a highly-opinionated selection of things happening around town, and sometimes out of town. this month's page here.
mon. nov. 1 the wolf man, the invisible man @ new beverly spectacles of light 8:30 PM @ redcat dirt dress FREE @ spaceland bill plympton in person 8 PM @ silent movie theatre the joyless street FREE @ ucla film archive @ ucla james bridges theater tue. nov. 2 stranded in canton 8 PM @ silent movie theatre red hill FREE @ melnitz movies @ ucla james bridges theater wed. nov. 3 ornette coleman @ ucla royce hall the devil's claim 8 PM @ silent movie theatre tell them anything you want: a portrait of maurice sendak 7 PM, the beaches of agnes @ ampas linwood dunn thu. nov. 4 queimada @ aero theatre north by northwest @ lacma white material FREE @ melnitz movies @ ucla james bridges theater fri. nov. 5 la sera, no joy, dunes @ the smell dash jacket @ tribal cafe trans am @ spaceland exploding flowers @ DIY gallery the driver 8 PM, thief @ silent movie theatre gentlemen prefer blondes, the seven year itch @ new beverly mystery train @ lacma true stories 9:30 PM @ lacma scream festival: noisefold 8:30 @ redcat free radicals FREE 6:45 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 2 barbershop punk FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 3 rubber FREE 9 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 6 blank city FREE 9:15 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 2 putty hill FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 3 i will follow FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ egyptian theatre cargo FREE MIDNIGHT @ afi fest @ mann chinese 6 sat. nov. 6 kevin greenspon @ the smell la sera, no joy FREE @ origami vinyl la sera, no joy @ hustle house the legend of billie jean 8 PM, "secret 2nd bonus feature" @ silent movie theatre gentlemen prefer blondes 3:40 7:30 PM, the seven year itch 5:25 9:25 PM @ new beverly trash humpers FREE 9 PM @ lacma the weather station FREE 1:30 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 3 two gates of sleep FREE 1 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 1 hahaha FREE 2 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 6 eraserhead (w/ david lynch in person) 3:30 PM, sunset boulvard FREE @ afi fest @ egyptian theatre pulsar FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 3 barney's version (sneak preview) 8 PM FREE @ afi fest @ egyptian theatre uncle boonmee who can recall his past lives FREE 8:45 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 6 amigo FREE 9:45 PM @ afi fest @ grauman's chinese theater julia's eyes FREE MIDNIGHT @ afi fest @ mann chinese 6 sun. nov. 7 sourpatch FREE @ origami vinyl expo '70 @ echo curio (?) score 8 PM @ silent movie theatre gentlemen prefer blondes 3:40 7:30 PM, the seven year itch 5:25 9:25 PM @ new beverly michael scroggins: what are you looking at? @ filmforum @ spielberg theater @ egyptian theater chico & rita 5 PM FREE @ afi fest @ egyptian theatre certified copy FREE 6:15 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 1 removal FREE 6:30 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 6 rabbit hole (sneak preview) FREE @ afi fest @ egyptian theatre outrage FREE 9:15 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 3 13 assassins FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 6 hour of the wolf FREE 10:30 PM @ afi fest @ grauman's chinese theater norwegian ninja FREE MIDNIGHT @ afi fest @ mann chinese 1 mon. nov. 8 expo '70 FREE 8 PM @ origami vinyl a century ago: the films of 1910 - refining the one-reeler @ ampas linwood dunn dirt dress FREE @ spaceland gentlemen prefer blondes, the seven year itch @ new beverly W-H-I-T-E FREE @ silverlake lounge rear window FREE 3 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 3 win/win FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 3 casino jack FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ grauman's chinese theater carancho FREE 9:30 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 2 tue. nov. 9 roman polanski shorts 8 PM @ silent movie theatre gentlemen prefer blondes, the seven year itch @ new beverly putty hill, hamilton FREE @ melnitz movies @ ucla james bridges theater the moaners @ spaceland submarino FREE 3:45 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 6 some days are better than others FREE 10 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 3 wed. nov. 10 moonhearts, nobunny @ spaceland candy claws @ bootleg theatre seven chances 8 PM @ silent movie theatre space land and time: underground adventures with ant farm 7 PM FREE @ hammer museum gentlemen prefer blondes, the seven year itch @ new beverly mon oncle FREE 4 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 1 cave of forgotten dreams FREE 7 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 1 the company men FREE 7:30 PM @ afi fest @ grauman's chinese theater film socialism FREE 9:40 PM @ afi fest @ mann chinese 1 thu. nov. 11 dean wareham plays galaxie 500 @ troubadour the end 8 PM, the krays @ silent movie theatre one AM radio @ hm157 soft pack, kurt vile @ echoplex gentlemen prefer blondes, the seven year itch @ new beverly baraka (70mm) @ egyptian theatre oh my soul 8 PM @ echo park film center upsilon acrux, green & wood FREE @ three clubs fri. nov. 12 hausu MIDNIGHT @ nuart american gigolo 8 PM, breathless (1983) @ silent movie theatre miami blues (hosted by will oldham) MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theatre shadows, the killing of a chinese bookie @ new beverly winstanley, it happened here @ egyptian theatre the killer @ lacma as tears go by 9:30 PM @ lacma the finches, daylong valleys of the nile @ the sanctuary sat. nov. 13 best coast, dunes @ troubadour ron silva & the monarchs @ til two club (SD) no babies @ the smell johnny mad dog 7 PM @ silent movie theatre the miami connection 10 PM @ silent movie theatre shadows 3:40 7:30 PM, the killing of a chinese bookie 5:20 9:15 PM @ new beverly the mission 5:30 PM @ lacma hard boiled @ lacma clash @ ucla film archive lee scratch perry: secret education - opening reception @ dem passwords sun. nov. 14 best coast, dunes @ troubadour samurai rebellion, the sword of doom @ new beverly blade runner: final cut 9 PM @ madex's guerrilla drive-in mon. nov. 15 southern california landscapes via experimental film 7 PM @ 7 dudley cinema audacity, dirt dress FREE @ spaceland la font @ the echo samurai rebellion, the sword of doom @ new beverly mr. bug goes to town FREE @ ucla film archive @ ucla james bridges theater tue. nov. 16 mr. blandings builds his dream house 1 PM @ lacma tiny furniture FREE @ melnitz movies @ ucla james bridges theater thermals @ el rey wed. nov. 17 metropolis (newly-restored expanded version) 8 PM @ silent movie theatre car wash, used cars @ new beverly the terminator @ egyptian theatre thu. nov. 18 the invention of dr. nakamats 8 PM @ silent movie theatre car wash, used cars @ new beverly the desert of forbidden art @ aero theatre dino's drive-in 8 PM @ echo park film center fri. nov. 19 grass widow, wild flag @ spaceland hard target MIDNIGHT @ nuart 52 pick up 8 PM, body double @ silent movie theatre le amiche, the passenger @ new beverly mickey one, night moves @ aero theatre fallen angels @ lacma time and tide 9 PM @ lacma straight to hell returns @ ucla film archive jon brion @ largo ezra buchla FREE @ origami vinyl sat. nov. 20 the loons, clinic @ troubadour tv party tonight: punks on the small screen 4:15 PM @ destroy all movies @ silent movie theatre times square 6:30 PM @ destroy all movies @ silent movie theatre class of 1984 9:15 PM @ destroy all movies @ silent movie theatre D.O.A. MIDNIGHT @ destroy all movies @ silent movie theatre le amiche 3:00 7:30 PM, the passenger 5:05 9:35 PM @ new beverly eye of the cat MIDNIGHT @ new beverly carancho, puzzle @ egyptian theatre the ghost writer, the matador @ aero theatre exiled 5 PM @ lacma once upon a time in china @ lacma sid and nancy, highway patrolman @ ucla film archive audacity @ TBA sun. nov. 21 urgh! a music war 2 PM @ destroy all movies @ silent movie theatre la brune et moi 4:30 PM, shellshock rock @ destroy all movies @ silent movie theatre the slog movie 7 PM, desperate teenage lovedolls @ destroy all movies @ silent movie theatre something wicked this way comes 3:35 7:30 PM, escape to witch mountain 5:30 9:25 PM @ new beverly 48th ann arbor film festival tour: the 16mm program @ filmforum @ spielberg theater @ egyptian theater hiking, Zs @ the smell mon. nov. 22 thom andersen: out of the car and into the music of the streets 8:30 PM @ redcat dirt dress FREE @ spaceland exploding flowers @ the echo something wicked this way comes, escape to witch mountain @ new beverly tue. nov. 23 off! 7 PM FREE @ vacation vinyl 8 million ways to die 8 PM, to live and die in l.a. @ silent movie theatre something wicked this way comes, escape to witch mountain @ new beverly the wrong man 1 PM @ lacma wed. nov. 24 black angels @ el rey nanook of the north (w/ live score) 8 PM @ silent movie theatre fri. nov. 26 pee-wee's big adventure MIDNIGHT @ nuart muppet history 101 2 PM @ silent movie theatre muppet history 201 4:15 PM @ silent movie theatre sweet smell of success, some like it hot @ new beverly los angeles plays itself @ egyptian theatre red cliff: part i @ lacma sat. nov. 27 three stooges films 2:00 8:00 PM @ alex theatrej sesame street at 40: milestones on the street 2 PM @ silent movie theatre jim henson & friends: inside the sesame street vault 4:15 PM @ silent movie theatre labyrinth 8 PM, return to oz @ cinefamma pajama party iii @ silent movie theatre sweet smell of success 3:10 7:30 PM, some like it hot 5:10 9:30 PM @ new beverly it happened one night, my man godfrey @ aero theatre red cliff: part i 4 PM @ lacma red cliff: part ii @ lacma sun. nov. 28 tales of terror 3:50 7:30 PM, the haunted palace 5:40 9:20 PM @ new beverly mr. magoo's christmas carol 2 PM @ egyptian theatre mon. nov. 29 dirt dress FREE @ spaceland tales of terror, the haunted palace @ new beverly orphans of the storm FREE @ ucla film archive @ ucla james bridges theater griffith in california @ ampas linwood dunn tue. nov. 30 the public enemy 1 PM @ lacma wed. dec. 1 pioneering silent animation 8 PM @ silent movie theatre thu. dec. 2 louis ck @ gibson amphitheatre another year FREE @ melnitz movies @ ucla james bridges theater fri. dec. 3 high plains drifter MIDNIGHT @ nuart the illusionist (preview screening), the triplets of belleville @ ucla film archive sun. dec. 5 nels cline, han bennink, etc @ ucla royce hall tue. dec. 7 the illusionist (sneak preview) 8 PM @ silent movie theatre i walked with a zombie 1 PM @ lacma jonathan richman @ troubadour wed. dec. 8 jonathan richman @ troubadour darker my love @ music box thu. dec. 9 gasland 8 PM @ silent movie theatre jonathan richman @ detroit bar fri. dec. 10 raising arizona MIDNIGHT @ nuart sat. dec. 11 polls @ christmas sweater festival iv the chess players @ lacma sun. dec. 12 solaris (1972) 7 PM @ new beverly 48th annual ann arbor film festival tour: video program one @ filmforum @ spielberg theater @ egyptian theater mon. dec. 13 solaris (1972) 8 PM @ new beverly fantastic planet, chronopolis @ ucla film archive tue. dec. 14 the fine art of goofing off 8 PM @ silent movie theatre tame impala @ echoplex wed. dec. 15 arsenal (w/ live score) 8 PM @ silent movie theatre low @ spaceland mon. dec. 20 celestial celluloid 6 PM @ 7 dudley cinema tue. dec. 21 citizen kane FREE 1 PM @ lacma dum dum girls @ echoplex sat. dec. 25 emmet otter's jug band christmas 4 PM, muppet christmas shorts @ silent movie theatre the christmas martian 8 PM @ mondo xmas @ silent movie theatre sun. dec. 26 the godfather, the godfather: part ii @ new beverly dash jacket @ fmly fest mon. dec. 27 the godfather, the godfather: part ii @ new beverly tue. dec. 28 the godfather, the godfather: part ii @ new beverly wed. dec. 29 the godfather: part iii @ new beverly thu. dec. 30 the godfather: part iii @ new beverly fri. jan. 7 melvins @ spaceland sat. jan. 8 the warriors @ devil's night drive-in fri. jan. 14 her wild oat (w/ live organ accompaniment) @ orpheum melvins @ spaceland fri. jan. 21 melvins @ spaceland fri. jan. 28 melvins @ spaceland wed. feb. 23 godspeed you black emperor! @ music box WHAT IT IS: American Gigolo What is the thread-count of the human soul? Richard Gere catapulted to superstar status in American Gigolo, one of the most iconic Los Angeles neo-noirs, and one that signaled for all to see "Goodbye, '70s -- this is what the '80s will look like." Director Paul Schrader reworks Bresson's Pickpocket, replacing the petty thief with Gere's slightly stupid studmuffin-for-hire, whose knack for pleasing rich, unsatisfied women turns out to be his weak spot when he’s embroiled in a murder plot among the social elite. With "visual design" by Ferdinando Scarfiotti (the aesthetic genius behind The Conformist and Scarface), Schrader traces the expensive surfaces and satin textures of '80s decadence with an exacting and cataloguing meticulousness that only serves to heighten the soullessness within these Armani carcasses. Adding to this sinful brew are a sultry Lauren Hutton, great sun-drenched views of Beverly Hills during the height of cocaine culture, and a cutting-edge Giorgio Moroder score (highlighted by the mega-hit Blondie single “Call Me.” ), but essentially this is a tale of spiritual awakening. Gere's desire to untangle himself from the slowly enclosing frame of dark, sinister forces is finally matched by his desire to not just transcend his situation, but his own spiritual abyss. Dir. Paul Schrader, 1980, 35mm, 117 min. AMIGO John Sayles once again gives us a beautiful character-driven film, this time against the backdrop of the turn-of-the-century Philippine-American War. The able cast is led by Chris Cooper as the American colonel, Garret Dillahunt as the earnest lieutenant and Joel Torre as village leader Rafael. Imbued with the subtle dignity that makes Sayles’ films so engaging, Rafael is the moral compass around whom the film revolves. In a war that is in many ways similar to the one we are fighting now, Rafael faces the unwelcome challenge of how to keep his people together under occupation. Ultimately he decides that cooperation with the Americans is the best way to protect the village welfare, but his compliance is considered betrayal by his brother who is a leader of the rebel fighters. Refusing to judge any of its characters, the film explores how in war all sides make compromises and no one’s innocence remains intact. —Beth Caldarello ANOTHER YEAR Brimming with joy and tragedy, old wounds and new beginnings, the latest from British master Mike Leigh observes four seasons in the lives of longtime married couple Tom and Gerri (the marvelous Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen), their 30-year-old bachelor son Joe, and Gerri’s spinster work colleague Mary (Lesley Manville). A houseguest so frequent she’s practically family, Mary at first seems a harmless sad sack, drinking too much and bemoaning her failures in life and love. But as time passes, and summer gives way to fall, Mary’s depression grows, and her behavior becomes ever more erratic. A typically wry, wise, carefully observed portrait of the human experience, Another Year finds Leigh at the top of his game, and Manville—in her seventh collaboration with the director—at the top of hers. By turns abrasive and fragile, hilarious and finally heartbreaking, Mary emerges as one of Leigh’s most complex and memorable characters—a rare gift to an actress and an audience. Official Selection Cannes 2010 - WINNER Ecumenical Jury Commendation, Official Selection New York Film Festival, Official Selection Toronto International Film Festival "So intimate as to remind you not only of your own family, but also your own dreams and fears, Another Year will wreck you." - Joshua Rothkopf, TIME OUT NEW YORK "The characters, between big gulps of wine, specialize in that scalding English thing, 'taking the piss' out of each other, but there's no mockery in Leigh's view, only grace. At times, the movie is like the Beatles' 'Eleanor Rigby' turned into a startlingly humane comedy." - Owen Gleiberman, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY "Leigh's humane intelligence, large-souled comedy, and deft ensemble-management skills are all on full display here; he provides a smoothly pleasurable entertainment even as he probes at disappointment and loss. A gem." - Nelson Kim, HAMMER TO NAIL ARSENAL A true masterpiece of form and content, set in the countryside and at the front during the final years of World War I and the beginnings of the Russian Revolution and Civil War. Arsenal depicts the struggle in Kiev as the arsenal goes on strike and the strikers are defeated. Its great sequences include the symbol of a starving horse, and the death of the Revolutionary hero who, as he struggles forward with open shirt, is riddled with bullets by the Whites. "...in many ways his most dazzling silent picture...Dovzhenko's view of wartime and battlefront morality is too ambiguous and multilayered to fit comfortably within any propaganda scheme" (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader). Alexander Dovzhenko---USSR---1929---75 mins. As Tears Go By 1988/color/102 min. | Scr/dir: Wong Kar-wai; w/ Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Jacky Cheung Already saddled with a loose-cannon sidekick who wants to make a name for himself in the underworld, small-time hood Andy Lau winds up playing host to an unexpected houseguest when waifish Maggie Cheung, a cousin from the countryside, turns up on his doorstep. Torn between his lust for Cheung and his loyalty to the streets, Lau struggles to stay on the straight and narrow. After years writing screenplays for television soaps and suspense serials, Wong Kar-wai's feature debut is a gangland melodrama that intersperses its Beretta fireworks with the mesmerizing atmospherics and voluptuous romanticism that define his later masterpieces (In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express, among others). Still Wong's highest-grossing film in Hong Kong, it was nominated for ten HK Film Awards and landed Lau a best supporting actor prize. "As Tears Go By is, from first frame to last, obviously and exquisitely a movie by Wong Kar-wai…the movie finds its true purpose in a tone (dreamy fatalism), a texture (impressionist grunge) and a pose (so, so cool)."—Nathan Lee, The New York Times. BARBERSHOP PUNK When Robb Topolski set out to share his collection of rare, turn-of-the-century barbershop quartet recordings over the Internet, he found his uploads were blocked by his service provider, the nation’s largest cable company Comcast. From this seemingly innocuous beginning, the surprising events of BARBERSHOP PUNK unfold as Tolpolski’s findings go public, casting him as wry David against a corporate Goliath in a battle over how the First Amendment should function in the Internet age. Filmmakers Georgia Sugimura Archer and Kristin Armfield contrast the struggles of the Topolski family with a series of FCC hearings, interweaving discussions on the possibility of “Net Neutrality” with deeply personal moments of triumph and heartbreak. The documentary includes in-depth interviews with such diverse personalities as Damian Kulash of OK Go, Grateful Dead lyricist and EFF Founder John Perry Barlow, actress Janeane Garofalo, musician Henry Rollins and former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry. —Dayan Ballweg BARNEY'S VERSION, 2010, Sony Pictures Classics, 132 min. Dir. Richard J. Lewis. Dustin Hoffman and Paul Giamatti deliver unforgettable performances as father and son in a wise and witty tale of a seemingly ordinary man who lives an extraordinary life. Based on Mordecai Richler's prize-winning comic novel. Discussion following the film with director Richard J. Lewis, producer Robert Lantos, actor Paul Giamatti and cast members. Reception following the screening. Bill Plympton In Person Bill Plympton, The King of the Independent Animation, makes his first Cinefamily appearance, and presents a program of his classic shorts, new films, works-in-progress and a selection of vintage cartoons that inspired him! Bill’s session with us includes: Shuteye Hotel, a film noir murder mystery; Santa: The Fascist Years, which uncovers Santa's un-jolly past (featuring Mathew Modine); Eat, a comedy set in a French restaurant; and, Sex and Violence, which was, according to Plympton's website, "too extreme for the men's magazine market." Clips from his forthcoming animated feature Cheatin' and his "Hear ‘Em Say" music video for Kanye West will also be screened. After the program, stick around for a Q&A with Bill, moderated by Jerry Beck! BLANK CITY In the late seventies, the city of Manhattan was virtually bankrupt, leaving the crumbling tenements of the Lower East Side overrun with squatters. Young artists — writers, musicians, actors, painters and filmmakers — quickly formed a loose tribe built around a spirit of freedom and collaboration. From this cross-pollination came a vibrant cacophony of ideas and transgressive images seared onto Super-8 film. Today these films stand as raw and visceral testaments to the roots of punk, a guerrilla-film parade exploding the rules of sex, race, gender and politics through the cracked lens of a lost generation. In BLANK CITY, filmmaker Céline Danhier has gathered the faces and icons that defined the scene, including filmmakers Richard Kern, Susan Seidelman, Nick Zedd, Lizzie Borden, Amos Poe and Jim Jarmusch; as well as performers Debbie Harry, Steve Buscemi and Lydia Lunch — granting us a brash insider’s take on this cinematic “No Wave”. —Dayan Ballweg Body Double Brian De Palma’s controversial, densely layered and fantastically fun Body Double is a love/hate letter to many things: Hitchcock, filmmaking itself, Los Angeles landmarks, and controversy itself. This righteous sleaze-a-thon -- originally intended to be (in De Palma’s own words) an “X-rated suspense porn picture”, made in reaction to his previous battles with the MPAA ratings board and critics everywhere -- follows Craig Wasson as an down-on-his-luck actor who chances into housesitting at an opulent, neon-laden Space Age bachelor pad in the Hollywood Hills. His voyeuristic tendencies get the better of him, as his “innocent” telescope peeping on a sexy neighbor ensnares him into a foggy life-threatening plot involving the porno underworld, a super-hot Melanie Griffith, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and a creepy Indian’s deadly power tools. Rich with scummy sunbaked glitz, shoutouts to Rear Window and Vertigo, Pino Donaggio’s undulating synth score and enough metaphysical Moebius strips to make even Philip K. Dick swoon, this jizz-jazzy stylistic freakout remains one of De Palma’s most satisfying clockwork contraptions. Dir. Brian De Palma, 1984, 35mm, 114 min. Breathless When irreverent filmmaker Jim McBride saw Richard Gere in Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo, he knew he’d found his man, as Gere’s 501 Jeans good looks and bad-boy charm made him the perfect casting choice for the vein, cocky anti-hero in this rockabilly remake of Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut’s Breathless. McBride and his co-conspirator from ‘70s Hollywood, L.M. Kit Carson, playfully reworked the French New Wave classic, which highlights the original’s fun, pop culture-obsessed take on the American noir. Breathless is a film nerd’s hall of mirrors, an American love affair with the French love affair with American film. Where in the original, Jean Seberg’s an American girl in Paris, here we have the gorgeous real-life UCLA French exchange student Valerie Kaprisky as a French girl in L.A. who entrances Gere’s petty criminal into risking it all. With a sense of fun filmy fakery, references galore and sharp sexuality, this is a deserved cult classic. Dir. Jim McBride, 1983, 35mm, 100 min. CARANCHO, 2010, Strand Releasing, 107 min. Dir. Pablo Trapero. Sosa (Ricardo Darín), a lawyer with a suspended license, offers his legal services to accident victims under the table. While searching for his next client, he meets and quickly falls in love with Luján (Martina Gusmán), a troubled ER doctor. Fans of David Cronenberg’s CRASH will marvel at the film’s dark, sexy yet dingy worldview, in what The Hollywood Reporter describes as a "tough-as-nails accident thriller." Official selection of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. CARGO An homage to such films as ALIEN and 2001, Ivan Engler’s CARGO is a visually stunning achievement in independent, low-budget sci-fi. The year is 2267 and the earth is no longer habitable. Most remaining humans live in sweaty, overcrowded space stations, while longing to move to RHEA, a green Arcadian planet five light years from Earth. In order to save up enough money to emigrate, young doctor Laura accepts an 8-year stint on the cargo ship Kassandra, a broke-down hulk of a vessel whose gelatinous cryo-sleep tanks do not inspire confidence. As Kassandra nears its destination, Laura discovers that the crew is not alone and nothing is what it seems. Switzerland’s first science fiction film ever is an impressive feat of digital artistry; when the film shifts from grim interiors to spectacular views of the lone cargo ship hurtling through the glowing vastness of space, we can only hold our breaths in wonder. —Jenn Murphy CAR WASH An ensemble comedy of a typical day at a Los Angeles car wash. The owner is white, the workers mostly black, Spanish and oppressed, but they do seem to have lots to laugh about on the job. Guest stars include Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Professor Irwin Corey and the Pointer Sisters. With Melanie Mayron, Ivan Dixon, Antonio Fargas and Sully Boyar. Michael Schultz---USA---1976---97 mins. CASINO JACK Kevin Spacey gives the performance of a lifetime in CASINO JACK, a riotous new film about a man hell-bent on acquiring all that the good life has to offer. Inspired by true events, the film lays bare the wild excesses of double-dealing lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Aided by his business partner Michael Scanlon (Barry Pepper), Jack parlays his clout over some of the world's most powerful men in order to build a personal empire of wealth and influence. When the two enlist a mob-connected buddy (Jon Lovitz) to help with one of their illegal schemes, they soon find themselves in over their heads, entrenched in a world of mafia assassins, murder and a scandal that spins so out of control it makes worldwide headlines. With a boldly assured hand, director George Hickenlooper returns Spacey to the type of role that made him famous — a cool-headed, articulate snake charmer whose ambition knows no limits. CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS Herzog’s latest ecstatic pilgrimage takes us on a journey into the most distant past of human history. As the first filmmaker ever granted access to the prehistoric paintings of the Chauvet Cave, Herzog has rarely seemed so powerfully moved as by this story of the world’s first artists. More than double the age of neighboring Lascaux, the 35,000 year old paintings were created at a time when Humans and Neanderthals coexisted and the French countryside was arctic tundra. Epic in their scope of production, the paintings were worked on for a continuous period of over five thousand years and thus have inspired longer lasting devotion than any government or civilization. Herzog’s inspired use of 3-D perfectly captures the undulating walls and motion illusions generated by the flicker of torchlight. To observe as one of cinema’s living masters brings these startling artworks to life is to be transported into a state of awe. —Lane Kneedler CELESTIAL CELLULOID Film historians John Cannizzaro & Gerorge Russell screen 16mm films (some with live music accompaniment) from the early 20th century. Classic comedy, drama and avant-garde cinema on the big screen with the hypnotic projector hum expand the viewing experience. A Century Ago: The Films of 1910 – Refining the One-Reeler Presented on a 1909 hand-cranked Power’s Model 6 Cameragraph motion picture machine restored and operated by Joe Rinaudo. “A Century Ago: The Films of 1910” will include an early D.W. Griffith Civil War film “The House with Closed Shutters”; Vitagraph’s “Jack Fat and Jim Slim at Coney Island” featuring John Bunny; “The Actor’s Children,” the first film of the New Rochelle-based Thanhouser Company; the Selig Company’s production of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”; Essanay’s “Aviation at Los Angeles, Calif.,” and surprises galore. Most prints will be in 35mm and are drawn from the collections of the Academy Film Archive, the Library of Congress, George Eastman House, the Museum of Modern Art and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Featuring live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla. CERTIFIED COPY An art scholar on a promotional tour of Italy for his new book is taken on an impromptu excursion by a local admirer. He’s English, unflappable and self-possessed. She’s French, flustered and inquisitive. Over the course of a single, sun-soaked Tuscan afternoon they wander through rustic villages, engaging in constant, unassuming dialogue about the nature of originality. Continually interrupted by their cell phones — she’s the mother of a puckish pre-teen — the pair imperceptibly shifts from behaving like cordial strangers to inhabiting the roles of a lovelorn couple. Abbas Kiarostami’s first feature film produced outside of his native Iran maintains the director’s customary attention to detail, spellbinding restraint and an immersive sense of place. Shooting on location with two supple lead performers — William Shimell is a baritone by trade while Juliette Binoche gives one of her most startling knife’s-edge performances — Kiarostami maintains his stature as cinema’s great poet of the ephemeral. —Bernardo Rondeau The Chess Players Restored by the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive with funding from the Film Foundation. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive. In this lavish color production, two traditional Muslim landlords in 1856 Lucknow are consumed with their games of chess (an Indian invention) while their musician-poet king, Wajid Ali Shah, is being targeted by the English East India Company for a take-over. Satyajit Ray, India's greatest filmmaker, takes a gently satiric approach to his depiction of this personal and historical situation while meeting the challenge, in his words, "of portraying two negative forces, feudalism and colonialism." Presented in conjunction with India's Fabled City: The Art of Courtly Lucknow, this is the US premiere of a new 35mm restoration by the Academy Film Archive. CHICO & RITA, 2010, CinemaNX, 94 min. Dirs. Javier Mariscal, Fernando Trueba. This spellbinding animated odyssey through 1940s Havana and New York celebrates the birth of Latin jazz in a love story between a gifted pianist and a singer with the voice of an angel. "A visually hypnotic, musically electric film." –The Hollywood Reporter. THE CHRISTMAS MARTIAN Mondo Xmas (feat. The Christmas Martian) When December comes, connoisseurs of cracked cinema have reason to be jolly, for ‘tis the season for holiday schlock to flood the TV screen and choke the movie theaters. Once again, Cinefamily is going to spoil you rotten with all kinds of goodies, including verité footage of department store Santas, misguided movie tie-ins, exhumed cartoons and aborted holiday specials. Finally, we’ll unwrap The Christmas Martian, the ‘71 French Canadian bizarro kids’ film! “It's common knowledge that Santa Claus conquered the Martians...but only a half dozen or so Christmases later, a bubble-spouting Martian crash landed in Quebec to learn about a variety of fun winter activities, and to shower children with candy. Space candy. Easily the most insane example of Canadian children's cinema ever conceived, the nonsensical Le Martien de Noël wildly bounces from wacky action sequences to unrelated tangents, all highlighted by special effects even the most distracted seven year-old could see through. In other words, it's great!” (Canuxsploitation.com) Come celebrate the holidays with the only family that knows what you really want -- the Cinefamily. Yule be glad you did. Dir. Bernard Gosselin, 1971, 35mm, 65 min. CHRONOPOLIS (1982, France/Poland) Directed by Piotr Kamler In an immense and Byzantine city, strange creatures overcome the boredom of eternity by manufacturing moments of time. Polish-born animator Piotr Kamler uses clay and stop motion animation to craft an enigmatic sci-fi vision with echoes of Borges and Calvino. Screenwriter: Piotr Kamler. Cinematographer: Piotr Kamler. Editor: Michèle Peju. 35mm, 52 min. CLASH (Bay rong) (2009) Directed by Le Thanh Son A recent hit in Vietnam, this action-packed genre spectacle pairs The Rebel co-stars Johnny Tri Nguyen and Ngo Thanh Van for a martial arts blow out. Beautiful mercenary Trinh must perform a series of missions for her crime lord boss to save her kidnapped daughter. Complications set in when she falls for fellow mercenary Quan, whose hidden agenda threatens her own. Superb choreography and photography grace this impressive feature debut. Producer: Jimmy Nghiem Pham, Johnny Tri Nguyen, Veronica Ngo. Screenplay: Johnny Tri Nguyen, Le Thanh Son, Ho Quang Hung. Cinematographer: Dominic Pereira. Editor: Ham Tran. Cast: Johnny Tri Nguyen, Ngo Thanh Van, Hoang Phuc, Hieu Hien. 35mm, 90 min. Class of 1984 (director Mark L. Lester in person!) & "Destroy All Movies" Mondo Mix! One of the most vicious and hateful exploitation movies of the ’80s, and one that’s more entertaining than a 50-pound bag of armageddon! Whether you’re into punk, viciousness, vengeance, or have just always fantasized about seeing Michael J. Fox getting stabbed, this is one you cannot miss. A rabid pack of rampaging punk teens run our schools, our drugs and our prostitutes. Brutality and decadence are everywhere. Enter novice teacher Perry King, who’s forced to violently turn the tables on the bloodthirsty gang before their trashwave swallows the town alive. Class of 1984 is a perfect exploitation film: it’s relentlessly seedy, overflowing with assault, suicide, racism, drug use and crime, crime, CRIME!, all of which is perpetrated by minors. But beyond all this, there’s a bitterly absorbing air of human helplessness and leather-clad heartlessness that makes this movie the flat-out best in its genre. If you don’t go, we’ll chain-whip your ass to dust. Director Mark L. Lester will be here in person for a Q&A after the film -- and the program kicks off with an insane Mondo megamix of punks on film (curated by Zack Carlson and edited by Everything Is Terrible!) Class of 1984 Dir. Mark L. Lester, 1982, 35mm, 98 min. THE COMPANY MEN In his feature film directorial debut, John Wells paints a heroic and honest portrait of where our culture is today. The force behind such celebrated shows as ER, THE WEST WING, SOUTHLAND and the upcoming Showtime series SHAMELESS, Wells brings his signature combination of nuanced character work and uncompromising drama to this story of a group of co-workers who must rebuild their lives after corporate downsizing. Ben Affleck plays Bobby Walker, a golf-playing marketing and sales exec whose sense of self crumbles when he loses his job. Company founder Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) tries to fight the good fight against the layoffs, only to discover that he has made himself a target. And older worker Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper) gives in to blind fury as he waits for the inevitable. With an extraordinary ensemble cast including Kevin Costner and Maria Bello, and inspired cinematography by Roger Deakins, THE COMPANY MEN offers a resonant examination of the human spirit that asks us if we truly know what matters most in life. THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART, 2010, 80 min. Dirs. Tchavdar Georgiev, Amanda Pope. During the Soviet rule, artists who stayed true to their vision were executed or sent to mental hospitals or gulags. Their plight inspired young Igor Savitsky, who pretended to buy state-approved art but instead rescued 40,000 works by forbidden artists and created a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan, far from the watchful eyes of the KGB. Intercut with recollections of the artists' children and rare archival footage, and voiced by Ben Kingsley, Sally Field and Ed Asner, this documentary takes us on a dramatic journey of sacrifice for the sake of creative freedom. Discussion following the film with directors Tchavdar Georgiev and Amanda Pope. DESPERATE TEENAGE LOVEDOLLS Next is Dave’s hilarious, reckless and outrageously ambitious Desperate Teenage Lovedolls, a funhouse mirror reflection of the rags-to-riches and rise-and-fall stories happening across the then-already-devolving L.A. punk landscape. Jennifer Schwartz and Hilary Rubens play best friends combing the city to complete the lineup for their band The Lovedolls. The girls sleep in abandoned buildings, practice their songs on stolen equipment, and run afoul of Venice gang The She-Devils. Featuring a who's-who of '80s L.A. backyard filmmaking! Dir. Dave Markey, 1984, DigiBeta, 60 min. The Devil's Claim Tall. Stoic. Devilishly handsome, with a smoldering, unforgettable stare. A Zen master as well as a master thespian, producer, director, novelist and martial arts practitioner, the Japanese-born Sessue Hayakawa was one of the most exceptional leading men to grace the silent screen, forging ahead with his own wildly successful production company (Haworth Pictures) in the late 1910s after being offered one too many typecast “exotic villain” roles. In The Devil’s Claim, produced at Haworth and part of the final batch of American films he made before emigrating to another successful film career in Europe, Sessue plays the dual role of Akbar Khan, an Indian novelist who falls for a young Colleen Moore, and “Hassa”, the hero in Akbar’s series of adventure tales featuring an underground cult world of Satanic worship. In addition to the pleasures of its rip-roaring narrative, The Devil’s Claim is a prime example of Hayakawa’s unique Zen-influenced acting technique, in which the practice of muga (an “absence of doing”) brings about a complete antithesis of the broadly theatrical gestures and over-emoting so common to many of the era’s performers. Dir. Charles Swickard, 1920, 35mm, 70 min. (Restored 35mm print courtesy of the George Eastman House; restoration funded by AFI/The Film Foundation) DINO'S DRIVE-IN Dino's Drive In presents a Films on Film program involving movies about movies...The highlight being an ultra rare 16mm silent feature called SHOOTING STARS (1927) about a famous husband and wife acting team and a tragic love triangle. Noir-esque before there was even such a genre, this is a written and directed bydebut film from the acclaimed British director Anthony Asquith of A Cottage on Dartmoor (1929). This will most certainly be your only chance to ever see a projected print of this film. Also featuring accompanying shorts about movies. PUNK ROCK ARCHIVIST DINO EVERETT IN ATTENDANCE! D.O.A. A verité exploration of punk rock’s awkward adolescence, and one of the most important documentaries of the genre! The heavy, meaty D.O.A. features a bevy of awesome performances by the likes of X-Ray Spex, Generation X and the Dead Boys, fly-on-the-wall footage from the Sex Pistols’ ill-fated ‘78 U.S. tour (including a hilarious stop in Tulsa, where a bible-thumper’s raised banner alliteratively contrasts Johnny Rotten against Jesus to prove that punk is indeed an export from the fiery pits), and an in-depth survey of kooky London scenesters. Director Lech Kowalski provides a more objective view than Wolfgang Büld’s Punk in London, or Penelope Spheeris’ mighty The Decline of Western Civilization, as he establishes a tangible, humorous division between the bands and their devotees, especially noticeable where the Sex Pistols are concerned; in all, that group is given star billing but painted as a festering symptom of punk’s uprising, destined to implode before their veneer of feral social terrorism could fade with time. Ultra-rare and raucous as hell, D.O.A. is both a priceless live document, and a fierce jab into the eye of established punk orthodoxy. Dir. Lech Kowalski, 1980, 35mm, 90 min. The Driver While other neo-noirs rework our own Hollywood heritage, Walter Hill’s philosphically-tinged action flick The Driver pulls from the French crime films of the past. Characters have no names, dialogue is pared down to a hard-boiled minimum (Ryan O’Neal’s character says only 350 words during the entire film), and the atmosphere is one of night-shrouded existential despair par excellence. The spectre of Jean-Pierre Melville hovers over the proceedings as O’Neal’s lone titular criminal professional enters into a Dostoyevskian game of cat and mouse with cheerfully cynical cop Bruce Dern to prove who’s best at their own job, while ghostly, gorgeous Isabelle Adjani watches from the sidelines. But beyond The Driver and The Cop, there is The Director, who, with the same focus, intensity and professionalism as his characters, seems intent on creating the most scorching car chase scenes he can, one after another after another. Dir. Walter Hill, 1978, 35mm, 87 min. (35mm print courtesy of Fox Archives) 8 Million Ways To Die Taking its title from The Naked City, its born-to-lose hero from every other classic noir, its inviolable code of honor from Raymond Chandler, and its mountains of coke from the heart of Hollywood, Hal Ashby’s wild ‘80s swansong (penned by Oliver Stone) is the last burning vestige of his style from the previous decade. Jeff Bridges is in great form as a newly sober ex-cop, laidback like a Dude-in-waiting but still with remnants of his signature young buck cockiness, up against drug lord Andy Garcia, decked out like a poster boy for the yuppie gangsters that populated these neon noirs: a Spago-chomping, Armani-wearing, psycho flash-boy with a deliciously ladled-on accent and ponytail. A notoriously meticulous editor who would often take “as long as it took” to finish cutting, Ashby was summarily barred from the 8 Million editing room by producers -- and on a macro level, exiled by the New Hollywood -- fearful of his old-school ways, but with the film’s compassion for its damaged eccentric characters, and its flashes of virtuosity (like the cockeyed, brilliant Mexican Standoff climax), Ashby’s signature style lived on in spades. Dir. Hal Ashby, 1986, DigiBeta, 115 min. The End “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” - Aristotle If you grow up in a rough neighborhood, you learn how to survive quickly. In the East End of London after World War II, survival for some kids led to extremely harrowing lives, as detailed in The End’s subjects’ own words: Pretty Boy Roy Shaw got into “unlicensed” boxing when he learned he was blessed with the power of punch; Danny Woollard beat up a man who owed him money -- he became a professional enforcer; Victor Dark was a bank robber. And even the filmmaker’s father, Les Falco, describes his own life amongst the riff-raff. First-time filmmaker Nicola Collins explores the gritty complexity of these infamous criminals’ histories, as they recall how they shaped their war-torn environment into a violent underworld. In fitting black-and-white portraits, the men do not leave anything grey, revealing their extraordinary CVs and their code of honor without shame or apologies. Film noir is too cute of a description -- The End is bare-knuckle reality. Director Nicola Collins will be here in person for a Q&A after the film! Dir. Nicola Collins, 2008, digital presentation, 81 min. Exiled 2006/color/113 min./Scope | Scr: Szeto Tam Yuen, Yip Tin Shing; dir: Johnnie To; w/ Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Roy Cheung, Lam Suet, Simon Yam. The gang's all here. Joining forces once more with the ice-cool ensemble from The Mission, To crafts a smoldering urban western about—what else—a reunited mercenary outfit trying to pull off one final job. Set in final days of Macao's Portuguese rule and coursing with elegiac camaraderie, Exiled is a tour-de-force of Scope staging, ambient tension and Zen precision. The film was Hong Kong's official foreign-language Oscar submission in 2006. "This flamboyant, Peckinpah-ish ode to male bonding has a melancholy, fin de siècle splendor… The balletic set pieces, filled with Mexican standoffs, billowing curtains and slo-mo bloodletting, pay tribute to Sergio Leone. To blends sentimentality, shoot-outs and cool humor into a bewitchingly entertaining brew."—David Ansen, Newsweek. EYE OF THE CAT A man and his girlfriend plan to rob the mansion of the man's eccentric but wealthy aunt. However, the aunt keeps dozens of cats in her home, and the man is deathly afraid of cats. Dir. David Lowell Rich, 1969, 102 mins. Fallen Angels 1995/color/90 min. | Scr/dir: Wong Kar-wai; w/ Leon Lai, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Michelle Reis, Charlie Yeung, Karen Mok. | Please note: This newly-struck print of Fallen Angels features a Taiwanese soundtrack. After finding his métier in a series of ethereal urban romances, Wong returned to the criminal underbelly of his debut. A lone wolf contract killer is given his assignments through a female agent he never meets. Attired in black stockings and a vinyl dress, she also cleans up the flophouse room where he hides out between jobs. Two lovers entirely disconnected from one another, they drift through the endless, turbulent Hong Kong night in a haze of cigarette smoke and drowsy longing. Shot after hours while Wong was filming the bubblier, diurnal Chungking Express, Fallen Angels is a vibrant nocturne of canted angles, mixed film stocks, and neon-washed slow-motion that's just as rhapsodic as its day-time counterpart. "Half of Fallen Angels takes place in a monsoon; the rest is set in a pungent series of lovingly selected locations (deserted subway stations, an empty McDonald's, 24-hour noodle joints, impossibly narrow apartments, entropic dives where the jukebox plays Laurie Anderson). The director's throwaway style has its equivalent in the movie's world of fast-food parlors and one-night stands. The more disposable the experience, the more crucial the memory. Shot entirely at night and mainly in wide-angle—Christopher Doyle's camera racing down rain-slicked Nathan Road or positioning itself an inch from a performer's face—Fallen Angels is suffused with nostalgia for the present."—J. Hoberman. FANTASTIC PLANET (La planète sauvage) (1973, France/Czechoslovakia) Directed by René Laloux Director René Laloux and designer Roland Topor channel Hieronymus Bosch by way of Pink Floyd in this seminal sci-fi cult classic. By turns a chilling allegory and a surreal taxonomy centered on a clash of alien civilizations, the Draags and Oms, Fantastic Planet teems with mysteries that even repeat viewings could ever plumb. Producer: Simon Damiani, Anatole Dauman, André Valio-Cavaglione. Screenplay: René Laloux, Roland Topor. Cinematographer: Boris Baromykin, Lubomir Rejthar. Editor: Hélène Arnal, Dick Elliott, Rich Harrison, Marta Látalová. Cast: Jennifer Drake, Eric Baugin, Jean Topart, Jean Valmont, Sylvie Lenoir. 35mm, 71 min. 52 Pick Up Easily one of the leanest and meanest thrillers unleashed by exploitation juggernaut Cannon Films, this spit-polished Elmore Leonard adaptation -- awash in drugs, porn stars, flashy cars and indelible performances from its entire cast -- is one of the great unsung thrillers of its era. A suavely grizzled Roy Scheider is a nouveau riche entrepreneur whose fling with a hooker turns into a nightmare of blackmail and murder, thanks to an unsavory trio of idiosyncratic kidnappers whose bickering and bungling threaten to unravel not only Scheider's life, but their own lives as well. Every single character in the affair is fully fleshed out, frequently fallible and utterly human; director John Frankenheimer does a great job eliciting killer chemistry from the entire cast, particularly John Glover as the Three Stooges of Extortion's cracked leader, and Clarence Williams III as the unpredictable, hulking loose-cannon. Dirty, fun and scary, 52 Pick Up is perfectly executed; is the very definition of engaging L.A. sleaze. Dir. John Frankenheimer, 1986, 35mm, 110 min. FILM SOCIALISM A gargantuan ocean liner housing teeming pools, garish casinos and even a church drifts through a vast expanse of open water. Its windswept decks empty save for a few wandering souls — including Patti Smith as a rumpled troubadour — this hulking mass of floating commerce, insulated from history and the elements, is both a rich metaphor and abundant raw material for Jean-Luc Godard. So is a rural gas station that doubles as the residence for a working-class family who end up the improbable focal point for an inquisitive TV news crew in the second section of this triptych. And in the final chapter, Godard offers a vertiginously associative essay on six Mediterranean civilizations. In his first feature-length work in nearly six years, the indefatigable JLG expounds through incisive imagery, fragmented rhetoric and restive mise-en-scene. Shot on video of varying fidelities and spoken in a blur of languages all mischievously subtitled in “Navajo English,” FILM SOCIALISME is a lucid, vibrant enigma. —Bernardo Rondeau THE FINE ART OF GOOFING OFF Henry Jacobs' "The Fine Art Of Goofing Off" And Other Wide Weirdness! What happens late at night when the television fuzz melts together with your subconscious mind? In today’s climate, ultimate brain-tickling experimental television programs are almost non-existant -- but in the early ‘70s, a few episodes of true magic was made real. In 1972, sound artist Henry Jacobs (often considered the originator of modern surround sound due to his "Vortex: Experiments in Sound and Light" conceptual concerts) got together with producer Chris Koch and visual artist Bob McClay to create a series of half-hour shows for San Francisco public television station KQED. This show, entitled "The Fine Art of Goofing Off", is an ultimate revelation -- like Sesame Street’s psychedelic, philosophical cousin who lives on the top floor of a tenement on the weird side of the road. Tonight, we’ll be showing Henry’s favorite moments from Goofing Off, along with audio snippets from Vortex, other amazing excerpts of Henry’s short films, a live tape loop performance, and probably even some left-handed ping-pong action! We’ll even have Henry on the line for a live remote Q&A from his wild outpost on the Northern California coast! The 48th Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour: The 16mm Program Filmmaker Laida Lertxundi in person! Here’s your chance to see the latest and greatest in independent film work from around the world, as we present highlights from the 48th Ann Arbor Film Festival in 2010. Filmforum will host two of three touring program, this first night including works on 16mm film, including two by local filmmakers Alexandra Cuesta and Laida Lertxundi. The 48th Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour: Video Program One Filmmaker Lewis Klahr in person! Here’s your chance to see the latest and greatest in independent short film work from around the world, as we present highlights from the 48th Ann Arbor Film Festival in 2010. Filmforum will host two shows of three, this second night including works on video. This program presents memorable and award-winning short films from artists around the world. Included are stunning new works by established experimental makers Lewis Klahr, Semiconductor and Inger Lise Hansen. Emerging Spanish maker Chema Garcia Ibarra's narrative portrait reveals a story both funny and tragic. Acclaimed animators Joanna Priestley and David O'Reilly's share their latest, dynamic creations. Films by Stephen Wetzel, Duke & Battersby and Kent Lambert offer provocative visions through sampling, song and hybrid styles that defy classification. FREE RADICALS Filmmaker and film activist Pip Chodorov offers this affectionate overview of some of the leading figures of 20th century experimental film. Narrating in a personal and plainspoken manner (“I’d like you to meet some of my friends and see their films”), Chodorov combines clips and even films in their entirety with conversations with such luminaries as Hans Richter, Robert Breer, Michael Snow, Peter Kubelka and Stan Brakhage in his final recorded interview. The film, which takes its title from Len Lye’s direct animation classic, shows how avant-garde filmmakers were often left in a no man’s land between the art world and the commercial film industry. It was up to visionaries like Jonas Mekas and the organizations he founded — Film-Makers’ Cooperative, Anthology Film Archive — to help struggling filmmakers out. (At one point, Ken Jacobs describes dumpster diving for food.) Warm and inspiring, Chodorov’s film is part essay and part loving tribute. —Doug Cummings Gasland (director Josh Fox in person!) "Confronting seriously tough questions with spirit, strength and a sense of humor, Gasland is a powerful personal doc surrounding a newly inflammatory subject. Corporate behemoth Halliburton has recently developed a way to get the gas out of the ground -- a hydraulic drilling process called “fracking” -- and rural landowners all over the country are fielding lucrative offers from energy companies wanting to lease their properties. Suddenly America finds itself on the precipice of becoming an energy superpower, but what comes out of the ground with that “natural” gas, and how does it affect our air and drinking water? When filmmaker Josh Fox receives his cash offer in the mail, he travels across thirty-two states to meet other rural residents on the front lines of fracking -- and discovers toxic streams, ruined aquifers, dying livestock, brutal illnesses, and kitchen sinks that burst into flame. An astonishing juxtaposition of natural beauty and sulphuric industrialization, Gasland shows us that perhaps some things in this world are more valuable than money." - Sundance Film Festival. Josh Fox will be here at the Cinefamily in person for a Q&A after the film! Dir. Josh Fox, 2010, HDCAM, 107 min. THE GHOST WRITER, 2010, Summit Entertainment, 128 min. Dir. Roman Polanski. Ghost writer Ewan McGregor gets a lucrative assignment penning the memoirs of a controversial former prime minister (Pierce Brosnan), but finds out he might be getting more than he bargained for when he investigates the violent fate of his predecessor. GRIFFITH IN CALIFORNIA Hosted by film historian Scott Simmon, curator for the “Treasures from American Film Archives” DVD anthologies and Professor of English at the University of California, Davis. Presented on a 1909 hand-cranked Power’s Model 6 Cameragraph motion picture machine. Featuring live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla. This second evening of films from one hundred years ago will highlight six of the films directed by D.W. Griffith in his first expedition to Southern California with his New York-based troupe of Biograph Company players and crew. Each film will reflect a different location or topography, suggesting why this initial trip to the Los Angeles area for Griffith was soon emulated by several other U.S. and European film production companies, as the variety of backgrounds and beauty of the area were immediately evident when these films were projected on screens around the world. Biograph films to screen will include “Faithful,” shot in Hollywood and starring Mack Sennett; “As It Is in Life,” shot at a pigeon farm that was a popular tourist attraction of the day; “Love among the Roses,” shot in a Hollywood rose garden; “Ramona,” shot in Ventura County, the setting of the original novel, and starring Mary Pickford; “Over Silent Paths,” shot in the San Fernando desert; and “A Rich Revenge,” a comedy set in the California oil fields. The films will be presented on a 1909 hand-cranked motion picture machine restored and operated by Joe Rinaudo. An added bonus will be the re-premiere of the 1910 Selig film “The Sergeant,” shot in Yosemite and starring Hobart Bosworth, from a print recently discovered in New Zealand that had long been thought to be lost. This special screening of the Selig production directed by Francis Boggs celebrates the pioneering efforts of the first film company to open a permanent film studio in Los Angeles in 1909. Most prints will be in 35mm and are drawn from the collections of the Academy Film Archive, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. HAHAHA Synonymous with the explosion of South Korean cinema's vital achievements, exacting iconoclast Hong Sang-soo’s growing body of increasingly playful, yet structurally inventive creations comes to AFI Fest in the form of not one, but two new intriguing films to savor. The program begins with this year’s recipient of the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard award, HAHAHA. Before departing from Korea, a filmmaker meets up with a close friend for farewell drinks. Upon discovering they both have recently returned from the same spiritual seaside town, the duo agrees to swap fond memories for each sip. As the simple stories unfold in flashback, only the audience can realize that the accounts of both men take place at the same time, and with the same people. Delicately sculpting a potent swirl of chance encounters, nostalgia, heartbreak and grace with composed irreverence, Hong delivers his most sincere work yet. —Landon Zakheim HAMILTON Hamilton chronicles two summer days in the life of a young family: Lena, 17, and Joe, 20, two recent and accidental parents residing in a diverse suburban neighborhood in northeast Baltimore City. From this assuming situation the film builds a moving portrait of personal relationships and natural beauty. "Astonishing in its simple beauty. The real thing." - John Waters "A tribute to the power of observation and mood." - V.A. Musetto, THE NEW YORK POST Director Matt Porterfield present for a Q&A in between films Hard Boiled 1992/color/126 min. | Scr: Barry Wong; dir: John Woo; w/ Chow Yun-fat, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Teresa Mo. Following the international breakthrough of The Killer, Woo hit a triumphant high with his final Hong Kong production. Yun-fat stars as Tequila, a gruff flatfoot equal parts Dirty Harry sneer and Popeye Doyle savagery. Joined by steely undercover agent Leung, he's out to avenge the death of his partner by an arms smuggling outfit. Ostensibly a buddy movie, Hard Boiled is Woo's farewell to Hong Kong filmmaking. By the time of its release, Woo was in Hollywood, where he would spend the next decade helming seven films. Shot in an abandoned Coca Cola plant without a script, Hard Boiled is a 21-gun salute to the genre Woo had reinvented. A vivid procession of dazzlingly choreographed face-offs, it culminates with typical Woo abandon in an astonishing maternity ward shootout. "Hard to beat. To this day, and by some measure, Hard Boiled remains the benchmark for relentless, thrilling, visceral action. Still the most action packed 2 hours of celluloid in cinematic history... a fistful of amazing set pieces that put other directors' whole careers to shame. From the white-knuckle teahouse opener to the relentless hospital closer, the film has more showstoppers than an MGM musical."—Edgar Wright THE HAUNTED PALACE From the mind of Roger Corman. Vincent Price and Lon Chaney Jr. star in Haunted Palace (1963, 85 mins.), based on H.P. Lovecraft's The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward. When a man arrives in a New England town to claim his family castle, he discovers that the town is populated by mutants. He soon falls under the evil spell of the castle's ancestor. HIGHWAY PATROLMAN (1991, United States/Mexico/Japan) Directed by Alex Cox Produced in Mexico and featuring a stellar Mexican cast, Cox's drama follows the training of an idealistic rookie highway cop and the slow disintegration of his moral stand under the influence of his corrupt superiors. Rendered mostly in long, hand-held takes, the film was critically lauded garnering a best actor award for Roberto Sosa at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Screenplay: Lorenzo O'Brien. Cinematographer: Maiguel Garzón. Cast: Roberto Sosa, Bruno Bichir, Vanessa Bauche, Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez, Pedro Armendáriz, Jr.. 35mm, 100 min. IN PERSON: Alex Cox HOUR OF THE WOLF The torments of creativity underlie Ingmar Bergman’s otherworldly HOUR OF THE WOLF. A painter and his wife — pitch-perfect Bergman regulars Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann — retreat to a desolate windswept isle. Struggling with his work and avoiding sleep because of the ghoulish images that it summons, Von Sydow starts to lose grasp of reality. Or does he? Titled after the time just before dawn “when most babies are born and most people die,” Bergman’s film is a stark dreamscape with porous borders. When Von Sydow and Ullmann are invited to a castle on the other end of the craggy isle, they enter a nightmarish spiral. Dating from the heart of Swedish master’s darkest period, HOUR OF THE WOLF is a masterpiece of surreal, spellbinding horror. —Bernardo Rondeau The Illusionist (sneak preview!) The latest feature film from Sylvain Chomet, director of the fantastic The Triplettes of Bellville, is a sumptuous tour-de-force of classic 2-D hand-drawn animation! Based on an unproduced original script by Jaqcues Tati, Sylvain tells the story, sans dialogue, of an aging magician (drawn in Tati’s image) and a teenage girl, their father/daughter relationship and how the power of illusions can bond kindred souls. The film pushes the boundaries of modern independent feature animation, going for real emotions and sharp storytelling that Hollywood studios no longer consider relevant to mainstream audience. Fans of both Chomet and Tati -- or simply those who enjoy classic character animation -- cannot afford to miss this. Animation historian Jerry Beck will introduce the film, and will present a bonus screening of “magical” animated shorts that will enhance the themes expressed in Chomet’s newest masterpiece. Dir. Sylvain Chomet, 2010, 35mm, 90 min. The Invention of Dr. Nakamats (Dr. Nakamats in person!) Described by Flaunt Magazine as “Albert Einstein meets Ron Popeil,” (Ig)Nobel prizewinner Dr. NakaMats has been at the cutting edge of enchanting Japanese techno-weirdness since he began his inventing career at the age of 5. Now 81, he holds over 3,000 patents (that’s a couple of thousand more than Thomas Edison!) How does he get his ideas? By holding his breath in the pool until he reaches the brink of death and recording his flashes of inspiration with a waterproof notepad, of course. But there’s something deeper to it than that -- Dr. NakaMats wants you to be just as creative, brainy and tireless as he is, and he’s as dedicated to spreading the message that “Invention is LOVE” as he is to his own general awesomeness. Danish director/visual artist Kaspar Astrup Schröder’s hilarious The Invention of Dr. Nakamats, a whirlwind tour through the mind of the man himself, features a score by Mutato Music’s Mark Mothersbaugh (of Devo) and Silas Hite, sparkling HD photography, and more utterly dry and touchingly humanist moments than you can shake a floppy disc, soy sauce pump or karaoke machine (yeah, that was him) at! Drinks and inventions on the patio, a one-night-only art show curated by Mastodon Mesa, and a special award presented in-person to Dr. NakaMats (we heard he really likes awards) round out this all-around nutritious and tasty meal for your brain! IT HAPPENED HERE, 1965, Milestone Films, 93 min. In this thought-provoking piece of speculative filmmaking, directors Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo imagine what England would have been like in 1944 if Germany had successfully invaded and occupied the country at the beginning of WWII. Brownlow's obsessive attention to detail (he worked on the film for years before bringing military scholar Mollo on) and bold use of real-life fascists and Nazi sympathizers make this a riveting work - and one that was not properly seen in its unedited form for decades. Introduction by director and archivist Kevin Brownlow, who is receiving an Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s Governors Award. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT Winner of five Academy Awards, this famous screwball comedy stars Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert as two mismatched lovers. Colbert escapes from her millionaire father, who wants to stop her from marrying a worthless playboy. Frank Capra---USA---1934---105 mins. I WILL FOLLOW, 2010, Forward Movement, 88 min. Dir. Ava DuVernay. For over a year, Maye (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) has been living in Topanga Canyon, caring for her aunt Amanda, a musician dying of breast cancer. The film takes place over the course of one day, soon after Amanda’s passing, as Maye prepares to move out and a series of visitors arrives. When Amanda’s estranged daughter Fran (Michole White) lays claim to her mother’s mink coat, it leads to a vicious battle over who loved Amanda most. Discussion following the film with director Ava DuVernay and cast members. Jim Henson & Friends: Inside The Sesame Street Vault A visionary TV producer and a world-class puppeteer, Jim Henson led a dedicated, inspired team to create indelible, hilarious, vulnerable and crazy characters like Kermit The Frog, Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, Oscar The Grouch, Elmo, and Count von Count -- and in the process, evolved the the craft of puppeteering, continually elevating it to new heights. This compilation highlights the contributions of Jim Henson and his early Sesame Street collaborators (brilliant folks like Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Fran Brill and Caroll Spinney) through old favorites and rarely seen clips from specials and TV guest appearances! Johnny Mad Dog (L.A. premiere, brand-new 35mm print & director in person!) Films that simultaneously thrill, enlighten and deeply unsettle you all in the same dense, energetic presentation can be quite rare -- and Johnny Mad Dog not only takes you to those disparate places, but indelibly blurs fact and fiction in a truly unique way. Director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire gives us a harrowing war film á la Saving Private Ryan, but instead of adult forces, it’s children on the battleground. Set amongst the hellish second Liberian Civil War and doused in complete chaos from frame One, pre-teens are enslaved, brainwashed and turned into killing machines by a rebel force bent on toppling a faceless, evil State. As this surreal batallion (played by non-actors who were real participants in the Civil War’s deadly child army) marches toward the capital of Monrovia, the film splits focus between an explosive young lieutenant (Christophe Minie, in a charismatic debut), and a city girl ravaged by the war’s toll. Framed by a startling halo of surreal visual touches, Johnny Mad Dog joins such big names as Full Metal Jacket and The Thin Red Line as a war film whose devastating images transport you to an alien world that minimally resembles our prejudiced notions of what armed conflict truly feels like. Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire will be here at the Cinefamily for a Q&A after the film! Dir. Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, 2008, 35mm, 98 min. THE JOYLESS STREET (Die freudlose gasse) (1925, Germany) Directed by G.W. Pabst Brutally censored in almost every country where it was shown, G. W. Pabst's early masterpiece of Germany's "New Realism," featured a very young Greta Garbo as the daughter of an impoverished imperial bureaucrat in hyperinflationary post-World War I Vienna. Utilizing six different nitrate fragments, the Munich Filmmuseum reconstructed the first authentic version since the film's original release in 1925. Screenplay: Willy Haas. Cinematographer: Guido Seeber, Curt Oertel, Walter Robert Lach. Editor: Mark Sorkin, G.W. Pabst. Cast: Jaro Fürth, Greta Garbo, Loni Nest, Asta Nielsen, Max Kohlhase. 35mm, silent, B/W, 142 min. IN PERSON: Jan-Christopher Horak, director, UCLA Film & Television Archive. Live musical accompaniment provided by Michael Mortilla. JULIA'S EYES From Spain comes this stylish new thriller produced by Guillermo Del Toro. Belén Rueda plays twin sisters who both have a degenerative eye disease which causes blindness. While Julia’s condition is not yet completely advanced, her sister is not so lucky and is driven to suicide…or so everyone believes. After the tragedy, Julia begins to suspect that her sister’s suicide was something far more sinister. In the vein as such classic thrillers as PEEPING TOM and REAR WINDOW, JULIA’S EYES plays on the powerful gaze of the cinematic eye to create a macabre world of flickering shadows and the fear that someone is watching us in the dark. Creeping with tension, the film smartly plays with genre conventions — at times winking at the clichés it traffics in, but always with a reverence that will elicit warm chills in the heart of horror aficionados. —Lane Kneedler The Killer 1989/color/110 min. | Scr/dir: John Woo; w/ Chow Yun-fat, Danny Lee, Sally Yeh. When he accidentally blinds nightclub singer Sally Yeh on a Triad assignment, hit man Chow Yun-fat takes one last job to make amends and pay for her cornea surgery. Double-crossed and tailed by unshakable cop Danny Lee, Yun-fat sets off on a virtuoso revenge mission. Channeling Alain Delon's elegant mercenary in Melville's Le Samourai, Yun-fat's tormented assassin is always dapper, even sporting black gloves and a flowing white scarf as he pumps lead. A frenzied thriller of outsized emotions and slow-motion massacres, Woo's film famously climaxes in an epic, guns-blazing showdown in a chapel. After apprenticing in low-budget kung-fu films and giving stuntman Jackie Chan his big break as an actor, Woo became a Hong Kong sensation through his comedy work. But it was his first feature with Yun-fat—1986's blockbuster shoot 'em up A Better Tomorrow, produced by Tsui Hark—which made mega-stars of both the director and his leading man. Boosted by Scorsese and Tarantino, The Killer introduced Western audiences to Hong Kong's recharged action cinema and launched the Cantonese "heroic bloodshed" cycle. "One of the most passionate and exhilarating gangster movies ever made."—David Chute. LA BRUNE ET MOI Two vastly underseen films celebrating the early punk rock diaspora! Considered a "lost" film until its very recent re-discovery, La Brune Et Moi is a whizz-bang tour through the Parisian punk underground, co-starring Pierre Clementi (The Conformist) and a long list of energetic Gallic bands like Metal Urbain, the Go-Go Pigalles and Astroflash. In 1980, director Philippe Puicouyoul "borrowed" the production gear in order to clandestinely knock out this paean to one of the high points in the history of French rock 'n roll. With a threadbare plot, the film is really an effervescent excuse to showcase the best 'n brightest of the scene at the time, which it does with flair. Dir. Philippe Puicouyoul, 1980, digital presentation, 50 min. LE AMICHE Although dismissed by some as too formal and less interesting than the director's later works, this early feature by Michelangelo Antonioni was called "one of his greatest films" by David Thompson in Time Out. Antonioni explores the evolving role of women in society in the story of the young employees of a glamorous Italian fashion house. "Antonioni's intensity and grip, and his vivid portrayal of feminine anxiety in particular, make for a film that has barely dated at all" (Thompson). Michelangelo Antonioni---Italy---1955---99 mins. The Legend of Billie Jean What’s cooler than a strikingly hot Helen Slater as a teenage Texan Joan of Arc in a a ripped-sleeve wetsuit, emotive declarations punctuated by Human League drum machines, and a fight over Honda scooter catalyzing a social movement? That’s right -- NOTHING! Which is why Cinefamily is thrilled to present an ultra-rare screening of the unjustly obscure, feminist-flavored juggernaut The Legend Of Billie Jean. Billie Jean just wants what’s fair: for the bullies that trashed her brother’s scooter to pay for the repairs. But her attempt to collect avalanches into a series of worse injustices that send her, and her gang of teen runaways (including Yeardley “Lisa Simpson” Smith), on the lam. Her quest of justice incites a full-on teenage revolution and poises Billie Jean as a modern day messiah for wayward girls everywhere. Jammed with wall-to-wall synth-pop from the likes of Billy Idol and Pat Benatar, Billie Jean is the empowering, hilarious, and all-together awesome ‘80s epic that Makes A Difference. So get those fists in the air! ‘Cause fair is fair! Helen Slater will be here in person for a Q&A after the film -- and stick around for a special secret second film after intermission! Plus, we're giving out free "Billie Jean" haircuts at the door -- and anyone who participates in getting their hair cut will gain early entry and free admission (including a full refund for all online pre-sale tickets) to the show! Dir. Matthew Robbins, 1985, 35mm, 96 min. THE MATADOR, 2005, The Weinstein Co, 96 min. Dir. Richard Shepard. Mild-mannered businessman Greg Kinnear meets professional assassin Pierce Brosnan while on vacation and the two strike up a very unorthodox - and potentially life threatening - friendship. Brosnan was nominated for a Golden Globe for his pitch-perfect performance in this smart, hilarious, and understated black comedy. Discussion between films with actor Pierce Brosnan. METROPOLIS (newly-restored expanded version!) We're proud to welcome Metropolis, one of the greatest films in the history of the medium, back onto the Cinefamily screen, this time in its newly-restored 2 1/2 hour version! According to its original press release, Fritz Lang's pioneering science-fiction epic had it all: "8 stars, 25,000 men, 11,000 women, 1,100 bald people, 250 children, 25 Negroes [sic], 3,500 pairs of special shoes, 50 cars." And that doesn't begin to describe the wonders of Lang's Expressionist Tomorrowland! Powered by the unconscious energies boiling up from the Zeitgeist as his country lurched toward fascism, Lang's titanic imagination produced indelible images that have lost none of their power to astonish -- and, under his direction, the ravishing Brigitte Helm gives the iconic dual performances of a lifetime as gentle teacher Maria and the devastating Machine Man made in her image. This new, 145-minute version of the film, which owes its existence to the chance discovery of a 16mm dupe negative found in an Argentinean archive, is the result of two years' worth of painstaking collaborative restoration on the part of several German film organizations; come and see this sci-fi trailblazer in a brand-new way, as it was originally intended, for the first time! Dir. Fritz Lang, 1927, HDCAM, 145 min. MIAMI BLUES Hosted by Will Oldham Two years before Quentin Tarantino burst on the scene with Reservoir Dogs, this colorful action-comedy tweaked crime movie conventions in some similar ways to far less acclaim. Alec Baldwin, Fred Ward and Jennifer Jason Leigh have never been better than in this witty and violent adaptation of a Charles Willeford novel about a sociopath who steals a detective's gun and badge and begins a crime spree posing as a cop. "People like myself who often despair of finding a cop-and-crime movie that isn't encrusted in cliches should take to this wonderful sleeper" (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader). Jonathan Demme was one of the film's producers. George Armitage---USA---1990---96 mins. The Miami Connection The 35mm hit of this past summer’s Everything Is Terrible! festival is back with an eerily mutated roasting vengeance! This martial arts doozy’s got everything under the HFS sink: mind-blowing life advice delivered in nearly unintelligible pursed-lipped brogue, a kickass New Wave band made up of kung fu fighters, blood-spurting neck wounds, highly emotional revealings of major characters’ true racial makeup, pizza parties, maximum improvised taunting and more! From the Alamo Drafthouse’s website: "Earlier this year at Weird Wednesday, we presented an astonishing film, L.A. Streetfighters (aka Ninja Turf), a film that contains no ninjas at all but nevertheless thrilled the crowd with its depiction of immigrant street gangs and 35-year old high school students. The crowd was confused, many were angry, a few had blood streaming from their eyes -- but we all knew we'd witnessed something. Now we present the director's follow-up, The Miami Connection. It also takes place among superannuated high schoolers and there's a lot of talk (and even a song) about ninjas, but it remains to be seen whether any ninjas were actually persuaded to appear in this film. Part of us hopes not. After all, it's not ninjas themselves that excite us, it's the anticipation that ninjas might appear." (Lars Nilsen) Dirs. YK Kim & Woo-sang Park, 1986, 35mm. Michael Scroggins: What Are You Looking At? Michael Scroggins in person! On November 12-14, Filmforum and USC Visions & Voices will present the symposium Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles 1945-1980 at USC. In the weeks leading up to it, Filmforum will host evenings with long-time Los Angeles-based filmmakers in evenings of old and new works. Michael Scroggins has been a pioneer in animation performance and video art since the early 1970s, a member of the legendary light show group Single Wing Turquoise Bird, and a teacher at Cal Arts since the late 1970s. We’re delighted to host him with a survey of his work from the 1970s to a brand new world premiere! “Michael Scroggins is one of the most important artists currently working in the tradition of abstract or 'absolute' video, an art form related more to painting and music than to drama or photography.... He employs a wide range of state-of-the-art computer/video tools to produce the visual equivalent of musical composition. Words like elegant, graceful, exhilarating or spectacular do not begin to articulate the evocative power of these sublime works, characterized by lyric fluidity, mathematical precision, and a complex layering of many visual 'voices.' Scroggins' award-winning work seems particularly suited as the visual counterpart to contemporary composers like Jon Hassell, Brian Eno, Steve Reich or Philip Glass.” - Gene Youngblood MICKEY ONE, 1965, Sony Repertory, 93 min. Nightclub comic Warren Beatty on the run from the Mob, flees to Detroit hoping to start a new life - but gangsters are less of a problem than his own personal demons. Dazzlingly shot by Ghislain Cloquet and featuring Stan Getz on the soundtrack, this is a bold and unique achievement for Beatty and director Arthur Penn, who two years later would reteam for a little item called BONNIE AND CLYDE. MIRACLE MILE Casey’s pick, Miracle Mile, has haunted more than one Cinefamily staff member with its intense and altogether familiar telling of its end-of-the-world scenario -- especially since it takes place right down the street, at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax! Casey says: “Miracle Mile is my absolute favorite 'guy running around the city all night trying to figure it all out' movie. Drenched in neon paranoia with an ever-present pulsating score by Tangerine Dream, Miracle Mile both terrified me and enthralled me as a kid living under the very real threat of Nuclear War. What you think is a quirky love story immediately turns into a mad journey of survival against some of the most surreal Los Angeles imagery, all sparked by perhaps the most chilling phone call in cinema history. Anthony Edwards is perfect as the protagonist, left wondering what is real and what is not, all the while chasing and warning every one he can of the possible impending doom. Bleak and unsettling, Miracle Mile will leave you stunned and breathless by the end." Dir. Steve de Jarnatt, 1988, 35mm, 87 min. The Mission 1999/color/81 min./Scope | Scr: Yau Nai-Hoi; dir: Johnnie To w/ Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Jackie Lui, Roy Cheung, Lam Suet; Simon Yam. One of Hong Kong's most prolific filmmakers, Johnnie To is a master craftsman of mobster entertainments, rife with bravura set pieces and undercurrents of betrayal (a theme shared with Woo). An eccentric assortment of mercenaries—among them a pimp and a hairdresser—is hired as the security detail for a targeted Triad godfather. But when it turns out one of them has been having an affair with the boss's daughter, the team's loyalty is put to the test. Considered To's masterpiece by many, The Mission was filmed without a screenplay over three weeks and features some of the director's most iconic sequences, among them a meditative standoff in a empty shopping center that exemplifies his sculptural precision. "The best crime film to come from Hong Kong in years. It's austere and still, beautifully composed and tense, and the characters are professional and efficient, positioning themselves for efficiency and communicating and interacting silently while on the job."—Sean Axmaker. MR. BUG GOES TO TOWN (1941) Directed by Dave Fleischer Paramount used the supposed "failure" of this delightfully quaint animated feature to wrest control from the Fleischer Brothers their Miami animation studio. A cautionary tale of unbridled modernity and growth, Bug's biosphere privileges nature in balance. The film enjoyed annual releases well into the 1950s, when it was renamed Hoppity Goes To Town, justifying a careful restoration by Paramount. Producer: Max Fleischer. Screenplay: Dan Gordon, Carl Meyer, Ted Pierce, Graham Place, Isidore Sparber, Bob Wickersham, William Turner, Cal Howard. Cast: Kenny Gardner, Gwen Williams, Jack Mercer, Ted Pierce, Carl Meyer. 35mm, 81 min. IN PERSON: Andrea Kalas, Paramount Pictures. Muppet History 101 This unique slate of Muppet rarities examines the origins of Henson's pioneering puppeteering, and includes early live TV appearances, unusual commercials, guest spots by Rowlf The Dog on The Jimmy Dean Show, Muppet surprises on The Dick Cavett Show, and much more. Plus, this program contains the rarely-seen 1975 “Muppet Show” pilot, under the provocative title “The Muppets: Sex and Violence”, which featured a tribute to the Seven Deadly Sins, and gave TV audiences their very first introduction to The Swedish Chef, Sam The Eagle, Statler and Waldorf, and the always-awesome Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem! Muppet History 201 Sometimes Muppets can appear in the strangest places! In between "Sesame Street", "The Muppet Show", the Muppet feature films and other productions, Jim Henson brought the Muppets to countless television variety and talk shows for several decades. Many of these appearances were live and have been lost forever, but The Jim Henson Legacy has been working to find the shows that still exist -- and this screening is a presentation of recently unearthed clips of Muppet television appearances and other special surprises ranging from the 1950s to the 1980s! MY MAN GODFREY One of the most enduring and popular American film comedies of all time, a masterpiece of sophisticated wit and screwball antics. Carole Lombard is the madcap heiress who finds a gentleman-bum (William Powell) on a garbage heap and brings him home to become the butler. The result is a wonderful, eccentric satire of the idle rich as Godfrey tries to bring sanity into their lives. Selected for the National Film Registry in 1999. Gregory La Cava---USA---1936---93 mins. NANOOK OF THE NORTH Multi-instrumentalist and electronic music whiz Brian LeBarton, who for years has been the close collaborative partner of one Beck Hansen, comes to the Cinefamily to bring his unique aural vision to classic films from the silent era! The kickoff film for LeBarton’s ongoing series of live scores is Robert Flaherty’s controversial Nanook of the North, which is widely considered to be the world’s first feature-length documentary! Flaherty brought years of experience living amongst the Inuit Eskimos to his portrait of a hunter eking out a calm, placid life amongst some of the harshest landscapes Man has ever encountered. Amongst images of Nanook and his tribe’s daily activities (relevatory stuff to ‘20s audiences from more “tropical” climates), Flaherty also gives us charming, slightly kooky asides, such as the superbly silly moment when Nanook ponders the alien object of a phonograph record. It’s true that much of Nanook’s action was staged for the camera, but its groundbreaking legacy lives on in almost every single doc -- despite all protestations of varying “truthfulness” as they blur the lines between vérité and narrative -- to follow. Dir. Robert Flaherty, 1922, digital presentation, 79 min. NORWEGIAN NINJA In 1984, Norway was stunned by the arrest of charismatic Norwegian diplomat Arne Treholt, who was convicted of espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union and sent to prison for twenty years. But Treholt wasn’t a spy. He was a Ninja. NORWEGIAN NINJA colorfully re-imagines Treholt as the head of a secret force of high-tech shadow warriors entrusted by King Olav to protect Norway. The Ninja Force discovers that a sinister NATO squadron created to battle the Soviet Union is actually planning to overthrow the King. Treholt and his Ninjas must defeat the conspirators at all costs in order to keep Norway free. NORWEGIAN NINJA is a playful love letter to classic spy films, full of international intrigue and vintage special effects. The Wall Street Journal’s J.S. Marcus dubbed the film “hilarious and menacing, absurd and insightful -- an accomplished work of genre filmmaking that authoritatively upends the cold-war spy thriller.” OH MY SOUL We’re proud to present the west coast premiere of OH MY SOUL, a film about isolation, despair, and the miracle of empathy. Everyday and spiritual realities are explored through a dream-like progression of events including grocery shopping, oversleeping, working, hallucinating, nervous breakdown, death, rebirth and a lunar eclipse. Performed by a cast of non-professional actors in Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English and Tamashek, Nicholas Monsour’s first feature-length film combines the real, symbolic and imaginary effects of isolation, death and human interaction with a poetic minimalism and loving attention to the details and gestures of everyday life. This film — how it was made and the end result — is very different from average “independent” American movies. It is a personal film, made for almost nothing by a volunteer crew of artists in real locations, suffused with the experiences of many. An official selection at the 2009 Rotterdam International Film Festival, presented with selected short films made by Nicholas Monsour. FILMMAKER NICHOLAS MONSOUR IN ATTENDANCE! Once Upon a Time in China 1991/color/134 min./Panavision | Scr: Tsui Hark, Leung Yiu-ming, Tang Pik-yin, Yun Kai-chi; dir: Tsui Hark; w/ Jet Li, Yuen Biao, Jacky Cheung, Rosamund Kwan. Tsui Hark made Jet Li a superstar in this larger-than-life period adventure. He plays real-life folk hero Wong Fei-hung, an acupuncturist and martial arts master who commands a local militia against colonizers of every stripe—English, French, and American; slave traders, opium runners and Jesuit missionaries. The first and best installment of a subsequent six-film cycle; Once Upon a Time in China boasts extravagant brawls, luxuriant pageantry, show-stopping acrobatics, slapstick antics and a boundless supply of matchless action sequences all done without digital effects. "In one scene [Li] turns an umbrella into a miraculous combination of sword, shield, parachute and human-meat hook… In the film's most spectacular duel, he and an adversary face each other across a scaffold of entangled ladders, which they treat as a kind of seesaw, flinging each other high into the air. These aerial ballets are presented as nostalgic set pieces in a witty, extravagantly picturesque homage to Sergio Leone."—Stephen Holden, The New York Times. ORPHANS OF THE STORM (1921) Directed by D.W. Griffith Like Madame Dubarry (1920), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), and numerous other films, Orphans chronicles the French Revolution as seen through the eyes of two innocent girls raised as sisters, played by the Gish sisters, Dorothy and Lillian. Mr. Griffith takes the royalist view of history, drawing anti-Bolshevik parallels to 1920s America. Restored by Griffith's Archive of choice, MOMA. United Artists. Based on the play by Adolphe Philippe Dennery and Eugene Cormon. Producer: D.W. Griffith. Screenplay: Marquis de Trolignac. Cinematographer: Hendrik Sartov, Paul Allen. Editor: James Smith. Cast: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut, Frank Losee, Katherine Emmett. 35mm, silent, B/W, 150 min. IN PERSON: Katie Trainor, Museum of Modern Art. Live musical accompaniment provided by Cliff Retallick. OUTRAGE In a world where there are no heroes, it’s bad guy vs. bad guy in a spiraling outrage of gang warfare. Japanese writer, director and action movie heartthrob “Beat” Takeshi Kitano is back to deliver one of his most violent films to date. Kitano plays mid-level yakuza boss Otomo whose family belongs to the Sanno-kai crime organization. Fellow boss Ikemoto asks Otomo to do his dirty work by making a move against the family outcast in order to appease über-boss “Mr. Chairman.” With his first yakuza film in nearly 10 years, Kitano delivers the wildly imaginative cruelty that is his specialty, as he tracks this intricate web of allegiances and rivalries where no one’s motives are clear. Unprecedented for Kitano are the intense verbal battles that push the level of viciousness to exponential heights. With over-the-top methods of pain infliction and constant double crosses, OUTRAGE is one film Kitano fans will not want to miss. —Jenn Murphy PIONEERING SILENT ANIMATION Koko the Clown, Oswald the Rabbit, Mutt and Jeff and Felix The Cat all collide in this show of rare early toons! For every landmark character that’s stood the test of time and that we all cherish -- there’s an equal number of warm, charming, yet sadly forgotten cartoon clowns that deserve a new place in your heart. Tonight’s show (featuring works by legendary animation directors Friz Freleng, Dave Fleischer, Otto Messmer and a certain obscure fellow named Walt Disney) brings to you a silly, side-splitting slate of some of the earliest hand-drawn filmic funny folks, all presented in 35mm prints restored by the George Eastman House! Plus, animator/author Tom Sito, whose extensive credits include Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin, will give opening remarks about pioneering animation (and the animators behind it!) PULSAR In this GASLIGHT for the digital age, writer/director Alex Stockman examines the dominion communication technologies hold over our lives. PULSAR narrates the long distance love story between Samuel in Brussels and Mireille in New York. The couple stays constantly connected through phone, text, email, Skype and IM. But Samuel’s new best friend the computer becomes his enemy when he discovers something is very wrong with his Wi-Fi. First another user logs into his account, next Samuel is locked out of his own system. He calls an IT guy, changes his password, cancels his credit cards but to no avail. The evil seems to be hidden in the digital sphere — invisible, unidentifiable. A brilliantly claustrophobic camera tracks Samuel’s mounting paranoia as he ignores his friends and neighbors and isolates himself in his dark apartment. A thriller anyone with an Internet connection can relate to, PULSAR artfully explores human vulnerability to the frustrations of modern technology. —Dilcia Barrera PUTTY HILL Cory dies of a heroin overdose in an abandoned house in Baltimore. On the eve of his funeral, family and friends gather to commemorate his life. Their shared memories paint a portrait of a community hanging in the balance, skewed by poverty, city living, and a generational divide, united in their pursuit of a new American Dream. "If there's an independent cinema, this movie is it, and if there's a new director, here he is." - Richard Brody, THE NEW YORKER “Porterfield’s sophomore effort is remarkable, not least for the results it achieves from extremely modest means.... there are moments here of startling compositional grace, flashes of awkward honesty and discomforting intimacy.” – Shane Danielsen, indieWIRE PUZZLE (ROMPECABEZAS,), 2010, IFC Films, 87 min. Dir. Natalia Smirnoff. After receiving a jigsaw puzzle as a birthday present, middle-aged housewife María del Carmen (María Onetto) realizes that she has a knack for solving them and soon develops a passion that helps her assert her independence and slowly change the dynamics of her family. This directorial debut had a successful world premiere in competition at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival. QUEIMADA (aka BURN!), 1969, MGM Repertory, 132 min. Dir. Gillo Pontecorvo. This controversial real life saga of 19th-century British colonials instigating a slave revolt to serve their own imperialist agenda is a trenchant allegory of U.S. interference in the Caribbean, and features one of Marlon Brando's most mesmerizing performances as the bigger-than-life Sir William Walker. Introduction by Larry Karaszewski and Maurizio Grimaldi, son of QUEIMADA producer Alberto Grimaldi. RABBIT HOLE, 2010, Lionsgate, 92 min. Dir. John Cameron Mitchell. Adapted from David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, RABBIT HOLE is a vivid, honest and unexpectedly witty portrait of a family searching for what remains possible in the most impossible of situations. Just eight months ago, Becca and Howie Corbett (Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) were a happy suburban family. Now they are caught in a maze of memory, longing, guilt and sarcasm from which they cannot seem to escape. Discussion following the film with director John Cameron Mitchell and cast members. Red Cliff 2009/color/144 min./Scope | Scr: John Woo, Chan Khan, Kuo Cheng, Sheng Heyu, dir: John Woo; w/ Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Chang Chen, Zhao Wei Woo's glorious Hong Kong homecoming reunites him with Hard Boiled star Tony Leung for the director's grandest production. This staggering epic is based on a legendary third-century battle in which the tyrannical, power-hungry Han Dynasty clashes with fearless warlords. Alluding to Woo's gritty policiers—at one point a swordsman skirmishes with a baby strapped to his back—Red Cliff also returns him to the wuxia entertainments of his 1970s apprenticeship; albeit on a colossal scale brimming with intricately staged combat and breathtaking vistas. Cut down to nearly half its original running time for a limited US release, the complete version of Red Cliff which LACMA will screen has broken box-office records throughout Asia. "The director's magnum opus…the sweeping narrative is now replete with elaborate animal metaphors and additional meteorological incidents, not to mention excised subplots, stratagems, and saccharine sentimental interludes. There's also a wonderfully convoluted ambush-cum-battle-sequence lasting half an hour and featuring baroque tactics to rival the flaming finale (this, too, is longer by half). Bottom line: Red Cliff is now 288 minutes, not one of them dull."—J. Hoberman. Red Hill Young police officer Shane Cooper relocates to the small country town of Red Hill with his pregnant wife Alice to start a family. But when news of a prison break sends the local law enforcement officers - led by the town’s ruling presence, Old Bill - into a panic, Shane’s first day on duty rapidly turns into a nightmare. Enter Jimmy Conway, a convicted murderer serving life behind bars, who has returned to the isolated outpost seeking revenge. Now caught in the middle of what will become a terrifying and bloody confrontation, Shane will be forced to take the law into his own hands if he is to survive. A taut thriller which unfolds over the course of a single day and night, and told with explosive action and chilling violence, Red Hill is a modern-day western played out against the extraordinary landscapes of high-country Australia. Director Patrick Hughes and star Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) in person for a q&a after the screening "This hugely entertaining cross-genre tale of a rural manhunt contrives to meld cop and cowboy elements into a rattling nail-biter." - Jonathan Romney, SCREEN DAILY "Shot with flair...and paced to perfection." - James Dennis, TWITCH REMOVAL Cole is a likeable regular guy. Except that ever since he witnessed a gruesome murder-suicide, things haven’t been quite right. His wife left him, he is tormented by hallucinations and his career has nosedived into a blue collar job with a carpet cleaning service. Just when it seems his life has reached bottom, Cole is called out on an all-night cleaning job in an Italianate mansion far from the city. For company he has Henry, the rich, condescending homeowner who seems to take sadistic pleasure in letting Cole think he has just murdered his wife. A reddish stain on the carpet, a knife hacking into baked rabbit, a cell phone that won’t stop ringing — does it add up to murder or is Cole losing his last handhold on his fragile sanity? Kinetic camerawork and a playfully ominous sound design ensure that this hair-raising black comedy will keep us guessing until the very last shot. —Theresa Schwartzman Roman Polanski Shorts (w/ brand-new live scores by SzaZa!) Co-presented by The Polish Cultural Institute In New York and Unsound Festival Before making beloved classics like Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby and Repulsion, Roman Polanski cut his teeth on a series of short films shot in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, produced mostly at the renowned Lodz Film School in Poland. From the playful filmmaking exercises Murder and Teeth Smile (1957), through the metaphorical Break Up the Dance (1957) and Mammals (1962) to his award-winning graduation film Two Men and A Wardrobe (1958), these films reveal Polanski’s surreal and dark style, his masterful storytelling ability, and the restless search for the truth about human nature -- however crooked and evil it would turn out to be. A key ingredient to the genius of these shorts is their unpredictable music scores, often written by Polish jazz pioneer Krzysztof Komeda. We’ll highlight this legendary alchemy by presenting this evening of Polanski’s early works in 35mm with live accompaniment by the Polish electroacoustic duo SzaZa -- whose use of clarinets, violin, analog loopstations, subtle effects and interaction with the audience both pays tribute to the work of the late Mr. Komeda, and takes these seminal films in intoxicating new directions! Roman Polanski: Shorts with Live Music by Sza/Za is presented by Cinefamily and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, in association with Unsound Festival. Additional support provided by Trust for Mutual Understanding and Janus Films. RUBBER Why? No reason. “No reason” will never make more sense than after you have survived a screening of RUBBER. Straddling art film and horror, RUBBER has the most outrageous premise of any film this year. (Or ever?) An audience gathers in the desert to watch a story unfold. It’s a story that has been told time and time again: a tire comes to life, rolls along, discovers it has the ability to make people’s heads explode with its mind, and so on. This is RUBBER, the latest film from director Quentin Dupieux (also known under the pseudonym Mr. Oizo). But it’s not just a film about a telekinetic tire on a killing spree, there is a frame around this story that adds another level of deconstructionist space to the film and another surrealistic layer to the experience. About as mind-blowing as a movie can be, RUBBER must be experienced to be believed. —Lane Kneedler SAMURAI REBELLION This samurai classic, set in 18th-century Japan, combines great acting and thrilling action with thoughtful writing and direction. Toshiro Mifune (Seven Samurai, The Samurai Trilogy) stars as Isaburo, a renowned swordsman who takes a heroic but deadly stand for individual freedom. Isaburo is the essence of samurai loyalty until his daughter-in-law is commandeered as mistress for his overlord. The injustice moves him toward a revolt he can never win. Kobayashi creates a bloody climax raging with power and emotion. Masaki Kobayashi---Japan---1967---121 mins. SCREAM Festival: Noisefold Co-presented with the Southern California Resource for Electro-Acoustic Music (SCREAM) “Whether seen simply as a work of art or encountered as an intellectual and spiritual event, the loss of self that occurs during a NoiseFold performance is balanced by a gain of understanding.” –The End of Being Melding real-time animation and generative electronic sound within the legacy of cybernetics, NoiseFold unleashes a suite of selected movements in its live cinema works nFold 1.0, ALCHIMIA, and Neu_Blooms. Using sensor-activated computer systems and complex audiovisual feedback models, co-founders Cory Metcalf and David Stout synthesize a mesmerizing array of bio-mimetic visual forms that generate sound, celebrating the evolution of visual music as a form of instrumental play with semiautonomous systems. From subtle lifelike emanations to roiling upheavals of sound and light, their audiovisual events are at once familiar, mysterious, and strange. The result is a powerful synaesthetic experience where noise, music and image interact on a symphonic scale. Sesame Street At 40: Milestones On The Street We have all grown up with "Sesame Street" -- and in turn, over the decades, "Sesame Street" has grown up with us. Like any extended family, the show has gone through its own circle of life, and the memories contained within are priceless. This “best-of” compilation features classic "Sesame Street" moments, the warmest and most touching events in the show’s history -- such as the series’ first episode, Maria’s visit to Puerto Rico, the birth of Gabi, Miles’ adoption, the death of Mr. Hooper, and when a hurricane hits Sesame Street. Seven Chances Seven Chances features the most magnificently ludicrous premise in all of Keaton-dom: Buster is a broke financial broker who is told he's inherited $7 million, under the condition that he gets married before his 27th birthday -- which happens to be that very same day! After some wildly unsuccessful court-us interruptus, he desperately prints a personals ad in the paper telling of the inheritance. What follows is one of the most stunning signature Keaton chase sequences, with hundreds of would-be brides barreling down the streets of Los Angeles, zeroing in on Buster's bod (a tip of the hat to the early Keaton short Cops). An added bonus is the famous "avalanche" gag, a precisely constructed sketch with Buster tumbling down a dangerous hillside while trying to outrun a torrent of cascading rocks! Dir. Buster Keaton, 1925, 35mm, 56 min. SHELLSHOCK ROCK Next is Shellshock Rock, the firey 1979 account of the Belfast, Ireland scene. “This lyrical [punk] snapshot offers a perspective we rarely see -- a geniality behind the camera and a rather adorable innocence in front of it. The members of The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers and Rudi are dealing with a different world than their more famous counterparts in England. These Protestant and Catholic rockers are looking more to avoid political trouble. Could this be punk rock as escapism? Shellshock Rock makes no effort to orientate the viewer; there are no subtitles to help non-Irish ears with that Belfast brogue, nor is anyone identified, yet we understand everything emotionally. It paints its subject from an emotional palette of look, feeling and atmosphere, and we become deeply involved across the span of geography and time.” (The Washington Post) Dir. John T. Davis, 1979, 16mm, 46 min. THE SLOG MOVIE Join punk lifers Dave Markey, Jennifer Schwartz and Jordan Schwartz as they treat us to two of their seminal Super-8 battle cries from the early ‘80s L.A. underground! Plus, we'll be screening other surprises from their We Got Power film gang, so shave your head, stab your parents and come on down! First up is the wildly underseen The Slog Movie, presented in its incredible full-length version. Beyond the chaotic live footage of bands like Fear, TSOL, Circle Jerks and Sin 24, there’s a rarely captured bashfulness in the local punk teens, shying away from the lens, sipping their sodas at Oki Dog until the cops arrive. Markey's documentary style is more personal than traditionally structured, careening between shows, conversations, hamming and accidental moments of awkward hilarity. The subjects treat Markey as an equal; it's clear that this film could only have been made by someone in, from and dedicated to the scene it covers. Dir. Dave Markey, 1982, DigiBeta, 59 min. SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS Delicately weaving together the lives of three lonely strangers, Matt McCormick makes a graceful, unassuming feature debut. The story explores the elusiveness of personal fulfillment as McCormick’s characters bump up against the discarded – from a kind-eyed shelter dog to the ownerless urn of a little girl’s ashes – and are forced to confront their own impermanence and need for human connection. Subtle, convincing performances by musicians James Mercer of The Shins and Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein, along with lyrical cinematography by Greg Schmitt are standout elements that reveal McCormick’s finely tuned directorial eye. As a silent main character, the city of Portland is the common thread — a reminder to both characters and audience that, as bleak as things may seem, in small, unexpected moments around unlikely corners, the possibility for hope and beauty remains. With SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS, McCormick establishes himself as an insightful storyteller and a bright new talent. —Maggie Mackay SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LANDSCAPES VIA EXPERIMENTAL FILM Filmed over the course of two years near the town of Moreno Valley, Vera Brunner-Sung's (in person) COMMON GROUND ('08, 27m) documents the demolition of military family homes and the erection of a business park in their stead. A clear-eyed look at destruction for the sake of progress, this examination of land use and social history offers the audience a journey into both the past and the future. “… a trip into Southern California, a land whose cyclical process of abandonment, decay, demolition and reconstruction is a sign of how the economy is making a mark on the land.” – Torino Film Festival. Moving from east to west and back, Alexandra Cuesta's (in person) PIENSA EN MI ('09, 15m) offers a portrait of urban landscape in motion from the intimate perspective of public transport in our city. Over the course of the day, images of riders, textures of light and fragments of bodies in space are woven together to create an unexpected, visually arresting poem. Winner of The Map of Time Award, 48th Ann Arbor Film Festival. Madison Brookshire's (in person) OPENING ('07, 25m) reveals the city in the landscape and the landscape in the city. Many of the images come from overlooked, “in-between” spaces, such as off-ramps and back alleys. Shown with its original live score. “…a quiet but grand record of the contemporary American landscape” – Andy Ditzler. “[OPENING] is attentive to small movements—cars in the distance, a herd of sheep. Austere but intensely focused compositions suggest that mindful observation can render ordinary sights meaningful.” – Fred Camper, Chicago Reader. Brookshire’s BONK PIFF BOP ('05, 25m) is both a documentary and a comedy. It stars two brothers—one is 2 years old and the other 7—and documents their phenomenological relationship to the video camera. It is sweet and funny, but also full of dark humor. It is a portrait of a family as well as a rare window into the mind of a particularly precocious and verbal 2 year old. Space, Land, and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm Space, Land, and Time is the first film to consider the work of the 1970s architecture collective Ant Farm, best known for Cadillac Ranch. Radical architects, video pioneers, and mordantly funny cultural commentators, the Ant Farmers created a body of deeply subversive multidisciplinary work predicted much of the technology we take for granted today. Incorporating archival video, new footage, and animation based on zany period sketches, this film is about the joy of creation in a time when there were no limits. (2010, 78 min. Dirs: Laura Harrison and Beth Federici) A discussion with Ant Farm’s Chip Lord will follow the screening. Spectacles of Light: Films and Videos by Peter Rose “[The Man Who Could Not See Far Enough is] a powerfully formal, analytic inquiry into the very nature of vision and cinema.” –The Village Voice Since 1968, Peter Rose has made more than 30 films, tapes, performances, and installations. Many early works raise intriguing questions about the nature of time, space, light, and perception, and draw upon his background in mathematics. His subsequent interest in language as subject, and video as a medium, has generated a substantial body of work that plays with the feel and form of sense, concrete texts, political satire, oddball performance, and a kind of intellectual comedy. Rose’s recent installations return to an examination of landscape, time, and vision, and works on this program propose an annotated, nocturnal portrait of a vanished culture. Rose’s work has been widely exhibited in venues such as The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, the Centre Pompidou, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the Rotterdam International Film Festival. In person: Peter Rose STRAIGHT TO HELL RETURNS (United Kingdom) Directed by Alex Cox Cox's freewheeling spoof of Spaghetti Westerns is updated in a new cut featuring enhanced effects. Four hapless bank robbers bury their loot in the desert, but their plan goes awry when they stumble upon a town of coffee-addicted killers. Numerous name actors in bit parts and music by The Pogues, Pray for Rain, Joe Strummer, Zander Schloss and The MacManus Gang round out this high-octane entertainment. Screenplay: Alex Cox, Dick Rude. Cinematographer: Tom Richard. Editor: David Martin. Cast: Su Richardson, Dick Rude, Courtney Love, Joe Strummer, Biff Yeager. 35mm, 1987/2010, 91 min. IN PERSON: Alex Cox Stranded In Canton Legendary photographer William Eggleston, working with filmmaker Robert Gordon, recently edited thirty hours of video footage he’d shot in 1974 of friends, family, and eclectic characters encountered in the bars and back roads of his hometown of Memphis, as well as New Orleans and the Delta region. The hypnotic result is Stranded in Canton, a film that consistently teeters on the edge of dream and nightmare states. Its nocturnal visions of bar denizens, musicians (including Furry Lewis), transvestites and a variety of semi-crazies comes off like a Cassavetes all-nighter filmed by David Lynch at his most unsettling: faces loom out of darkness, shot in infrared, displaying pale glowing skin and deep black eyes. There’s even a real-life geek-off (yes, the type with chickens)! And it’s mesmerizing, partly thanks to the outsized characters who fill the screen, and partly because Eggleston turns the “home movie” into art -- Father of Modern Color Photography he may be, but he kicks just as much ass in eerie B&W, wrenching glorious images out of the early Sony Porta-Pak to conjure a febrile, desperate atmosphere that captures the Southern Gothic with an extraordinarily raw and rambling intimacy. Special guests TBA! Dir. William Eggleston, 1974/2008, digital presentation, 77 min. SUBMARINO Thomas Vinterberg has made some of the most acclaimed Danish films of the past decade in his still young career. After two trips to our shores for English language films, Vinterberg returns to his early roots with an unrelenting character driven drama. As the film opens, two young brothers share a childhood trauma, caring for their infant brother while their alcoholic mother is absent. We are then carried years forward to join their damaged lives as they separately fall to pieces. While one brother battles addiction to win the custody of his young son, the other flounders, adrift in alcohol and his mentally damaged friends. Fate conspires to have the brothers cross paths once again, but whether their reunion will be joyous or tragic is far from clear. In this latest film, Vinterberg further proves himself a master in depicting humanity’s subtle triumphs and crushing torments: it’s a supreme return to form. —Lane Kneedler SWORD OF DOOM The legendary Japanese actor and martial artist Toshiro Mifune stars as the instructor of a brash and revenge-bent young Samurai, played by Tatsuya Nakadai. Kihachi Okamoto---Japan---1967---120 mins. TALES OF TERROR Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone join Vincent Price in these four tales of terror adapted from Edgar Allan Poe stories. It's a classic Corman horror romp in which Price and Lorre really get the chance to camp it up. Lots of fun. Roger Corman---USA---1962---90 mins. Thief In Thief, Michael Mann established his trademark style, one that would replace the gritty ‘70s approach to action cinema á la The French Connection with the detached and icy architectural polish of the '80s; it has an unabashed love of expensive clothes and toys, and a shimmering, steely perfection that epitomized the uneasy fatalism of ‘80s neo-noir. It may seem that the Noir tradition of highlighting lowlifes has been flipped by dressing safecrcaking Frank in $800 suits, but underneath the swank exterior, Frank’s still a spiritually haunted denizen of the the city’s shadowy depths. Using Tangerine Dream’s faultless hypnotic score as a backdrop, Mann lovingly and obsessively details Frank’s professional process and the elaborate machines it requires with an almost impossible level of cool, making Thief a formidable and riveting debut by one of the iconic auteurs of the 80s. Dir. Michael Mann, 1981, 35mm, 122 min. 13 ASSASSINS A band of samurai is recruited for a virtuoso mission: snuff out the Shogun’s brother — a foppishly cold-blooded torturer with a hair-trigger temper and royal impunity — by intercepting his unsuspecting and heavily-armed entourage as they pass through a remote village en route to the capital. Led by backboned swordsman Koji Yakusho, summoned from his fisherman’s retirement to head up the inside job, this baker’s dozen of hired killers is gravely outnumbered. Their solution: strategize a spectacular ambush. From its startling opening to its tour de force, “total massacre” closing battle — a grungy cyclone of arrows, explosions, flaming bulls and rapid-fire beheadings — the latest epic from the prolific and fearless Takashi Miike is vastly entertaining. Ostensibly a remake of Eiichi Kudo's 1963 classic, Miike’s film is faithful to its genre while also being infused with the director’s own anarchic sensibility. Its roguish humor, flamboyant savagery and baroque mise-en-scene clearly bear Miike’s mark. —Bernardo Rondeau Thom Andersen: Out of the Car and into the Music of the Streets “Andersen’s film frees images from the yoke of instrumentality, revealing the city for what it is and allowing us to see what we otherwise cannot. It is at once theory and practice; not content to simply describe the new cinema, it embodies it… It teaches us how to see. ” –Bright Lights Film Journal These three sad, funny, beautiful works take you through Los Angeles, 2009, and Munich, 1967/1968. Thom Andersen’s new film Get Out of the Car (2010, 34 min., 16mm) responds to his award-winning documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself by recording the city’s most evanescent signs, memorializing some of its vanished monuments and musical history. Get Out of the Car is screened with two 1960s shorts that served as points of inspiration and departure: The Bridegroom, the Actress, and the Pimp, (1968, 23 min., 35 mm) by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, with music by Johann Sebastian Bach and dialogue by Saint John of the Cross in a radical condensation of Ferdinand Bruckner’s three-act play Sickness of Youth; and The Little Chaos (1967, 10 min., 16mm) by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a mordant commentary on the sickness of contemporary German youth, with music by Richard Wagner and the Troggs. In person: Thom Andersen Time and Tide 2000/color/113 min./Scope | Scr: Koan Hui, Tsui Hark; dir: Tsui Hark; w/ Nicholas Tse, Wu Bai, Candy Lo, Cathy Tsui, Anthony Wong. Born in French Indochina (now Vietnam) and educated in Texas, Tsui Hark burst onto cinema screens with a series of anarchic spectacles that blended genres with punk abandon and made him the progenitor of the Hong Kong New Wave. In subsequent years, Hark was inexhaustible, prolifically switching between directing and producing films of every type imaginable. Along the way he gave Woo, Yun-fat and Jet Li their big breaks. Returning to Hong Kong after a spell in Hollywood, Hark helmed this frenetic thriller whose convoluted plot involves a pair of hired guns, drug cartels, Brazilian mobsters and surprise pregnancies. With nod to both Wong's lyrical stillness and Woo's torrents of hot lead, Time and Tide is a sensational rollercoaster ride with superlative stunt work. "[Hark's] best movies are made with such verve and craft that the viewer's head practically explodes with the concentration they require, the pleasure they bring… Just the first two minutes of Time and Tide are breathlessly virtuosic, using slo-mo and rapid cuts and neck-swiveling pans to impart enough visual information for half a dozen Hollywood features… [it's] the movie-est movie of the year."—Richard Corliss, Time. Times Square The defining youth street epic of the colliding '70s/'80s, featuring music by Gary Numan, Roxy Music, The Ruts, Patti Smith, Ramones, Talking Heads and more! Two teenage New York City girls -- one a politician’s daughter, the other a street urchin -- run away from a mental ward together and forge a relationship on the sketchy streets of “the Deuce”. They soon link up with DJ Johnny LaGuardia (Tim Curry) and form an underground punk rock band, which becomes a hit with the city's disillusioned youth after their volatile songs are played on LaGuardia's show. But will the girls’ reckless youth be their own undoing? One of the first teen movies to feature predominantly punk and new wave music, Times Square was helmed by Allan Moyle, who later went onto craft other fun films with wall-to-wall great soundtracks like Pump Up The Volume and Empire Records. Skillfully, capturing the distinct essence of post-’70s New York, Times Square wonderfully immortalizes the famous district of decay that has since been transformed into the characterless mega-mall we now know today. Dir. Allan Moyle, 1980, 35mm, 111 min. TINY FURNITURE 22-year-old Aura returns home to her artist mother's TriBeCa loft with the following: a useless film theory degree, 357 hits on her Youtube page, a boyfriend who's left her to find himself at Burning Man, a dying hamster, and her tail between her legs. Luckily, her trainwreck childhood best friend never left home, the restaurant down the block is hiring, and ill-advised romantic possibilities lurk around every corner. Aura quickly throws away her liberal-arts clogs and careens into her old/new life: a dead-end hostess job, parties on chilly East Village fire escapes, stealing twenties out of her mother's Prada purse, pathetic Brooklyn "art shows," prison-style tattoos done out of sheer boredom, drinking all the wine in her mother's neatly organized cabinets, competing with her prodigious teenage sister, and desperate sex in a giant metal pipe. Surrounded on all sides by what she could become, Aura just wants someone to tell her who she is. WINNER Best Narrative Feature SXSW 2010 "At once hilarious and heart-wrenching." - Joe Leydon, VARIETY "[Shows] the reflection of an authentic sensibility that suggests the prospect of something comparable to what Woody Allen has achieved." - Richard Brody, THE NEW YORKER “Tiny Furniture isn’t just a major leap forward for Dunham. It’s like a rocket launch to a bigger and brighter planet.” - Michael Tully, HAMMER TO NAIL To Live And Die And L.A. In 1985, William Friedkin turned his sights away from the Manhattan mean streets of The French Connection, and onto the UV-bleached, smog-laden Southland. We've talked a lot about how the films in this series contrast the '70s with the '80s, and TLADILA certainly matches his '70s masterpiece on many fronts: both feature borderline reprehensible anti-hero cops obsessed with capturing a suave villain, both feature unstoppable, unforgettable and highly dangerous-looking car chase sequences, and both use the real-life exploits of law officers (one a NYC cop, the other a Secret Service agent) as launching points for their realistically chaotic narratives. But -- these similarities serve to highlight how much times had changed, for where The French Connection was gritty and handheld in a pseudo-doc style, with a pared down cool jazz score, TLADILA is all fluid moves, leather jackets and high-end design, with a sizzling synthetic score by Wang Chung that's as amped-up and overpowering as the killer action scenes they backdrop. TLADILA is truly, as Friedkin biographer Nat Siegeloff said, "a sun-bleached study in corruption and soul-destroying brutality," and is consistenly voted one of the best "L.A. films" ever shot. Dir. William Friedkin, 1985, 35mm, 116 min. True Stories 1986/color/90 min. | Scr: David Byrne, Beth Henley, Stephen Tobolowsky; dir: David Byrne; w/ David Byrne, John Goodman, Spalding Gray. Inspired by tabloid clippings, David Byrne's only feature film is a faux documentary set in the fictional Texas town of Virgil. Sporting a black Stetson and driving a cherry-red convertible, the Talking Heads front man, accompanied behind-the-scenes by Eggleston and cinematographer Ed Lachman, explores this suburban oasis of tract housing, computer factories and gaudy shopping malls on the edge of vast, empty plains. Reveling in the surreal Americana of lawnmower parades, cumbersome gadgetry, and Astroturf fashion, True Stories is a visionary work of absurdist comedy set to some of Byrne's catchiest music. "This movie does what some painters try to do: It recasts ordinary images into strange new shapes. There is hardly a moment in True Stories that doesn't seem everyday to anyone who has grown up in Middle America, and not a moment that doesn't seem haunted with secrets, evasions, loneliness, depravity or hidden joy—sometimes all at once. This is almost like a science-fiction movie: Everyone on screen looks so normal and behaves so oddly, they could be pod people."—Roger Ebert. TV Party Tonight: Punks On The Small Screen By the late ‘70s, punk rock’s ripple effects had invaded exploitation films and documentaries around the globe, and it didn’t take much longer for Hollywood studios to sink in their hooks. The final blow, however, came when sitcoms, cartoons, soaps and Afterschool Specials introduced their candy-colored variations of punks to an ill-prepared home viewing audience. Soon enough, Grandma was scratching her head while the heroes of “CHiPs” educated America on the art of slamdancing, and the cartoonishly inaccurate portrayals of these seemingly sci-fi savages burned themselves into the collective consciousness forever. Tonight, we hearken back to when the TV industry broadcasted New Wave straight to the grave, with clips from forgotten goldmines (The Dickies vs. Don Rickles on “CPO Sharkey”!); treasured classics (“Quincy”, anyone?), legendary instances of punks in news broadcasts (think Black Flag on "Entertainment Tonight"), and all 45 minutes of the seldom-seen Afterschool Special The Day My Kid Went Punk. TWO GATES OF SLEEP Somewhere on the Mississippi-Louisiana border, brothers Jack and Louis prepare for their mother’s imminent death. Their communication limited to glances, they hunt a gorgeous animal, cook a special meal and share last moments of quiet intimacy with the woman who bore them. Once she succumbs, they ignore society’s expectations and undertake an arduous journey to bury her along the riverbank. Writer/director Alistair Banks Griffin’s debut feature shuns American film conventions through exactingly spare narrative techniques that magnify the tension and melancholy in every frame. Ants swarm in the dirt, trees form a green cathedral and the brothers step deeper into the muddy river. Evoking the elemental themes of Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” TWO GATES OF SLEEP is a film of rare beauty that calls attention to seldom seen customs of the rural South. This visual meditation on nature, death and tradition paints a shattering portrait of a family overcoming extraordinary circumstances to honor a final request. —Dilcia Barrera UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES Opening in the rustle of a moonlit forest and closing in the hum of a neon-lit hotel room, the long-anticipated fifth feature from Thaiand's laureate of tropical animism unfurls in an intoxicating hush. Uncle Boonmee's body is quietly dying, though his spirits remain high. With his sister-in-law and nephew in tow, he retreats to the country estate where he grows tamarinds and harvests sweet-and-sour honey. One evening as they dine on his patio, an island of light in the buzzing jungle darkness, they're joined by two unexpected guests: the ghost of Boonmee's dead wife and the couple's long-lost son, since transformed into a woolly Yeti with gleaming eyes. From there, writer/director Apichatpong Weerasethakul sets off on an ethereal, free-floating fantasy through the endless forest and Boonmee's soul. The first ever Thai film awarded the Palme d'Or, UNCLE BOONMEE is a tour-de-force of pungent, low-light cinematography, bolstered by a deadpan composure, faintly murmured pathos and a limitless sense of wonder. —Bernardo Rondeau Urgh! A Music War This legendary concert film is the cinematic equivalent of a tried-and-true mixtape: a non-stop whirlwind of great bands spanning the new wave/punk gamut. In 1980, director Derek Burbidge filmed jam-packed bills in L.A., NYC, London and France, to capture in a Woodstock-ian presentation the bands on the cutting edge of rock and synthpop: Devo, Dead Kennedys, X, The Cramps, Oingo Boingo, Gang of Four, The Police, Wall of Voodoo, Klaus Nomi, Gary Numan, OMD, Pere Ubu, Magazine and more. Rarely were these bands -- some of whom existed a very short time -- afforded the full lavish film shoot treatment, which makes Urgh! the definitive close-up peek at some of the most furious underground groups of the era. It's also an intriguing snapshot of the era's fans, decked out in period gear and acting extra-wacky for the camera! Our 35mm screening of the 90-minute U.S. theatrical version of Urgh! is followed by a presentation of deleted footage found in the international version! Dir. Derek Burbidge, 1981, 35mm, 90 min. USED CARS Robert Zemeckis has made more popular and widely praised films, but this still may be his best--one of the underrated comedies of its time. A rivalry among car dealers sets the stage for a "classic screwball fantasy--a neglected modern comedy that's like a more restless and visually high-spirited version of the W.C. Fields pictures" (Pauline Kael, The New Yorker). Starring Kurt Russell and Jack Warden in a brilliant double role. Robert Zemeckis---USA---1980---111 mins. THE WEATHER STATION Ivanov and Drozdov have spent the last decade living in a shack-like weather station where their only job is to take weather measurements and report them a couple times a day. Their cook and houseboy is a 19-year-old troublemaking orphan who spends his days gliding through the house like a ghost. The weather station and its inhabitants are turned upside down when they hear news of its imminent decommissioning and then receive an unexpected guest. When an SOS is sent and everyone at the station disappears, detectives arrive to investigate. Set on snowbound mountain in remote Russia, THE WEATHER STATION is a lustrously photographed thriller that warps and shifts through time. Inspired by Hitchcock, writer/director Johnny O’Reilly intercuts two gripping parallel narratives and draws the audience into a whirlpool of deception, betrayal, and murder. —Dilcia Barrera White Material Master filmmaker Claire Denis returns with this evocative African-set film starring the electrifying Isabelle Huppert (THE PIANO TEACHER) as a woman fighting to save her family plantation, and way of life, in the face of rising civil unrest. Featured in the Venice, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles film festivals, WHITE MATERIAL is an extraordinarily visceral, potent and very personal rumination on a society turned upside down. In an unnamed African country in the throes of a volatile regime change, Maria Vial (Huppert) is trying to sustain the coffee plantation she runs with her ex-husband André (Christophe Lambert), but unknown to her, he has other plans. The country is tenuously under the control of a rebel militia whose leader (Isaach De Bankolé) is on the run. With the regular army preparing to regain control, French forces have moved out, warning the remaining white residents that they’re on their own if they stay behind. However, Maria refuses to be driven off the land, continuing to run the farm as the specter of impending tragedy looms. Official Selection New York Film Festival, Official Selection Venice Film Festival WINSTANLEY, 1975, Milestone Films, 95 min. Dir. Kevin Brownlow. Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo continue their effort to reshape the way movies look at history in this portrait of Gerrard Winstanley and his nonviolent attempts to start a commune in 1649 Surrey. Once again, Brownlow and Mollo strive for period authenticity on every level, and this, combined with the silent film techniques they employ, give WINSTANLEY a quality that is simultaneously realistic and otherworldly - it's like a science fiction film set in the past instead of the future. WIN/WIN Filmmaker Jaap van Heusden returns to AFI Fest, this time with his first feature film after his short A COMPLICATED STORY SIMPLY TOLD was an official selection at AFI Fest 2006. This hyperkinetic cautionary tale follows a young man whose talent with numbers at first wins him women and praise at work but might soon turn out to be his undoing. When Ivan is thrust into the fast paced world of insider trading, he quickly begins to thrive with his almost preternatural knack for numbers and an intuitive sense of how they connect. But gradually Ivan’s world turns into a swirling vortex — the camera sees patterns everywhere and strange characters emerge from the shadows of Ivan’s nighttime strolls around the city. As Ivan grows ever more reckless with his trading, not even his loose friendships can keep him tethered to reality and everything threatens to spin fatally out of control. —Lane Kneedler