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

fri. dec. 9

harvest: 3,000 years @ ucla film archive
we need to talk about kevin 2:30 5:00 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre
the soft pack, abe vigoda @ the echo
jonathan richman @ the smell
lawrence of arabia (70mm) @ aero
echo park film center 10-year anniversary party (live music and films TBA) 8-11 PM @ stories
ocote soul sounds @ satellite
blue velvet, twin peaks: fire walk with me @ egyptian

sat. dec. 10

when it rains, passing through @ ucla film archive
we need to talk about kevin 1:30 4:00 6:45 9:30 MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theatre
the hustler, carrie @ egyptian
2001: a space odyssey (70mm) @ aero
steamboat bill jr. 7 PM, modern times, the bank dick @ new beverly
christmas evil MIDNIGHT @ new beverly
silent film screenings 7 PM @ epfc filmmobile @ vons parking lot on alvarado
awaara @ lacma
lucky dragons @ the smell
l'aura moire @ decadance super soiree @ mr. t's
die hard @ devil's night drive-in

sun. dec. 11

loons @ casbah (SD)
we need to talk about kevin 1:30 4:00 6:45 9:30 MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theatre
the tree of life 5 PM @ egyptian
ann arbor film festival tour program b @ egyptian
the 5000 fingers of dr. t 7 PM, kwaidan @ new beverly
echo park film center 10-year anniversary party (films TBA) 2-6 PM @ the smell
videos by kara walker 11am-5pm @ hammer

mon. dec. 12

naomi uman: the ukrainian time machine 8:30 PM @ redcat
we need to talk about kevin 2:30 5:00 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre
the american friend, alice in the cities @ aero
the umbrellas of cherbourg, chungking express @ new beverly

tue. dec. 13

we need to talk about kevin 2:30 5:00 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre
white heat, throne of blood @ new beverly
stage fright FREE 1:30 PM @ skirball

wed. dec. 14

the day the earth stood still (1951), this island earth @ ucla film archive @ million dollar theater
we need to talk about kevin 2:30 5:00 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre
rififi, topkapi @ egyptian
the man who shot liberty valance, ride the high country @ new beverly
cook county FREE 9:15 PM @ usc ray stark
caitlin plays herself 8 PM @ downtown independent

thu. dec. 15

we need to talk about kevin 2:30 5:00 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre
housekeeping, running on empty @ aero
john c. reilly, becky stark & tom brosseau @ largo
ema & her lady parts @ lot 1

fri. dec. 16

the trip MIDNIGHT @ nuart
scrooged, bad santa (unrated version) @ egyptian
babes in toyland @ aero
hickey & boggs, cutter's way @ new beverly
the adventures of buckaroo banzai across the 8th dimension MIDNIGHT @ new beverly
it's a wonderful life 8 PM @ epfc filmmobile

sat. dec. 17

the rosa parks story FREE 4 PM, selma lord selma @ ucla film archive
the finches @ human resources
retroformat's 2nd anniversary celebration @ spielberg @ egyptian
cinefamily's fantastic elastic 24-hour fundraiser telethon FREE (noon saturday to noon sunday) @ silent movie theatre
god equals genocide @ 5676 york (early show, 5 PM)

sun. dec. 18

ben-hur 5 PM @ egyptian
y tu mama tambien @ aero
women in love, the music lovers @ new beverly

mon. dec. 19

women in love, the music lovers @ new beverly
dunes @ the echo
sea lions, w-h-i-t-e @ pehrspace
a christmas story 8 PM @ arclight hollywood

tue. dec. 20

the naked island 8 PM, kuroneko @ silent movie theatre
black christmas, silent night deadly night @ grindhouse film fest @ new beverly
lawrence of arabia FREE 1 PM @ lacma
bleached @ echo

wed. dec. 21

the naked island 7 PM, postcard @ silent movie theatre
drive, warrior @ new beverly
bad antics FREE @ 5 stars bar

thu. dec. 22

it's a wonderful life @ egyptian
the naked island 8 PM, lucky dragon no. 5 @ silent movie theatre
drive, warrior @ new beverly
suzi star, wrong hole @ the smell

fri. dec. 23

die hard, die hard 2 @  egyptian
it's a wonderful life @ aero
onibaba 8 PM, tree without leaves @ silent movie theatre
jon brion @ largo

sat. dec. 24

battle royale 2:00 4:45 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre

sun. dec. 25

battle royale 2:00 4:45 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre

mon. dec. 26

greatest cartoons ever 2:00 7:00 PM @ alex theatre
battle royale 4:45 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre
sea lions @ the echo

tue. dec. 27

battle royale 3:30 PM @ silent movie theatre

wed. dec. 28

ninotchka, design for living @ aero
battle royale 4:45 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre
the bride wore black, mississippi mermaid @ new beverly
heroes and heroines (10:30) @ silverlake lounge	

thu. dec. 29

it's a mad mad mad mad world (70mm) @ egyptian
sullivan's travels, the lady eve @ aero
battle royale 4:45 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre
the bride wore black, mississippi mermaid @ new beverly
fmly fest day 1 @ cat nap
enter the void @ niche.LA video art
bell gardens (11:00) @ satellite

fri. dec. 30

allah-las, trmrs @ the echo
thee cormans, thee tee pees FREE @ viva cantina
vertigo (70mm) @ egyptian
my man godfrey, twentieth century @ aero
battle royale 3:45 6:30 9:15 PM @ silent movie theatre
new year's evil MIDNIGHT @ silent movie theatre
the bride wore black, mississippi mermaid @ new beverly
fmly fest day 2 @ chuco's

sun. jan. 1

battle royale 2:00 4:45 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre
back to the future 5 PM, back to the future part ii, back to the future part iii @ egyptian
horse feathers 5 PM, animal crackers @ aero

mon. jan. 2

battle royale 4:45 7:30 10:15 PM @ silent movie theatre

wed. jan. 4

the finches @ the smell

thu. jan. 5

jeff garlin & henry rollins @ largo

fri. jan. 6

wild at heart ("uncut" version) MIDNIGHT @ nuart
no age @ the smell

sat. jan. 7

thee cormans @ redwood bar

mon. jan. 9

zongo junction @ the mint

thu. jan. 13

fela! @ troubadour

fri. jan. 14

blood of a poet 3 PM, testament of orpheus FREE @ getty center
the moderns FREE 7 PM @ getty center

sat. jan. 15

tribute to the slits night @ part time punks @ the echo

mon. jan. 17

kill all redneck pricks: a documentary film about a band called karp @ silent movie theatre
experiment in terror 1 PM @ lacma

fri. jan. 20

king tuff @ the smell

sat. jan. 21

the loons @ el cid
the milk of sorrow FREE (RSVP) 1 PM @ lacma
the violin FREE (RSVP) 3 PM @ lacma
driftwood singers @ the echo (early show)
luckman jazz orchestra: tribute to hank mobley @ luckman fine arts

sun. jan. 22

no age @ moca pdc

tue. jan. 24

beat the devil 1 PM @ lacma

fri. jan. 27

the other conquest FREE (RSVP) @ lacma

sat. jan. 28

dukes of hamburg, thee tee pees, the teutonics, the chuckleberries FREE @ viva cantina

wed. feb. 8

thee silver mt. zion memorial orchestra @ troubadour

sun. feb. 12

grimble grumble @ my bloody valentine tribute night @ the echo

thu. feb. 16

yael bartana & dani gal: hammer screenings 7 PM @ hammer

sat. feb. 25

bleached @ bootleg

thu. mar. 1

roky erickson @ el rey

sat. mar. 3

white fence, ty segall, mikal cronin @ troubadour


1974, 110 min, West Germany, Dir: Wim Wenders
At an airport beset with delays, journalist Philip Winter (Rudiger Vogler) is booking a flight home to his native Germany from the United States in an attempt to distract himself from a particularly clingy bout of writer's block, when he meets and befriends fellow German Lisa and her nine-year-old daughter Alice (Yella Rotlander). Philip agrees to temporarily look after Alice when the three share a hotel room for the evening, but it quickly becomes apparent that the mother has no immediate plans of returning for her child. Together Philip and Alice travel to Europe and begin a search through various German cities for Alice's grandmother in director Wim Wenders' sensitive and thoughtful meditation on loneliness and the surprising ways companionship can surface. In German with English subtitles.

1977, 125 min, West Germany, Dir: Wim Wenders
When mild-mannered frame maker Jonathan (Bruno Ganz) learns he is dying, his art smuggling friend Ripley (Dennis Hopper) comes up with a diabolical idea: Jonathan should become a mob hit man in order to make money for his estate. Working from Patricia Highsmith's novel RIPLEY'S GAME, Wim Wenders creates one of his finest films, a noir set in an urban milieu where morality seems to be crumbling away before the characters' very eyes. With Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller. In German with English subtitles.

Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour – Program B
The 49th Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival Tour
Recent documentary, animation, independent and experimental films from the 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival.  In person: Laida Lertxundi, Paul Gailiunas! (schedules permitting)
Los Angeles Filmforum presents the 2011 edition of the 49th AAFF Traveling Tour, giving Los Angeles audiences a chance to see the best new experimental works from around the world!  This program of short films includes recent experimental, narrative, documentary and animated films selected from the most recent Ann Arbor Film Festival. The program includes Fern Silva's 2010 film In the Absence of Light, Darkness Prevails (winner of Best Experimental Film at the AAFF), a journey through Brazil and a mystical tale of creation and destruction inspired by a prayer to the maternal ocean goddess Iemanjá.
Laida Lertxundi's 16mm film Cry When It Happens, "a restrained psychodrama of play, loss, and the transformation of everyday habitats" begins in a dingy motel room with a view of Los Angeles City Hall before traversing into an expansive California landscape (shot in the bucolic Montaña de Oro State Park) punctuated by the Blue Rondos' 1964 song "Little Baby." "Lertxundi probably has a better sense of bodily relations, suburban detail, and epic landscape, spaces rising deep in the frame instead of receding, than anyone in America, but her accumulation of precisions makes a through line of disembodied gazes, very much of 2011, in which each portal seems to lead forward or back to the next." -David Phelps, The L Magazine
The program concludes with the final film from the late animator Helen Hill (1971-2007), completed in 2010 by her husband Paul Gailiunas. Hill was one of the most well-regarded experimental animators of her generation and began The Florestine Collection upon her discovery of more than 100 handmade dresses in a trash pile one Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans. She set out to make a film about the dressmaker, an elderly seamstress who had recently passed away. Other works include Berlin Tracks 18h00-20h00, a mesmerizing and rhythmic view of railway tracks in Berlin, by Shiloh Cinquemani; Miramare, an animated look at life on the Mediterranean borders of Europe by Croatian animator Michaela Muller; Protoparticluas, a humorous science fiction film from Spanish filmmaker Chema García Ibarra; and Atlantiques, a documentary that recounts the odyssey of Senegalese friends who attempt a life-threatening boat crossing by filmmaker Mati Diop (lead actress in Claire Denis's recent 35 Rhums).

Raj Kapoor was one of the first Hindi directors to receive wide recognition and acclaim outside of his Indian homeland and among the first to compete for the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival with his 1951 film Awaara. An actor and mogul as well as a director, Kapoor is also synonymous with the rise of Bollywood. He is revered not only in India but also throughout the former Soviet world, the Middle East, and beyond for the films he made during the Golden Age of Indian cinema. Beginning his career acting in his father Prithviraj’s famed theater company and then in small film roles starting in 1935, Kapoor founded RK Films in 1948 and made his debut as producer, director, and star with the hit film Aag (Fire), in which he starred for the first time with his onscreen muse Nargis. Deriving his screen persona from the smirk and swagger of Clark Gable, the heightened emotions and showmanship of Gene Kelly, and most significantly Charlie Chaplin’s underdog heroism and sense of pathos, Kapoor rapidly became the biggest superstar in Indian cinema. Meanwhile, his stylistic innovations and meticulous craftsmanship as a director helped set the template for the Bollywood film as it is today. Awaara (The Vagabond) was a global sensation. Only twenty-six at the time of production, Kapoor commands the screen as the film’s title character, a charming vagrant unaware of his high-class roots. It marks the first appearance of Kapoor’s iconic tramp alter ego—a sly street urchin who stands in for India’s downtrodden—and boasts a twelve-minute surrealist dream sequence of staggering proportions.
1951/b&w/193 min.  Scr: K.A. Abbas, V.P. Sathe; dir: Raj Kapoor; w/ Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Prithviraj Kapoor, Leela Chitnis

1934, 77 min, USA, Dir: Gus Meins, Charley Rogers
The Victor Herbert operetta was adapted as a musical comedy vehicle for funnyman duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and it remains as fantastically fresh and entertaining as when it was first released. In addition to the whimsical slapstick hijinks supplied by the boys, the fantasy elements are especially well-handled with the march of the wooden soldiers and the shivery climactic invasion of the bogeymen emerging as memorable highlights.

Humphrey Bogart stars as one of five disreputable adventurers who are trying to get uranium out of East Africa. Bogart's associates include pompous fraud Robert Morley, and Peter Lorre as the German-accented "O'Hara", whose wartime record is forever a source of speculation and suspicion. Becoming involved in Bogart's machinations are a prim British married couple (Edward Underdown and blonde-wigged Jennifer Jones). As a climax to their many misadventures and double-crosses, the uranium seekers end up facing extermination by an Arab firing squad. The satirical nature of Beat the Devil eluded many moviegoers in 1953, and the film was a failure. The fact that the picture attained cult status in lesser years failed to impress its star Humphrey Bogart, who could only remember that he lost a considerable chunk of his own money when he became involved in the project. Peter Viernick worked on the script on an uncredited basis. 
1954/b&w/100 min.  Scr: Truman Capote, John Huston; dir: John Huston; w/ Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Robert Morley, Peter Lorre

When Caitlin, an uncompromising artist who creates both personal and political work, performs nude in her show about the BP oil spill, it sends her relationship with her on and off again boyfriend into a tailspin.  As she directs her energy toward sustainable living and a series of dates with other guys, she realizes the difficulty of trying to save the world when you can't even make sense of your own life.  (57 min)  produced and directed by Joe Swanberg.   Q&A with Joe Swanberg, and party to follow from 9:30-11:30pm.  Stay for the party and be in Joe's next movie!  In typical productive mode, Joe will shoot some 10 minutes of footage of the party to include in his next movie!

We’re putting on a telethon. In our theater. A mammoth, free-admission, 24-hour, entertainment-packed, star-studded, shill-filled, Jerry Lewis-style “holiday” party telethon. We’ve gone programmin’ crazy! You see, it’s that time of year again. That special, warm and fuzzy holiday time — when year-end appeals from beloved non-profits begin. But just like the way Cinefamily approaches world-class cinema, our fundraising doesn’t have to be a pain in the ass — it can be a vital, stimulating, fun experience.
So, we’ve decided that our first ever membership drive should be the most adventurous, challenging, and memorable thing we’ve ever done.
From noon on December 17th, to noon on December 18th, the Cinefamily will be open for 24 straight hours. We will host one awesome event after another, showcasing as many different kinds of movie theatre experiences as we can, with the whole extended Cinefamily on board — as many different co-presenters, hosts and friends as we can fit under one roof. And beyond — ‘cause we’re live-streaming the whole thing on the internet, so everyone from Pomona to Poughkeepsie can enjoy!
Events so far:
- A Conversation with Elliott Gould
- Spike Jonze will do a Show & Tell session of clips from his career
-Benicio Del Toro will present Kanedo Shinto’s The Naked Island (to launch our Shindo retrospective)
- Doug Benson and surprise guests will do a specially-constructed multi-movie Movie Interruption.
- No Age & Friends (including Lance Bangs, Doug Aitken, and Patrick O’Dell) will play, and curate a show at 1AM.
- Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields will host a program at 3AM that we’re calling “FILMS YOU CANT GO TO SLEEP TO”, with original ditties on the uke to intro each short film.
- Jake Austen (Roctober Magazine) will present a special video show on Outsider Music, hosted by Neil Hamburger, and followed by live performances by Guy Chookoorian & Paul Zone (of The Fast)
- Jerry Beck will host “Saturday Morning Cartoons on Sunday Morning”
- Jonathan Gold (L.A. Weekly’s Pullitzer Prize-winning food critic) will give a lecture on “Food and Film”
- Thu Tran (Food Party) will show a new short film about her experiments in black-light food, and will set up a special black-lit restaurant on our backyard patio.
-Everything is Mini-Festival! – ninety-minute late night block of comedy and found footage insanity, including a sneak peak at the first complete footage from Everything is Terrible’s Doggie Woggiez, the Holy Mountain of doggie movies.
- And, when it’s all over at noon on Sunday the 18th, as a reward to all those who all make an annual membership level donation or higher — we’ll have a screening of Les Blank’s legendary unreleased documentary on Leon Russell, A Poem Is A Naked Person.
Coolhaus will provide movie-themed ice cream sandwiches for all (look for a Twitter contest launching soon to create them), plus we’ll have goodies and giveaways. 

Xander Berkeley, Anson Mount, and Ryan Donowho explode on the screen in this visceral tale about three generations of meth addicts living in the piney woods of East Texas.
Living in a small town and amongst a house full of crystal meth abusers, seventeen year-old Abe (Donowho) wrestles to beat an addiction to meth and struggles to protect himself and his young niece from an abusive Uncle Bump (Mount). When Sonny (Berkeley) returns home from prison seeking redemption from his son, Abe, the two must navigate the treacherous waters created by Bump, who will do almost anything to maintain a dangerous lifestyle fueled by crystal meth.
The tension and suspense build up to an electrifying ending where harrowing choices are made by all three men leading each of them to a different fate.
Unlike any other movie, Cook County unflinchingly tells a raw and real story of rural life where crystal meth dictates the family dynamic.
Provided courtesy of Hannover House. Rated R. Running time: 93 minutes.

One of the most underrated American films of the early '80s. Alex Cutter (John Heard) is the Vietnam veteran disfigured in the war. When his best friend Richard Bone (Jeff Bridges) is accused of the murder of a teenage girl, Cutter wants to set off after the real murderer with a vengeance. Heard does wonders with the best role of his career to this point, and Bridges makes a fine contrast to his reckless energy with his assured performance. "A hauntingly powerful work" (New York Magazine). Also known as Cutter & Bone. Ivan Passer---USA---1981---109 mins. 

Greatest Cartoons Ever
The day after Christmas has always been a big day for releasing movies, as many families are looking for something to do after all the presents have been opened and all the parties are over. This year, on December 26th, the Alex Film Society will be presenting our 2nd Annual, family oriented special event that provides a really great alternative to the other pre-packaged Hollywood extravaganzas.
THE GREATEST CARTOONS EVER! showcases some of the very best theatrical cartoons from the movies' Golden Age, featuring iconic characters like Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Betty Boop, Donald and Daffy, even the original Superman, projected in 35mm on the big screen at the Alex Theatre.
Animation historian and author Jerry Beck and producer Frank Gladstone have programmed a hugely entertaining cinematic trip back to a time when animated cartoons were more than an opening act; they were often the most popular part of going to the movies.

Harvest: 3,000 Years
Directed by Haile Gerima
Director Haile Gerima’s first feature work to be set in Africa employs visions of his native Ethiopia to construct a post-colonial allegory of class exploitation. Filmed in the tumultuous days following the overthrow of Haile Selassie, the portrait of an abject peasant family toiling under the scornful eye of a wealthy landowner exhibits the spontaneity of a documentary. But it also displays the assuredness and authority of a master storyteller in the sweep of its conceptual rigor and moral stand.
We are exposed to several characters, as it were, without introduction. They are members of a poor family that rise and begin tending cattle and plowing fields. Their feudal lord, a Western-attired tyrant, barks orders and criticism from a seat on his shaded front porch. Another figure, meagerly dressed, calls out insults to the landowner. These almost archetypal figures take on more specific identities as we learn that the seeming madman once owned property now expropriated and held by the landowner, and that although the peasant family may toil dutifully, its members seethe with memories and visions of another way of life. In time, a critique of modern Ethiopia (and by implication, neocolonial Africa) emerges that criticizes coming political reconfigurations as just the latest way in which others may now exploit the land and the poor.
Gerima unfolds several loosely connected episodes (indeed, the “action” of the film often seems trained on an ever-more subtle understanding of certain facts of daily life, rather than on a plot), but the film also employs freewheeling shifts in register, such that political speeches in public spaces contrast with exclamatory addresses to the camera, and verbal abuse of workers alternates with fairly Buñuelian images of human beings being driven by a whip, with no qualification of the “reality” of any situation, all to the accompaniment of an evocative musical soundscape. When the “plot” finally offers its fulfillment, the effect is devastating. In this early work, Gerima strove for something more than an individual story, achieving a bracing polemic and an impassioned narrative of bleak and haunting beauty.
Producer/Screenwriter: H. Gerima. Cinematographer: Eliot Davis. Editor: Phillip Kuretsky. Cast: Kasu Asfaw, Gebru Kasa, Worke Kasa. 16mm, b/w, 150 min.

Bill Cosby and Robert Culp are back together in this hard-boiled detective film. The duo star as two cynical detectives who get caught up in a money-laundering scheme.   Robert Culp---USA---1972---107 mins. 

1987, Sony Repertory, 116 min, USA, Dir: Bill Forsyth
Scottish master Bill Forsyth directs his first American feature adapting novelist Marilynne Robinson's tale of two sisters who live with their offbeat Aunt Sylvie (Christine Lahti). A graceful, witty character study, HOUSEKEEPING boasts superb performances and period detail (the setting is the Pacific Northwest of the 1950s), and remains one of the finest films ever made about the blurry line between nonconformity and madness. This unforgettable film was one of Roger Ebert’s ten best films of 1987.  Discussion between films with actress Christine Lahti.

More overtly supernatural than Onibaba, and more delicately operatic as well, Kuroneko is Kaneto Shindo’s second triumph of superb horror filmmaking set during the feudal reign of the samurai. Stories about nekomata (ghost cats) were among the most popular tales in Japanese horror of the ‘50s and ‘60s, and this creepy, emotionally-charged nekomata tale (loosely based on the time-honored folktale “The Cat’s Return”) centers around two peasant women who, after being raped and killed by a band of samurai, seek revenge as cat-like spirits who lure soldiers in with sex, then pounce and maul them to death. Painting a grimly realistic portrait of a “noble” soldier class using a firmly anti-war brush, mixing it with a harrowing tale of fate and wrapping it all up in an evocative B&W package, Kuroneko is a stark horror classic steeped in its nation’s chilling history.
Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1968, 35mm, 95 min.

Kwaidan is an impressively mounted anthology horror film based on four stories by Lafcadio Hearn, a Greek-born writer who began his career in the United States at the age of 19 and moved permanently to Japan in 1890 at the age of 40, where he eventually became a subject of the empire and took on the name Koizumi Yakuno. Hearn became a conduit of Japanese culture to western audiences, publishing journalism and then fiction incorporating traditional Japanese themes and characters. "Black Hair," the first tale, concerns a samurai who cannot support his wife; he leaves her for a life of wealth and ease with a princess. Returning years later, he spends the night with his wife in their now-dilapidated house, only to awake to a horrifying discovery which drives him insane. The most visually impressive tale is "Hoichi the Earless," in which a blind musician is asked by the ghost of a samurai to play for his late infant lord at a tomb. The monks who house the musician cover him with tattoos to prevent any harm coming to him, but they forget his ears. He returns from the engagement with his ears cut off; however, his misadventure propels him to fame. "In a Cup of Tea" concerns a samurai who is haunted by the vision of a man he sees reflected in his tea. Even after he drinks from the cup, he still sees the man while on guard duty.

Lucky Dragon No. 5
1959's Lucky Dragon No. 5 is Shindo’s dramatic recreation of a radioactive disaster five years prior that not only launched the anti-nuclear movement in Japan, but also prompted the premise for Godzilla. In 1954, 23 men aboard fishing boat Daigo Fukuryu Maru (the film’s eponymous trawler) were physically devastated by radiation poisoning from nearby H-bomb testing conducted by the U.S. government, and fallout from the tests blighted an area previously inhabited by humans for over 2000 years. The nerve center around which Shindo masterfully reconstructs the turmoil is one perfectly-rendered character: radio operator Kuboyama Aikichi (Jukichi Uno), the first victim of the blast. In his depiction of the toxic, irreversible impact of the culture of war, Shindo shines a searing light on the human element — the psychological and social fallout of a tragic miscalculation that continues, to this day, to compromise the region’s safety and to silently terrorize the community that remains.
Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1959, HDCAM, 115 min.

The Milk of Sorrow
Fausta is suffering from a rare disease called the milk of sorrow, which is transmitted through the breast milk of pregnant women who were abused or raped at the time of Peru’s history of terrorism. While living in constant fear and confusion due to this “disease,” Fausta faces the sudden death of her mother. She chooses to take drastic measures to not follow in her mother’s footsteps. The film won the 2009 Golden Bear award and FIPRESCI prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. It was nominated for the 82nd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, becoming the first Peruvian film to be nominated for the award.
Peru/Spain, 2009/95 min. | English subtitles.  Scr/Dir: Claudia Llosa; w/ Magaly Solier, Susi Sánchez, Efraín Solís

The Moderns (USA, 1988)
Alan Rudolph's homage to 1920s Paris delights in having real-life personalities—Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway—interact with his fictional characters in the smoky cafes and esteemed salons of this radically creative place and time. 

1936, Universal, 94 min, USA, 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 surefire material during the Depression, and no film ever did it better than this one. With Alice Brady, Mischa Auer, Gail Patrick and Alan Mowbray.

The Naked Island
“Gorgeously shot in wide-screen black-and-white…once seen it is not easily forgotten — the myth of Sisyphus transposed to Tahiti.” — J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Exhilarating, heartwrenching and so tangible you’ll feel the soil under your own fingernails and the sun on your brow, The Naked Island is one of the most emotionally satisfying Japanese films you’ve never seen — from any decade, past or present — and is simply one of Kaneto Shindo’s greatest works. Filmed on a nearly deserted archipelago, and told with almost no dialogue whatsoever, this landmark docudrama tone poem in the tradition of Robert Flaherty charts one year in the life of a poor farming family who must continually reach out to neighboring islands in order to subsist. “Daily chores, captured as a series of cyclical events, result in a hypnotising, moving, and beautiful film harkening back to the silent era.” (Masters of Cinema) Anchored by a stoic, moving lead performance by Nobuko Otowa and a haunting score by regular Shindo collaborator Hikaru Hayashi, The Naked Island is a pure poignant wallop. DO NOT MISS IT.
Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1960, 35mm, 96 min.

Naomi Uman: The Ukrainian Time Machine
“Like a crochet needle swiftly passing through loops of silk and wool… Naomi Uman’s camera lives amongst the people, homes and villages she films.” —Vancouver Cinematheque
In 2006, experimental filmmaker Naomi Uman returned to the land her great-grandparents had left a hundred years earlier. Living among the babushky of a tiny Ukrainian village, she discovered a lifestyle that didn’t seem to have changed much in a century, and set out to make a series of “precise miniatures of a rural life that’s fading” (Robert Flaherty Seminar) shot in 16mm, while keeping a video diary. In Kalendar (2008, 16mm, silent, 11 min.), a series of exquisite snapshots examine the meanings of the months in the Ukrainian calendar. Videodiary 2-1-2006 to Present (2011, video, 83 min.) reframes the previous elements into a larger narrative struggling with issues of identity, gender, and her intimate connection with the history of Judaism and global immigration.
In person: Naomi Uman

Blaze Sullivan is having a doozy of a stressful New Year’s Eve: the hip punk rock TV show she hosts, “Hollywood Hotline,” is doing a live broadcast; her son is whacked out of his gourd on drugs; and, a creepazoid ID’ing himself only as “Evil” keeps calling into her show to inform her that he’s killing “naughty girls” at midnight for each of the four time zones! Unique to the post-Halloween slasher boom in that it utilizes neither the Ten Little Indians unseen-killer gimmick nor the masked monster approach, New Year’s Evil is a perfect example of the ‘80s holiday-centric horror film. As well, Kip Niven gives a memorable performance as our handsome Ted Bundy-esque psychopath, Roz Kelly (“Pinky Tuscadero” from Happy Days) is our bizarre elder heroine, and the film’s portrayal of the “badass” punk scene is a hoot! To quote the punk-in-film encyclopedia “Destroy All Movies”: “If [all] that doesn’t sound like a goddamn masterpiece to you, then what are you living for?”
Dir. Emmett Alston, 1980, 35mm, 90 min.

A masterful dose of animal eroticism and slow-burn psychological horror, Onibaba is a seductive fever dream of a ghost story — once seen, never forgotten. In war-torn feudal Japan, an old woman (Shindo’s regular muse Nobuko Otowa) and her daughter-in-law scrape a lonely living by preying on injured samurai in a vast field of tall grass, but when a scraggly, devilish neighbor returns from battle, the explosive sexual tension between the three threatens to unravel everything — until, that is, the appearance of an ominous demon mask. His first foray into the period ghost-story genre, Onibaba marked a radical theatrical departure for Shindo while also simultaneously exploring his recurring themes of poverty, class and womanhood, and the results are shattering. With a thrilling taiko drum score by Hikaru Hayashi and impeccably sharp camerawork by DP Kiyomi Kuroda that works wonders with shadows, rain and waving grass, Onibaba continually escalates its hair-raising tone right up until its final frightful frames.
Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1964, 35mm, 103 min.

The Other Conquest
The Other Conquest (La Otra Conquista) is a 2000 Mexican feature film (re-released theatrically in 2007) written, directed, and edited by Salvador Carrasco. The film is a powerful drama about the aftermath of the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 1520s, told from the perspective of the indigenous Aztec people. It explores the social, religious, and psychological changes brought about by a historical process of colonization that defined the American continent. The Other Conquest depicts the complex fusion that took place between the Catholic faith brought to Mexico by the Spaniards and the Aztec beliefs of the indigenous natives. Receiving wide critical acclaim during its run in the United States, the film was ranked as one of the Los Angeles Times's top ten films of 2000.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director Salvador Carrasco, the film’s protagonist Damián Delgado (as Topiltzin), and local scholars.
Mexico, 2000/105 min.  35mm print, in Spanish and Nahuatl with English subtitles; rated R for scenes of violence and some strong sexuality/nudity.

Passing Through
Directed by Larry Clark
Eddie Warmack, an African American jazz musician, is released from prison for the killing of a white gangster. Not willing to play for the mobsters who control the music industry, including clubs and recording studios, Warmack searches for his mentor and grandfather, the legendary jazz musician Poppa Harris. Director Larry Clark's film theorizes that jazz is one of the purest expressions of African American culture, embodying the struggles of generations of Blacks going back to slavery times, but now hijacked by a white culture that brutally exploits jazz musicians for profit. The opening seven-minute credit sequence is accordingly an homage to jazz and jazz musicians, privileging the raw energy of the music, while the concert footage appears virtually abstractly as a riot of blues, reds and whites. The film repeatedly returns to scenes of various musicians improvising jazz, as well as flashback scenes (in black-and-white) in which Poppa teaches Warmack to play saxophone, leading a French critic to call Passing Through “the only jazz film in the history of cinema.”
It is the Africanism of Poppa, as the spiritual center of Passing Through, that ties together Black American jazz and the liberation movements of Africa and North America. In the early flashback sequences in sepia, Clarence Muse appears in African dress and teaches saxophone under the sky. Poppa teaches Warmack that the music comes from the soil, from the earth, leading Womack to bury his saxophone to improve his playing. The film’s final montage incorporates shots of African leaders with a close-up of Poppa’s eye and close-ups of Black hands holding the soil, thus semantically connecting jazz, Africa and the earth in one mystical union, and by extension justifying the liberation of the earth through violent struggle, whether in Africa or Los Angeles.
Clark completed the film while participating in the fellows program at the American Film Institute. The film’s world premiere took place at “Filmex,” the Los Angeles Film Festival in 1977, subsequently won a special jury prize at the Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland) and played film festivals in Edinburgh (1978), Perth (1978) and Moscow (1979).
Producer: L. Clark. Screenwriter: L. Clark, Ted Lange. Cinematographer: Roderick Young, George Geddis. Editor: Larry Clark. Cast: Nathaniel Taylor, Clarence Muse, Pamela Jones, Johnny Weathers, Della Thomas. 35mm, color, 111 min.  In-person: filmmaker Larry Clark and actor Ted Lange.

“Mr. Shindo’s world is sad and inspiring in familiar ways, but what makes it so memorable is that it is also gorgeous and strange.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Shindo sometimes tells ghost stories about the living. For this haunting chamber piece of a film (his 49th, completed when he was 98 years old!), Shindo returns once more to the subject of warfare, and its capacity to fracture personal experiences of love, trust, and purpose. The story follows the path of a postcard sent by a Japanese soldier to his wife as he prepares to depart for World War II; upon returning, he finds that all his loved ones have mourned his loss and moved on with their lives. Mining his own early experience as one of the few surviving soldiers of a hundred-man unit, Shindo pieces passages — in turn meditative, wrenching, hilarious, and lyrical — into a careful and composed whole. The result is an anti-war film like no other: the work of a man who has absorbed the impact of a century of conflict, and reflected it back to us in an unforgettably cathartic form. Our screening of Postcard is preceeded by opening remarks from Jun Niimi of the Consulate-General of Japan In Los Angeles!
Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 2010, 35mm, 114 min.

Retroformat's 2nd Anniversary Celebration
Join Tom Barnes for a great program of silent shorts on 8mm, including “The Temple of Moloch,” (1914), an Edison contemporary social drama about tuberculosis, Chaplin's brilliant “Easy Street” (1917, 19 min), Felix the Cat and rare surprises, all capped off by our annual feature starring the great William S. Hart: THE RETURN OF DRAW EGAN (1916, 50 min)! Plus, a collection of silent trailers.

1988, Warner Bros., 116 min, USA, Dir: Sidney Lumet
Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti are a couple of ex-radicals who have been on the run from the FBI for years; River Phoenix is their son struggling under the weight of his parents' past and expectations. Naomi Foner's subtle, complex script enables director Sidney Lumet to develop one of his favorite themes (explored earlier in DANIEL), that of children forced to pay for their parents' mistakes. One of Roger Ebert’s ten best films of 1988.  Discussion between films with actress Christine Lahti.

Selma, Lord, Selma (1999)
Directed by Charles Burnett
“Human progress,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. explained, “is neither automatic nor inevitable. … Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” In director Charles Burnett’s film Selma, Lord, Selma, the youthful eyes of 11-year-old female protagonist Sheyann Webb is the lens in which we see the determined bravery and compassionate humanity that was the hallmark of the Civil Rights Movement.
Set against the backdrop of the racially tumultuous 1960s, Selma, Lord, Selma is based on Sheyann Webb and Rachel West Nelson’s memoir "Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days" (1997). Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the film premiered on the ABC network on Jan. 17, 1999, one day before King’s national holiday.
Chronicling the events leading up to the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches led by King and many notable Black and white civil rights leaders, Burnett’s film eloquently dramatizes African Americans’ fight to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Based on these historical events, including the horror of Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965, the film celebrates the triumph of American humanity and nonviolent civil disobedience. Starring the late Yolanda King, daughter of King, the film honors King’s legacy of equality, love, change and courage in the face of bigotry, racism and hatred.
In taking a child’s point of view, Burnett employs a narrative strategy common to the L.A. Rebellion. Through the eyes of an innocent young girl, we learn that the fight for freedom demands faith and fortitude, education and empathy, strength and service. A film for the whole family to reflect on not just the darkness of the past but on the eve of a new dawn in America’s history, Selma, Lord, Selma reminds us, as King proclaimed, that “the time is always right to do what is right.”
Producer: Christopher Seitz. Based on the book by Sheyann Webb and Rachel West Nelson as told to Frank Sikora. Screenwriter: Cynthia Whitcomb. Cinematographer: John Simmons. Editor: Nancy Richardson. Cast: Mackenzie Astin, Jurnee Smollett, Clifton Powell, Ella Joyce, Yolanda King. Digital video, color, 88 min.

Eve Gill (Jane Wyman) tries to help her friend Jonathan Cooper (Richard Todd) prove his innocence after he?s accused of murdering the husband of a high society entertainer, Charlotte Inwood (Marlene Dietrich).
Gill, a drama student, agrees to go undercover and act as Inwood?s maid. But her efforts become confused as she discovers more about Inwood?s various lovers, and as Gill herself falls in love with the investigating officer. Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock   (1950, 110 min. No MPAA rating. Screened from 35 mm print.)

Tree Without Leaves
Tree Without Leaves is Shindo’s autobiographical journey through a pre-WWII Hiroshima of his childhood, combined with an affecting self-examination of his twilight years. An aging screenwriter, preparing to write his first novel, looks back on his past, including his family’s declining fortune, his distant father, and his doting mother (Shindo regular/spouse Nobuko Otowa), whose near-incestuous affection is expressed through images that are both provocative and haunting. Rather than revolving around Hiroshima-set historical cataclysm (as in the example of Lucky Dragon No. 5, also appearing in this festival), this ultra-personal later work, which focuses on personal memory and mortality, contains some of the most wistful sequences of Shindo’s career.
Dir. Kaneto Shindo, 1986, HDCAM, 105 min.

1934, Sony Repertory, 91 min, USA, Dir: Howard Hawks
The granddaddy of all screwballs, as egomaniacal Broadway producer John Barrymore makes a star of shopgirl Carole Lombard (as this picture did in real life), then goes berserk trying to win her back after she leaves him. Totally uncompromising in every respect, this is a flat-out masterpiece. Hecht and MacArthur’s blistering script is marvelously made flesh by the two stars, as well as Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Charles Lane, Edgar Kennedy and Etienne Girardot.

Videos By Kara Walker
Kara Walker has risen to international prominence for visually stunning works on paper and installations that challenge conventional narratives of American history and the antebellum South. With biting humor, she comments on race, slavery and liberation, sexual attraction and exploitation, discrimination, and modernity. This program presents nine videos by Walker, including three new works.
Videos will be screened continuously from 11am-2pm and from 3pm-5pm. At 2pm there will be a Hammer Conversation with Kara Walker and Hilton Als. 

The Violin
Don Plutarco, his son Genaro, and his grandson Lucio live a double life: they are humble rural musicians, who also support the campesino peasant guerrilla movement against the oppressive government. One afternoon, they come home to discover the army seized their village. Plutarco plays up his appearance as a harmless violin player to get into the village and recover the ammunition hidden in the corn field. His violin playing charms the army captain, who orders Plutarco to come back daily. Weapons and music play a tenuous game of cat-and-mouse that ultimately results in painful betrayal. Winner of three 2007 Ariel Awards, including Best First Feature. “One of the most amazing Mexican films in many a year”—Guillermo del Toro
Mexico, 2006/98 min. | English subtitles. Scr/Dir: Francisco Vargas Quevedo; w/ Ángel Tavira, Dagoberto Gama, Gerardo Tarcena, Fermín Martínez, Mario Garibaldi

Director Lynn Ramsay (RATCATCHER, MORVERN CALLAR) steps behind the camera for the first time in nine years to tell the fragmented story of a woman living a waking nightmare, coming to terms with the reality that her son was a high-school spree killer. Tilda Swinton gives a remarkable performance as Eva, a reluctant mother whose life is shattered beyond repair by her son's Columbine-like atrocity. Her situation is every parent's worst fear: the child that you have raised has turned into a monster. Eva is left with no option but to replay the fragments of Kevin's life and ponder her role in his unspeakable acts. Haunted by guilt and confronted by bereaved parents, how is it possible to go on with your life? Ramsay's film offers no easy answers, but instead examines with her deft eye the emotional and societal consequences of what we bring into the world. -Lane Kneedler 

When It Rains (1995)
Directed by Charles Burnett
On New Year’s Day, a man tries to help a woman pay her rent and learns a lesson in connecting with others in a community. Ayuko Babu, founding director of the Pan African Film Festival of Los Angeles, assumes the lead role in a pleasingly empathic reading.   
Leapfrog Production. Producer: Chantal Bernheim. Screenwriter: C. Burnett. Cast: Ayuko Babu, Kenny Merritt, Charles Bracy, Soul, R. Ray Barness. 16mm, color, 13 min.

Two sisters, sexually mature and intellectually active, struggle against the confines of a rural English mining town and its rigidly classed layers of society, in this adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's study of sexual uneasiness and doubt. Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, Glenda Jackson, and Jennie Linden star in one of Ken Russell's most successful pictures. Jackson won the Oscar for Best Actress for her memorable performance.  Ken Russell---Great Britain---1969---131 mins.

Yael Bartana & Dani Gal
Polish artist and Holocaust survivor Alina Szapocznikow often reflected on the ephemeral condition of human life in her work. This program presents the work of two contemporary filmmakers who provide context to her experiences. In Dani Gal’s Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog, 2011, 22 min.), policemen transport the ashes of notorious Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Yael Bartana explores an imaginary world in which Polish Jews form a fictional Jewish Renaissance Movement in her Polish Trilogy: Mary Koszmary (Nightmares, 2007, 11 min.); Mur i Wie za (Wall and Tower, 2009, 15 min.); and Zamach (Assassination, 2011, 35 min).
In conjunction with the exhibition Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972.