a highly-opinionated selection of things happening around town, and sometimes out of town. this month's page here.
mon. dec. 1 the times of harvey milk FREE @ ucla film archive a century ago: the films of 1908 @ ampas linwood dunn martin arnold: something hidden 8:30 PM @ redcat the adventures of robin hood (1938), captain blood @ new beverly theatre tue. dec. 2 the dot and the line 8 PM @ silent movie theatre the muslims @ the echo dolemite, the human tornado @ new beverly theatre no age FREE @ troubadour wed. dec. 3 for heaven's sake 8 PM, the kid brother @ silent movie theatre jonathan richman @ el rey louise bourgeois the spider the mistress and the tangerine 7 PM @ hammer museum american graffiti, dazed and confused @ new beverly theatre five easy pieces @ aero theatre thu. dec. 4 the sea and cake @ troubadour american graffiti, dazed and confused @ new beverly theatre sunset boulevard 8 PM @ egyptian theatre tricks @ aero theatre the orphan @ silent movie theatre cracking up 10 PM @ silent movie theatre fri. dec. 5 creepshow MIDNIGHT @ nuart theatre chuck dukowski sextet @ the smell casablanca, citizen kane @ egyptian theatre warner brothers cartoon program FREE @ aero theatre jon brion @ largo doubt (preview screening) @ lacma fast walking, some call it loving @ silent movie theatre sat. dec. 6 sudden fear, rain @ ucla film archive ema & the ghosts @ pehrspace phase iv MIDNIGHT @ new beverly theatre the antarcticans @ the smell the seven samurai @ egyptian theatre wendy and lucy (sneak preview), old joy @ aero theatre holiday craftacular 11 AM - 6 PM @ the echo dangerous men 10 PM @ silent movie theatre sun. dec. 7 secondhand sureshots 8 PM @ silent movie theatre city lights, speedy @ new beverly theatre the godfather @ egyptian theatre the great dictator 5:30 PM @ aero theatre mon. dec. 8 city lights, speedy @ new beverly theatre tue. dec. 9 strangers on a train 1 PM @ lacma city lights, speedy @ new beverly theatre the experimental experiment 8 PM @ silent movie theatre wed. dec. 10 speedy 8 PM @ silent movie theatre let it burn 7 PM, committee on un-american activities, can the rosenberg case be reopened? @ 7 dudley cinema the spirit of the beehive, death of a cyclist @ new beverly theatre d.w. griffith's filmmaking centennial @ hollywood heritage museum the pope of greenwich village, 9 1/2 weeks @ aero theatre thu. dec. 11 the spirit of the beehive, death of a cyclist @ new beverly theatre zodiac @ egyptian theatre the passing @ silent movie theatre o.c. and stiggs 10 PM @ silent movie theatre fri. dec. 12 mildred pierce, possessed @ ucla film archive the 39 steps, the lady vanishes (1938) @ new beverly theatre fight club, seven @ egyptian theatre jon brion @ largo reincidente @ silent movie theatre the love butcher 10 PM @ silent movie theatre sat. dec. 13 johnny guitar, flamingo road @ ucla film archive 18th dye @ spaceland nicky katt's smackum-yackum saturday 8 PM @ silent movie theatre the 39 steps, the lady vanishes (1938) @ new beverly theatre abbot kinney holiday celebration 6-10 PM all that passes before you already in ruins 8 PM, denial clinic @ velaslavasay panorama valley of the dolls, the love machine @ egyptian theatre lawrence of arabia @ aero theatre sun. dec. 14 animal house, strange brew @ new beverly theatre the passion of joan of arc @ egyptian theatre ty segall @ the smell angel heart, year of the dragon @ aero theatre mon. dec. 15 animal house, strange brew @ new beverly theatre tue. dec. 16 thee makeout party @ hyperion tavern black christmas, TBA @ new beverly theatre helvetica FREE @ aero theatre wed. dec. 17 my winnipeg, the saddest music in the world @ new beverly theatre a christmas story @ aero theatre thu. dec. 18 my winnipeg, the saddest music in the world @ new beverly theatre fri. dec. 19 army of darkness MIDNIGHT @ fairfax regency theatre darker my love, the muslims @ echoplex jon brion @ largo the killing, paths of glory @ new beverly theatre cult cinema club @ spielberg theatre @ egyptian theatre sat. dec. 20 the killing, paths of glory @ new beverly theatre thee makeout party @ the smell hepcat @ el rey scrooge FREE 2 PM @ egyptian theatre tue. dec. 23 doctor zhivago 1 PM @ lacma thu. dec. 25 mondo xmas (featuring christmas evil) 8 PM @ silent movie theatre fri. dec. 26 cool hand luke, wusa @ egyptian theatre the old fashioned way, you're telling me! @ aero theatre sat. dec. 27 new year's evil MIDNIGHT @ new beverly theatre slap shot, harper @ egyptian theatre mike watt and the secondmen @ redwood bar my man godfrey, his girl friday @ aero theatre sun. dec. 28 neil hamburger @ spaceland jurassic park, the andromeda strain @ new beverly theatre the verdict, sometimes a great notion @ egyptian theatre the miracle of morgan's creek, the lady eve @ aero theatre mon. dec. 29 jurassic park, the andromeda strain @ new beverly theatre tue. dec. 30 jurassic park, the andromeda strain @ new beverly theatre thu. jan. 1 tell no one, a girl cut in two @ new beverly theatre a night at the opera, animal crackers @ aero theatre fri. jan. 2 tell no one, a girl cut in two @ new beverly theatre raiders of the lost ark MIDNIGHT @ nuart sat. jan. 3 tell no one, a girl cut in two @ new beverly theatre sun. jan. 4 vera cruz, a fistful of dollars @ new beverly theatre mon. jan. 5 vera cruz, a fistful of dollars @ new beverly theatre foot village @ the smell tue. jan. 6 grindhouse film fest titles TBA @ new beverly theatre wed. jan. 7 venice west & the la scene, brush with life @ 7 dudley cinema thu. jan. 8 murmur of the heart, the fire within @ new beverly theatre fri. jan. 9 murmur of the heart, the fire within @ new beverly theatre alien MIDNIGHT @ nuart sun. jan. 11 for a few dollars more, the good the bad and the ugly @ new beverly theatre mon. jan. 12 for a few dollars more, the good the bad and the ugly @ new beverly theatre tue. jan. 13 for a few dollars more, the good the bad and the ugly @ new beverly theatre wed. jan. 14 badlands, the sugarland express @ new beverly theatre thu. jan. 15 badlands, the sugarland express @ new beverly theatre fri. jan. 16 badlands, the sugarland express @ new beverly theatre the kid brother 8 PM @ orpheum theatre chuck dukowski sextet, jack brewer reunion band @ the smell sat. jan. 17 autolux @ henry fonda thu. jan. 22 they always say that time changes things 7 PM @ hammer museum fri. jan. 23 the iron horse @ getty center sat. jan. 24 the big trail 4 PM @ getty center red river @ getty center fri. jan. 30 once upon a time in the west @ getty center sat. jan. 31 basic instinct MIDNIGHT @ new beverly theatre bad day at black rock 4 PM @ getty center patton oswalt @ largo pat garrett and billy the kid @ getty center wed. feb. 4 patti smith dream of life, the nomi song @ new beverly theatre john o'keefe's adaptation of walt whitman's song of myself 7 PM, lowell blues: the words of jack kerouac, polis is this: charles olson and the persistence of place @ 7 dudley cinema thu. feb. 5 patti smith dream of life, the nomi song @ new beverly theatre fri. feb. 6 the fortune cookie, one two three @ new beverly theatre sat. feb. 7 the fortune cookie, one two three @ new beverly theatre sun. feb. 8 the decameron, arabian nights @ new beverly theatre mon. feb. 9 the decameron, arabian nights @ new beverly theatre tue. feb. 10 grindhouse film fest titles TBA @ new beverly theatre wed. feb. 11 electric dreams @ new beverly theatre thu. feb. 12 electric dreams @ new beverly theatre sat. feb. 21 foxes MIDNIGHT @ new beverly theatre sat. mar. 14 dan auerbach @ el rey WHAT IT IS: The Adventures of Robin Hood The most acclaimed screen version of the King of Sherwood Forest, with action, drama and romance that has satisfied audiences for years. Errol Flynn is Robin Hood to Olivia de Havilland's Maid Marion. Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains are the villains. ALL THAT PASSES BEFORE YOU, ALREADY IN RUINS Jordan Biren changes course for his new work, All That Passes Before You, Already in Ruins, adding a live film performance to his spectral narrative of transient landscapes, characters and time, melodramatically moving in the shadows of glistening cinematic moments. ANGEL HEART, 1987, Sony Repertory, 113 min. Dir. Alan Parker. Private detective Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is hired by an enigmatic client (Robert De Niro) to find a missing person, and before long everyone he talks to ends up dead, with Angel the primary suspect in their murders. Director Alan Parker creates an hallucinatory, chilling blend of horror and film noir in this atmosphere-drenched cult favorite. The film sparked controversy on its initial release due to a steamy sex scene with young co-star Lisa Bonet, something that went against her clean-cut image on TV’s "The Cosby Show." Adapted from the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg. "The movie's final revelations make a weird sense, once we figure them out. This is one of those movies where you leave the theater and re-run the plot in your head, re-interpreting the early scenes in terms of the final shocking revelations. ANGEL HEART is a thriller and a horror movie, but most of all it's an exuberant exercise in style, in which Parker and his actors have fun taking it to the limit." – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times Arabian Nights Pasolini's final film of his Trilogy of Life, Arabian Nights is a carnal comic tale following the adventures of a slave girl, Pelligrini, as she rises to power. "Rich, romantic and magnificent! Its graphic sex scenes, which have a dreamy kind of beauty to them, are erotic without being pornographic" (Vincent Canby). BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). Directed by John Sturges. The western genre can be a beautiful thing: at once it can be the setting for the hero, the bad guy, and the horse, or it can be a film which uses western signifiers and settings as allegory for the social circumstances of the day. Here Sturges brilliantly utilized western tropes—the one-armed stranger vs. the town of hostile ruffians—as an allegory for the blacklist blazing through 1950s Hollywood. Badlands Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek star in a story based on the 1950's murder spree across the Midwestern plains by Charlie Starkweather and his 15-year-old girlfriend, Carol Fugate. A chilling insight into the cold-hearted mind of the sociopath in one of the most stunning directorial debuts in the American cinema. The film, writes British critic Robin Wood, "produces a subtle, idiosyncratic balance between engagement and detachment, complicity and horror." THE BIG TRAIL The Big Trail (1930). Directed by Raoul Walsh. Walsh and cinematographer Arthur Edeson create a riveting tale of pioneers crossing the Oregon Trail with the help of trapper John Wayne whose incredible visage, physique, and presence announce him in his debut as a major star. Black Christmas A truly terrifying film, often unfairly lumped in with the "slasher" film explosion of the 1970s, that emphasizes atmosphere and suspense over gore. A crazed killer targets a sorority house on Christmas Eve, stalking its members as well as the residents of the neighboring town. Skillful direction from Bob Clark, whose erratic resume includes the family favorite A Christmas Story, as well as the teen-sex comedy Porkys. With Margot Kidder, Keir Dullea, Olivia Hussey and John Saxon. BRUSH WITH LIFE -The Art Of Being Edward Biberman ('07, 83m) Jeff Kaufman's (in person) portrait of Biberman, who was the first and foremost delineator of Southern California's urban landscape in the medium of painting. Brother of writer-producer Herbert, great heart and one of the Hollywood Ten, Edward's talent led him on an artistic ody ssey from Paris and Berlin in the 20s, to New York, New Mexico, and then to the "cultural wasteland" of 1930s Los Angeles. Portrait painter to the stars (Joan Crawford and Lena Horne among them), muralist (Venice Post Office) in the time of Rivera, friend of Paul Robeson, Frida Kahlo, Isamu Noguchi, Alexander Calder, Georgia O'Keefe, Martha Graham a nd Dashiell Hammett, Biberman was also a social activ ist in concert with the love of his life, Sonia Dahl-Biberman, who, along with her husband's paintings, invests this wonderful film with its vibrant spirit. CAN THE ROSENBERG CASE BE REOPENED? (1975 - 90min) The Rosenberg "Atomic Espionage" Case, among the most controversial Cold War episodes of the early 1950s, despite the passage of decades, continues to raise serious doubts as to: The reliability of the testimony? The Judge's relationship with FBI Director Hoover & the prosecution? The legality of the sentence? The rush to electrocute the only Americans ever executed for espionage? Captain Blood One of the great Hollywood swashbuckling sagas: Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland star in the story of a young doctor unjustly condemned to slavery. Bought from the slave ship by Arabella, he escapes and becomes a notorious pirate. A Century Ago: The Films of 1908 The Academy celebrates the year 1908 and its developmental contributions to motion pictures with a program of selected films in “A Century Ago: The Films of 1908” at the Linwood Dunn Theater. In 1908, three years after local storefront nickelodeons began a period of dramatic expansion, a new generation of filmmakers that included D.W. Griffith, Émile Cohl and Max Linder were pushing “theatrical” conventions into more purely cinematic forms. By the end of that year, however, film companies and other key industry participants had founded the Motion Picture Patents Company, a business trust that sought to monopolize motion picture production. “A Century Ago: The Films of 1908” will offer a sampler of the year’s entertainments and artistic achievements, such as Edison’s RESCUED FROM AN EAGLE’S NEST, featuring a performance by D.W. Griffith; Biograph’s AFTER MANY YEARS, in which director Griffith experiments with parallel cutting and camera movement; Vitagraph’s trick film THE THIEVING HAND; Gaumont’s sensational FANTASMAGORIE, animated by Émile Cohl; Essanay’s A DISASTROUS FLIRTATION; Pathé’s comedic TROUBLES OF A GRASS WIDOWER, starring Max Linder; and one of the earliest Italian productions LE FARFALLE (BUTTERFLIES), presented from a hand-tinted print. Most films will be screened from 35mm prints drawn from the collections of the Academy Film Archive, the Library of Congress, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive, among others. Michael Mortilla will provide live musical accompaniment for the films. COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES- (1962 - 45min) The first film by a US citizen which criticizes a US Government committee, includes 1930s footage of House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) Chairman Martin Dies (D) of Texas attacking "subversives" in labor unions; the 1947 Hollywood Witch Hunts; the Cold W ar black listings; & the 1960 San Francisco hearings where police turned fire hoses on student protestors inside the City Hall. The film contains an analysis of how the HUAC subpoened the newsfilms of the City Hall protests from TV stations KRON & KPIX & used federal facilities to edit them into "Operation Abolition," a falsified film a ttacking the HUAC'S critics; thousands of copies of which were then sold for private profit throughout the USA, including to the Armed Forces. Revelation of "Operation Abolitions" untruths led to the Pentagon banning it from all military bases. FBI files obtained under the Freedom of Information Act in 1975 revealed that,=2 0in direct violation of the First Amendment, Bob Cohen was investigated by the HUAC for daring to make this film. In 1977 it was Certified by the US Information Agency (USIA) as being of an "International Educational Character." Cracking Up Executed in a fog of Percidan following a heart attack and a suicide attempt, this is Jerry Lewis' last feature film--a minimally released followup to his surprise comeback hit Hardly Working. Smorgasbord (aka Cracking Up) is a series of setpieces revolving around a middle- aged man (Jerry) in extensive therapy as he tries to figure out what went wrong with his pathetic life. He's an open nerve, with all of life's minor indignities and petty pains driving him nuts, and it's the mechanism of life that's cracking up here. We can't say what Jerry's intent might have been beyond getting some yucks, but what he concocted is not just an assault on filmic conventions and comedy norms, but reality itself. It some ways it comes off as so formally brazen that the end result was avant-garde enough to appeal to academically inclined critics and Lewis lovers--Jonathan Rosenbaum, for example, sandwiched cracking up Cracking Up between Bresson's L'argent and Kiarostami's Fellow Citizen on his list of best films of 1983 (the only English-language pick on the list). But If Cracking Up evokes art film or experimental theater, it's in how Jerry Lewis' trademark anarchic live-action cartoon style has been modulated, slowed, and extended, so the jokes are rendered stultifying absurd. If you inject pregnant pauses into Bugs Bunny's patter as Elmer Fudd stares off blankly into space--while we are left to watch their jokes slowly creep off-screen to die--then you have the malfunctioning directorial swan song of the sad clown that is Jerry Lewis. CULT CINEMA CLUB Approx. 155 min (including intermission). Join us for a double feature of rare, hard-to-see Japanese horror films from the 1950s. (Screened from a digital source.) Dangerous Men In its initial mysterious one-week L.A. theatrical run --in which it was booked into EIGHT theaters in the same arthouse chain, no less-- the inexplicable-in-every-way Dangerous Men was viewed by literally about 50 people--though receipts may have been deceptively higher cause of maniacs like us seeing it two and three times. After those few viewers quickly ran out and told everyone they knew about how mindbendingly entertaining and unusual it was, a flare of interest generated a handful of midnight shows before it finally vanished. Since its disappearance into the ether--few have been marked by the experience of seeing Dangerous Men, but none will forget! These intrepid viewers, whenever they run into each other at a party or BBQ, will swap stories like veterans of a great war battle, eagerly recounting practically every scene in the picture in minute detail to each other, in no particular order of awesomeness, savoring every memory. Just for you (and us), we've plucked the film from the clutches of oblivion to give to you one of the most singularly unique movie experiences you've had in years, so that you too may join the cult, and find yourself muttering the code words "Dangerous Men" to strangers. Trying to describe Dangerous Men to those who haven't seen it is a nearly pointless exercise. Even director John S. Rad himself relied on a cacophony of mixed adjectives in his great tagline "An unforgettable suspense, mystery drama" (not our comma). Which he later added "comedy" to, between "unforgettable" and "suspense", after the film's initial reception. Upon our own first viewing of the film, we geniunely wondered for the first twenty minutes whether or not it was all a hoax, an elaborate well-done prank by a precocious art school student. EVERYTHING was wrong in oh- so-right a way, and the director's name, John S. Rad, was just too, uh, rad to seem like someone had thought it up. It didn't seem possible that someone could've hit the bullseye in every scene, every shot, every audio edit--but there you have it. Forgot Troll 2, forget Ed Wood, forget--dare we say, The Visitor--Dangerous Men is the holiest of all Holyfuckingshits. The reason it's in the Festival of Indulgence is that it's so unique that we couldn't find one other, much less three other films to match it with in a series. But we just can't wait to exercise our powers as film programmers to show as a Holyfuckingshit anymore. Death of a Cyclist Strongly influenced by Italian neorealism, Juan Antonio Bardem directed this black-and-white social satire that went on to win the International Critics Prize at Cannes. The narrative concerns an upper-class math professor (Alberto Closas) having an affair with a society woman (Lucia Bose). On a late-night drive through the richest and poorest areas around Madrid (a jab at Franco-era class inequality), the lovebirds accidentally run over a cyclist and leave him for dead, fearing their adultery will be exposed. Decadence, guilt, and tragedy mingle in Muerte de un Ciclista, "one of the key titles in the history of Spanish moviemaking" (Seattle International Film Festival). The Decameron The first part of Pasolini's "trilogy of life" (followed by The Canterbury Tales and Arabian Nights) is based on the ribald tales of Boccaccio, which deal with human sensuality and artistic creation. Pasolini has refashioned the 100 tales into a collection of 11 sketches that are at the same time erotic, political, humorous and autobiographical. Pasolini himself appears in the role of the painter Giotto. DENIAL CLINIC Perry Hoberman continues his ill-advised foray as a singer/songwriter, presenting Denial Clinic, a live performance with 3D projection, drawings and songs, chronicling various tales of frustration, loss and self-deception. The Dot and the Line Co-Presented by L.A. Filmforum Here at Cinefamily, one of our favorite genres of experimental film, or any film for that matter, is "Visual Music"--abstract films that find the synaesthetic union of visuals and audio, an effect both delightful and exciting for the eye and the ear. The Dot and The Line (Punto Y Raya) is a traveling film festival continuing this tradition of experimental animation by compiling some of the very best contemporary works in the genre, made by artists from Germany, Japan, Spain, the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. The competition accepts any film under nine minutes containing lines and dots but avoiding all figuration and narrative, with plain (or plane!) colored backgrounds, and using any kind of illustration or animation technique. From the pen to the stylus, from the analogical·dot to the digital·pixel, even charcoal, chalk and crayon are considered. You'll be shocked how diverse and fun these dancing dots and vibrant lines can be--come experience one of the purest pleasures of cinema! Doubt 2008/color/100 min. | Scr/dir: John Patrick Shanley; w/ Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams. John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play has been transformed into one of this year's most visually striking and emotionally searing films, featuring performances by Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman that will not be overlooked at award season. Set in 1964 in a Catholic grade school in the Bronx run by a teaching order of nuns, the film depicts the escalating battle of wills between Sister Aloysius (Streep) the iron-gloved Principal who believes in the power of fear and discipline, and Father Flynn (Hoffman), the newly arrived and charismatic parish priest whose attempts to undermine the school's strict customs Aloysius fiercely resists. Without a shard of proof besides her moral certainty, Aloysius accuses Flynn of paying too much personal attention to Donald, the school's first black student; and in so doing unleashes a series of devastating consequences. Structured like a thriller, Doubt dramatically presents both sides of a debate that resonates today: in an era of social and political change, what is the price of blind conviction? D.W. Griffith’s Filmmaking Centennial Celebrating the 100th anniversary of D.W. Griffith’s beginnings as a film director in 1908. Featuring selected films from his first eighteen months as a filmmaker including: Rescued From An Eagle's Nest – 1/18/1908 Featuring D.W. Griffith as an actor in an Edison production. The Redman And The Child – 7/22/1908 Featuring an early use of the point-of-view shot.The Fatal Hour – 8/8/1908 Featuring an early use of parallel editing.The Girl And The Outlaw – 8/29/1908 Featuring Florence Lawrence and Mack Sennett. The Sacrifice – 1/14/1909 The first film version of O’Henry’s Gift Of The Magi. The Lonely Villa – 6/10/1909 Featuring an early appearance by Mary Pickford. Films introduced by Randy Haberkamp and Bob Birchard. Live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla. ELECTRIC DREAMS The story of a young man who falls in love with his beautiful upstairs neighbor. The only problem is that his computer shares his taste in women, and will do anything to have her to "himself." The Experimental Experiment One of the great difficulties of programming theme-based experimental film nights (like The Fine Art of Fear, or Guerrilla Television) has been the difficulty of seeing these films in advance. Experimental films are difficult to see outside of exhibitions, and screeners are generally unavailable. Lustfully and curiously paging through the catalogs of Canyon Cinema, Electronic Arts Intermix or The Filmmaker's Co-op, we often come across intriguing names and films we've never heard of, or have never seen. How to see them? Are they any good? Who is the director Herbert Jean deGrasse, and is he worth knowing? For tonight's program, we're taking the indulgent opportunity to order a grab bag of films from these catalogs, ones whose descriptions captured our imagination. We don't know them, we can't vouch for them, but we wanna see them. Discovery is our idea of a good time--it's an experiment. Come join us to yay or nay at this experimental film version of The Gong Show, and maybe we'll see a new few gems, and you might even help us program a night or two for 2009. FAST WALKING FAST-WALKING walks a similar line, in a more hard-boiled environment, but with a shaggy sense of humor. James Woods is a affably corrupt, stoner prison guard who finds himself walking a tightrope between his own jinxed principles and a circle of conspirators who wish to use him in a plot to kill a black militant under his lock & key. Woods is brilliant (as always) and acts opposite Kay Lenz, M. Emmett Walsh, Tim Carey and Tim McIntyre -- to name a few! James B. Harris will be in persons for a Q & A! The Fire Within Louis Malle's painful and devastating portrait of dissolution and self-destruction, The Fire Within captures the final two days of a wealthy French writer while visiting friends upon his release from a mental asylum. Brilliantly scored by Erik Satie, the film has a harsh, bleak beauty and despair. With Maurice Ronet, Lena Skerla, Yvonne Clech, and Hubert Deschamps. FIVE EASY PIECES, 1970, Sony Repertory, 96 min. Dir. Bob Rafelson. Hard-hitting, brilliantly sarcastic drama of Bakersfield oil-rig worker Jack Nicholson on the run from his former life as a concert pianist (!), with country waitress girlfriend (and Tammy Wynette fan) Karen Black in tow. Returning to visit his Washington island home after his father suffers a stroke, things come to a head when he seduces the fiancee (Susan Anspach) of his better-than-thou brother (Ralph Waite). One of the defining films of the New Hollywood, stunningly directed by Bob Rafelson and written by Carole Eastman (under pseudonym Adrien Joyce). Co-starring the great Billy Green Bush as Nicholson’s hapless, redneck friend and Fannie Flagg as Bush’s loyal spouse. "...a masterpiece of heartbreaking intensity." -- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times. Film critic Kevin Thomas will introduce the screening. FLAMINGO ROAD (1949) Directed by Michael Curtiz Four years after their Oscar-winning success for Mildred Pierce, Crawford and director Michael Curtiz reunited to make this curious political melodrama. Crawford was 44 years-old at the time of the film's release. Cast in a role intended for a woman twenty years her junior, Crawford plays Lane Bellamy, a former dancer for a two-bit traveling carnival. While trying to make due in a small, backwater Southern town, Lane becomes increasingly entangled in the seedy machinations behind political corruption. Producer: Jerry Wald . Screenplay: Robert Wilder. Cinematographer: Ted McCord. Cast: Joan Crawford, Zachary Scott, Sydney Greenstreet. 35mm, 94 min. For Heaven's Sake Lloyd alternated between making character-driven and "thrill"-driven pictures, and For Heaven's Sake ranks as one of his best gags-for-gags'-sake films. Lloyd plays a wealthy man who funds a homeless mission, falls for a volunteer worker, is kidnapped by his rich friends offended by his breaching of class, and must escape their clutches to “make it to the church on time”. His ensuing escape on a double-decker bus remains one of Lloyd’s finest chase numbers. For Heaven's Sake Dir. Sam Taylor, 1926, 35mm, 58 min. Foxes Jodie Foster, Cherie Currie (from legendary '70s all-girl punk band, The Runaways), Marilyn Kagan and Kandice Stroh star as four troubled teens coping with divorce, drugs and alcohol abuse in L.A.'s fast lane. With Scott Baio, Sally Kellerman and Randy Quaid. The Fortune Cookie When TV cameraman Jack Lemmon is knocked down at a football game, his shyster lawyer advises him to get all he can out of the fortuitous injury. Walter Matthau won an Oscar for his performance as the conniving legal counsel. With Ron Rich, Cliff Osmond, Judi West and Lurene Tuttle. Biting script by A.L. Diamond and the director. A GIRL CUT IN TWO Claude Chabrol, who should soon be shooting his 70th feature, is at once wildly prolific and utterly faithful — at least to the conventions of the commercial thriller. Darkly droll, his A Girl Cut in Two updates the scandalous case of the celebrated fin de siècle architect Stanford White — shot dead by the jealous young millionaire who married White’s teenage mistress, a showgirl. An old-fashioned cineaste, Chabrol came to the story by way of its 1955 Hollywood version, The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, though he transposes it to contemporary Lyons. Charles, a successful novelist and practiced libertine (played with seasoned suavity by François Berléand), vies with Paul, the young, unstable heir to a pharmaceutical fortune (given a memorable foppish swagger by Benoît Magimel), for the favors of an innocent TV weather girl, Gabrielle (wide-eyed, luscious Ludivine Sagnier). Confident yet vulnerable, Gabrielle falls for the (much) older guy and, in love for the first time, allows herself to be debauched by this veteran roué. Then, after a nasty breakup and an ensuing breakdown, on the rebound, she marries the preening young fool — thus effectively incinerating them all. A Girl Cut in Two is a spry piece of work, and although directed for mordant comedy, the spectacle of a naive, lower-middle-class woman’s misadventures in a nest of wealthy vipers is initially unsettling and ultimately gut-wrenching. (J. Hoberman) THE GREAT DICTATOR, 1940, Kino International, 127 min. Dir. Charles Chaplin. The physical resemblance between the Tramp and another famous man with a little black moustache was not lost on Chaplin. In his first all-talking picture, he plays both a Jewish barber and his double, Adenoid Hynkel, the absolute ruler of Tomainia. As Hynkel and his henchmen Herring and Garbitsch engineer the persecution of Jews and the invasion of neighboring Osterlich, the amnesiac barber may be the only person innocent enough to stop them. Throughout the film Chaplin powerfully exploits the deflating power of parody, while in the finale he abandons both character and comedy to deliver an impassioned plea for human tolerance. With Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Reginald Gardiner, Jack Oakie. New 35mm Print! HARPER, 1966, Warner Bros., 121 min. Director Jack Smight (NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY) helmed this slambang private eye opus adapted from Ross Macdonald’s The Moving Target. Christened Lew Archer in Macdonald’s successful string of novels, Paul Newman and screenwriter William Goldman renamed the detective Lew Harper to continue the good-luck string of Newman films with titles beginning with the letter ‘H’ (HUD, THE HUSTLER, etc.). Harper is hired by wealthy ice queen Lauren Bacall to find her much-despised, kidnapped husband. The rich man’s precocious daughter Pamela Tiffin, freeloading playboy Robert Wagner, bar-hopping lush Shelley Winters and her homicidal Southern husband Robert Webber, jazz pianist Julie Harris, cult leader Strother Martin, as well as Harper’s soon-to-be ex-wife Janet Leigh and old lawyer pal Arthur Hill, get thrown into the mix. A wonderfully entertaining look at Southern California’s dark underbelly with plenty of red herrings and surprising twists and turns. Followed by a sequel, THE DROWNING POOL, nine years later in 1975. "…Director Jack Smight has inserted countless touches which illuminate each character to the highest degree. In this he complements William Goldman's sharp and often salty lingo. All principals acquit themselves admirably, including Newman, Bacall, Webber, and particularly Winters, who makes every second count…" -- Variety HELVETICA, 2007, 80 min. The typeface Helvetica is ubiquitous, spelling out everything from IRS tax forms to the corporate logos of Target, Crate & Barrel and Fendi. In HELVETICA, first-time director Gary Hustwit explores urban spaces and the typefaces that inhabit them and speaks with historians and designers about the choices and aesthetics behind the use of fonts. HIS GIRL FRIDAY, 1940, Sony Repertory, 92 min. Dir. Howard Hawks. The fastest comedy ever made, this frenzied remake of Hecht and MacArthur’s THE FRONT PAGE switches ace newsman Hildy Johnson to a woman (Rosalind Russell at her peak), while Cary Grant does a complete 180 from BABY as cynical editor Walter Burns. If you were teaching film comedy, this would be Lesson #1. The unparalleled cast includes Ralph Bellamy, Gene Lockhart, Porter Hall, Ernest Truex, Roscoe Karns, Cliff Edwards, John Qualen, Billy Gilbert and tons more. The Human Tornado The brash sequel to Rudy Ray Moore's 1975 outing, Dolemite, finds Moore on the run after being caught fooling around with a sheriff's wife. With Lady Reed. THE IRON HORSE The Iron Horse (1924). Directed by John Ford. In his first epic western, Ford tells the story of the creation of the first transcontinental railroad completed in 1869. The film lays the groundwork for the tropes that would always be considered "Fordian": landscape as character, sensitivity to the worker over the businessman, and, above all, a deep sensitivity of how history is turned into myth. Silent with live piano accompaniment. JOHNNY GUITAR (1954) Directed by Nicholas Ray Arguably the most baroque of all Hollywood Westerns, Johnny Guitar is also a gender-bender of a genre classic. Sterling Hayden plays the title character, a former gunfighter recruited by saloon-owner Vienna (Crawford) to protect her from the belligerent locals determined to drive her out of town. Famous for its gleeful upending of conventional sex roles, Crawford, as the steely and opportunistic Vienna, is the real hero, while her nemesis is the power-mad and aggressively butch Emma (McCambridge). The film is also a formal wonder, distinguished by a painterly use of color, expressive mise-en-scène and a conspicuous strain of anti-McCarthyite sentiment. Producer: Nicholas Ray. Screenplay: Philip Yordan. Cinematographer: Harry Stradling. Editor: Richard L. Van Enger. Cast: Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden, Mercedes McCambridge, Scott Brady, Ward Bond. 35mm, 110 min. JOHN O'KEEFE'S ADAPTATION OF WALT WHITMAN's SONG OF MYSELF ('07, 49m) at 7pm - All too often, filmed theatrical performances are as flat as the screens upon which they are projected. Not so with John O’Keefe’s phenomenal adaptation of Walt Whitman’s lovingly radical and radically loving poem from 1855. A quintet of camera operato rs (including the director, William Farley), don’t merely film one of the most gifted solo performers in the world, they accompany O’Keefe as he celebrates every moment and beat of the poem just as Whitman celebrated every moment and beat of his life. John O’Keefe goes beyond a recitation or interpretation of the poem; he inhabits it. The Kid Brother One of Lloyd's most visually elegant pictures. He plays the meek youngest son of a rural sheriff, whose family is accused of stealing town funds. The real culprits are layabouts employed by a traveling medicine show, and it's up to Lloyd to right their wrongs. This picture's fantastic epic chase takes place on a creaky grounded frieghter, as Lloyd and a simian(!) companion track down the heavies at a 45-degree angle. The Kid Brother Dir. Ted Wilde, 1927, 35mm, 84 min. The Killing Stanley Kubrick directed this classic caper film that concerns illegally removing large amounts of cash from a busy racetrack. Sterling Hayden leads his gang of five on a successful heist but then problems occur for which he hadn't planned. Kubrick uses an elaborate and unusual structure of flashbacks to tell his story. With Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippan, Marie Windsor, Colleen Gray, Elisha Cook Jr., and Timothy Carey as the grinning sharpshooter, Nikki Arane. THE LADY EVE, 1941, Universal, 97 min. Dir. Preston Sturges. Henry Fonda is dim-witted ale heir "Hopsy" Pike ("Snakes are my life."); Barbara Stanwyck is Eve, card sharp and con artist par excellence. Can this relationship work? Savage but never mean-spirited, this is Sturges at his best, blending violent slapstick, zesty dialogue and genuine romance into a peerless masterwork. With Charles Coburn, William Demarest, Eugene Pallette and Eric Blore. LET IT BURN (1968 - 60min.) Bob Cohen's (in person) Dares Salaam interview of FBI hunted US Army & Marine Corps veteran Robert Franklin Williams, th e leading advocate of armed self-defense in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Williams tells how his "Guard" of some 300 armed and organized Blacks chased the KKK out of town. But then, in 1961, when they agreed to either participate unarmed or stay away from demonstrations by pro-integration "Freedom Riders," the Klan returned in force. The Freedom Riders were beaten and then jailed. Members of the Guard prepared to march on the jail. Arson and gunfire erupted. Events escalated, and with Alabama National Guard tanks ad vancing on the Black section of Monroe, North Carolina, Williams escaped, first to Canada, and then to Cuba, where he was welcomed by Fidel Castro and permitted to have the only private radio program and newsletter in the country. Williams tells how, due to actions taken by certain political factions to suppress his broadcasts, he decided he had to leave Cuba and move to China, where he was personally welcomed by Mao Tze-Tung. Hav ing predi cted the ghetto uprisings of the mid-1960s, Williams calls for Black soldiers in Vietnam to return home and turn their weapons against the racists. He declares that, unless White America ceases racist oppression, the USA will go up in flames. Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine In conjunction with the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Hammer Museum screens Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine (2008, 99 mins.). Co-directed by Marion Cajori and Amei Wallach, the film follows the artist as she produces her work, spends time with confidants, and reflects upon the traumatic personal history that informs her practice. The Love Butcher The Love Butcher is a true "they don't make 'em like this anymore" exploitation classic from the sicko seventies, when psycho-sexual murder was played for laughs. This is the kind of tongue-in-cheek trash you might have stumbled upon at the bottom of a Times Square triple bill, and while half-watching you realize: "Hey, I think this dialogue is supposed to be funny….wait, this guy is acting ridiculous on purpose." It's the tale of two brothers: there's Caleb, a bald, myopic "gimp" gardener, who's continually insulted and abused by his snooty desperate housewife clients--and then there's Caleb's polyester-clad studly sibling Lester, a self-proclaimed "great male Adonis of the universe" who visits each of Caleb's tormentors on a seduce-and-destroy mission. Erik Stern's schizophrenic rendering of both "brothers" is a tour-de-force of demented dramaturgy. He puts on one hell of a show switching back and forth from grotesque mugging to smooth psycho ladykiller moves, and his tasteless, ranting madman monologues pitch The Love Butcher into the darkest shades of black comedy. Offensive, sloppy, bizarre and funny, this squirmy mixture of tones creates impossible to predict, wildly varying audience reactions....will you be laughing? Or will you walk out in disgust? We'll be watching to see. THE LOVE MACHINE, 1971, Sony Repertory, 108 min. Dir. Jack Haley Jr. Mind-numbingly entertaining, guilty-pleasure fun and another unapologetically trashy ride from the pen of author Jacqueline Susann. John Phillip Law is Robin Stone, an unscrupulous TV executive who will figuratively and literally screw anyone he has to in order to rise to the top. He becomes entangled in liaisons with various beauties, and has to contend with Dyan Cannon (the sexy young wife of network head, Robert Ryan), Jodi Wexler and petulant gay photographer Jerry Nelson (a memorable performance by David Hemmings) as he realizes his ambitions. But the precarious balancing act soon causes his ego-driven empire to begin to crumble. With a supporting cast that includes Jackie Cooper, Shecky Greene. Dionne Warwick sings the opening theme, "He’s Moving On." NOT ON DVD. New 35mm Print! LOWELL BLUES: THE WORDS OF JACK KEROUAC ('05, 25m) at 8pm - Henry Ferrini fuses visual history, language and jazz to illuminate Kerouac's childhood holy land. With Johnny Depp, David Amram, Robert Creeley, and Lee Konitz. The film interprets how place activates t he writer's imagination, and how the writer's art reshapes his city with reverence and respect. Martin Arnold: Something Hidden "Using elaborate optical and aural manipulations, Arnold turns scenes from old Hollywood movies into hilariously weird, black-comic nightmares." Bright Lights Film Journal Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Martin Arnold has been known internationally for his scintillating explorations of the hidden and repressed side of Hollywood cinema-what he regards as "a cinema of exclusion, reduction and denial." The main portion of the program features a "trilogy of compulsive repetition," as described by Dirk Schaefer-witty and obsessive reworkings of classic films and found footage. Through dizzying replay and interruption of the image, pièce touchée (1989, 16 min., 16mm, b/w) turns an innocuous scene into the fragment of a terrifying horror film. passage à l'acte (1993, 12 min., 16mm, b/w) distorts the all-American family of To Kill a Mockingbird into a surrealist nightmare. Alone. Life Wastes Andy Hardy (1998, 15 min., 16mm, b/w) humorously suggests the sexual repression that lies at the core of the Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney vehicles. Rounding out the program are excerpts from Deanimated (2002), an installation that digitally deconstructs a classic horror movie. In person: Martin Arnold MILDRED PIERCE (1945) Directed by Michael Curtiz Combining classic elements of film-noir and melodrama, Mildred Pierce features Crawford in the title role as a resilient mother fanatically devoted to her status-seeking, narcissistic daughter, Veda (Ann Blyth). Working tirelessly to provide for Veda's expensive tastes, Mildred builds an empire only to suffer ruinous downfall for her unwavering, maternal love. Mildred Pierce marked the resurgence of Crawford's film career. Deemed a bad investment by MGM, Crawford left the studio in 1943 to sign a contract with Warner Brothers. The film was her first starring role for the studio, and though Crawford was not their first pick, her performance won over audiences and critics alike, garnering her an Academy Award for Best Actress. Based on the novel by James M. Cain. Producer: Jerry Wald . Screenplay: Ranald MacDougall. Cinematographer: Ernest Haller. Editor: David Weisbart. Cast: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden, Ann Blyth. 35mm, 111 min. THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK, 1944, Paramount, 98 min. Betty Hutton plays a World War II-era party girl who has a little too much fun while out with a soldier one night; when morning comes, she’s pregnant with only a vague memory of what happened. Writer-director Preston Sturges’ cheerfully eccentric riff on the Nativity story is as hilarious and inventive as anything he ever did, and astonishingly risque for a production code-era film. Sturges regulars Eddie Bracken and William Demarest join Hutton in this comedy classic. Mondo Xmas (featuring Christmas Evil) 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 Christmas Evil, which John Waters calls "the greatest Christmas movie ever made". This oddball mixture of whimsy and anti-corporate rage follows one extremely unfortunate holiday in the life of Harry, a toy factory worker forever warped after injuring himself while watching his parents copulating with the aid of a Santa outfit. Harry has taken Christmas to frightening extremes, even compiling his own naughty-or-nice neighbors list--with nasty punishments in mind! Director Lewis Jackson will be in attendance, with rare outakes and his very own 35mm print which he's going to retire after this screening. Last call! Come celebrate the holidays with the only family that knows what you really want--the Cinefamily. Yule be glad you did. Murmur of the Heart Louis Malle directed this affectionate story of a young man's coming of age. When a 14-year-old boy from a bourgeois home is sent to a sanitarium for his health, he learns that mother knows best. A comic and, at the time, quite scandalous motion picture. With Benoit Ferreux as the rambunctious kid and Lea Massari as his sensuous mom. Also Daniel Gelin, Marc Winocourt and Michel Lonsdale. MY MAN GODFREY, 1936, Universal, 94 min. Dir. Gregory La Cava. "You people have confused me with the U.S. Treasury!" barks Eugene Pallette to his spoiled, filthy-rich family, including daughter Carole Lombard, who acquires tramp William Powell during a scavenger hunt and makes him her butler, whereupon he teaches her a few lessons about being human. Comeuppance for the wealthy was sure-fire material during the Depression, and no film ever did it better than this one. With Alice Brady, Mischa Auer, Gail Patrick and Alan Mowbray. NEW YEAR'S EVIL (from IMDB) During a New Year's Eve celebration, a punk-rock singer gets a phone call saying that when New Year's strikes in each time zone, someone will be murdered--and she will be the last one. Nicky Katt's Smackum-Yackum Saturday We've discussed in the past the mutual maniacal movie mono-focus of one Nicky Katt, and one Cinefamily movie organization. And if you don't remember, what Nicky and us like to do is get together and watch a freakin' big load of movies, preferably of the mug-melting variety. In the past, our only complaint has been that it's taken us weeks to recover from these movie benders. Luckily, we're about to take a vacation, so what better way to end the Cinefamily calendar year than with the biggest movie orgy we can concoct--that means movies on 35mm, 16mm, bootleg VHS, and an ever-ready grill to cook your meat on. BYOHD: Bring Your Own Hot Dogs. Come at six, leave when you wimp out--we're staying all night, and when we wake up the next morning, we're even gonna watch a kiddie matinee of William Witney's incredible The Golden Stallion. If you just wanna see The Golden Stallion and have your children stare at our hungover faces, come by on Sunday at 1PM, and enjoy the hangover special (free coffee)! 9 1/2 WEEKS, 1986, Warner Bros., 112 min. Dir. Adrian Lyne. Commodities broker Mickey Rourke and art dealer Kim Basinger embark on a sadomasochistic love affair that starts off playfully but descends into mutual self-destruction. Premier stylist Adrian Lyne provides a gorgeous but spiritually vacant backdrop for the characters' longing -- although the film is about sexual obsession, it's just as heavily influenced by Architectural Digest as Playboy or Penthouse. Rourke and Basinger give two of the best performances of their careers in one of the few American films of the 1980s to take sex seriously. The Nomi Song One of popular music's most distinctive pioneers, Klaus Nomi (nee Klaus Sperber) was a German-born opera singer who moved to New York City in the mid-1970's and established himself as a pop icon by the 1980's. Blending cabaret with opera, disco, and other styles, Nomi forged a truly distinctive look and sound that captured the imagination of the Manhattan club scene. Andrew Horn's film chronicles Nomi's eventful life, following the singer from his unlikely beginnings through to his New-Wave heyday and tragic struggle with AIDS. In so doing, Horn "uses his subject to revisit the euphoria of artistic and musical culture at a crossroads, and in the process brings it, briefly and poignantly, back to life again" (San Francisco Chronicle). O.C. and Stiggs ''O. C. and Stiggs''...deals with what may be one of the director's least favorite subjects: all-American boys." - Janet Maslin, New York Times "It failed quite successfully." - Robert Altman, 2005 O.C. and Stiggs DVD interview Robert Altman did not suffer fools gladly. Part of the experience of watching an Altman film--along with bathing in an abundance of warm, realistic and humanistic portrayals of characters he sympathizes with--is to take part in his unbridled sadism towards those characters he finds to be buffoons. In terms of his pure disgust for the inanities of the human race, none of his films comes even close to O.C. and Stiggs, a thoroughly hateful film which becomes a total joy when viewed in the right context. After his troubled 1980 production of Popeye, Altman found himself a pariah in the studio system, and constantly bemoaned in interviews about how the "new Hollywood" was gearing everything towards kids. So, when MGM came a-knockin' to give him his first studio film in four years, Altman quickly jumped at the chance to work in the big leagues again, with the full knowledge that he was being asked to participate in the then in-vogue teensploitation genre. The second he came on board for O.C. and Stiggs, the iconoclastic director intended for the end product to be a satire of the genre, and seen with that knowledge, the film is a rollicking, anarchistic good time. O.C. and Stiggs are two bored-to-death Arizona kids who relentlessly torment the Schwab clan, the local fatcat family responsible for the cancellation of the insurance policy of one of their grandfathers--but all that's hardly the point. Repulsed at being simply forced to tell a story about pubescent delinquents, Altman turned things his way by making the protagonists ignorant unlikeable assholes, and burying their shimmering nonsense amongst the enjoyable, zany efforts of a crackerjack supporting cast (Dennis Hopper, Paul Dooley, Ray Walston, Jane Curtin, Jon Cryer, Cynthia Nixon, Martin Mull and Melvin Van Peebles), colorful surreal suburban set design, and big slippery handfuls of barbed political humor (going so far as to reprise his "Hal Philip Walker" character from Nashville). Topping the whole glorious mess off is an inexplicably placed, awesome concert apperance by King Sunny Ade and His African Beats! O.C. and Stiggs thoroughly gobsmacked the few viewers who saw it upon its scant 1987 release (MGM kept it on the shelf for three years), but you'll thrill to one of Altman's most mind-roasting pranks. THE OLD FASHIONED WAY, 1934, Universal, 70 min. Dir. William Beaudine. W.C. Fields and his ramshackle theatrical troupe travel the backwaters of America in this typically subversive Fields romp. As "The Great McGonigle," Fields pulls a series of successful cons on the small-town citizens with whom he comes into contact, and gives a hilarious performance as the lead in his troupe’s staging of, appropriately enough, "The Drunkard." OLD JOY, 2007, Kino International, 76 min. Dir. Kelly Reichardt. The story of two old friends, Kurt (Will Oldham) and Mark (Daniel London), who reunite for a weekend camping trip in the Cascade mountains east of Portland, Oregon. For Mark, the weekend outing offers a respite from the pressure of his imminent fatherhood; for Kurt, it is part of a long series of carefree adventures. As the hours progress and the landscape evolves, the twin seekers move through a range of subtle emotions, enacting a pilgrimage of mutual confusion, sudden insight and spiritual battle. "A must-see" – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times "Exquisite... achingly beautiful." – Robert Koehler, Variety ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST Once upon a Time in the West (1968). Directed by Sergio Leone. Like its fairy tale title, Leone's operatic ode to the west captures a period of time both current—the "civilization" of the wilderness through the railroad and commerce—and mournful, as it simultaneously parables the death of the western. Gathering up influences of westerns past, Leone here etches his own vision of the myth, as the grizzled human face stands equal with the fading brushwood of the land, both destined to fade into the sunset. One, Two, Three James Cagney plays a Coca Cola executive stationed in West Berlin who finds himself in trouble when his boss's daughter marries a fierce young Communist. It's rowdy entertainment co-scripted and directed by Billy Wilder. The Orphan We came across the forgotten exploitation gem The Orphan while researching our Evil Children series via a fascinating description in grindhouse historian Steven Thrower's essential book Nightmare U.S.A. Thrower's taste for the peculiar and the lost was so spot-on, that despite a slow and choppy first third, his recommendation (he devotes an entire chapter to The Orphan) implored us to finish watching the film all the way through. Once over the hump, we saw that not all of the film's strangeness came from a fucked-up production, but that there was also conscious artistic vision from a young director inspired by the likes of Bergman and Fellini. Creepy, unforgettable and fascinating, The Orphan plots a child's descent into madness without the guiding forces of a benevolent adult; after the mysterious nasty death of both his Roaring '20s party animal parents, young David is left in the care of his prudish, restrictive aunt, who refuses to let him indulge in his adolescent instincts. Begun in 1969, The Orphan wasn't finished filming for almost ten years, and passed through the hands of multiple master editors (Ralph Rosenberg, Susan Morse) before finally being finished off by its last producers, who lopped off a debilatating, forever-lost 25 minutes. The result is an erotic film missing much of its sex, and a film of delicate dream logic unintentionally made more obscure by its missing scenes. But remaining, for those willing to meet the film halfway, is a kind of gothic Gatsby-era head film, centered around an astonishing child performance by Mark Owens (in his only screen role), with many scenes potent enough to satisfy the hearty filmgoer. The Passing We first caught this 16mm oddity late one night on "The B-Movie Channel"--a now-defunct basic cable outlet for public domain obscurities--and, clueless to what it was, found ourselves totally captivated. Baltimore director John Huckert's sci-fi arthouse curio is a unique melding of verite naturalism and chilly techno-terror a la Cronenberg. At first, we meet a young white trash petty criminal on a path to death row. This "mullet noir" action alternates with a documentary-like depiction of two WWII vet buddies facing the sunset of their days. The very genuine moments that we spend with these old coots are the heart of the film, and are full of subtle, wry humor-- no saccharine-soaked cornball Cocoon-erisms here. But what do these two disparate thematic threads have in common? Eventually they're sewn together at a creepy soul-transferal institute full of dark foreboding hallways, menacing murmuring and flickering, clanking computers. At this point, Huckert shifts away from the character study and renders the reincarnation experiments by going into full blown "head film" mode, unfurling his own dimestore 2001 "Stargate" sequence. An atmospheric no-budget labor of love that benefits from some truly affecting performances from it's non-professional actors. I'm not really surprised it's been rarely seen or discussed. Too lowkey to be a cult film but far too far out for the normals, THE PASSING lives in its own beautiful little cinematic universe. PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973). Directed by Sam Peckinpah. Fifty years after John Ford initially celebrated the birth of the west, Sam Peckinpah, a true lover of the west and the western, elegizes it here. Progress in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid equals the dehumanizing take over of wilderness and the end of the way of life inherent to the western. As James Coburn as Pat Garrett claims, "This country's getting old and I'm getting old with it." Not, however, without a fight. Paths of Glory A shattering film from Stanley Kubrick, bringing into focus the insanity of war in the story of French General Macready, who, during World War I, orders his men into a futile mission. When the men fail, Macready selects three soldiers for trial and execution for cowardice. With incredible performances from Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson. One of the high points of the American cinema. Patti Smith: Dream of Life More than a decade in the making, this striking portrait of boundary-pushing rocker Patti Smith features (almost too) personal interviews with the artist, who recalls her early days in New York and her current status as elder stateswoman of punk rock. Her politics, poetry, and songs are joined by vintage performance clips, rare photos, and her own narration. Winner of a Cinematography Award and Nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. PHASE IV (from IMDB) Desert ants suddenly form a collective intelligence and begin to wage war on the desert inhabitants. It is up to two scientists and a stray girl they rescue from the ants to destroy them. But the ants have other ideas. PIECES (from IMDB) Juan Piquer Simon's "Pieces" is one of the most hilarious slasher movies ever made.In the early 1940s a little boy is caught by his mother while he is assembling a puzzle with a naked lady on it.The boy gets mad when his mother takes his puzzle, so he kills her with an axe. 40 years later somebody butchers random college chicks with a chainsaw. "Pieces" is a highly entertaining gore trash filled with enough blood to satisfy horror fans. POLIS IS THIS - Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place20('07, 57m) at 8:30pm -Ferrini tells the story of Olson, a colossus of American letters. Polis Is This surpasses the challenge of containing this giant and his ideas in cinematic form while simultaneously expanding our awareness of how much the universal is contained in the local. For Olson, the local was Gloucester, Massachusetts, the polis (a body of citizens in a particular place) which shaped his life and poetry. Beyond a generous amount of Olson footage, striding his 6’8" corpus about his polis o r engaging in the teacher’s art, we also meet the polis of this film: the artists – Amiri Baraka, Robert Creeley, Dianne DaPrima, Pete Seeger, Ed Sanders, John Sinclair, Anne Waldman – and the locals who knew him. Hosted, after an Olsonesque fashion, by John Malkovich. THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE, 1984, MGM Repertory, 121 min. Dir. Stuart Rosenberg (COOL HAND LUKE). Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts are cousins, a couple of NYC neighborhood guys who get in way over their heads in this beautifully acted adaptation of Vincent Patrick’s mob novel. A superb supporting cast includes Daryl Hannah, Geraldine Page, Burt Young, Tony Musante, Kenneth McMillan and M. Emmet Walsh. POSSESSED (1947) Directed by Curtis Bernhardt Crawford plays a dazed woman who collapses in the street and is taken to a psychiatric ward. Flashbacks reveal the torturous path that led her to schizophrenia. Reviewing this film in The Nation, James Agee conceded that "it is not quite top grade," but insisted that "the weaknesses in this unusual movie do not greatly matter beside the fact that a lot of people who have a lot to give are giving it all they've got." He found it to be "uncommonly well acted," praising Van Heflin's performance in an unsympathetic role, newcomer Geraldine Brooks (who later had a long career in television and delivered one of the eulogies at Crawford's funeral), and Crawford's "desperate beauty and her fine, florid movie personality." Screenplay: Silvia Richard, Ranald MacDougall. Cast: Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey. 16mm, 108 min. RAIN (1932) Directed by Lewis Milestone Crawford gave an intense, stylized (some would say grotesque) performance as Sadie Thompson, a prostitute driven from Honolulu to a remote South Sea island, where she attracts the attention of a lecherous missionary. This was the second film version of John Colton and Clemence Randolph's once notorious play adapted from a story by Somerset Maugham. Although the film received a critical drubbing and Crawford herself later said that she gave a bad performance, many critics today consider this the best film version of Maugham's story. Based on a play by John Colton and Clemence Randolph. Producer: Joseph M. Schenck. Screenplay: Maxwell Anderson. Cinematographer: Oliver Marsh. Cast: Joan Crawford, Walter Huston, Frederic Howard, Ben Hendricks, William Gargan. 16mm, 94 RED RIVER Red River (1948). Directed by Howard Hawks. Historically based on the opening of the Chisholm Trail in 1867, Hawks' film invokes a typical Western theme—the Tough Journey through Tough Land—but with his penchant for drawing character, the interior story of conflict between the gritty, headstrong father John Wayne, and the softer, compassionate son Montgomery Clift, rivals the stunningly shot external story. Reincidente Reincidente is the best film we've ever seen that no one seems to have heard of--and we know an awful lot of people who would know. Originally discovered by us in a downtown Mexican video store's used VHS bin, Reincidente is a 1977 juvenile delinquent movie from Venezuela that mixes the rough plot of Scarface, the incredibly realistic south-of-the-border locations, performances and brutality of a film like Los Olvidados or Pixote, and the directorial flourish of a film brat like Scorsese or De Palma. Numerous sharply-designed directorial setpieces, a Latin jazz fusion score, howlingly funny visual gags, to-die-for period fashion and decor, and a tangible portrayal of Third World everyday life make the film a joy to watch, as long as you can live without specifically knowing what dialogue is being said--if you don't know Spanish, that is. For, you see, the only existing film print of Reincidente is Spanish-language only. This means no subtitles, no dubbing. Yet, none of that particularly matters, since the film's cinema language is so strong that hardcore film lovers will have no trouble knowing exactly what's going on. You cannot imagine our delight at finding a 35mm print, and in finding an excuse to share it with anyone willing to watch. SCROOGE, 1970, CBS Films (Hollywood Classics), 113 min. Albert Finney is the gleefully wicked miser Scrooge who spreads the "humbug" at yuletide in this glorious musical adaptation by Leslie Bricusse of Dickens’ ode to brotherhood and the terrible power of karma. When elderly Scrooge retires to bed, resenting his employee Bob Cratchett for getting a holiday on Christmas, he’s confronted by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future – all showing him the lonely consequences of the selfish path he’s taken. Director Ronald Neame was a Dickens veteran, having produced David Lean’s GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST. Here, he proved himself to be a wonderfully humorous and sympathetic filmmaker in his own right. Co-starring Alec Guinness, Edith Evans and Kenneth More. Secondhand Sureshots In 2006, our friends at Dublab sent four Los Angeles-based beatmakers (Daedelus, J.Rocc, Nobody and Ras G) on a secret mission to create new musical magic from the dusty remains of thrift store vinyl. Secondhand Sureshots documents their exciting process, detailing their obsessive record shopping habits, their first reactions after listening to the raw material, and the sculpting of the final tracks. The film offers fresh insight into the thrill of the hunt, that elusive search for the perfect breakbeat--as well as giving us a sharp portrait of four of L.A.'s most charismatic beatmakers. This special unveiling of Secondhand Sureshots will also feature a bonus music video screening, and live performances in the conceptual spirit of the film. SOME CALL IT LOVING James B. Harris is a name known to confirmed cinephiles, if only because, when young, he produced three outstanding films for an equally young director, Stanley Kubrick -- THE KILLING (1956); PATHS OF GLORY (1958); and LOLITA (1962). What goes less remarked is that when they amiably parted ways in the mid 60s, Kubrick had (following Harris's example) become an excellent producer, while Harris (well- schooled by his partner's passionate exactitude) emerged as a superb film director. We plan to celebrate Harris's body of work with two of his most memorable and controversial films -- SOME CALL IT LOVING, also known as SLEEPING BEAUTY (1973); and FAST-WALKING (1982). The first is a lyrical, dreamily romantic and intentionally disturbing work (based on a John Collier short story) about a jazz-artist (Zalman King) who believes he's found his idea woman in the literal Sleeping Beauty (Tisa Farrow) who is displayed, a comatose prop for the kisses of lonely men, as part of a carnival sideshow. He bundles her away and awakens her, and ... Well! Who was it that said that "in the heart of every cynic is a burnt romantic?" SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION, 1971, Universal, 114 min. Paul Newman makes his second foray behind the camera (his directorial debut was RACHEL, RACHEL) and also stars in this adaptation of Ken Kesey’s revered novel about a fiercely independent family of Oregon loggers. Henry Fonda is the clan patriarch, hard-headed Newman, born-again Richard Jaeckel and rebellious Michael Sarrazin are three very different brothers and Lee Remick is Newman’s wife. The family hit paydirt when they’re the only ones left working in the wake of a loggers’ strike. But they face burgeoning hostility from other locals, and the business boom comes with a harrowing price. "…Newman starts tunneling under the material, coming up with all sorts of things we didn't quite expect, and along the way he proves himself (as he did with RACHEL, RACHEL) as a director of sympathy and a sort of lyrical restraint. He rarely pushes scenes to their obvious conclusions, he avoids melodrama, and by the end of SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION we somehow come to know the Stamper family better than we expected to…worth seeing…" – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times Speedy Lloyd's final silent film, Speedy, offers up humorous stakes laid on the struggle between the ol' horse-drawn trolley and the upcoming urban rail system--a clever metaphor for the transition from silents to talkies. Lloyd plays an underemployed baseball fanatic whose sweetie's grandfather is about to lose his trolley to evil rail kings. To save the business, Lloyd must keep the train running, no matter what, including interference from the rail thugs. Shot mostly on location in The Big Apple without the rear projection technique of later Hollywood car chases, Speedy's risky chase sequences feature a cab-driving Lloyd delivering Babe Ruth (in a cameo apperance) to Yankee Stadium, and a climactic gallop through the crowded streets of Manhattan. As well, the film offers a frenzied, impressive look at a bustling 1920s New York City and Coney Island, sneaked with the era's equivalent to "guerrilla filmmaking." Dir. Ted Wilde, 1928, 35mm, 86 min. The Spirit of the Beehive A landmark Spanish film by Victor Erice, featuring the remarkable Ana Torrent in the story of two little girls growing up after the Spanish Civil War. The hypnotic, spellbinding nature of the film is a rare achievement in cinema, as Erice evokes a deep poetry of childhood in a portrait of isolation. "The finest and most beautifully wrought first film of the European '70s" (Village Voice). SUDDEN FEAR (1952) Directed by David Miller In this stylish psychological thriller, Crawford plays Myra Hudson, an heiress and successful playwright. After being seduced into marrying an actor (Palance) she had once rejected as the lead in one of her plays, Myra discovers a plot against her life. In the shadows of Myra's lavish mansion and through the precipitous dark alleys of San Francisco--evoked in bold chiaroscuro by cinematographer Charles Lang--Crawford does well to showcase her emotional range as a fear-stricken woman desperate to save herself. Like Mildred Pierce, Sudden Fear was Crawford's first film with a new studio, having left Warner Bros. for RKO, and, as with Pierce, Crawford won accolades for her performance, earning her a third and final Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Producer: Joseph Kaufman. Screenplay: Lenore Coffee, Robert Smith. Cinematographer: Charles B. Lange. Editor: Leon Barsha. Cast: Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame, Bruce Bennett, Virginia Huston. 35mm, 110 min. Sugarland Express Steven Spielberg's theatrical film debut is a fictionalized account of the true story of a young couple (Goldie Hawn and William Atherton) who take a police officer hostage and head off across the barren Texas landscape to kidnap their child from its foster parents. Critically acclaimed (Spielberg's script won an award at Cannes), but a box-office flop, the film shows a young director honing signature techniques that would make him a household name. Tell No One (Ne le dis a personne) François Cluzet, who looks like Daniel Auteuil and runs like Dustin Hoffman, simmers beautifully as a Paris pediatrician who, eight years after the brutal murder of his beloved wife (Marie-Josée Croze), receives an e-mailed video purporting to show her alive. His search for her or her captors is, to understate the situation, complicated by their search for him and the growing suspicions of the police—who reopen the case after two more corpses pop up—that the doc is his wife's killer. They Always Say That Time Changes Things "They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." - Andy Warhol This series of short films studies how time has been interpreted by experimental film artists from 1963 to the present. Featuring works by Andy Warhol, Bas Jan Ader, Jørgen Leth, Christian Marclay, Joe Diebes, Annika Larsson, Reynold Reynolds, and Carlo Zanni, the series takes the conceptual films of Andy Warhol as a point of departure, investigating the fundamental ways in which the camera can either document or manipulate real time. Warhol utilizes both of these cinematic devices in Kiss when time appears to freeze. The trajectory of contemporary artists presented engages the many ways in which the camera can communicate passage of time, whether through simply recording an event or creating a hyper-real world with new technologies. Organized by Julia Fryett and Michele Thursz. THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK (1984) Directed by Rob Epstein In 1978, San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by a former city politician. Milk was the first openly gay official elected to any major government office in the United States and thus an instant martyr to the cause of gay rights. Rob Epstein's 1984 memorial won an Oscar for best documentary, but the original materials in 16mm had seriously degraded over the years, leading the UCLA Film & Television Archive to make the film a preservation priority. Preservationist Ross Lipman will discuss the complicated restoration to 35mm, which involved tracking down numerous original sources for Epstein's compilation. In person: Ross Lipman, Film Preservationist, UCLA Film & Television Archive. Producer: Richard Schmiechen. Screenplay: Judith Coburn, Carter Wilson. Cinematographer: Frances Reid. Editor: Rob Epstein, Deborah Hoffmann. 35mm (blow-up from 16mm), 90 min. TRICKS (SZTUCZKI), 2007, 95 min. The second feature by director Andrzej Jakimowski (SQUINT YOUR EYES) confirms his status as one of Poland's most accomplished up-and-coming contemporary filmmakers. Six-year-old Stefek (Damian Ul, who won the best actor prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival), tries to persuade his estranged father to return to the family (an older teenage sister and his storekeeper mother.) Director Jakimowski and cinematographer Adam Bajerski have created an evocative, lyrical setting in a small Polish provincial town where magic is possible from a child's point of view. The film premiered at last year’s Venice Days where it won the Prix Europa Cinemas and Laterna Magica awards. It has gone on to win awards at more than 20 festivals, including the Golden Lion at the Polish Film Festival and prizes at the Sao Paulo International Film Festival, the Miami International Film Festival, the Tokyo International Film Festival -- and has been distributed in about 30 countries (but not the U.S.). Discussion following with director Andrzej Jakimowski. VENICE WEST & THE LA SCENE - Swinging in the Shadows Part One ('06, 58m) Mary Kerr's engaging documentary on the early Ferus, Syndell Studio, Gas House, and Venice West Café (now Sponto Gallery) connecting art and poetry. What took place in these spaces, studios and in the "pads" in Venice and LA were the roots of what developed into a very professional; but still, energetic Los Angeles art scene. The surviving poets, most20still living in poverty, remain true to the uncompromising spirit they forged in the 50s. "The myth of the muse set our spines straight directed" -Tony Scibella Vera Cruz This exciting Western, set in 1860 Mexico, features Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster involved in a plot to overthrow Emperor Maximilian. A lively and entertaining melodrama, Vera Cruz is highlighted by the use of many unusual locations, and its alternating touches of comedy and suspense. Also starring Cesar Romero, Ernest Borgnine, and Charles Bronson. THE VERDICT, 1982, 20th Century Fox, 129 min. Sidney Lumet (PRINCE OF THE CITY; DOG DAY AFTERNOON) directs Paul Newman as Frank Galvin, a washed-up alcoholic Boston lawyer who is tossed a malpractice case by a successful colleague (Jack Warden). Ready to settle out of court until he realizes the full impact of what has happened to his client’s family, he stubbornly digs in, taking on the Catholic archdiocese, which runs the offending hospital, and their condescending shark of a lawyer (James Mason). Behind the scenes, Galvin tries to navigate the rough terrain of his romance with younger Laura (Charlotte Rampling). Nominated for five Oscars: Best Picture, Actor (Newman), Supporting Actor (Mason), Director (Lumet), Screenplay (David Mamet). "The performances, the dialogue and the plot all work together like a rare machine." – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times WARNER BROS. CARTOON PROGRAM, 18 shorts, 114 min. During its peak period in the 1930s, '40s, '50s, and ‘60s, Warner Bros. was home to the funniest and most inventive cartoons ever made. Disney had class and family appeal, but Warners had mavericks like Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and Frank Tashlin letting their imaginations run wild. These maestros created Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, among dozens of other unforgettable characters. This program stars these and other audience favorites, and includes beloved classics like WHAT'S OPERA DOC? and ONE FROGGY EVENING. WENDY AND LUCY, 2008, Oscilloscope Laboratories, 80 min. Acclaimed director Kelly Reichardt’s (RIVER OF GRASS) subtle storytelling technique uses a formal minimalist style to weave together a unique emotional and political road film. Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) stars as Wendy Carol, who is driving to Ketchikan, Alaska, in the hopes of a summer of lucrative work at the Northwestern Fish cannery, and to start a new life with her dog Lucy. When her car breaks down in Oregon, however, the thin fabric of her financial situation comes apart, and she confronts a series of increasingly dire economic decisions, with far ranging repercussions for herself and Lucy. WENDY AND LUCY addresses issues of sympathy and generosity at the edges of American life, revealing the limits and depths of people’s duty to each other in tough times. With Wally Dalton, Larry Fessenden, Will Oldham, John Robinson and Will Patton. Sneak Preview! WUSA, 1970, Paramount, 115 min. LUKE director Stuart Rosenberg reunites with Paul Newman on this overlooked and underrated adaptation of Robert Stone's Hall of Mirrors (Stone also wrote Dog Soldiers, which was filmed as WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN). Newman is an itinerant, hard-drinking disc jockey who shows up in New Orleans looking for a job. Con man buddy Laurence Harvey, masquerading as a fundamentalist preacher, points Newman to WUSA, a right-wing radio station run by megalomaniac Pat Hingle. Taking a gig reading news, Newman gradually becomes disgusted by the blatant lies spewed by the station. Meanwhile, naive social worker Anthony Perkins is unaware he’s being used by Hingle to help perpetrate a welfare-fraud smear on ghetto residents. Joanne Woodward is a down-on-her-luck wanderer, trying to find work and occasionally resorting to the generosity of strange men to get along. Newman and Woodward drift into a romance that may be doomed by the events unfolding around them, and Hingle’s manipulative schemes gradually escalate, culminating in a violent, anarchic climax. Great New Orleans location work and Mardi Gras footage, with a storyline more relevant than ever, especially in the criminally negligent aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. WUSA has not been screened on TV since the early 1990s and has never been available on video. NOT ON DVD YEAR OF THE DRAGON, 1985, Warner Bros., 134 min. New York police captain and Vietnam veteran Mickey Rourke takes on Chinese crime boss John Lone in this violent, riveting thriller scripted by Oliver Stone. Director Michael Cimino does some of his best work with his usual themes -- male friendships and betrayal, the importance of ritual and American-Asian cultural collision -- in this visually stylish and viscerally charged action film. "Cimino's eye for detail and insistence thereon has paid off in his impressive re-creation of Chinatown at producer Dino De Laurentiis' studios in North Carolina. Crammed with an array of interesting characters, including the extras in the background, DRAGON brims with authenticity." – Variety YOU'RE TELLING ME! 1934, Universal, 64 min. Dir. Erle C. Kenton. W.C. Fields plays Sam Bisbee, a failed inventor who is the laughing stock of his neighbors due to his drunkenness and general ineptitude. Everything changes when he befriends a foreign princess whose appearance in town forces the upper crust to accept Sam as one of their own.