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

wed. oct. 31

the roe's room, garden of earthly delights @ ucla film archive
the omen @ aero theatre
martin scorcese documentaries @ new beverly theatre
haxan 8 PM @ silent movie theatre
the shining 7 PM @ cinespia @ hollywood forever cemetery
the cabinet of dr. caligari @ disney hall

thu. nov. 1

bad dudes @ the smell
the trespasser @ ampas linwood dunn theater
martin scorcese documentaries @ new beverly theatre
second breath, bob le flambeur @ aero theatre
jon brion @ largo

fri. nov. 2

thrones @ the smell
ema & the ghosts @ pehrspace
daft punk's electroma MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre
borsalino, the swimming pool @ aero theatre
400 blows @ silent movie theatre
the little girl who lives down the lane 10 PM, bad ronald @ silent movie theatre
un chien andalou, l'age d'or @ lacma
bunuel: wuthering heights 9 PM @ lacma
jon brion @ largo

sat. nov. 3

helio sequence @ the avalon
who is edgar allen? 5:30 PM, the castle @ silent movie theatre
no country for old men (preview screening) @ lacma
jon brion @ largo

sun. nov. 4

the valerie project @ silent movie theatre
bad dudes @ safari sam's
lost highway, dune @ new beverly theatre
crooks in clover @ aero theatre
the narrow margin 1 PM @ silent movie theatre
harry smith's mahagonny @ filmforum @ egyptian theatre

mon. nov. 5

the valerie project @ silent movie theatre
lost highway, dune @ new beverly theatre

tue. nov. 6

LA gentlemen callers FREE @ the scene
lost highway, dune @ new beverly theatre
i'm from hollywood, andy kaufman plays carnegie hall @ egyptian theatre
the savages (preview screening) @ aero theatre
the naked spur 1 PM @ lacma
bipolar bear @ spaceland

wed. nov. 7

the king of kong, TBA @ new beverly theatre
no country for old men (preview screening) @ aero theatre
a student prince in old heidelberg 8 PM @ silent movie theatre

thu. nov. 8

dos @ knitting factory
the king of kong, TBA @ new beverly theatre
dan melchior @ the scene
vitaphone pepper pot 7 PM @ hammer museum

fri. nov. 9

daft punk's electroma MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre
antoine & collette, stolen kisses @ silent movie theatre
our mother's house 10 PM @ silent movie theatre
the birth of poetic cinema: jean cocteau and man ray @ lacma
trance films: maya deren and gregory markopoulos 9:20 PM @ lacma
isis aquarian and the source family @ skylight books
joanna newsom @ disney hall

sat. nov. 10

she made her bed 7 PM @ starlight studios
big trouble in little china MIDNIGHT @ new beverly theatre
three paths to the lake 5:30 PM, rebellion @ silent movie theatre
the magik lantern: harry smith @ lacma
the magik lantern: joseph cornell and larry jordan 9:20 PM @ lacma

sun. nov. 11

the seventh seal, the virgin spring @ aero theatre
the killers 1 PM @ silent movie theatre
time 7 PM @ silent movie theatre
god of cookery 9:30 PM @ silent movie theatre
thee L.A. gentlemen callers @ the scene
semiotext(e) screening: "j" as in joy of gilles deleuze from a to z 8:30 PM @ mandrake bar

mon. nov. 12

spiritualized @ vista theatre

tue. nov. 13

spiritualized @ vista theatre
the legend of the seven golden vampires, vampire hookers @ new beverly theatre

wed. nov. 14

crazy and cool - jazz folies on film @ getty center
the iron horse 8 PM @ silent movie theatre

thu. nov. 15

the threat, the black book @ egyptian theatre
an evening with the source family 8 PM @ silent movie theatre

fri. nov. 16

eraserhead MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre
silver daggers @ the smell
scarlet street @ aero theatre
bed & board @ silent movie theatre
nobody knows 10 PM @ silent movie theatre
dalí, disney and destino @ lacma
unrealized dalí: moontide 9:15 PM @ lacma
yahowa 13, sky saxon & the seeds @ echoplex
six organs of admittance FREE 6 PM @ amoeba records

sat. nov. 17

the warlocks @ troubadour
the legend of billie jean MIDNIGHT @ new beverly theatre
the signal 7 PM @ egyptian theatre
born and bred 9:30 PM, the aerial @ egyptian theatre
young frankenstein, high anxiety @ aero theatre
lemmings one 5 PM, lemmings two @ silent movie theatre
los angeles post-1945: curtis harrington and kenneth anger @ lacma
paris in the ‘20s: jean epstein, rené clair and germaine 9:10 PM @ lacma
ricky jay & art spiegelman 7 PM @ hammer museum
smiles on a summer night @ warner grand theatre

sun. nov. 18

armored car robbery 1 PM @ silent movie theatre
fatty arbuckle shorts matinee 4 PM @ silent movie theatre
the president's last bang 7 PM @ silent movie theatre
strangeboys, no age, jay reatard, mika miko @ the smell

mon. nov. 19

the mist (preview screening) @ egyptian theatre

wed. nov. 21

the lodger 8 PM @ silent movie theatre

fri. nov. 23

spaceballs MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre
mr. hulot's holiday, the big day @ aero theatre
love on the run @ silent movie theatre
the cement garden 10 PM @ silent movie theatre
the red shoes @ lacma

sat. nov. 24

charalambides @ the smell
search for beauty 7 PM @ starlight studios
variation 5:30 PM, fraulein @ silent movie theatre
portrait of jennie @ lacma
pandora and the flying dutchman 9:10 PM @ lacma

sun. nov. 25

3:10 to yuma (1957), high noon @ new beverly theatre
in cold blood 1 PM @ silent movie theatre
save the green planet 7 PM @ silent movie theatre

mon. nov. 26

3:10 to yuma (1957), high noon @ new beverly theatre
alchemical dreams: the short films of harry smith @ redcat

tue. nov. 27

3:10 to yuma (1957), high noon @ new beverly theatre
wholphin no. 5 release party 8 PM @ silent movie theatre

wed. nov. 28

iron & wine @ orpheum
days of youth 8 PM @ silent movie theatre

thu. nov. 29

she-freak @ new beverly theatre

fri. nov. 30

to have and have not, the big sleep @ aero theatre
what time is it there? @ silent movie theatre
king of the hill 10 PM @ silent movie theatre
jonathan richman @ safari sam's

sat. dec. 1

slumber party massacre MIDNIGHT @ new beverly theatre
the puffy chair @ silent movie theatre

sun. dec. 2

key largo, murder on the orient express @ aero theatre
somewhere in the night 1 PM @ silent movie theatre
woman is the future of man 7 PM @ silent movie theatre
matango 9:30 PM @ silent movie theatre
upsilon acrux @ knitting factory
jonathan richman @ detroit bar (early show) 

tue. dec. 4

sharon jones & the dap-kings @ el rey
experimental night: zbigniew rybczynski 8 PM @ silent movie theatre

wed. dec. 5

flash gordon, danger diabolik @ new beverly theatre
dilettantes @ silverlake lounge
nels cline singers, eugene chadbourne @ safari sam's

thu. dec. 6

flash gordon, danger diabolik @ new beverly theatre

fri. dec. 7

alice @ silent movie theatre
select sects and cult cuts 10 PM, split image @ silent movie theatre

sat. dec. 8

upsilon acrux @ the smell
the way of all flesh 7 PM @ starlight studios
apart from that @ silent movie theatre
the peanut butter solution 10:30 PM @ silent movie theatre
digital art in belgium @ telic arts exchange

sun. dec. 9

singapore 1 PM @ silent movie theatre
old boy 7 PM @ silent movie theatre
the h-man 9:30 PM @ silent movie theatre

tue. dec. 11

voice of the seven woods 8 PM @ silent movie theatre
squirrel nut zippers @ el rey

wed. dec. 12

top secret, bananas @ new beverly theatre
the matinee idol 8 PM @ silent movie theatre

thu. dec. 13

top secret, bananas @ new beverly theatre

fri. dec. 14

christmas evil MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre
bipolar bear, mi ami, bad dudes @ the smell
beyond the valley of the dolls, head @ new beverly theatre
faust @ silent movie theatre
bad dreams 10 PM @ silent movie theatre

sat. dec. 15

beyond the valley of the dolls, head @ new beverly theatre
mutual appreciation @ silent movie theatre

sun. dec. 16

raising arizona, evil dead 2 @ new beverly theatre
shadow on the wall 1 PM @ silent movie theatre
oasis 7 PM @ silent movie theatre
godzilla vs. the smog monster 9:30 PM @ silent movie theatre

mon. dec. 17

raising arizona, evil dead 2 @ new beverly theatre

tue. dec. 18

black christmas, silent night deadly night @ new beverly theatre

wed. dec. 19

fig leaves 8 PM @ silent movie theatre

fri. dec. 21

fallen angels, the killer @ new beverly theatre
conspirators of pleasure, food @ silent movie theatre
the wicker man 10 PM, MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theatre

sat. dec. 22

only yesterday 7 PM @ starlight studios
fallen angels, the killer @ new beverly theatre
old joy @ silent movie theatre

sun. dec. 23

black angel 1 PM @ silent movie theatre
safety last 4 PM @ silent movie theatre
king kong escapes 9:30 PM @ silent movie theatre

wed. dec. 26

underworld 8 PM @ silent movie theatre

fri. dec. 28

electric prunes, strawberry alarm clock @ knitting factory
lunacy @ silent movie theatre
aliens from spaceship earth 10 PM, the helter skelter murders @ silent movie theatre

sat. dec. 29

frownland @ silent movie theatre

sun. dec. 30

mirage 1 PM @ silent movie theatre
a tale of two sisters 7 PM @ silent movie theatre
destroy all monsters 9:30 PM @ silent movie theatre


THE AERIAL (LA ANTENA), 2007, Pachamama Cine, 90 min. Director Esteban Sapir draws on numerous influences, from early 20th Century Fritz Lang to latter-day mavericks such as Guy Maddin, Terry Gilliam and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, in this tribute to early silent black-and-white films. An entire city has lost its voice, as part of a sinister, secret plan to subject all of the inhabitants to the will of the despotic ruler, Mr. TV. With Rafael Ferro, Florencia Raggi, Alejandro Urdapilleta, Julieta Cardinali, Valeria Bertuccelli. In Spanish with English subtitles.

"The hand-painted films with which [Smith] began his career are the most remarkable ever achieved in that technique; and his subsequent stature as one of the central filmmakers of the avant-garde tradition.” films, both animated and photographed from actuality, sustain his." P. Adams Sitney
“You shouldn't be looking at this as a continuity. Film frames are hieroglyphs, even when they look like actuality. You should think of the individual frame, always, as a glyph, and then you'll understand what cinema is about.” – Harry Smith
Harry Smith (1923–91) was a unique visionary whose art and interests moved freely between music (most notably, with the seminal Anthology of American Folk Music), film, painting and the occult. Smith’s ground-breaking experimental films are rarely shown, and this screening includes several of his hand-painted Early Abstractions (1941–57, assembled ca. 1964, 23 mins., b/w and color, 16mm)), featuring live musical accompaniment; Film No. 17: Mirror Animations (Extended Version) (1979, 11 min., 16mm), collage-animation laden with Smith’s symbology and mythic imagination; Film No. 14: Late Superimpositions (1964, 28 min., 16mm), a quasi-autobiographical account of Anadarko, Oklahoma; Film No. 15 (1965–66, 10 min., silent, 16mm), Smith’s animation of Seminole patchwork; and Film No. 16: Oz, The Tin Woodman’s Dream (1967, 15 min., silent, 35mm CinemaScope).

A denture-wearing sock puppet, a baguette that sprouts nails, and giant pin cushions that transform into live animals all make batty appearances in Jan Svankmajer’s phantasmagoric screen translation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. This painstakingly-crafted feature combines live action and stop-motion animation in its depiction of Alice’s famous pursuit of the White Rabbit. Alice (Kristyna Kohoutova) encounters a host of oddballs and strange objects along the way, all brought to life in Svankmajer’s masterful style. Dir. Jan Svankmajer, 1988, 86 min.

Buy this ticket to heaven with folk-schlocker Donovan as your guide through the cosmic slop of hippie idolatry. Less a documentary than an incense-scented love letter to the 70s swamis and the glassy-eyed sheep that loved them with all the lurid ugliness found in your typical cultsploitation expose (the brainwashing, the sex crimes, the jewel smuggling) swept under the yoga mat. The whole guru gang is here, ready to grab your cash and steal your soul. There’s the Hawaiian Punch-drinking teen messiah Guru Maharaji, Sai Baba, the afrowielding sweet lord to hordes of San Diego housewives, Ivy Leaguer-turned-acidblasted freak Ram Dass, tribal-rocking love god Father Yod, and on and on and on and on and on and on... Dir. Don Como, 1977, 107 min.

ANDY KAUFMAN PLAYS CARNEGIE HALL, 1979, 77 min. Andy Kaufman's legendary sold-out Carnegie Hall performance, featuring all of Kaufman's classic routines, including Foreign Man, Elvis, conga drums, plus Andy wrestling women and even taking on a real male wrestler! Also appearing is a menagerie of Kaufman's collection of human oddities, including the infamous Tony Clifton, The Love Family (a sub-Partridge Family singing group who do a bang-up version of "The Age of Aquarius" complete with synchronized dance movements), Grant Bowman the "Happy New Year Man" (straight from Times Square, where Andy found him), "cowgirl" Eleanor Cody Gould and an uncredited, surprise big name guest as Andy’s grandmother. Bob Zmuda appears as Andy's referee, and at the end of the show, Andy takes the entire audience out for milk and cookies.

In Antoine and Collette, nearly 40 years before John Cusack’s famous proclamation in High Fidelity that “It’s not what you’re like, it’s what you like,” Truffaut contributed this lyrical, bittersweet short to 1962’s omnibus Love At 20. Léaud appears as the 17-year old Doinel, in an endearing demonstration of the inextricable link between music, films, and modern romance. Doinel’s hapless courtship with the blasé Collette mirrored Truffaut’s tumultuous real-life pursuit of first love Liliane Litvin, who never did return his love, even after he attained overwhelming success.

Ex-members of Los Angeles’ legendary Source Family re-unite onstage, in a program composed of slides, home movies, 70s cable access video clips and the first musical performance in 30 years by the legendary Source Family band, Ya Ho Wa 13!!! Coinciding with the release of Process Media’s fascinating volume on the storied SoCal commune, The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and The Source Family, we welcome authors Isis Aquarian and Electricity Aquarian, editor Jodi Wille, and ex-members of that Family in the flesh! The evening will be an audiovisual survey of the life and times of this seminal ‘60s/’70s countercultural force in Los Angeles spirituality, music, and lifestyle.

Utilizing a prismatic shooting style, overlapping dialogue, and sophisticated sound design, Jennifer Shainin and Randy Walker direct the story of Ulla (Kathleen McNearny), a soft-spoken beautician-in-training renting a room from Peggy (Alice Ellingson), a lonely older woman prone to prankcalling the fire department. Drawing fullblooded characters in a few deft strokes, Apart from That adapts the detached-yet-intimate style of Raymond Carver’s Short Cuts to the peculiar atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest. The excellent performances by a non-professional cast deepen a narrative drawn vividly from life. Dir. by Jennifer Shainin and Randy Walker, 2006, 120 min.

Helmed by the great Richard Fleischer, who cut his directorial teeth in the RKO second feature unit, Armored Car Robbery is the ultimate ‘B’ film noir caper flick. Film noir’s toughest mug, Charles McGraw is the prototypical L.A. Robbery-Homicide dick matched against cold-blooded gangster William Talman in the film noir equivalent of King Kong vs. Godzilla! Adele Jergens offers sultry support as a duplicitous burlesque queen. Check out the terrific period location photography at old Wrigley Field, downtown Los Angeles, the oil fields of Torrance, and underneath the then-new Hollywood Freeway! Dir. Richard Fleischer, 1950, 67 min.

Our trashiest cult film, Bad Dreams opens with a demented guru pouring gasoline over his teenage followers and then setting them all afire. Thirteen years later, the sole survivor awakens from her coma, only to be plagued by recurring visions of her fearful leader—he wants his Love Child to come to other side and join him. When members of her psychiatric support group start dropping like flies, the question is raised: did her guru survive the incident as well, or is a new kind of mania seizing her peers? Ironically, the cult leader in this underrated gem —part David Koresh, part Freddie Krueger-- is memorably played by the scar-faced Richard Lynch, who was himself the victim of a youthful, 60s, drug-induced self-immolation. Dir. Andrew Fleming, 1988, 80 min.

Searing itself into the memory of many an impressionable young mind, this TV Movie of the Week transcended its humble tube trappings to become a teenage creepshow classic. After a rather unhappy accident, geeky mama’s boy Ronald tries to flee the fuzz by hiding out at home in a secret room under the stairs. All’s well until mom disappears and new tenants move in. Holed up month after month in this filthy little rattrap, Ronald’s confined mind eventually transports him to the Magical Land of Atranta where he is The Prince who must save The Princess (preteen daughter of the current residents) from The Evil Duke (her sister’s jock boyfriend). With Dabney Coleman as the bemused patriarch, Oscar-winner Kim Hunter (Stella in Streetcar Named Desire) as Ronald’s doting mom and Scott Jacoby (also featured in Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane). Don’t expect a fairy tale ending. Dir. Buzz Kulik, 1974, 74 min.

An evident influence on Annie Hall, the fourth installment in the Doinel series find its protagonist ambling face-first into the stumbling blocks of marriage and parenthood. Antoine (whose strange string of jobs includes dyeing flowers and operating remote-control toy boats) finds harmony with his wife–sharp-witted, self-possessed music teacher Christine. Their playful, insulated domesticity is shaken when Antoine becomes infatuated with the lovely and enigmatic (at least to Antoine) Kyoko (Hiroko Berghauer). In one indelible scene, Christine, aware of Antoine’s infidelity, greets him at home dressed as Madame Butterfly. Truffaut’s skewering of dubious Orientalism was both years ahead if its time and long overdue. It’s one moment in many that exemplify Truffaut’s ability to sensitively comment on commitment and fragility in a film that on its surface appears to be a spare, loving tribute to singularly Parisian weirdness. Dir. Francois Truffaut, 1970, 100 min.

THE BIG DAY (JOUR DE FETE), 1947, Janus Films, 79 min. Jacques Tati’s feature debut as director is a priceless showcase for his comedic talents as he plays a mailman attempting to streamline delivery in his small town. But he soon finds his attempts at modernization and a coincidental Bastille Day celebration don’t mix. Tangible proof that Tati remains -- along with Chaplin, Keaton and the Marx Brothers -- as one of the pantheon comic geniuses of the 20th Century. Originally filmed in Thomson-Color, a tentative French alternative to Technicolor, JOUR DE FÊTE was shot simultaneously in black-and-white as a precaution. Eventually, trouble with the new color process led Tati to release this second, backup version. The film proved a commercial and critical success, yet that didn't stop Tati from returning to the film in the mid-1960’s, re-editing the picture, remixing its soundtrack and even shooting new footage for it. Until a 1995 "restoration" of the film's intended, original color version carried out by Tati's daughter Sophie Tatischeff and cinematographer François Ede, the 1964 JOUR DE FÊTE was the sole version in circulation.

The Birth of Poetic Cinema: Jean Cocteau and Man Ray
The Blood of a Poet (1930/b&w/50 min. | Scr/dir: Jean Cocteau; w/ Lee Miller, Enrique Rivero)
Les Mystères du château de Dé (1929/b&w/20 min. | Scr/dir: Man Ray)
In The Blood of a Poet, Cocteau follows a young poet as he plunges into the blackness of a mirror and drifts through a sublime realm of visions and dreams populated with sphinxes, angels and living statues (among them Lee Miller, Man Ray's lover and collaborator). In Man Ray’s last film, a strange group of visitors, faces obscured by shrouds, go about fanciful games and movements in and around the striking modernist villa (designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens) belonging to the Vicomte de Noailles, who also commissioned both Cocteau’s film and L’Âge d’or.

Perhaps noir’s most suspenseful literary stylist, Cornell Woolrich, penned this perverse tale of obsessive love that morphs into homicide. The great Dan Duryea essays one of his most tormented performances, as an alcoholic pianist who can’t remember details about the murder of his ex in a Wilshire highrise—details that will clear an innocent man. Added to the mix: Peter Lorre as a sinister nightclub owner, Wallace Ford as the well-intentioned buddy, a young Broderick Crawford as a bull-headed cop and true-blue wife, June Vincent. Black Angel is an overlooked classic directed by Sherlock Holmes specialist Roy William Neill. Dir. Roy William Neill, 1946, 81 min.

THE BLACK BOOK (aka REIGN OF TERROR), 1949, Sony Repertory, 89 min. Director Anthony Mann’s classic, breakneck-paced thriller set during the French Revolution was shot in classic noir style by pantheon cinematographer John Alton with fulsome production design supervised by all-time great, William Cameron Menzies. When Robespierre (Richard Basehart in powdered wig and high dudgeon), becomes increasingly guillotine-happy, the more rational citizens of the French Revolution assign undercover operative Robert Cummings to filch Robespierre’s fabled "black book" of enemies that will topple the dictator if made public. Cummings hooks up with beautiful spy Arlene Dahl, and the two are soon on the run from Robespierre’s fanatical minions. Charles McGraw, who appeared in six of Mann’s films, plays one of Robespierre’s most notoriously sadistic enforcers -- his fight with Cummings at the fiery climax, rendered in Alton’s gorgeous chiaroscuro lighting, is a triumph of suspense. Don’t miss this rarely screened classic produced by the legendary Walter Wanger for Eagle-Lion Studios!

BOB LE FLAMBEUR, 1955, Rialto Pictures, 97 min. One of the greatest crime films ever made and a landmark in French cinema is back in a beautiful restored 35mm print. Jean-Pierre Melville’s most renowned film is less a true noir than (in the director’s words) "a comedy of manners" -- a romantic meditation on Montmartre, faithless women, old pros, casinos waiting to be knocked over. The great Roger Duchesne stars as smooth-as-velvet crook Bob, planning to retire after one last, big score – if he can keep his hands off coquettish vixen Isabelle Corey and the even-more dangerous allure of the gambling tables. Suffused with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, BOB was "a letter to a Paris which no longer existed." "What is friendship? It’s telephoning a friend at night to say, ‘Be a pal, get your gun and come over quickly’ – and hearing the reply, ‘O.K., be right there.’ " -- Jean-Pierre Melville

BORN AND BRED (NACIDO Y CRIADO), 2006, Films Distribution, 100 min. Dir. Pablo Trapero. Santiago (Guillermo Pfening) is quite well-off with Milli (Martina Gusman), his wife and their small child, Josefina. They make up a happy family enjoying life, with no unpleasant surprises. But a sudden accident on the road triggers a tragedy and a violent shift in Santiago’s existence. He reappears in the frozen landscape of Patagonia, lost, and seemingly at the end of the world. One step ahead of insanity, Santiago must struggle to take control of his fate and the closing of his painful past. "…displaying an immense sense of empathy toward its central character -- with immense landscapes to match…an emotionally stunning journey of a father's return to his senses after a horrible accident." – Robert Koehler, Variety In Spanish with English subtitles.

BORSALINO, 1970, Paramount, 125 min. Dir. Jacques Deray. In 1930’s Marseilles, fun-loving Jean-Paul Belmondo and ambitious Alain Delon meet, brawl over a girl, but soon become close comrades. Before long, they wrest control from the stuck-in-their-ways old gang bosses and begin organizing the wide-open city’s crime rackets. Based on Eugene Saccomano’s novel, The Bandits of Marseille, screenwriters Jean-Claude Carriere, Claude Sautet and director Deray all collaborated on the sharp script. The film was a huge hit in the U.S. as well as France upon its initial release and spurred an almost as popular sequel (without Belmondo), BORSALINO AND CO. With Mirielle Darc, Michel Bouquet, Corinne Marchand. Dubbed-in-English version. NOT ON DVD

Buñuel: Wuthering Heights
1953/b&w/90 min. | Scr: Luis Buñuel, Julio Alejandro, Arduino Maiuri; dir: Buñuel; w/ Irasema Dilián, Jorge Mistral, Lilia Prado
Buñuel began working on this adaptation of the Emily Brontë novel (a favorite of the surrealists) in Paris in the early 1930s, though it took two decades to go into production. Transported to the barren, petrified landscape of Taxco in Mexico, Brontë’s tale of doomed, all-consuming love is pushed to tortured excess and etched with dark, surreal images. “Triumphant…a blatant hacienda melodrama that camps out on poverty row before blasting into the stratosphere—a great movie that successfully travesties a great novel.” – J. Hoberman, Village Voice

The Castle is a scathing take on bureaucratic entrapment, adapted faithfully from Franz Kafka’s famously unfinished novel. K, a land surveyor, is summoned to work at the castle and its surrounding village by a mysterious count. When K arrives, he finds the hostile and incompetent villagers blocking his access to the castle at every step. Fans of the director’s experimental studies will appreciate this impressive foray into surrealtheism, while literary types consider Haneke’s spectral adaptation the most faithful to Kafka yet committed to film. A West Coast premiere of this rare 35mm print from the Austrian Film Archives! Dir. Michael Haneke, 1997, 123 min.

Andrew Birkin spent two decades bringing his adaptation of Ian McEwan’s controversial novel to the screen—and the result is a gorgeously-shot, richly nuanced psychosexual hothouse drama. When four siblings are suddenly orphaned, they choose to submerge their mother’s corpse in a cement tomb and hide their loss from the authorities, to avoid separation. Left without parental authority, The Cement Garden depicts the rapid disintegration of the family’s moral codes, gender roles, social order–and basic housekeeping. Perhaps inadvertently, Birkin’s casting of his son (as a crossdressing boy) and his comely niece, Charlotte Gainsbourg as the sexually-awakened older sister, lends palpable tension to the themes of incest and subterranean sexual rot. Dir. Andrew Birkin, 1993, 105 min.

(from IMDB)
Widely recognized as the best of the Christmas horror efforts, Christmas Evil is the story of a boy who loves Christmas. He is scarred as a boy when he learns that Santa is not real. Throughout the rest of his life, the toy-maker tries to make the Christmas spirit a reality. He becomes obsessed with the behavior of children and the quality of the toys he makes. When he is met with hypocrisy and cynicism, the resulting snap causes him to go on a yuletide killing spree to complete this dark comedic horror.

Inspired by the work of notorious perverts like Luis Bunuel, Max Ernst, Sigmund Freud and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Conspirators Of Pleasure details the fetishes of six seemingly normal people whose stories intersect: a postal carrier, a news agent, a newscaster, the newscaster’s husband, a middle-aged woman, and her neighbor. There is an ineffable sweetness to Svankmajer’s depiction of the characters’ elaborate, often grotesque rituals of self-gratification, which are better (and funnier) seen than described. Devoid of dialogue, Conspirators Of Pleasure underscores the psychic and sexual connections between characters, culminating in an absurdly comic group climax. Dir. Jan Svankmajer,1996, 85 min.

Rare film shorts from French and American archives capture the energy and intensity of the jazz movement, both in Europe and stateside. These screenings are presented in conjunction with the Getty Research Institute's conference Côte à Côte: Art and Jazz in France and California and the Orange County Museum of Art's exhibition Birth of the Cool (October 7, 2007–January 6, 2008).

CROOKS IN CLOVER (aka LES TONTONS FLINGUEURS aka MONSIEUR GANGSTER), 1963, Gaumont, 105 min. Director Georges Lautner (ICY BREASTS) helmed this deliciously funny, but dark gangster spoof with Lino Ventura (SECOND BREATH) as a former mobster lured back into the business by a dying friend’s last request. Obligated to tie up some "loose ends" as well as look after the dead man’s soon-to-be-married daughter, Ventura abruptly finds himself running afoul of gangster hardcase, Bernard Blier. But Ventura is not to be trifled with, and responds in equal measure. Soon, a string of killings erupt and bodies pile up as the two men go at it. One of the classics. In French, with English subtitles. NOT ON DVD

Dalí, Disney and Destino
Surreal Cartoon Program (1920s-1940s/c. 60 min.)
Destino (1946-2003/color/7 min. | Scr : Salvador Dalí, John Hench; dir: Dominique Monfery)
A celebration of the magic realism of Disney's early animations (including a selection of Silly Symphonies and excerpts from Fantasia) will culminate in a presentation of Destino, a voyage through Dalí’s inimitable dreamscapes. The painter began work on Destino while under contract at the Disney Studios in 1946. Though never completed by Dalí, Destino was finally animated at Disney in 2003 from the hundreds of detailed drawings and notes he left. The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short.

Inspired by the breezy comedies of Harold Lloyd, this gentle film tracks a trio of young Japanese students as they stumble into and out of puppy love. Flakey lothario Watanabe (Ichiro Yuki) falls for fresh-faced Chieko (Junko Matsui), while his bookish, awkward friend Yamamoto (Ozu regular Tatsuo Saito) struggles to compete for her affections. The friends travel together on a ski trip, where their individual pursuits of Chieko are punctuated by moments of familiar sweetness and whimsical physical comedy. With genial grace, Yasujiro Ozu’s earliest surviving film suggests his fascination with loyalty and accountability, both recurring elements that made his eventual forays into social criticism so compelling. Dir. Yasujiro Ozu, 1929, 103 min.

This film takes place in the ominous future of 1999 where an improbably-functional United Nations has locked up all of the world’s beasties on Monster Island, a land mass off the coast of Japan. When aliens from the moon liberate the monsters, all hell breaks loose. Ishiro Honda’s monster “war to end all wars” epic is like the Robert Altman film of the Toho vaults; it features a cast of 11 famous monsters each of whom could headline their own films, including Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Gorosaurus, King Ghidorah and Baragon. Honda doesn’t limit the mayhem to Tokyo. This is a global smack down! Come see Paris being destroyed by Gorosaurus, Moscow being laser-beamed by Rodan and Godzilla attacking New York. Dir. Ishiro Honda, 1968, 88 min.

Monumentally influential director Zbigniew Rybczynski joins us in person for this very special retrospective of his brilliant, original films. It’s impossible to contemplate the consistently imaginative technical and narrative feats of Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze without Rybczynski’s legacy, which includes visionary music videos for Lou Reed, Mick Jagger, and John Lennon, in addition to countless eye-popping innovations in pixilation, optical printing, and animation. His ubiquitous early-80s spots for MTV will likely incite ecstatic convulsions of nostalgia.

(from IMDB)
A disillusioned killer embarks on his last hit but first he has to overcome his affections for his cool, detached partner. Thinking it's dangerous and improper to become involved with a colleague he sets out to find a surrogate for his affections. Against the sordid and surreal urban nightscape (set in contemporary Hong Kong), he crosses path with a strange drifter looking for her mysterious ex-boyfriend and an amusing mute trying to get the world's attention in his own unconventional ways.

In 1920, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was the most popular movie star in the world, rivaled only by Charlie Chaplin. Roscoe signed an exclusive contract with Paramount to create feature–length comedies, becoming Hollywood’s first “Million Dollar Man.” After being scandalized in the unsolved death of actress Virginia Rappe, Arbuckle was banned from Hollywood and a number of his films were destroyed. Today’s generation has rediscovered this comedy legend, and he now enjoys his rightful reputation as one of the four pioneering comedy geniuses, along with Chaplin, Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Presented by Argus Entertainment and featuring live appearances by Chris Kattan & Preston Lacy from the forthcoming film The Life of the Party, the screening will include the classic shorts Fatty and Mabel Adrift, He Did and He Didn’t, Coney Island, Goodnight Nurse and The Garage. An Arbuckle historian will be on-hand for a Q&A session.

It’s Goethe Gone Wild! In this darkly-funny adaptation of his classic text, Svankmajer unleashes a host of marvelous scenes: ballerinas raking grass in a field, an egg discovered in a loaf of bread, a shape-shifting fetus conjured from clay. Faust (Petr Cepek) summons Mephistopholes to strike a diabolical bargain: his soul in exchange for twenty-four years of Lucifer’s ‘quality time.’ Faust is a surrealist synthesis of shifting modes and settings. Dir. Jan Svankmajer, 1994, 97 min.

Howard Hawks always claimed that he told Cecil B. DeMille to rewrite the title cards for his reincarnation melodrama The Road to Yesterday (1925) to make it a comedy. Hawks’ droll jab at DeMille’s masterpiece sounds more like a description of the former’s own first film, Fig Leaves, made one year later. Fig Leaves also harks back to successful DeMille high-fashion extravaganzas like Don’t Change Your Husband (1919), which set the pattern for what later became screwball comedy. It is Hawks’ first example of that genre, primitive in more ways than one; the framing scenes are set in a Flintstones-like Garden of Eden (designed by William S. Darling and William Cameron Menzies), where Eve (Olive Borden) complains to Adam (George O’Brien) that she “doesn’t have a thing to wear”–enter the serpent. Cut to 1926, where Adam and Eve face the same timeless problem, with the serpent split into next-door-neighbor Alice (Phyllis Haver) and a snaky seducer, Andre the fashion designer (Josef Andre). With lively playing and sophisticated satire, this Ur-comedy of remarriage portends the charm of His Girl Friday. Dir. Howard Hawks, 1926, 68 min.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner get the Svankmajer treatment in Food, a willfully unappetizing, but formally audacious buffet of
hallucinations. Dir. Jan Svankmajer, 1992, 17 min.

A groundbreaking and beautiful film, The 400 Blows offers an unsentimental exploration of the familiar, lonely curiosity of childhood. With a great deal of humor and depth, Francois Truffaut’s debut feature introduced the world to his quietly fierce alter ego, 14-year-old Antoine Doinel. A stranger to his callous family, Antoine stumbles into progressively riskier situations in his struggle to extract some sense of purpose from unenviable circumstances. Along the way, Truffaut’s loosely-autobiographical story touches on the French justice system’s frighteningly disaffected treatment of young offenders during those years. Jean-Pierre Léaud’s remarkably natural performance set the precedent for actors of the French New Wave, including Léaud himself, whose future portrayals of Doinel can be seen in 4 more films spanning 20 years, all included in this screening series. Dir. Francois Truffaut, 1959, 99 min.

A potent essay on the cultural turbulence that followed in the wake of the Second World War, Fraulein examines the conflict between personal and political loyalties through the fractured prism of the German family. Haneke’s caustic, offbeat response to Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun follows mother Johanna K. as she navigates an ill-fated love affair and a precarious marriage in small-town Germany after her soldier husband returns from a POW camp. With a finger pointed squarely at the artificial consumerism of postwar German society, this elegantly staged film employs a fake death, a French boxer, and a convoluted series of missed connections to suggest the politics of familial and cultural denial also at the heart of Cache and Funny Games. Dir. Michael Haneke, 1985, 113 min.

First-time director Ronald Bronstein describes his extraordinary film as “a brown tomato lobbed with spazmo aim at the spotless surface of the silver screen.” We prefer to call it a “naturalist disaster.” Be forewarned: audience response has been intensely divided. Frownland has garnered both passionate raves and scathing pans, while festival screenings have ended in screaming matches between patrons. Frownland is strong stuff, but none of its notorious reputation does justice to the savage dark humor, emotional heft and stylistic audacity of Bronstein’s phenomenal first film. Above all else, Frownland is a pitch-black character study of Keith (an extraordinary Dore Mann), a hopelessly inarticulate, socially-inept door-to-door salesman. Keith lives in the kitchen of a cramped New York apartment which he shares with a condescending hipster roommate. Keith’s sad life is characterized by several extremely awkward attempts at human contact. The film’s final act is a bravura sequence that invites viewers into the fractured psyche of its broken, yet oddly sympathetic anti-hero. Essential viewing. Dir. Ronnie Bronstein, 2007, 106 min.

(2004, United Kingdom/Italy) Directed by Lech Majewski
In this intense tale of passion and mortality, a beautiful but dying London art historian, obsessed with Hieronymus Bosch's painting "Garden of Earthly Delights," spends her last months in Venice with her lover.
Based on the novel by L. Majewski. Cast: Claudine Spiteri, Chris Nightingale, Maria Novella Martinoli. Presented in English dialogue. 35mm, 103 min.

Those familiar with Stephen Chow only through his two U.S. import releases, Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer, will be in for a pleasant surprise with this rare showing of his comedy masterpiece. Filmed in gorgeous 35mm ‘Scope and shot through with a lethally black sense of humor, God of Cookery is a send-up of the Triad gangster genre in the gag-a-second style of Mel Brooks. Chow plays the ultimate Iron Chef, a culinary icon humiliated by a competitor and deposed (literally) from his throne. From there, it’s a steep climb back to the top, as Chow navigates culinary gangs, Shaolin monks, hit men and divine intervention itself in this one-of-a-kind slapstick genre stir fry. Dir. Stephen Chow, 1996, 95 min.

This film is famous among monster lovers everywhere as the first in which Godzilla “flies” using his radioactive breath to propel himself through the air. It has the same punch as watching your favorite WWF fighter debut a new move. The poster tagline reads: “Our environment is doomed!” and writer/director Yoshimitsu Banno was obviously sincere in his quest to make a serious film about a large smog monster that feeds on sludge and leaves a trail of acid mist in its wake. When this gross polluter attacks Japan, a radical environmentalist named Godzilla rises to the challenge. The result is a sometimes jaw dropping, rock and roll monster movie with tripped out animation, Japanese go-go girls and the classic musical number “Save the Earth.” Dir. Yoshimitsu Banno, 1971, 87 min.

Harry Smith’s Mahagonny, Film #18
(1970-80, 16mm, presented on 35mm, 2 hours, 21 minutes)
Experimental filmmaker, anthropologist, painter, and musicologist Harry Smith’s final film was an epic four-screen projection titled Mahagonny. Smith worked on this cinematic transformation of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny for over ten years and considered it his magnum opus. His friends have said that Smith was obsessed with the opera, playing it over and over in his room at the Chelsea Hotel. The film was shot from 1970 to 1972 and edited for the next eight years.
The “program” of the film is meticulous, with a complex structure and order. The Weill opera is transformed into a numerological and symbolic system. Images in the film are divided into categories— portraits, animation, symbols and nature— to form the palindrome P.A.S.A.N.A.S.A.P. Mahagonny is an allegory of contemporary life; it explores the needs and desires of man amid the rituals of daily life in New York City. Smith’s New York, like Mahagonny, is a place where everything is permitted and the only sin is not having enough money. Much of the film takes place within the Chelsea Hotel. The film contains invaluable cameos of important avant-garde figures such as Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, and Jonas Mekas, intercut with installation pieces from Robert Mapplethorpe’s studio, New York City landmarks of the era, and Smith’s visionary animation. Smith’s portrait of life in New York has strong affinities with the Brecht/Weill opera. Both are set in a somewhat mythical America, meant to exemplify life in capitalist society more generally.

Handsomely-lensed in moody black and white, here’s a stark and atmospheric re-creation of Charles Manson and his flock stalking through lonely Los Angeles landscapes on the lookout for their next blood sacrifice to the almighty LSD gods. With a script ripped right from the court stenographer’s notes, there are no heroes and no villains, no character or plot development – “just the facts ma’am” all rendered deathly dry and cold as ice. Between the Manson Family’s creepy-crawls, we witness a fantasy visualization of “Helter Skelter” coming down fast on Mr. and Mrs. America as shotgun-toting Black Panthers shake down the suburbs, and a haunting full color interlude depicting Sharon Tate on the set of a campy costume drama. A death-trip Dragnet infused with a garagepsych score by Sean Bonniwell (The Music Machine) plus Charlie’s own downer ditty “Mechanical Man”. Dir. Frank Howard, 1988, 83 min.

With its jazzy score, pretty hostesses and drug deal gone wrong sub-plot, H-Man is kind of like a noir...if noir included radioactive creatures oozing through the sewers of Tokyo. In Honda’s savvy anti-nuke allegory, a low-level drug runner vanishes one day, leaving behind only his clothes and a trail of unsatisfied customers. From there it’s a wild world of Japanese night clubs, ineffectual cops and a scientist with the outlandish notion that recent H-Bomb tests in the Pacific have created ravenous, oozing slime creatures who dissolve everything in their path. Dir. Ishiro Honda, 1958, 79 min.

I’M FROM HOLLYWOOD, 1989, Joe Lynne Productions, 60 min. Dir. Lynne Margulies and Joe Orr. Come and experience Andy Kaufman's bizarre descent into the world of professional wrestling, including his escalating feud with Jerry Lawler and his challenge to amateur women wrestlers everywhere. It’s all chronicled in this very funny documentary that asks the question – was Andy bent on ruining his Hollywood career or engineering one of the most elaborate show biz put-ons ever?

Richard Brooks produced, directed and adapted Truman Capote’s bestselling true crime novel for the screen with an astonishing level of verisimilitude. Robert Blake and Scott Wilson are memorable as Perry Smith and Richard ‘Dick’ Hickock, a pair of dysfunctional losers who commit a senseless act of mass murder. Nominated for four Oscars and filmed on the exact locations in beautifully etched black and white by the great Conrad Hall, the film also boasts a memorable jazz score by Quincy Jones. In Cold Blood features an ace supporting cast including John Forsythe, Paul Stewart, Gerald S. O’Loughlin, James Flavin and a grizzled Charles McGraw in an epochal comeback turn as Robert Blake’s tragic father, “Tex Smith”. A powerful, thought provoking film. Dir. Richard Brooks, 1967, 134 min.

According to a Variety review of The Iron Horse from 1924, “There are comedy, tragedy and love themes, Indians and soldiers, gamblers and dance hall girls, shooting and riding, a tremendous cattle drive, the fording of a river by a herd of beeves.” Yes, beeves. All this is packed into a historical epic about the railroads that transformed the continent by linking the East Coast to the West. Appropriately enough, when asked what brought him to Hollywood, a young John Ford replied: “The train.” 80 years later, Ford’s legacy as an American director is unmatched. The fact that filmmakers as gigantic as Orson Welles and Akira Kurosawa count him as their favorite illustrates the importance of his influence. Ford’s Oscar-winning classics are too numerous to list, but it’s clear that The Iron Horse, featuring silent star George O’Brien and scandal-magnet Madge Bellamy (a.k.a. Lorna Doone), was a predecessor to his unparalleled Westerns–masterpieces of the genre that include The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, How the West Was Won, and Stagecoach–which Orson Welles said he watched repeatedly, to learn how to make films. Dir. John Ford, 1924, 133 min.

(from IMDB)
In this bloody tale of loyalty and friendship, Chow Yun-Fat is Jeffrey, an assassin who wishes to leave the business so he can take care of Jennie, the beautiful lounge singer who he inadvertently blinded during a previous assignment. Danny Lee is the determined cop who will stop at nothing to bring him in, only he realizes that Jeffrey is no ordinary assassin, and wishes to help him in his quest. Only problem is that Jeffrey's employers refuse to pay him for his last job, money which is needed to restore Jennie's eyesight.

The “Citizen Kane of Film Noir” gets better with every screening! This exquisitely detailed Mark Hellinger production of Hemingway’s short story about a mysterious contract murder rocketed Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner to stardom and introduced a plethora of memorable actors to post-war audiences. No performer proved more prominent than the menacing Charles McGraw who, along with William Conrad, dominates the film’s opening sequence. Written by Anthony Veiller (with an uncredited assist by John Huston) and artfully directed by one of the all time great noir directors, Robert Siodmak. The plot, swathed in a thicket of interlocking flashback sequences, is as intricate as a Swiss watch. Co-starring Edmund O’Brien, Albert Dekker, Sam Levene and Jack Lambert with an unforgettable musical score by the great Miklos Rozca, this enduring classic epitomizes film noir at its finest! Dir. Robert Siodmak, 1946, 103 min.

Steven Soderbergh followed the admirable weirdness of 1991’s Kafka with this subtly strange, evocative Depression-era drama about a boy (played by future heartthrob Jesse Bradford) slowly forced to fend for himself. Confined to a skuzzy Midwestern hotel, bright and resourceful Aaron forges precarious connections with the colorful transients who occupy his accidental home, including memorable performances by Spalding Gray, Karen Allen, Adrien Brody, and Katherine Heigl. With systematic momentum Soderbergh removes these parental surrogates from the boy’s environment, one by one, resulting in an near-absurdist evocation of Aaron’s mounting isolation. Stylish and powerful, King of the Hill may be Soderbergh’s best and most underrated film. Dir. by Steven Soderbergh, 1993, 109 min.

Come see King Kong wrestle a dinosaur, romance a blonde and do battle with his evil robot doppelganger in this goofy Toho monster match up. The evil Dr. Who and his sexy assistant Madame X hatch a sinister plan to control the world’s supply of the radioactive Element X by building a giant robot ape slave to mine the deadly substance. There’s only one thing standing between the future of the free world and Dr. Who’s evil plot: a man in a rubber monkey suit. Dir. Ishiro Honda, 1967, 96 min.

LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES is an unusual collaboration between Hammer Films (England’s leading horror film producer) and Shaw Brothers Studios (China’s leading kung-fu movie producer). In the Romanian Alps, a Chinese warlord named Kah searches for Dracula’s castle. Kah finds the location and stumbles into the castle which awakens the prince of darkness. Kah informs the Count that in Kah’s homeland, his people are living too peacefully and he requests that Dracula resurrect China’s sleeping terrors the 7 Golden Vampires so fear will once again reign. Dracula promptly thanks Kah for the idea then attacks Kah and assumes his identity. Cut to late eighteenth century China. Van Helsing is there with his son Leyland lecturing on philosophy and parapsychology. After an unbelieving audience laughs at him, a young Chinese peasant named Ching explains that his village of Ping Wei is under control of the Golden Vampires. Chiang wants Van Helsing to lead an expedition to the village of doom. Furthermore, he adds that himself and his six brothers are masters of the martial arts who will protect the expedition members should they accept. Has Van Helsing ever turned down a challenge?

In his sweeping two-part saga, Haneke trains his lens on the troubled comingof-age of his own, post-World War II generation. The first installment portrays the generation gap that alienated privileged, sheltered 1950s teenagers from their parents. The sexual repression and socially-ordained detachment they tackle as adolescents leads to the despair and dysfunction Haneke depicts in the second installment, which finds the central characters in the 1970s, contending with the intermittently suicidal repercussions of their existential inquiries. There will be an intermission between parts one and two. Dir. Michael Haneke, 1979, 220 min.

“Ask her no questions, she’ll tell you no lies. Ask her too many, and somebody DIES!” In The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, fresh from her Oscar-nominated part in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, Jodie Foster gives a poignant performance as the sympathetic-yet-vaguely-homicidal 13-year old Rynn Jacobs, a peculiar, secretive girl who lives with her mysteriously absent father in a remote seaside community. While seemingly self-sufficient, her loneliness is palpable, but is briefly quenched when she plays house with a disabled boy (Bad Ronald’s Scott Jacoby)–cooking gourmet meals and cuddling by the fire. This domestic experiment is threatened, first by meddling neighbors, then by sinister would-be pedophile Martin Sheen. A familiar example of the unassuming thrillers that spooked a generation of kids who caught midnight movies on crappy TVs in wood-paneled basements in the early 80s, this film manages to get under the skin. It inspires both genuine concern for the young orphan and a mounting sense of unease. Dir. Nicolas Gessner, 1976, 91 min.

In 1926 a young Alfred Hitchcock asked the head of Gainsborough Studios to let him film an adaptation the popular novel The Lodger, starring matinee idol Ivor Novello as the aristocratic title character whose landlady suspects he may be “The Avenger” (i.e. Jack the Ripper). Hitchcock considered The Lodger, his third feature, to be “the first real Hitchcock film.” In the novel a landlady, Mrs. Bunting can’t go to the police because she and her husband need the money their serial-killer-in-residence is paying them for his room. The film, so avant-garde that it was shelved by the studio and finally released in 1927, is a brilliant parody of German Expressionism. The tone is set by Novello’s campy performance as The Lodger, which Hitchcock sends up by having a cuckoo clock announce the time, startling him, the first time he enters the Bunting’s home. The star system necessitated a love story and a happy ending, but watch for the sardonic detail of the painting that has been discretely turned to the wall of the hospital room in the film’s next-to-last scene. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1927, 83 min.

Los Angeles post-1945: Curtis Harrington and Kenneth Anger
Fragment of Seeking (1946/b&w/16 min. | Scr/dir: Curtis Harrington)
Fireworks (1947/b&w/15 min. | Scr/dir: Kenneth Anger)
On The Edge (1949/b&w/6 min. | Scr/dir: Curtis Harrington; music: Charles Ivens)
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954/color/38 min. | Scr/dir: Kenneth Anger)
Contemporaries of Deren and Markopoulos and, like them, residents of Los Angeles, Harrington and Anger pursued comparable trance aesthetics. Harrington describes his Fragment of Seeking, as “a cinematic portrait of the adolescent Narcissus.” In the still shocking Fireworks, Anger says he “released all the explosive pyrotechnics of a dream.” Harrington’s own parents star in his film On the Edge which he describes simply as “a man desperately attempts to avoid the inevitability of his own Fate.” Harrington appears, alongside Anais Nin, in Anger’s lush pageant of ritual and opulence Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome; Amos Vogel describes the film as “startling…a luxuriant and baroque oddity in the tradition of decadent art.”

Truffaut brought the Antoine Doinel series to a graceful conclusion with 1979’s Love on the Run. The fifth and final installment finds Antoine, now a novelist in his 30s, divorced from Christine and pursuing feisty record-seller Sabine. In new vignettes and flashbacks from all four Doinel films, Truffaut brings back countless characters, including the still-unforgettable Marie-France Pisier, Antoine’s teenage crush in Antoine and Colette. Pisier brings a magnetic poise to this reprisal. The attention allotted to the depth of Collette’s character is just one testament to the shift of focus of this film, which deals with the maturity Antoine finally attains when a spur-of-themoment trip to Provence allows him to reconcile with his difficult past. This, too, reflected the peace Truffaut found as a result of documents he discovered after his mother’s death. It’s fitting that such a series would have its hero come-of-age only in its last moments, and that with cyclical elegance Truffaut would choose to end on a note that equates the sanctity of forgiveness with the rapturous flush of new love. Dir. Francois Truffaut, 1979, 94 min.

Filled with remarkable images, Lunacy is punctuated by an extraordinary series of stop-motion vignettes of disembodied tongues, meat, and flesh. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and the Marquis De Sade, “to whom the film owes its blasphemy and subversiveness,” the film is a wonderfully bizarre post-Foucaultian investigation of freedom, control, and punishment. “I am neither fool nor hypocrite,” declares the Marquis as he rescues a mentally-disturbed young man and whisks him off to his estate for bizarre sexual rituals and mindfucks, and then on to an experimental lunatic asylum for his final cure. Lunacy is Svankmajer’s most explicit exploration of madness and his most erotically-charged work. It’s like Quills on acid, with a side of raw meat! Dir. Jan Svankmajer, 2005, 118 min.

The Magik Lantern: Harry Smith
1957-62/b&w/66 min. | Scr/dir: Harry Smith | Newly preserved with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Preservation work by Cineric, Inc.
The Harry Smith Archives will present a live performance of the newly restored version of Harry Smith's film Heaven and Earth Magic with specially designed slides, colored gels and maskings. A collage film of animated segments created from antique catalogues and elocution manuals, Smith showed the film with its special projection set-up only once, in the late 1950s at Carnegie Hall, New York City on a specially built projector. This show involved the use of colored gels and slide overlays to create a vividly colored presentation that had the strong feel of a magic lantern show with an animated shadow play at its center. It is characteristic of Smith to have created this antiquated form of color presentation, very much akin to the tinting and toning of silent films, rather than naturalistic color. With the slides and gels, Heaven and Earth Magic regains its aboriginal character as an alchemical séance. This reconstructed version gives a depth and vitality to the film that has not been experienced for thirty years.

The Magik Lantern: Joseph Cornell and Larry Jordan
Rose Hobart (1936/b&w/17 min. | Scr/dir: Joseph Cornell)
The Children’s Trilogy: Cotillion/The Midnight Party/Children’s Party (1940s/b&w and color/25 min. | Scr/dir: Joseph Cornell)
Duo Concertantes (1964/b&w/9 min. | Scr/dir. Larry Jordan)
Hamfat Asar (1965/b&w/15 min | Scr/dir: Larry Jordan)
Our Lady of the Sphere (1969/color/10 min. | Scr/dir: Larry Jordan)
Cornell’s Rose Hobart, arguably the earliest found-footage film, transforms the 1931 B-picture East of Borneo – the story of a woman in pursuit of her missing husband through a tropical jungle – into a mystical collage blasted by Dalí upon its New York premiere. Dalí allegedly accused Cornell of stealing the film from Dalí’s own subconscious. Before he died, Cornell handed over six unfinished films to Larry Jordan for completion. Among them was The Children’s Trilogy (Cotillion, The Midnight Party and The Children’s Party), described as “a hilarious and touching tribute to the ecstasy of childhood – and childlike – make believe…a raucous, yet innocent bacchanal of silliness and delight,” by Michael Joshua Rowin in Reverse Shot. In his own work, Jordan creates mystical fantasies by animating Victorian engravings. Tonight’s program will present three works – Duo Concertantes (1964), Hamfat Asar (1965) and Our Lady of the Sphere (1969) – from what P. Adams Sitney characterizes as “the climax of Jordan’s career…an exquisite space and time where reverie and dream meet, delicately poised between nostalgia and terror.”

What do you get when you strand an entrepreneur, a celebrity, a writer, a psychologist, his girlfriend and two sailors on a strange island where the only source of food is mushrooms that turn you into flesh-eating zombies? You get Matango aka Attack of the Mushroom People. Director Ishiro Honda’s experiences in a Chinese POW camp surely influenced this startlingly-bleak, though audaciously colorful film, one of the great psychedelic, atmospheric marvels of the Toho “mutant” series. Come for the trippy visuals of giant, walking mushrooms and stay for the sheer fecundity of ideas about nature, human and mutant alike. Dir. Ishiro Honda, 1963, 89 min.

Frank Capra’s name is synonymous with blurbs that synonymize his name, but before he gained fame as the champion of wholesome, homespun, unapologetically sentimental, feel-good small-town “Capracorn,” he was softening his teeth on silent gems like The Matinee Idol. Dapper Johnnie Walker (his real name) plays Don Wilson, a Broadway star whose overwhelming fame prompts him to skip town in search of something greater (yes, this is a must-see for fans of Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels). Don changes his name to Harry Mann and quickly stumbles into a traveling acting troupe, headed by Harry’s new sweetheart, Ginger Bolivar (the incomparable Bessie Love). The troupe’s staging of a Civil War melodrama is mistaken for brilliant hilarity by Harry’s Broadway producers, at which point the comedy of errors begins. It’s a compact confection that foretold the sharp humor of beloved Capra classics like Arsenic and Old Lace and It Happened One Night. Dir. Frank Capra, 1928, 60 min.

Here’s a deft exercise in late noir fatalism courtesy of director Edward Dmytryk (Murder My Sweet, Crossfire, Obsession, The Sniper) and writer Peter Stone (Charade, Arabesque). Gregory Peck stars as a bewildered accountant who loses his memory during a power outage and tries to figure out which end is up as the double crosses and bodies rapidly accumulate. This underrated, witty neo-noir co-stars Walter Matthau, Diane Baker and Kevin McCarthy. Watch for the groundbreaking special effect where a character falls 27 stories to his death. This seminal mid-60’s suspenser is not on DVD, and is rarely screened. Dir. Edward Dmytryk, 1966, 108 min.

MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY (LES VACANCES DE MONSIEUR HULOT), 1953, Janus Films, 85 min. Dir. Jacques Tati. Tati’s first film as Monsieur Hulot, one of cinema's great comic personas, finds the irascible Frenchman going to a resort town for a vacation and chaos predictably ensues. A warm and whimsical hymn to the joys of life and the funny little things continually happening around us we often fail to notice. Both films in French with English subtitles.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, 1974, Paramount, 128 min. Dir. Sidney Lumet. Lauren Bacall joins one of the most astonishing casts in film history -- a cast that includes Ingrid Bergman, Albert Finney, Sean Connery and Richard Widmark, among many others -- for this delightful Agatha Christie adaptation. The meticulous and intricate story, which follows Hercule Poirot’s (Finney) investigation of the title crime aboard a luxury train, is a pretext for director Lumet to offer up a glorious tribute to old-fashioned Hollywood glamour. Discussion in between films with actress Lauren Bacall.

The Naked Spur
1953/color/91 min.| Scr: Sam Rolfe, Harold Jack Bloom; dir: Anthony Mann; w/ James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan
A Civil War veteran-turned-bounty hunter is transformed by the pursuit of a murderous outlaw.

Film noir’s most dyspeptic couple, Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor, trade bareknuckled billingsgate on an action-packed train ride from Chicago to Los Angeles while ducking a team of syndicate hit men. Also starring Jacqueline White, Narrow Margin is perhaps the finest “B” movie ever made, with McGraw’s most distinctive noir portrayal. Produced by Stanley Rubin and helmed by Richard Fleischer, with wonderful noir palaver courtesy of screenwriter Earl Felton. The movie has a fascinating history–RKO mogul Howard Hughes prevented its release for two years, nearly ruining it. Don’t miss this enduring classic on the big screen! Dir. Richard Fleischer, 1952, 71 min.

Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s understated Nobody Knows is an aching examination of maternal neglect and the corresponding innocence and resilience of children. The film is inspired by the infamous true story known as The Affair of the Abandoned Children of Nishi-Sugamo in which four kids were abandoned by their mother in an apartment for several months. Brilliantly shot in chronological order over the course of a year, the film recreates the heartbreakingly-slow decline of the household, as economic, emotional and physical pressures mount. We literally see these children grow up as their world falls apart. With his camera tightly fixed on the subjective impressions of these doomed siblings Kore-Eda offers one of the most lyrical, deeply-felt portraits of a child’s world ever committed to film, while suggesting the horror and sadness on the margins of their understanding. Anchored by 14-year-old Yûya Yagira’s powerful performance (he won the Best Actor prize at Cannes), Nobody Knows transforms a startling headline into a plausible, resonant meditation on loss. Dir. Hirokazu Kore-Eda, 2004, 141 min.

Lee Chang-Dong’s follow-up to his devastating Peppermint Candy is a powerful, troubling love story. Oasis is about the improbable connection between two social outcasts: a mentally-disabled ex-con (a remarkable Sol Kyung-gu) and a woman with cerebral palsy (the amazing Moon So-ri). Shunned by their respective families, the two forge a relationship that is by turns troubling, touching and life-affirming. Switching between unflinching character study and moments of breathtaking fantasy, Lee’s film is an ethical and aesthetic high-wire act. (How many romances begin with an attempted rape?) Indeed the movie has such potent subject matter and go-for-broke performances that critics have had wildly polarized reactions. But for all of its potentially-exploitative subject matter, Oasis remains of the most genuinely moving films of the past few years. Lee asks us to consider the social isolation and proscribed freedoms of the disabled without resorting to a sermon. Instead he offers a moving, humane narrative about the fundamental need for erotic and emotional intimacy. Dir. Lee Chang-dong, 2002, 133 min.

Old Joy follows two old friends as they reunite to take a camping trip together through Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Mark (Daniel London) is facing fatherhood and its attendant responsibilities, while Kurt (Will Oldham, better known as the voice of alt-country outfits Palace and Bonnie Prince Billy) is perpetually on the brink of total freedom or total failure. Elegantly adapted by director Kelly Reichardt from a short story by Jonathan Raymond, Old Joy meditates upon the unavoidable cycles of growth and decay in the lives of friends and in transcendent images of nature. Features a lush, contemplative score by Yo La Tengo. Dir. Kelly Reichardt, 2006, 76 min.

(from IMDB)
A one-night fling during World War I results in a young girl getting pregnant. Years later, she meets him again. Now a successful businessman, he doesn't even remember her, but tries to seduce her.

The inspiration for The Cement Garden (also playing, on the 23rd), Our Mother’s House confirmed British director Jack Clayton’s reputation as a master of careful, atmospheric thrillers. When their devout mother dies suddenly, the sheltered, tightly-knit Hook children (seven moppets portrayed with impressively distinctive character) bury her in the garden in order to avoid separation. Their bizarre stabs at domestic normalcy (quasi-religious séances with their dead mother and cruel punishment rituals like shaving off all of the youngest girl’s hair) seem to be over, when their long-absent father (Dirk Bogarde) resurfaces. But bad dad isn’t all he appears to be, and his adorable spawn threaten to turn on him. Long-simmering jealousies and Freudian timebombs are hidden throughout... Our Mother’s House. Dir. Jack Clayton, 1967, 104 min.

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
1951/color/122 min. | Scr/dir: Albert Lewin; w/ James Mason, Ava Gardner
The legend of a seventeenth-century Dutchman condemned to sail the seas in search of a woman whose sacrifice will release him, is updated to Spain in the 1930s and set in a fishing village where the winding streets bathed in moonlight and a mysterious yacht moored in the port provide an ideal backdrop. For Albert Lewin, the Hollywood producer, writer and director who was both a friend of the surrealists and a collector of their art, Pandora was an aesthetic triumph in which baroque sets, lavish costumes, paintings by Man Ray (he was also the stills photographer), heightened colors, arresting ‘modern’ shapes, and surrealist motifs coalesced into a fantasy world populated by flawed gods and goddesses.

Paris in the ‘20s: Jean Epstein, René Clair and Germaine Dulac
The Fall of the House of Usher (1928/b&w/55 min./w/ English narration | Scr: Jean Epstein, Luis Buñuel; dir: Epstein)
Entr’acte (1924/b&w/14 min. | Scr: Francis Picabia; dir: René Clair)
The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928/b&w/31 min. | Scr: Antonin Artaud; dir: Germaine Dulac)
1920s Paris was a mélange of artists, ideas and styles other than surrealism; dada slapstick and expressionist doom also reigned. Tonight’s program brings together examples of the era’s breadth of experimental cinema. Buñuel worked with the versatile Jean Epstein on an atmospheric and Caligariesque adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher. Intended to accompany an intermission during a new ballet by Francis Picabia, Clair’s Entr’acte features a cast of surrealists and fellow travelers - Picabia, Erik Satie, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray - in a disjointed series of comical escapades. Germaine Dulac foreshadowed the Dalí/Buñuel collaborations with her anarchic tale of a priest lusting af ter a beautiful woman. Her public feud with Antonin Artaud over her impressionistic approach to his script led to a surrealist protest.

Since 1985, The Peanut Butter Solution has left a trail of nightmares in its wake. Easily one of the most horrifying and bewildering children’s films ever produced, this mind-melting Canadian feature will have you gasping and guffawing in equal measure. So strange its origins seem beyond explanation–until you find out it was directed by Mark Rubbo, leftist political documentarian and official village painter of Morin Heights, and co-written by Vojtech Jasny, one of the surrealist luminaries of the Czech New Wave. After 11-year-old Michael loses all of his hair from peeking inside a burned-down hobo squat, their ghosts teach him a secret hair-regeneration formula. But when Michael messes up the recipe, his hair starts growing...and growing... and growing. As crazy as that sounds, it doesn’t even begin to describe the madness that is The Peanut Butter Solution. Dir. Mark Rubbo, 1985, 94 min.

Portrait of Jennie
1948/b&w and color/86 min. | Scr: Paul Osborn and Peter Berneis; dir: William Dieterle; w/ Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Lillian Gish
The post-war surrealists were unanimous in their admiration for this ‘small’ film about an unsuccessful painter obsessed with a captivating young woman whose past and present are cloaked in mystery. Conceived as a showcase for his protégé’s (later wife) talent and beauty, Portrait is one of producer David O. Selznick’s most visually elegant and dramatically restrained films. The film won an Academy Award for its special effects. “A mysterious, poetic and largely misunderstood work.” – Luis Buñuel.

The President’s Last Bang is both an action-packed thriller, with bravura cinematic set-pieces that would fit comfortably in a DePalma movie, and a sharp satire that‘s been called “the most political film in Korean history.” In South Korea, the film provoked an unprecedented and heated public debate. Director Im Sang-soo’s portrayal of the night when President Park Chung-hee – the former general who seized power in a 1961 military coup and held it until 1979–was shot and killed by his chief of intelligence, created a fire storm of controversy, complete with lawsuits that lead to the removal of news footage from its opening. The President’s Last Bang is a stellar example of South Korean cinema’s tendency to confront its past within the satisfying conventions of a stylish genre film. Directed by Im Sang-soo, 2005, 102 min.

Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass co-conceived, co-scripted, and co-directed this road-trip odyssey through the heart of post-adolescence. The Puffy Chair stars Mark Duplass as a stunted commitmentphobe on an ill-conceived mission to deliver an overstuffed La-Z-Boy armchair to his father in North Carolina as a birthday gift. Joining Josh en route are his flakey slacker brother, played charmingly by Rhett Wilkins, and Kathryn Aselton as his long-suffering girlfriend. Peppered with explosive humor and uncomfortable encounters, The Puffy Chair is a testament to the promising future of well-written lowbudget filmmaking. The Duplass Brothers will be in attendance for a post-film Q&A. Dir. Jay Duplass, 2005, 85 min.

Based on the novel by Joseph Roth, this military satire both recalls German Expressionism in its artificial style, and films like Billy Liar, Dr. Strangelove and Closely Watched Trains in its examination of the dubious impulses of violence and obedience. Andreas, a devout nationalist and wounded veteran of the Great War, gradually comes to loathe his own values when fate continues to punish him for his decency. With bursts of tinted color punctuating the stark monochromatic cinematography, Rebellion is an affecting vehicle for Haneke’s disquieting ethical themes, delivered with an uncharacteristic, fantastical
visual flourish. Dir. Michael Haneke, 1993, 105 min.

The Red Shoes
1948/color/134 min. | Scr/dir: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger; w/ Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer, Robert Helpmann
Victoria Page, an ambitious and passionate young ballerina, has been groomed by a Diaghilev-like impresario to dance the lead in his newest ballet, but she finds herself torn between her art and her love for a young composer. Shot on location in the great theaters of London, Paris and Monte Carlo, this dazzling mix of romance and realism climaxes in a performance of The Red Shoes, a ravishing 15-minute adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s tragic fairytale set in a surreal landscape of Dalíesque designs.

(Pokój Saren)
(1997) Directed by Lech Majewski
This autobiographical film is an opera about a young poet, his parents and the apartment in which they live. The poet's sensitivity filters visions of the apartment as it is slowly devoured by nature. In summer, the floor becomes overgrown with grass, leaves of plaster fall in autumn, and in winter, the refrigerator emits a blizzard. Nature, the final victor, will eventually devour the walls, the tables and the shelves.
Cinematographer: Adam Sikora. Cast: Rafal Olbrychski, Elzbieta Mazur, Mieczyslaw Czepulonis. Presented in Polish dialogue with English subtitles. Beta-SP, 90 min.

Harold Lloyd may be the “third genius” of silent comedies, but Safety Last’s signature image of Lloyd hanging from the hands of a giant clock tower may be the most famous single image of the era. It comes at the climax of an incredible 12-story climb that Lloyd’s character must embark on as a publicity stunt for his boss’s department store, to earn a $1,000 bonus, and of course, win The Girl. This great masterpiece of the silent era has been beautifully restored in 35mm by Sony Pictures--all the better to clearly see Lloyd’s face with the ground terrifyingly far below in the background. To be preceded by a shorts program and accompanied by a live musician. Directed by Harold Lloyd, 1923, 73 min.

“The best film in the alien attack, conspiracy theory, Silence of the Lambs ripoff, disgraced-cop drama, deranged circus wirewalker, anti-capitalist parable genre I’ve seen this year.” – “A very human story.”–San Francisco Chronicle. Often acknowledged as the most genrebending film in existence, Save the Green Planet is exceptional, but not because its central narrative darts cyclically from comedy to drama to fairytale to horror to sci-fi to apocalyptic thriller and back. What sets it apart is that director Jang Joon-Hwan triumphs–every damn time–in making each tonal shift a seamless one, and executing each scene, regardless of its tenor, in a way that’s gratifying and remarkably resonant. Embed the otherworldly whimsy and romance of Amelie into the bleak hilarity of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, and you’re halfway to comprehending Jang’s accomplishment. Dir. Jang Joon-Hwan, 2003, 118 min.

SCARLET STREET, 1945, 103 min. Fritz Lang's classic film noir reunited his WOMAN IN THE WINDOW stars Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea in a reworking of Jean Renoir's 1931 LA CHIENNE. Robinson's middle-aged bookkeeper and amateur artist becomes hopelessly ensnared by the seductive Bennett and her lover-pimp Duryea. The result is a terse, tense psychological thriller with Robinson's increasing desperation contrasting with his predators unremitting ruthlessness. As with WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, Lang revealed the potential criminal in the average citizen. Introduction by Kevin Thomas.

(from IMDB)
You really have to see this one to believe it! Not many movies flaunt their pre-code liberty so blatantly and lightheartedly (not unlike the Busby Berkeley extravaganza "Gold Diggers of 1933"). At the same time, it's very successful in its own right as a fast-paced comedy satirizing health-product hucksters and wealthy debauchees.
Inspired by the L.A. Olympics, a trio of con artists lure some prize-winning athletes into endorsing their newly-acquired fitness magazine. They stage an international publicity stunt to find the healthiest young bodies in the English-speaking world. While the athletes are out scouting for specimens, the three rogues turn the magazine into a lurid cheesecake rag (their lascivious board of censors is a hoot). This spins off into a health farm, which they try to turn into a high-priced knocking shop for Hollywood swells out to exploit eager young talent.
As the con artists, Robert Armstrong and James Gleason have plenty of fancy, word-mangling patter. And Gertrude Michael holds her own, needling them mercilessly, as well as slinkily seducing all-American hero Buster Crabbe. Crabbe practically plays himself, while an unrecognizable bleached-blonde Ida Lupino is his pert female British counterpart.

SECOND BREATH (LE DEUXIEME SOUFFLE), 1966, Filmel, 150 min. Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville. A middle-aged hood (Lino Ventura) breaks out of jail and organizes a new gang, determined to prove he still has what it takes. Melville’s brutal, crackling noir contrasts Ventura’s "old world craftsmanship" against the younger generation of Nouvelle Vague crooks. A twisting-turning maze of existential pitfalls opens up before Ventura’s character – some placed by the police, some by his cronies, some by his woman and some even by himself – will it be possible for him to circumvent them all? Based on the novel by Jose Giovanni. Director Alain Corneau just completed production on a remake with Daniel Auteil. With Paul Meurisse, Raymond Pellegrin. In French, with English subtitles. "Melville did for the crime film what Leone did for the western." – Quentin Tarantino; "Established Melville’s reputation as a brilliant refurbisher of the immemorial imagery of the genre – gleaming night streets, gunmen prowling in deserted stairways." – Tom Milne. NOT ON DVD

To open our festival of cults on film, we’re presenting one of The Cinefamily’s signature found-footage collages. Using examples and samples, collected and selected from our deepest, most esoteric vaults, we will show you how you too, can learn in just a few, easy steps how to brainwash the masses into doing your bidding. Then, as our final exhibit, check out in its complete form: Moonchild, a 49-minute educational film gem. Real life deprogrammers and ex-Moonies reenact one person’s journey into and out of the Unification Church in this compelling docudrama. Moonchild is an eye-opening glimpse of a religious cult from an insider’s point of view.

The unusual pairing of serious Ann Sothern (playing against type as the villain) and a rakish Zachery Scott scores in a noirish murder yarn. Sothern’s niece (Gigi Perreau) witnesses the killing of her Aunt’s fiancé, but is shocked into amnesia and can’t free an innocent man from the electric chair without some serious psychiatric treatment. Unfortunately, Perreau’s in danger when the real murderer sets out to make sure she doesn’t have a chance to remember what she saw. With handsome cinematography by MGM stalwart Ray June, and featuring future First Dame Nancy Davis Reagan as a psychiatrist, this film is a true sleeper–rarely screened and not to be missed! Dir. Pat Jackson, 1950, 84 min.

(from IMDB)
Claire Brennen stars as a waitress who leaves the greasy-diner business for the excitement of the carnival. She quickly discovers that she despises freaks and human oddities.

THE SIGNAL (LA SEÑAL), 2007, Pampa Films/Fenix/Patagonik, 95 min. When the original writer/director Eduardo Mignogna passed away just before production started, acclaimed actor Ricardo Darin (NINE QUEENS) took over, making his directorial debut with this atmospheric noir thriller, working with co-helmer Martin Hodara. During the last days of Eva Peron, low-ranking detective Corvalon (Darín)is thrust into a case of corruption involving the Mafia. Hired by a beautiful woman for what seems like an ordinary job, Corvalán soon discovers that the supposed victim could ultimately become an executioner. A wrong decision may lead him to a tragic ending. With Diego Peretti, Julieta Diaz.

Set on the titular island, but shot on the backlots of Universal, Singapore is a rarely seen “noir-light” adventure, in the style of Casablanca. It features an exotic locale and a cache of prized pearls. But best of all, there’s a romance between young, gorgeous, amnesiac Ava Gardner and her ex-lover, pearl smuggler Fred MacMurray. Wartime flashbacks and double crosses enliven this enjoyable romantic thriller. Singapore features a stout supporting cast including the great Thomas Gomez, Richard
Haydn, Porter Hall and Spring Byington. Stylishly-helmed by German ex-patriate John Brahm (Rio, Hangover Square, The Locket.) Dir. John Brahm, 1947, 79 min.

Director Ingmar Bergman weaves an intricate romantic ruse with his film about a country estate that becomes a matchmaking haven in turn-of-the-century Sweden. During a long, lazy summer, eight singles gradually become four couples, often switching partners along the way. Some of Swedish cinema's most celebrated faces appear, including Gunnar Bjornstrand, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson and Ulla Jacobsson.

Joseph Mankiewicz’s first foray into noir is a memorable one-way street of forgetfulness trod by the underrated John Hodiak. A vet with a dented skull and an uncertain future, Hodiak returns to the seedy hoods and back alleys of Los Angeles and runs into a three-year old murder case, a hardboiled copper, (Lloyd Nolan), a beautiful chanteuse (Nancy Guild), a nightclub owner (Richard Conte), and a suitcase full of missing cash. The complex story (cowritten by Lee Strasberg) is buttressed by great location photography in Bunker Hill and San Pedro and a supporting cast full of noir icons. Dir. Joseph Mankiewicz, 1946, 110 min.

The big mama of the genre, Split Image is Hollywood’s definitive big budget examination of the cult phenomena. This searing melodrama, directed by Ted Kotcheff of First Blood fame, hits all the big beats: the seductive space cadet (a fetching Karen Allen), the utopian commune (“Homeland”), the charismatic cult leader (a stuntcasted Peter Fonda), and best of all, an extensive deprogramming by a mustachioed James Woods at his absolute sleaziest. Kotcheff doesn’t pull any punches–these scenes are visually and emotionally explosive, and finally, shockingly cathartic. As an introduction to the world of cults, Split Image is the ultimate--educational, scary, and a total blast. Dir. Ted Kotcheff, 1982, 110 min.

“When I first saw Citizen Kane, I was certain that never in my life had I loved a person the way I loved that film.” With his first feature-length film about love, Truffaut conceived of a story with the capacity to intoxicate and enamor an audience in exactly this way. Following a dishonorable military discharge, Antoine Doinel takes a series of odd jobs, first as a hotel night clerk, then as a bumbling private detective. A tryst with his boss’s wife (Delphine Seyrig) threatens to derail his budding romance with a comely violinist (Truffaut’s future wife Claire Jade). Like all great romantic comedies, it contains the sort of heady cinematic moments that can make corporeal love pale in comparison. Dir. Francois Truffaut

Echoing the sentiments of Hitchcock and Capra, Orson Welles once noted, “Lubitsch was a giant . . . his talent and originality were stupefying.” Evident in every romantic comedy he directed, was an unparalleled balance of sophisticated humor, gentle satire, and true reverence for well-drawn and likable characters. 60 years after his death, directors (notably Noah Baumbach and Wes Anderson) still continue to celebrate the famous ‘Lubitsch Touch’–that special detail that would add ineffable, perfect flavor to every scene. In this charming classic, a dashing young monarch (Roman Navarro, nicknamed “The New Valentino”) escapes his sheltered life to court a comely barmaid (silent superstar Norma Shearer, prominently displaying the perennial smile that would become her trademark). Their budding romance is threatened when the King dies, forcing the prince to choose between his duties and his first true love. One of the true masterpieces of silent storytelling, this film remains a testament to the artful, uncompromising sweetness of Lubitsch’s earliest work. Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 1927, 123 min.

THE SWIMMING POOL (LA PISCINE), 1969, SNC, 120 min. One of the best efforts and hardest-to-see (in America) from director Jacques Deray (BORSALINO; THE OUTSIDE MAN), with a trenchant script co-written by Buñuel colaborator, Jean-Claude Carriere. Writer Jean-Paul (Alain Delon) and journalist Marianne (Romy Schneider) are having an affair in St. Tropez when interrupted by a visit from Marianne’s former lover, Harry (Maurice Ronet). Harry has also brought along his fatally attractive daughter, Penelope (Jane Birkin). Hormones rage and sparks fly, and one of the four ends up dead, accidentally drowned after a fight. Now the three survivors must get their stories straight before the investigating police arrive. Top-notch psychological suspense. In French with English subtitles. NOT ON DVD

This dark, hallucinatory masterpiece, based on an ancient fairytale about familial ruin and insanity, is gorgeously composed and unfolds with an elliptical nightmare logic. Two sisters are forced to live in a mansion with their distant father and cruel stepmother, but there seems to be another presence haunting the closets, corners and crawlspaces of their new abode. A Tale of Two Sisters broke Korean horror box-office records and enjoyed a critically-acclaimed release in the US. Scary as hell, teeming with Victorian melodrama and overflowing with surreal images, Kim Ji-woon’s film will haunt you long after its final beguiling shot. Dir. Kim Ji-woon, 2003, 115 min.

THE THREAT, 1949, Warner Bros., 66 min. A vicious gang leader escapes from Folsom Prison on a juggernaut mission of vengeance targeting the L.A.P.D. detective (Michael O’Shea) and D.A.(Frank Conroy) who sent him up. In a breakthrough performance comparable to Widmark (KISS OF DEATH) and Cagney (WHITE HEAT), Charles McGraw (THE NARROW MARGIN) orchestrates a virtual highlight reel of kidnapping, torture and flight from L.A through the Inland Empire into the High Desert. Director Felix Feist (THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE; TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY) possessed an unsettling flair for fast-paced eruptions of cruelty and violence on screen, and this little-known thriller is chock-full of them! Also starring the willowy Virginia Grey as the most unfortunate moll along for the wildest of rides. Don’t miss this tough-as-nails noir programmer that resulted in Charles McGraw being inked to a seven year RKO contract! NOT ON DVD.

This lyrical adaptation of Austrian poet Ingeborg Bachman’s novel was Michael Haneke’s first feature. Following star photojournalist Elisabeth Matrei’s unnerving journey to her hometown, Three Paths to the Lake conflates the navigation of space with the precariousness of memory. Faced with inaccurate maps and a constantly vacillating sense of purpose, Elisabeth’s attempts to navigate her childhood home, and to reconcile her past loves collapse. A refined character study that exhibits the same tender, contemplative impact of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Double Life of Veronique or Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima, Mon Amour. Dir. Michael Haneke, 1976, 97 min.

Around half of South Korean women in their 20s have had plastic surgery. In this chilling melodrama, director Kim Ki-duk uses a disturbing national obsession--the ideal of ul-jjang (literally, “a perfect face”)—as the launching point for a disturbing exploration of love, identity, and, of course, time. This film recalls a more paranormal Douglas Sirk in its provocative and histrionic approach to physical mutation and modern romance. Ji-Yeon Park stars as the petulant Seh-hee, a woman whose extreme jealousy prompts an extreme makeover. After leaving boyfriend Ji-woo, (Jung-woo Ha) she disappears for six months and emerges with a completely altered face, keeping her identity hidden from him in order to test his love (Hyeona Seong plays Seh-hee post-op). The film rewards an original premise with a jarring, timely study of identity; explicit scenes of both sex and surgery ensure its contribution to the new wave of transgressive Korean cinema. Dir. Kim Ki-duk, 2006, 97 min.

Trance Films: Maya Deren and Gregory Markopoulos
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943/b&w//18 min | Scr/dir: Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid)
At Land (1944/b&w/14 min. | Scr/dir: Maya Deren)
Du sang, de la volupté et de la mort (1947-48/color/70 min./three parts: Psyche, Lysis, Charmides | Scr/dir: Gregory Markopoulos)
European surrealism hit American screens with the development of the trance film. Described as works of “visionary experience” by scholar P. Adams Sitney, they feature “somnambulists, priests, initiates of rituals, and the possessed” as protagonists “wandering through a potent environment toward a climactic scene of self-realization.” In her seminal Meshes of the Afternoon and spellbinding At Land, Deren infuses this model with psychodrama and mystery. Amos Vogel noted that her work "distorts and intermingles past and present, time and place, reality and fantasy until they are seen as a potential or real continuum." Gregory Markopoulos was praised by Sitney as “one of the most radical narrative film-makers in the world.” Markopoulos’ famed trilogy Du sang, de la volupté et de la mort, characterized by “a sensuous, ecstatic use of color; pulsating, strobing, near hypnotic rhythms; an investment in ritual and symbol” (Ed Halter, Village Voice), will receive a rare screening in this program.

Cari Beauchamp, author of Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood and editor of Anita Loos Rediscovered: Film Treatments and Fiction will present highlights from her newly completed book Joseph P. Kennedy Presents.
Kennedy is the only man ever to run three film studios (FBO, Pathé and First National) and a theater circuit simultaneously. He was a major player in the conversion from silent to sound films, masterminding the merger that created RKO, the first studio specifically created to make sound films. Joseph P. Kennedy Presents, which offers the first serious look at Kennedy’s years as a film mogul, draws on material in his recently released personal papers. Beauchamp’s presentation will include insight into her research process and will focus on the unique producing partnership between Kennedy and screen star Gloria Swanson. The lecture will be followed by a screening of The Trespasser, Swanson’s first talkie, which has seldom screened in Los Angeles since its original release. Kennedy produced the film, and for her performance Swanson earned her second Academy Award nomination as Best Actress.
The Trespasser was made shortly after Kennedy and Swanson fired director Erich von Stroheim from Queen Kelly. As they pondered what to do with that costly unfinished silent film project, Eddie Goulding was using up to 12 cameras simultaneously on The Trespasser, which Variety hailed as developing “sound film presentation to a point not previously put on the screen.” Swanson’s singing and talking were heralded as lessons to all other actresses on “how to do it.”
Directed by Edmund Goulding. Presented by Joseph P. Kennedy. Screenplay Goulding. Cinematography George Barnes, Gregg Toland. Film Editing Cyril Gardner. Art Direction Stephen Goosson. With Gloria Swanson, Robert Ames, Purnell Pratt, Henry B. Walthall, William Holden. Gloria Productions. United Artists. 1929. 35mm. 120 mins. Preservation funded by The American Film Institute and The Film Foundation.

Frequently cited as the origin of cinematic gangster archetypes—writer Ben Hecht would go on to script Scarface, as well–Viennese director Josef von Sternberg’s gritty revenge narrative follows the turbulent romantic and criminal pursuits of erratic felon Bull Weed (George Bancroft, also in 1938’s Angels with Dirty Faces). Dangerous and driven, Bull contends with the melodrama generated by his luscious main squeeze Feathers (Evelyn Brent), his garrulous “lawyer” Rolls Royce (Clive Brook), and his rival Buck Mulligan (Fred Kohler). In both his silent and sound films, Von Sternberg’s approach to minute psychological conflicts was extraordinary, as was his sumptuous use of cinematic space. Underworld includes the same degree of dark detail he would later bring to two films he made with Marlene Dietrich, early 1930s productions The Blue Angel and Shanghai Express. Dir. Josef von Sternberg, 1927, 80 min.

Unrealized Dalí: Moontide
1942/b&w/95 min. | Scr: John O'Hara ; dir: Archie Mayo: w/ Jean Gabin, Ida Lupino
Five years before Destino, Dalí was commissioned to provide a “nightmare montage” for Fritz Lang’s Moontide. As the detailed script and surviving drawings attest, Dalí envisioned a disquieting sequence featuring a giant sewing machine and “the face of war.” With the attack on Pearl Harbor and the US’s entry into WW II, the film slipped out of Lang’s hands after three weeks of shooting and with it went Dalí’s surreal contribution. Archie Mayo finished the picture which stars Jean Gabin in his Hollywood debut as a longshoreman haunted by a murder he may or may not have committed.

Philadelphia musicians bring new life to a forgotten classic of the Czech New Wave: Jaromil Jires' Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970). The sound goes off and the amps get cranked (do harps need amps?) as a collective of Philadelphia's finest underground musicians pay tribute to this seminal film of the new folk movement. Spearheaded by Greg Weeks (Espers, Grass), Margie Wienk (Fern Knight) and Brooke Sietinsons (Espers, Grass), the ensemble includes harpist Mary Lattimore, cellist Helena Espvall (Espers), Vocalist Tara Burke (Fursaxa), bassist/percussionist Jesse Sparhawk (Fern Knight, Timesbold), flautist/keyboardist Jessica Weeks (Woodwose, Grass), enigmatic electronicist Charles Cohen and percussionist Jim Ayre (Fern Knight, Rake.). Key to the concept is how reframing the film's action with an alternate soundtrack draws new interpretations from a work of intricate depth and changeable meaning. Foremost in the musicians' minds, however, is paying tribute to a timeless fantasy film of increasing relevance.

John Carradine stars as a modern-day Count Dracula, controlling a harem of beautiful vampires thirsty for blood, who lure their victims to their doom by parading as ladies of the evening. The American navy hits port and the three young sailors are lusting for female "refreshment". The oriental port offers more than relaxation and entertainment. They split up as Eddie goes on the hunt for girls, and Terry (Trey Wilson) and Tom (Bruce Fairbairn) hit the bars and end up locked up in a drunken stupor. Next day Eddie is missing and the others start their search for him. They trace Eddie's moves to where he was last seen with a voluptuous whore... the cemetery.

This short chamber piece recalls the depth and insight of a Milan Kundera novel, executed with a piercing, realist’s eye. Fraught with common preoccupations—the guilt of both adultery and fidelity, the limits of love, and sex as an infinitely problematic form of communication, Haneke gracefully choreographs the central characters through the pleasure and injury they cause each other. The result is a mature film that both hints at the literary scope of his later work and echoes the challenging relationship dramas of John Cassavettes and Ingmar Bergman. Variation is one of this masterful director’s most concise and universal examinations of human relationships. Dir. Michael Haneke, 1983, 98 min.

Vitaphone Pepper Pot
In conjunction with Jamie Isenstien’s Project, the Hammer and the UCLA Film and Television Archive present a selection of amazing performers featured in Vitaphones, an early form of sound films produced between 1926 and 1930.

British psychedelic wunderkinds Voice of the Seven Woods take the stage in front of the big screen to sonically reinterpret Sergei Paradjanov’s 1968 visual voyage The Color of Pomegranates. Using opulent Eastern symbolism and mysticism to form his highly idiosyncratic narrative style, Paradjonov envisions the legendary life and spiritual journey of Armenian poet Sayat. This
show is a blinding audio-visual performance, fusing Paradjonov’s textured and dreamlike imagery with an equally sublime custom-built soundtrack that mirrors the film’s Middle Eastern folk-psych original. This is a rare, once-in-a-lifetime performance as well as an American debut. Not to be missed! “Paradjanov scares up one startling sequence after another, crafting a bizarre mosaic of Nova’s world while limiting himself to the materials of the poet’s time.” -Keith Phipps, Onion AV Club

(from IMDB)
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH (Paramount, 1940), directed by Louis King, is a remake of an old 1927 silent tearjerker that starred the then great German actor, Emil Jannings (1884-1950), in the drama, along with "THE LAST COMMAND (Paramount, 1928), that earned him the honor of being the first actor ever to win an Academy Award. The leading actor in this remake is the Russian-born Akim Tamiroff (1900-1973), a resident character actor of numerous features for Paramount since 1934, who, by this time, had risen from minor roles to occasional character parts to occasional top-billed leads in second feature films. Tamiroff stars as the bearded Paul Kriza, a European by birth living in mid-western United States with his American wife, Anna (Gladys George), and their four children, working as a bank cashier. A loyal employee, Paul is entrusted by Mr. Hanzel (Roger Imhoff), a bank president, to go to New York City to deliver a large sum of money for the bank. After a sentimental farewell to his family, Paul goes on his way. While on the train, Paul lets his responsibility lapse when he innocently becomes involved with Mary Brown (Murial Angelus), a dubious adventuress, who, after learning of his mission, gets him drunk and seduces him.

Consummate film enthusiast Tsai Ming-liang introduced an unexpected addendum to Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel films in the form of this breathtaking Taiwanese tribute to The 400 Blows. Lee Kang-sheng appears as Tsai’s own surrogate, a troubled street vendor, mourning the death of his father and smitten with a Paris-bound young woman (Chen Shiang-Chyi) who insists on buying his wristwatch. He finds solace watching a video of The 400 Blows, and embarks on a whimsical mission to change all of the clocks in Taipei to French time. Tsai’s trademark deadpan comedy (recalling Buster Keaton) and stylish long takes deepen his themes of dislocation, desire, synchronicity and reincarnation. To complete his homage to Truffaut, the film features a surprising cameo by Antoine Doinel himself, Jean-Pierre Léaud. Dir. Tsai Ming-liang, 2001, 116 min.

Who is Edgar Allen? is Haneke’s grim look at the precariousness of identity which follows in the tradition of Persona and The Talented Mister Ripley-- a mystery that’s at once classically cinematic and psychologically incisive. Setting this uncanny tale of a student’s escalating obsessions in a shadowy and phantasmagoric Venice, Haneke emphasizes the dark undercurrents of economic disparity and mental illness. Dir. Michael Haneke, 1984, 83 min.

Wholphin is a quarterly DVD magazine of rare and unseen short films distributed by McSweeney’s. Past issues have included Spike Jonze’s lost Al Gore doc from the 2000 election, a student film by Alexander Payne, an excerpt from Errol Morris’ aborted Movie Movie project, Dennis Hopper’s explosive 1983 performance art piece, a made-for-Wholphin short by Steven Soderbergh, Adam Curtis’ terrifying documentary, The Power of Nightmares, and more. For the release of their upcoming fifth issue, they are having their first ever LA screening which will likely involve short films about- and live entertainment from- drunk bees, bioluminescent squirt guns, a crying competition, Satanic nine year-olds, super-slo-motion tongues, and if we’re lucky, a never-before-seen short film by Paul Thomas Anderson starring Elliot Smith as a Rastafarian basketball player with a cameo by Bette Midler. Beats SARS.

One of the true “cult” classics from the 1970s, The Wicker Man is a legendary thriller about the evil neo-pagan happenings on a remote Scottish isle. Scripted by playwright Anthony Shaffer, the film features an iconic performance by Edward Woodward as an upright detective from the mainland called out to investigate a tip about a missing girl. Once there, Woodward discovers an unsettling island community, at once welcoming, but also chillingly hermetic. The villagers are more concerned with nude sun worship than Woodward’s investigation, which eventually leads to one of cinema’s most infamous endings. Featuring Christopher Lee as the island’s inscrutable representative, Lord Summerisle, and Britt Ekland as a comely innkeeper’s daughter, whose legendary seduction scene led to urban legends of then-husband Rod Stewart trying to suppress the film. Dir. Robin Hardy, 1973, 100 min.

Hong Sang-Soo is one of Korea’s most original, talented, and celebrated filmmakers, and most of his films—which consistently score high in critics’ year-end polls–are woefully unavailable in the U.S. Woman is the Future of Man’s title is an object of curiosity–a line taken from a Louis Aragon poem that Hong saw printed on a postcard in a French bookstore. The director uses this title as a launching point for a story about childhood friends —a womanizing art professor and a filmmaker who set out on a booze-soaked journey to visit a woman with whom they share a complicated sexual history. Like most of this director’s enigmatic films, the narrative is an elegantly-structured puzzle that slowly reveals character through the accumulation of small details and rhyming scenes. Hong’s unflinching, bitingly-funny examinations of sexual morality and conflicted masculinity are frequently compared to the work of Eric Rohmer but younger viewers may see these habitually-drunk, emotionally-stunted, sexually-awkward dudes as Eastern counterparts to the inarticulate twentysomethings in a Bujalski film. Dir. Hong Sang-soo, 2004, 88 min.