a highly-opinionated selection of things happening around town, and sometimes out of town. this month's page here.
wed. dec. 1 pioneering silent animation 8 PM @ silent movie theatre the abyssinians @ dub club @ echoplex thu. dec. 2 louis ck @ gibson amphitheatre another year FREE @ melnitz movies @ ucla james bridges theater experiment in terror, die! die! darling @ aero moment trigger @ LACE the bullets, queen p & the apologies @ airliner exit through the gift shop 8 PM @ silent movie theatre fri. dec. 3 high plains drifter MIDNIGHT @ nuart the illusionist (preview screening), the triplets of belleville @ ucla film archive breathless (1960), contempt @ new beverly gone with the pope MIDNIGHT @ new beverly aloe blacc @ echoplex jason simon, exploding flowers @ the satellite liars, john wiese @ thesex surviving life (theory and practice) @ silent movie theatre sat. dec. 4 breathless (1960) 3:45 7:30 PM, contempt 5:30 9:20 PM @ new beverly nightmares MIDNIGHT @ new beverly the seven samurai @ aero giant drag @ detroit bar green and wood @ three clubs she saw @ mime school in the attic 2 PM @ silent movie theatre piercing one 4:30 PM @ silent movie theatre the adventures of mark twain 7:15 PM @ silent movie theatre gravity was everywhere back then (w/ live score) 10 PM @ silent movie theatre daylong valleys of the nile, dunes @ the smell sun. dec. 5 nels cline, han bennink, etc @ ucla royce hall barry lyndon @ egyptian theatre the mantles, catwalk @ the echo don't need you FREE 3 PM @ meltdown will vinton shorts 1:45 PM @ silent movie theatre midori-ko 4:30 PM @ silent movie theatre fantastic planet (w/ live score) 8:30 PM @ silent movie theatre mon. dec. 6 summer twins FREE 9 PM @ silverlake lounge a christmas story 8 PM @ arclight hollywood surviving life (theory and practice) 10:30 PM @ silent movie theatre tue. dec. 7 the illusionist (sneak preview) 8 PM @ silent movie theatre i walked with a zombie 1 PM @ lacma jonathan richman @ troubadour deranged, deathdream @ grindhouse film fest @ new beverly wed. dec. 8 jonathan richman @ troubadour darker my love @ music box south of the border @ aero thu. dec. 9 gasland 8 PM @ silent movie theatre jonathan richman @ detroit bar brent weinbach @ smug shift @ ucb theatre fri. dec. 10 raising arizona MIDNIGHT @ nuart trouble in mind, making of 'trouble in mind', the moderns @ new beverly play it as it lays, the swimmer @ egyptian theatre goodfellas, mean streets @ aero sat. dec. 11 polls @ christmas sweater festival iv @ echoplex the chess players @ lacma making of 'trouble in mind' 5:50 PM, trouble in mind 7 PM, the moderns 9:35 PM @ new beverly the darkening trail @ spielberg theatre @ egyptian theatre the abyssinians @ detroit bar damien youth FREE @ three clubs sun. dec. 12 solaris (1972) 7 PM @ new beverly 48th annual ann arbor film festival tour: video program one @ filmforum @ spielberg theater @ egyptian theater die hard, die hard 2 @ egyptian theatre carlos (5.5 hour cut) @ aero the sound we see @ echo park film center mon. dec. 13 solaris (1972) 8 PM @ new beverly fantastic planet, chronopolis @ ucla film archive la font FREE 10 PM @ silverlake lounge and everything is going fine @ lacma christmas vacation 8 PM @ arclight hollywood tue. dec. 14 the fine art of goofing off 8 PM @ silent movie theatre tame impala @ echoplex black christmas, silent night bloody night @ grindhouse film fest @ new beverly wed. dec. 15 nanook of the north (w/ live score) 8 PM @ silent movie theatre low (christmas tour) @ the satellite valhalla rising, bronson @ new beverly sullivan's travels, the miracle of morgan's creek @ egyptian theatre catwalk @ mezz bar thu. dec. 16 valhalla rising, bronson @ new beverly fri. dec. 17 enter the void 8:00 11:00 PM @ new beverly days of heaven, mccabe & mrs. miller @ aero jon brion @ largo OFF!, thee oh sees, nobunny @ thesex sat. dec. 18 enter the void 5:30 8:30 PM @ new beverly lawrence of arabia (70mm) @ aero sic alps, trmrs @ the satellite dirt dress 11 PM @ soundbite studios sun. dec. 19 green and wood (early show) @ the echo ben-hur @ egyptian theatre dash jacket, the lovely bad things @ the smell mon. dec. 20 celestial celluloid 6 PM @ 7 dudley cinema agent ribbons, the moor, rachel fannan @ bootleg allah-las FREE @ the satellite tue. dec. 21 citizen kane FREE 1 PM @ lacma dum dum girls @ echoplex christmas evil, new year's evil @ grindhouse film fest @ new beverly wed. dec. 22 mesrine: killer instinct, mesrine: public enemy #1 @ new beverly matu @ silverlake lounge thu. dec. 23 mesrine: killer instinct, mesrine: public enemy #1 @ new beverly 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, back to the future the ride @ fmly fest the bank dick, poppy @ aero mon. dec. 27 the godfather, the godfather: part ii @ new beverly kevin greenspon @ pehrspace tue. dec. 28 the godfather, the godfather: part ii @ new beverly wed. dec. 29 the godfather: part iii @ new beverly laura, rebecca @ egyptian theatre it's a wonderful world, the mad miss minton @ aero giant drag @ the satellite thu. dec. 30 the godfather: part iii @ new beverly the godfather @ egyptian theatre ruggles of red gap, remember last night? @ aero fri. dec. 31 the warlocks @ the smell autolux @ the standard (hollywood) sat. jan. 1 the godfather: part ii @ egyptian theatre a day at the races, a night at the opera @ aero sun. jan. 2 raiders of the lost ark 3 PM, the temple of doom, the last crusade @ egyptian theatre his girl friday, trouble in paradise @ aero wed. jan. 5 polls @ silverlake lounge fri. jan. 7 melvins @ the satellite sat. jan. 8 the warriors @ devil's night drive-in fri. jan. 14 her wild oat (w/ live organ accompaniment) @ orpheum melvins @ the satellite budos band @ el rey sat. jan. 15 dead meadow @ the satellite fri. jan. 21 melvins @ the satellite la font @ pehrspace sat. jan. 22 bonossus and the gnomefly @ the smell fri. jan. 28 melvins @ the satellite sat. jan. 29 deerhoof @ echoplex thu. feb. 17 beach house @ music box mon. feb. 21 gang of four @ music box tue. feb. 22 godspeed you black emperor!, om @ fox theater pomona wed. feb. 23 godspeed you black emperor! @ music box thu. feb. 24 quasi @ troubadour best coast, wavves @ music box WHAT IT IS: The Adventures of Mark Twain (25th Aniv. screening, brand-new 35mm print, Will Vinton in person!) The world’s first all-Claymation feature film is Will Vinton’s most ambitious, and ultimately satisfying endeavor. Criminally underseen, barely released, yet critically lauded, The Adventures of Mark Twain is a complex multi-layered story that echoes the convoluted richness of Charlie Kaufman's best creations. What appears to be a kids’ film on the surface (with Huck, Tom and Becky meeting Twain and hitching a ride on his spacebound riverboat) turns out to be rather weighty underneath, exploring the same themes of mortality and ethical conflict that Twain explored in his own works. Where it gets strange, however, is when we quickly realize that said riverboat is on a deliberate suicide run to meet Halley’s Comet (steered by Twain’s bizarro alter ego), and that’s just in the first ten minutes! From there, Will’s daring, lysergic vision of Satan, the black void, Adam and Eve, and meta-representations of Twain’s stories equal what Michael Medved has called “the most original and audacious animated feature film since Disney’s Fantasia.” Will Vinton will be here in person for a Q&A after the film! Dir. Will Vinton, 1986, 35mm, 86 min. AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE Steven Soderbergh directs this intimate and unique portrait of performer/writer/raconteur Spalding Gray. A fixture on the New York stage, Gray co-founded The Wooster Group, an experimental theater ensemble, in 1975 and perfected the art of the monologue, transforming his tumultuous life—a crazed childhood in postwar Rhode Island, his mother's suicide, his picaresque world travels and brushes with celebrity—into hilarious, freewheeling and poignant first-person narratives. In January 2004 Gray disappeared from his Sag Harbor home. Tragically, his body was found in the East River two months later. He was 62. Conceived as Gray's final monologue, And Everything is Going Fine renders the artist in the words of his most critical, irreverent and insightful biographer: Gray himself. "The best movie I saw during the Sundance Film Festival… exquisitely fabricated… Soderbergh collages excerpts from videotapes of Gray's performances, TV interview clips, and bits of home movies, allowing Gray to tell his own story just as he did on stage for 25 years, his brilliantly timed gallows humor matched by equally brilliant editing."—Amy Taubin, Film Comment. 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 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. 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. 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. THE DARKENING TRAIL, 54 min. Before Blu-ray, before even VHS, there was 8mm film. William S. Hart’s directorial debut from 1915 demonstrates the director’s intuitive grasp of the new medium with its deeply nuanced characterizations and shadowy compositions. A departure from Hart’s signature Westerns, this moody melodrama of unrequited love, infidelity and revenge takes place in frontier Alaska. With shorts including Pacific Electric's 1915 training film on trolley car safety and D.W. Griffith's "Oil and Water" (1913) with Blanche Sweet. Retroformat's First Anniversary Screening! DEATHDREAM Andy (Richard Backus), a young American soldier in Vietnam, is shot dead by a sniper at the exact moment that his mother makes a desperate prayer for his safe return. Surprisingly, Andy does return home, but in a strange state, spending his days staring blankly at the walls waiting for nightfall, when he roams the streets with a thirst for human blood. One of the first films to confront the affects of the Vietnam War on the homefront, this low-budget variation of The Monkey's Paw masks an interesting glimpse at American perceptions of the war behind its creepy horror. Co-stars John Marley (The Godfather) and Lynn Carlin (Faces) and features the special effects debut of Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead). "A potent and compelling thriller" (Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times). Bob Clark---USA---1974---88 mins. DERANGED An unusual combination of restrained, assured direction and gory, sensational aspects. It follows a psychotic farmer (based not-so-loosely on real-life serial killer Ed Gein) who uses the corpses of young female victims to keep his deceased mother company. Roberts Blossom gives a strong performance as the killer. Deranged includes some subtle black humor. directed by Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby; written by Alan Ormsby; starring Roberts Blossom, Cosette Lee, Leslie Carlson, Robert Warner, Marcia Diamond and Brian Smeagle. 1974, USA / Canada, 82 minutes DIE! DIE! MY DARLING!, 1965, Sony Repertory, 97 min. Dir. Silvio Narizzano. Tallulah Bankhead is one mean matriarch in this chiller. When Patricia Carroll’s (Stefanie Powers) fiance dies, his mother, Mrs. Trefoile (Bankhead) blames Patricia for her son's death and begins to terrorize her in ways both demented and spine-tingling. [35mm] Discussion between films with actress Stefanie Powers. DON'T NEED YOU In the gallery at Meltdown Comics, False Start will host a free screening of “Don’t Need You,” a short documentary about the origins of Riot Grrrl, a feminist punk rock movement from the early 1990s. Through making music, playing shows and writing zines, Riot Grrrls created a movement centered on creativity, self-expression and making marginalized voices heard. In addition to the screening there will be an art show of work that embodies the do-it-yourself, low art, punk rock spirit of Riot Grrrl. The documentary is 40 minutes long and there will be zines to browse and buy, some booze to sip on for those that are 21+ (bring your own, too!), and of course, art to look at! It’ll be a fun, relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon! EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, 1962, Sony Repertory, 123 min. Lee Remick is a bank teller whose teenage sister (Stefanie Powers) is kidnapped by creepy, asthmatic Ross Martin (Artemus Gordon on TV’s "The Wild, Wild West"), a sociopathic crook brewing an extortion plot. Glenn Ford is the no-nonsense FBI agent who steps in after a terrified Remick contacts the agency. Director Blake Edwards demonstrates his skill at creating dark atmosphere and nail-biting suspense, honed on "Peter Gunn," the TV show he created. After BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and THE PINK PANTHER (both Edwards films), composer Henry Mancini graces us with his most memorable (and sinister) score. 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. 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: 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. 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. Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then (w/ live score featuring members of Fugazi and Giant Sand, & Brent Green in person!) "Buoyed by a series of bizarre but ravishing images of hope and redemption...a glorious artifact." - Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine Backwoods wunderkind Brent Green returns to Cinefamily with his first feature, which is accompanied by a live band featuring Brendan Canty of Fugazi and Howe Gelb of Giant Sand! Gravity, a visionary labor of love and lunacy that echoes the mournful, carefully hewn artfulness of Green’s early experimental animations, follows the surreal true story of Leonard Wood, a Kentucky hardware clerk who in the ‘70s built a strangely-shaped, nearly German Expressionist house on his property in the belief that it could cure his wife's terminal cancer. Green's fevered narration belies a deep understanding of the subject's compassionate compulsions; for the film's set, Green referred to plans Wood had scrawled on a piece of cardboard to reconstruct his home, four other houses, a handmade piano, a sixteen-foot glowing moon, and a giant, wooden God. Sitting comfortably between the wistful, knowing decay of Guy Maddin and the beautiful, caustic wisdom of Flannery O' Connor, Gravity testifies to the potential redemptive sanctity of human creation. HIS GIRL FRIDAY, 1940, Sony Repertory, 92 min. Dir. Howard Hawks. For decades considered 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 BRINGING UP 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. Featuring some of the most rapid-fire dialogue ever, by screenwriters Charles Lederer, Ben Hecht and Charles McArthur. 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. In The Attic (L.A. premiere!) Imagine a dusty, surrealist version of Toy Story where the film’s affable cast has the aged and worn quality of a teddy bear, the delicate allure of a weathered, but still beautiful doll. Czech visionary Jiri Barta realizes this dolorous dreamland with In the Attic, a stop-motion film executed with old-school skill of a Jan Svankmajer or George Pal. Where Pixar's plastic protagonists revolved around their allegiance to their owner, Barta’s weathered, wooden heroes live an independent life, having formed their own commonwealth, just as they would in a young girl’s fantasy world. Add to this wit and whimsy the allegorical overtones handed-down from the remnants of old communist leaders, and you have a wonderful film, sure to delight adults and the smallest of children in equal measure. The triumph of this film (Barta’s first stop-motion feature in 25 years) is not only in its technical and creative complexity, but also in its completion after a career fraught with funding struggles and halted masterpieces. Without a doubt, In the Attic demonstrates more bittersweet charm in one hand-crafted, paint-chipped paw than an entire army of CGI pandas. IT’S A WONDERFUL WORLD, 1939, MGM Repertory, 84 min. Dir. W.S. Van Dyke. The unbeatably likable Jimmy Stewart stars in this crime comedy as Guy Johnson, a detective with a heart of gold who gets caught hiding a wrongly accused friend. When both Guy and his friend are hauled into the police station, tried in court and sentenced to prison time, Guy unearths a new clue that may rescue them both and point the feds in the direction of the real criminal. With Claudette Colbert as Guy's delightful love interest. THE MAD MISS MANTON, 1938, Warner Bros., 80 min, Dir. Leigh Jason. Beautiful, charismatic Melsa Manton (a radiant Barbara Stanwyck) discovers a dead body, but when the corpse mysteriously disappears, the police and press accuse the charming socialite of being an irresponsible prankster. It is up to Melsa to prove them wrong, and to be fabulous once more. With Henry Fonda and Sam Levene. MESRINE: KILLER INSTINCT Vincent Cassel is equally charming and chilling in this two-part saga of the infamous life of times of Jacques Mesrine, France's most wanted criminal during the '60s and '70s. In Part 1, Mesrine: Killer Instinct, Jacques returns home to his wife (Elena Anaya) after serving in Algeria, but is soon pulled into a life of crime by an elder mobster (Gerard Depardieu). He also gets pulled into a romance with fellow ne'er-do-well Cecile de France. After a brush with death, the pair flees to Canada, where Mesrine is placed in a backwards prison and bides his time until returning to captivate France with his robberies, murders, and mayhem in Part 2. Winner of Cesar and Lumiere Awards for Best Actor. Jean-Francois Richet---France---2008---113 mins. MESRINE: PUBLIC ENEMY #1 Vincent Cassel is equally charming and chilling in this two-part saga of the infamous life of times of Jacques Mesrine, France's most wanted criminal during the '60s and '70s. With increased amounts of violence and verve, Public Enemy No. 1 charts Mesrine's rise to celebrity outlaw status and his inevitable demise. In total, director Jean-Francois Richet (Assault on Precinct 13) has created a stylized gangster flick that's ultimately less about Mesrine's psychology and more about how Vincent Cassel is a badass actor. Jean-Francois Richet---France---2008---133 mins. Midori-ko (U.S. premiere!) One of the must-see gems making its premiere at our festival, Midori-Ko is adored Japanese animator Keita Kurosaka's whimsically nightmarish vision of 21st-century Tokyo on the brink of apocalypse. Ten years in the making and entirely, single-handedly rendered in colored pencil, Kurosaka's fantastical labor of love is a marvel to behold. Emerging from the staggering detail and craft flooding every frame is the story of a young woman who sets out to engineer a dream-food that can put an end to the world's famine. Synthesizing Frédéric Back's subtle, haptic textures with Bill Plympton's frenetic mutations and David Lynch's haunting wormholes, Kurosaka’s work still retains its own singular, luminous potency. THE MODERNS Alan Rudolph recreates the cafe society of Paris in 1926 in his 12th feature. Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Marcel Duchamp are background figures in this intriguing tale of art forgery and complicated human relationships. Rudolph's patented romantic melancholy fits well into the setting, resulting in a "historical fiction" that resonates emotionally. With Keith Carradine, Linda Fiorentino, Genevieve Bujold, Wallace Shawn, Geraldine Chaplin and John Lone as the ruthless art collector. Alan Rudolph---USA---1988---126 mins. Nanook of the North (w/ new live score by Beck's musical director Brian LeBarton!) Multi-instrumentalist and electronic music whiz Brian LeBarton, who for years has been the close collaborative partner of one Beck Hansen, and who recently co-composed/recorded the music of Sex Bob-omb (the fake band in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) comes to the Cinefamily to bring his unique aural vision to classic films from the silent era! The second film in 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. NIGHTMARES (from IMDB) Four horror tales based on urban legends. The first story 'Terror in Topanga' has a smoking addict going out to buy some cigarettes despite there being a killer in the neighborhood. The second story 'Bishop of Battle' has a teenager who becomes so good at a video game that the game comes to life to collect him. The third story, 'The Benediction' (based on Steven Spielberg's 'Duel'), has a priest who has lost his faith, leaving his monastery and stalked on the road by a black pick-up truck from hell, literally. The fourth story 'Night of the Rat' (loosely based on 'Poltergeist') has a couple, along with their young daughter, battling a giant rat living in their suburban home. directed by Joseph Sargent, starring Cristina Raines, Emilio Estevez, Moon Unit Zappa, Billy Jayne, Richard Masur, Veronica Cartwright & more! 1983, USA, 99 minutes Piercing 1 (U.S. premiere!) Liu Jan’s Piercing 1, the first-ever Chinese independent feature film, is a bold and biting meditation on the dire state of modern-day China’s economy. Jian took it upon himself to singlehandedly finance and bring his uncompromising vision to life; after selling his house, emptying his savings and borrowing from every possible relative, he spent the next three years animating his first feature on a WACOM graphic tablet. A gripping story of one man’s travails as he transitions from pastoral China to the big city, Piercing 1 follows the hapless Zhang Xiaojun, his journey towards disillusionment and subsequent convergence with a cast of similarly desperate characters. In response to the film’s screening at Annecy, critic Thierry Meranger wrote: “Dry and without concessions, [Jian’s] first feature . . . is a vivid sign of Chinese animation's return." 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!) REMEMBER LAST NIGHT?, 1935, Universal, 81 min. Director James Whale (FRANKENSTEIN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN) goes screwball with this charming mystery comedy. After a night of debauchery at a friend’s party, a couple (Tony Young and Constance Cummings) awakens the following morning to discover a murdered body. A police investigation ensues, but all of the witnesses were so drunk during the party that no one can remember a lick about the crime! RUGGLES OF RED GAP, 1935, Universal, 92 min. Dir. Leo McCarey. This McCarey classic stars Charles Laughton as a veddy proper English valet who’s won in a poker game by a man from the Wild West (Charlie Ruggles), setting off a culture clash. With Mary Boland, ZaSu Pitts, Roland Young, Leila Hyams and many others. Remember: Always bring the pot to the kettle! SOUTH OF THE BORDER, 2009, Cinema Libre Studio, 78 min. Dir. Oliver Stone. There’s a revolution under way in South America, but most of the world doesn’t know it. Oliver Stone embarks on a road trip across five countries to explore the social and political movements as well as the mainstream media’s misperception of South America. In casual conversations with the presidents of Brazil, Argentina and Cuba among many others, Stone gains unprecedented access and sheds new light upon the exciting transformations in the region. "Feisty, entertaining..." - Time Out London. "...a necessary tilt at US media paranoia..." - Jonathan Romney, The Independent. [35mm] Discussion following with director Oliver Stone and editor Elisa Bonora, moderated by Silvia Bizio. Surviving Life (Theory and Practice) (U.S. premiere!) Surviving Life (Theory and Practice), the latest -- and if his claims are to be believed, last -- offering of madness from Jan Švankmajer (Faust, Little Otik) begins with an apology from the director himself. It seems the Czech master of surrealist animation intended the feature to be fully live-action, but due to budgetary restraints, was forced to adopt a cut-out style (à la Terry Gilliam’s work for Monty Python) to convey the bulk of his newest twisted tale. A self-described “psychoanalytical comedy,” the film follows the travails of soul-deadened office worker Eugene, as he attempts by way of therapy to reconcile his dreary waking life with his increasingly bizarre and rewarding dream life. The two lives quickly begin to get jumbled, however, yielding an onslaught of wild, prismatic visions replete with arguing portraits of Jung and Freud, enormous wrestling tongues and a nude woman with a chicken head. Like any Švankmajer film, Surviving Life is a unique and twisted vision that must be seen to be believed. TROUBLE IN MIND (from IMDB) The lives of an ex-con, a coffee-shop owner, and a young couple looking to make it rich intersect in the fictional and hypnotic Rain City. 25th anniversary! NEW 35mm print! Several members of the cast and crew IN PERSON on Saturday! written & directed by Alan Rudolph, starring Kris Kristofferson, Keith Carradine, Lori Singer, Geneviève Bujold, Joe Morton, Divine. 1985, USA, 111 minutes. with: "Making of Trouble In Mind" 2010, USA, 50 minutes. Debut screening of 50 min. documentary featuring new interviews with Alan Rudolph and cast and crew; note: screened from a digital source TROUBLE IN PARADISE, 1932, Paramount, 83 min. In this classic by director Ernst Lubitsch, posh European thief Gaston Monescu (Herbert Marshall) meets his match and the love of his life in Lily (Miriam Hopkins), a pickpocket who disguises herself as a countess. The mischievous duo find work with the lovely Mariet Colet (Kay Francis), owner of the Colet perfumery, and Gaston assumes the position of her secretary, Monsieur Leval. When gossip begins to spread that Mariet is being stolen away from previous suitors by a charming "M. Leval," Gaston must choose between the two beautiful women in his life. Will Vinton Shorts (w/ Will Vinton in person!) He may not be a household name, but Will Vinton has ushered the medium of Claymation into ubiquity. He even coined the term itself, trademarked it the year he established his own studio -- and his work has been nothing short of iconic, to the point where any ‘80s time capsule would be incomplete without a figurine of one of his soul-singing raisins. The Domino’s Pizza “Noid”? Yes. The “Gnome King” in Return to Oz, and Michael Jackson as a moonwalking bunny? Check. And of course, those California Raisins? All vintage Vinton! An Oscar, five Emmies, beloved holiday specials, and thirty-four years later, Will is still breaking ground in his commercial and independent work, and LAAF is proud to both have him as our guest of honor, and to award him for his lifetime spent molding animation memories. Back in the early ‘70s, Vinton founded his studio in order to explore the potential of Claymation, and this series of shorts is undeniable proof of his success. This special program showcases a wide selection of works spanning his career, from his most obscure work to his most beloved, including Closed Mondays, his first independent short, which garnered him the 1975 Academy Award for Best Animated Film! The detail and innovation of Closed Mondays is still startling today, so it's no surprise that three other films in this show (The Great Cognito, The Creation, and Rip Van Winkle) also earned Oscar nods. In addition to these films, we’ll also see more shorts from Will’s deep well of stop-motion mastery, a nostalgic reel of his memorable work in the realm of the thirty-second commercial spot, and a rare screening of the entire CBS special "Meet The Raisins"!