way through a Michael Myers/Jason Voorhies clone who only has one thought: to kill. Discussion following with writer Joseph Fraley.

Driver’s first feature – a luminous, oddball comic fantasy about ancient Chinese curses and Xerox machines, set in Manhattan’s Chinatown and its immediate environs – may well be the most visually ravishing American independent film of its year (1986). Set in an irrational, poetic universe that bears a certain relationship to Jacques Rivette’s DUELLE, this dreamy intrigue breaks a cardinal rule of fantasy by striking off in a number of directions: an executive barks in the street, a young Frenchwoman (Magnuson) loses her hair, and machines in a copy shop start to purr and wheeze on their own initiative. The moods that are established are delicate, and not everyone will be able to go with them, but Driver sustains them with beauty and eccentric charm. Dir. Sara Driver, 1986, 78 min.

Fresh out of NYU film school and governed by the unconventional spirit of her devil-may-care French New Wave predecessors, newcomer Susan Seidelman set out with the 16mm camera she purchased with what was meant to be her “future wedding” cash to capture the vibe of a specific time and place. The place is a bankrupted and corrupted New York City, replete with abandoned parking lots now home to downtrodden hookers and listless squatters. The time is the post-hippie, pre-yuppie early ‘80s, an era when the Xerox machine and a Polaroid camera are the most sophisticated tools to help your image go viral. And “going viral,” in a sense, is exactly the aim of Wren, the pugnacious, fishnet-clad leading lady of Seidelman’s debut feature, Smithereens. As Wren plasters the city with posters of her photocopied face in the hopes of being recognized, we witness how the allure of fame is often met with the harsh realities of a life of excess. Wren might be burning every bridge she’s ever crossed, but she never looks back to survey the ashes—because in this world, “everybody’s out to get what they can.” The gritty, at times brutally honest Smithereens was the first American indie to premiere at Cannes, firmly cementing the film—and its maker—among their contemporaries. Dir. Susan Seidelman, 1982, HD Digital Presentation, 89 min.

1939, Universal, 99 min, USA, Dir: Rowland V. Lee
The third atmospheric installment in Universal’s FRANKENSTEIN franchise and inspiration for Mel Brooks' YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN finds Henry Frankenstein’s grown-up son, Wolf (Basil Rathbone), returning to the family estate with his wife and son (Josephine Hutchinson and Donnie Dunagan) after many years. The laboratory is in ruins - nevertheless Wolf soon becomes enmeshed in his family’s nefarious legacy when he finds the dormant monster (Boris Karloff) being looked after by a vengeful gallows survivor, the crook-necked Ygor (a very creepy Bela Lugosi). Universal was firing on all cylinders with its bolt-necked creature when it released this exceptionally entertaining tall tale. Watch for Lionel Atwill as the one-armed police chief (he lost his missing appendage to a previous encounter with the monster).

Sorry, Wrong Number  (1948)
Barbara Stanwyck takes on Agnes Moorehead's celebrated role as the frantic invalid of Suspense's much-reprised radio play.  Alone and bedridden, Leona Stevenson tries desperately to raise the alarm after overhearing a murder plot on the phone, only to realize that she is its intended victim.  Claustrophobically structured in seemingly real time, director Anatole Litvak’s film speeds to its horrifying conclusion. 35mm, b/w, 89 min. Based on the radio play by Lucille Fletcher.

1968, Warner Brothers, 109 min, Dir: Robert Mulligan
Gregory Peck reunites with his TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD director Robert Mulligan for this highly underrated Western thriller. U.S. Army soldiers encounter a group of Indians that includes a white woman and her half-Indian son; the woman (Eva Marie Saint) is desperate for cavalry scout Sam Varner (Gregory Peck) to take her and the child to Varner’s New Mexico ranch. The reason for her concern is soon clear – the boy’s father is a fearsome warrior who will stop at nothing to take him back.

1954, Lobster Films, 86 min, USA, Dir: Lewis Allen
In this tense thriller, Hayden plays a small-town sheriff confronting a trio of paid killers bent on assassinating the vacationing president of the United States. Frank Sinatra is electrifying as the boss bad guy; the actor-singer tried to buy up all copies of this film after the murder of John F. Kennedy. Lewis Allen provides his strongest directing effort for Richard Sale’s taut, suspenseful script.

Echoing the tour de force compositional dynamos of high-minded Europe—Antonioni, Godard, and Bela Tarr—Rob Tregenza’s inarguably ambitious debut feature, Talking To Strangers, brought rigorous mise-en-scène to the streets of the crumbling Baltimore of the 80s, and also to the American independent film circuit. Tregenza—known as a fixture of the UCLA scene (he received his PhD in 1982) and cinematographer to Béla Tarr (Werckmeister Harmonies), Claude Miller (Marching Band), and Alex Cox (Three Businessmen), among others—shot the conceptually driven feature in 9 single takes, each spanning one reel of 35mm film. Each take is an episode in and of itself, the scenes tied together loosely by the presence of one character, an enigmatic young man who falls into lyrical and absurd conversations and interactions, in what amounts to a film intellectually and formally ambitious in a way rarely seen in the US at the time of its release. Hand-selected by Jean-Luc Godard—who called Tregenza’s blend of fiction and reality “softly and strongly imbued with the marvelous”—for screening at TIFF, Talking to Strangers is a rare 80s curio, and an unmissable component of Underground USA. Dir. Rob Tregenza, 1988, 35mm, 90 min.

Tempest  (1928)
William Cameron Menzies received his first Academy Award for Art Direction for two 1928 pictures; one of them, this depiction of a Russian peasant who ascends to power within the Tsar's Army, then joins the Bolshevik revolution, while romancing an imperious princess.  Menzies' extensively researched and evocative designs gave the film a formal beauty and unity that belied its turbulent production circumstances, drawing praise from admiring star John Barrymore. 35mm, b/w, silent, 105 min. Director: Sam Taylor. With: John Barrymore, Camilla Horn, Louis Wolheim, Boris de Fas, George Fawcett.

British artist Tacita Dean’s extraordinary body of art embraces many mediums; she works with paint, found objects, photography, prints and writing, but it is her films that make the most indelible contribution. For Dean, film emulsion is a living tissue that can engender unsurpassed, vibrant experiences of light and rhythm, and she has been a passionate champion of the endangered medium. Working with a deeply contemplative aesthetic, her portrayals of artists and phenomena extend the literal into poetic dimensions. The youngest artist ever to be given a solo show at Tate Britain in 2001, Dean has exhibited at museums throughout the world, including the Hammer Museum two years ago, and she has produced over 50 films. For tonight’s program, Dean presents a rare selection of 16mm films that are not normally presented theatrically and that have not shown in Los Angeles before. In person: Tacita Dean

Generation X is forced to reconcile its teenage dreams with the realities of adulthood in this poignant and playful documentary. When the founder of a bizarre mid-90s Public Access TV show in Detroit reunites the cast after 20 years to make a new episode, he discovers that most of his childhood friends are struggling with issues ranging from mental illness and drug addiction to the mundane pressures of the daily grind. The group is forced to take a hard look at their relationships and decide whether the magic of their show was a fleeting youthful experiment or a creative community they will share for the rest of their lives. Reminding us that it’s never too late to chase your dreams, 20 Years of Madness is brimming with stunning cinematography, eccentric characters, and a heartfelt story about the desire to do something great while confronting the reality of failure. Running time: 90 minutes. Directed by Jeremy Royce; produced by Jeremy Royce, Jerry White, Jr., and Kaveh Taherian. Followed by a Q&A with Jeremy Royce and Jerry White, Jr.

Take a peek behind the curtain and come see the treasures our programmers have amassed while putting together the Underground USA series! The 80s brought us ubiquitous technologies—home video, cable television, cheap camcorders—and in turn, people made things like CRAZY. So much was documented, from music videos (born in the 80s!) and experimental short films, to obscure commercials for punk underground businesses, alternative and public access TV, and local reports about today’s music (Nashville Does New Wave). With materials culled from the deepest darkest recesses of American media, we’ve got the 80s media boom covered. So join us for some regional hip hop, punk rock, proto-grunge, underground NYC club scenes, AND MORE!

"If Celine Danhier’s "Blank City" plays as an anthropological study of the interconnected community of downtown artists shooting transgressive provocations for no budget on low-gauge media, "Variety" is the prototype of a product of that community; co-written by Kathy Acker, featuring appearances from Nan Goldin, a young Luis Guzmán and Spalding Gray, produced by Gray’s girlfriend Renee Shafransky, co-lensed by Tom DiCillio and scored by John Lurie."
- Karina Longworth, Indiewire, 2009
Christine (Sandy McLeod), works in a ticket booth in the adult underworld of Times Square in pre-Guiliani New York City. Based on appropriationist and gender pirate Kathy Acker's experiences in the same job, "Variety," is Bette Gordon's take on the emergence of personal identity via an early eighties feminist questioning of pornography and desire.

In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father's death. Dir. Jack Conway, 1934, 115 mins.

Fixtures of the No Wave scene, Beth B and Scott B (of the cheekily named “B Movies”) were known for their rough-around-the-edges no-and-low budget 8mm films, developed in the collaborative incubator of 80s New York’s arty and punkish downtown world. Vortex—a film noir-inspired oddity and the pinnacle of their collaborations—is a quintessentially underground paranoia infused trip, helmed by frequent collaborator Lydia Lunch (of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks) as a detective sucked into a labyrinthine world of corporate defense contracts, alongside the likes of James Russo, Bill Rice, Haoui Montaug, Richard Prince, Brent Collins, and Ann Magnuson, plus music by Richard Edson, Lunch herself, and more. Dir. Beth B. & Scott B., 1982, Digital Presentation from 1” analog video master, 90 min.

A punk film if ever there was one. After completing Repo Man, there was really only one project that Alex Cox wanted to sink his teeth into: Walker. He’d had a chance encounter with legendary screenwriter and novelist Rudy Wurlitzer (Two-Lane Blacktop, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid) in the early 1980’s, and the two began dreaming up a kind of spiritual sequel to Pat Garrett—a political western set in Nicaragua that would deal with the ongoing Contra scandal, for the decidedly un-political decade in Hollywood filmmaking at the time. It took many years and several visits to Nicaragua (one of which included a botched attempt at making a rock documentary with Joe Strummer as he toured Latin America—Strummer would go on to score and act in Walker as well as Straight to Hell), but somehow these men were eventually able to convince Universal Pictures to put up the money for this thing. And so, with the collaboration of the Sandinistas and the Catholic Church in Grenada, Walker was born—a story that would completely deconstruct cinematic and narrative conventions as it trailed 19th-century maverick William Walker (Ed Harris), who, after failing in just about every other profession, travels to Nicaragua to become a mercenary, and ultimately, dictator of a country in crisis. As with Repo Man, Cox left the narrative loose and open to improvisation—though in this case, the sharp anti-Reagan, searing political message of Walker takes hold over the more abstract, gentle qualities of his debut picture. Indeed, this is the movie that Alex Cox seemed to have prepared for his entire life to make—replete with anachronisms, absurdities, Sy Richardson, and a middle finger pointed right at manifest destiny. Dir. Alex Cox, 1987, 94 min. Alex Cox in person!

A tour de force of digital art, Where the Chocolate Mountains (2015, 55 min.) is a major new opus from Pat O’Neill, one of the all-time guiding lights of the Los Angeles avant-garde, whose pioneering use of the optical printer marked a creative breakthrough in composite image-making in cinema. Continuing in the vein of his renowned 35mm epics Water and Power (1989), Trouble in the Image (1996) and Decay of Fiction (2002), the founding CalArts faculty member combines haunting cinematography of the Chocolate Mountains along the border between California and Arizona—long used as a bombing range by the military—with footage shot in L.A., Mexico and Prague, intimate self-portraits, and recurring graphic motifs to create irrepressible, stunningly detailed streams of multilayered sight and sound. The new film is preceded by one of O’Neill early classic, 7362 (1967, 10 min.). In person: Pat O’Neill

A young woman escapes from a mental hospital during the chaos of a nearby multiple-car accident. She is mistaken for a shock victim and is driven to her sister's house by a rescue volunteer. Then the real story begins... Dir. Sara Driver, 1981, 50 min.

Yumeji  (Japan, 1991)
Made 10 years after its predecessor, the final film in the Taisho Trilogy spins a fantastical tale from the life of a historical figure.  Takehisa Yumeji (1884–1934) was an artist known as much for his paintings of beautiful women as for his bohemian lifestyle.  As played by rock star Kenji Sawada, the Yumeji of director Seijun Suzuki’s film is a serial seducer haunted by thoughts of his own death while pursuing ideals of beauty in his art.  Traveling to Kanazawa to meet his lover, he instead falls for a widow whose murdered husband inconveniently returns from the dead.  Love, desire, life and death collapse into one another as Yumeji’s art takes on an uncanny existence of its own. 35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles, 128 min.

Ziguernerweisen  (Japan, 1980)
Named the best film of the 1980s in a poll of Japanese film critics, Zigeunerweisen (1980) takes its title from a recording of violin music by Pablo de Sarasate.  The piece haunts the film’s two main characters: Aochi, an uptight professor at a military academy, and his erstwhile colleague Nakasago, who is now a wild-haired wanderer and possible murderer.  The movie’s plot is a metaphysical ghost story involving love triangles, doppelgangers, and a blurred line between the worlds of the living and the dead.  “Underlying the teasing riddles,” writes film critic Tony Rayns, “is an aching lament for the sumptuous hybrid culture of the 1920s that was swept away by the militarism of the 1930s.” 35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles, 144 min. Director: Seijun Suzuki.