Friday, September 08, 2017

Self-Taught Film School with LA 35mm Film Screenings

Here's an idea, just teach yourself cinema by attending all of LA's great 35mm film screenings. You'll probably see more 35mm than you would in an actual film school. Ironic. (Disclaimer: Just watching films is not a sufficient film school substitute!)

So here they are. The Dramatic Question: Is there anything classic worth learning from this week or will the fanboys win with just a bunch of horror and weird shit? Let's find out.

This is just what's on my personal radar. As always, you can browse the LA Film Calendars links on my side bar to find what you like. → → →

As usual, a couple of these choices are tonight, FYI, and not necessarily listed first.

New Beverly
Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)
Wed Sept. 13 2:00 pm
#FilmSchoolAlert yeah this is a pretty good one to get inspired by for you film school rats, or just regular students who want to be cool. But it plays at 2:00 pm on a Wednesday, so it better be a masters degree at USC with a lot of openings in your day schedule. Am I going to explain a Hitchcock film to you here? No, you can "google" it, that other lazy thing you can do which won't help you get good at stuff or contribute to society. (Hint: read a book.) This is on 35mm!

New Beverly
Sheba Baby (1975, William Girdler)
Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino)
Fri (tonight) 6:30pm/8:30pm
Both in 35mm (of course!). The Jackie Brown 20th anniversary celebration of tastefully curated  double features in the awesome New Beverly tradition (which incidentally predates Tarantino who came as a customer before buying the building!) continues with a very awesome one of Sheba, Baby with young Pam Grier and Jackie Brown with also still young and gorgeous Pam Grier (don't get her angry). One-night only, 35mm!

New Beverly
Coffy (1973, Jack Hill)
Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino)
Sat Sept 9 6:30pm/8:30pm
If you didn't like the awesome Sheba, Baby pairing, you can see just-as-awesome (maybe better) pairing of Jackie Brown with the stupendous Coffy. Again, getting to see Pam Grier back-to-back, what better tribute to her and her career. Plus Jack Hill always delivers, he's the king of B-movie grindhouse. Or see both! I guess see Jackie Brown 11 times to watch all the pairings. 35mm both films.

New Beverly
Grindhouse (2007, Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez)
Sun Sept 10 - Sat Sept 16 7:30pm (except Sun Sept 10 6:30pm)
This is special! It's back! Grindhouse in all its grindhouse glory at a grindhouse theater showing grindhouse films all month long. It's grindhouse-a-palooza or something. Technically this is two films, a true double feature - Planet Terror by Robert Rodriguez and Death Proof by Quentin Tarantino. I love this mainstream love note to good ol' grindhouse double features. Rodriguez totally nails the mixture of the good and bad writing-directing of grindhouse films, with a dash of his modern filmmaking acumen to really make it cook. Tarantino gets all experimental with quite a long chat first, and it's equally awesome. The fact that they bring totally different things to the table makes this is a perfectly wonderful double feature. Plays all week in 35mm! And I'm sure there's going to be some awesome trailers beforehand. Not sure if they'll resurrect the original trailer program (which included The Beyond and Massacre Mafia Style trailers), or put new ones. I kind of vote for the old ones, except for variety's sake, I hope they add some extra special gifts!!

Egyptian Theatre
The Barefoot Contessa (1954, Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
The Killers (1946, Robert Siodmak)
Sun Sept 10 7:30pm
This is kind of #FilmSchoolAlert territory right? Sweet double feature here with The Barefoot Contessa with Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart directed by the sometimes highly Cahiers du Cinéma-praised Joseph L. Mankiewicz, then Ava Gardner again with Burt Lancaster in a classic noir (based on the Hemingway short story) The Killers, directed by Robert Siodmak, who is no noir slouch, I assure you. (He's one of the main noir dudes.) The Barefoot Contessa rarely gets enough love, so I think in 35mm (which both these are) on the big screen will really bring its magic to light, you won't regret it. Plus you get one nice Technicolor film and one black and white film noir. The Egyptian's big screen also can't be beat for presentation.


Aero Theatre
La Notte (1961, Michelangelo Antonioni) 
Diary of a Chambermaid (1964, Luis Buñuel) 
Fri (tonight) 7:30pm
The amazing Jeanne Moreau tribute continues at the Aero with this incredible double feature. #FilmSchoolAlert for La Notte by one of the towering masters Michelangelo Antonioni in one of his best works. Well, his are all so good, it's hard to choose. Plus see who this Jeanne Moreau dame who just died is..! Oh, and is that Monica Vitti and Marcello Mastroianni in it too? Are we wetting our pants? Can we make our film school projects be nearly as good? And is Luis Buñuel a master too? I totally forgot for a sec, yup. This is not one of his all-time best, but it's extremely good and worth seeing on the big-screen. (For all-time Buñuel classics go exactly one week later Sept 15 to the Egyptian for The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, paired with That Obscure Object of Desire). (This screening DCP)

Aero Theatre
Jules et Jim (1962, François Truffaut) 
Bay of Angels (1963, Jacques Demy) 
Sat Sept 9 7:30pm
What do you say about Jules et Jim by Truffaut? One of the towering (fun) works of the French New Wave? Starring recently deceased Jeanne Moreau and other awesome people? Yeah, go see it, pay your respects to Jeanne Moreau but also major #FilmSchoolAlert. I remember film students filming me (as an actor) trying to emulate the run across the bridge scene from this film. It is influential as heck. Plus Bay of Angels is also very French New Wave-y, and is one of my favorite Jacques Demy films (famous for the sung-throughout Umbrellas of Cherbourg). NOTE: Aero also has one more Jeanne Moreau double on Sunday (The Bride Wore Black by Chabrol and Elevator to the Gallows by Louis Malle, probably his best film and certainly his most "New Wavey".) (This screening DCP, but probably necessary to pull together a tribute this fast.)

Aero Theatre
The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick) 
Thur Sept 14 7:30pm
#FilmSchoolAlert Find out what's in Room 237..! (Hint: It's something about faking the moon landing?! jk) Take a break from film school because all work and no play right?
(DCP screening)

Old Town Music Hall
Laurel & Hardy Festival
Friday 8:15pm
Saturday 2:30pm and 8:15pm
Sunday 2:30pm

The Old Town Music Hall is back on my radar here again with their super Laurel & Hardy Festival, a regular tradition there, usually mixing their brilliant lesser-seen silent short films with their equally brilliant sound short films. Rarely have I had as much fun as at this Old Town Music Hall tradition. It's near the beach, so if you're out there or in El Segundo, you have no excuse! Every show begins with music played on the pipe organ and an audience sing along. This is seriously one of the most brilliant comic duos of all time, and I know not enough of you have seen their prime work, because it's not widely distributed, you have to hunt for it a bit. So let the Old Town Music Hall curate the duo's best stuff for you, you will not be disappointed.

NuArt Theatre 
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990, Steve Barron)
Fri (tonight) 12:15am
I feel really embarrassed to include this, but it's in 35mm, so they cornered me. So, go... see... it? I guess... You know who you are, fans out there. I will admit I was excited as a comic book fan to see this when it came out, and I did see it back then. What was my reaction, and will I be there tonight though?!? haha Aw, look how disappointed they are at my indecision.

Eye on the Future
Egyptian will have a classic #FilmSchoolAlert Buñuel double feature with his immortal The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) (don't let the pretentious title distract you, focus on the story and great acting) and his final film That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), which is really incredible and a bit of a mind-blower as well, both in 35mm Fri Sept  15.

Egyptian will also have the original 133-minute 1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame Sat Sept 16 starring, yes, man of a thousand faces Lon Chaney, with live musical accompaniment in their intimate Spielberg Theatre. Really you haven't seen silent films properly if you don't go out and see them this way at least once. I can't remember my reaction to this film, but it's a big-budget spectacle at a high point of the silent studio era (Universal in this case). (Showing in 16mm, but for silent films shot in that aspect ratio this is still totally great.) 

Egyptian also will have a sweet double feature of Repo Man (1984, Alex Cox) and Death Watch (1980, Bertrand Tavernier) on Sat Sept 16. Repo Man has a towering reputation as a cult classic, and Death Watch is a woefully overlooked gem starring Harvey Keitel and Romy Schneider in a futuristic mind-bender exposing all our present-day horrible tendencies. It touches on TV, media, and technology in a twisted way with a dark undertone. Beautiful little (almost) sci-fi art film. Both in 35mm!

Well, I don't really like this, but Fri Sept 15 the Aero will have a 35mm Stephen King horror triple feature of Sleepwalkers (1992, Mick Garris), Silver Bullet (1985, Daniel Attias), and Thinner (1996, Tom Holland). That'd be pretty good if I didn't dislike all those films. But I know horror fans out there will be into it. Plus they're in 35mm loveliness on a huge screen.

Then Sat Sept 16 they have Firestarter (1984, Mark L. Lester)/Carrie (1976, Brian DePalma)/The Dead Zone (1983, David Cronenberg) triple! 35mm except for Carrie. I would see that one, seriously.

And Sun Sept 17 they have Stand By Me (1986, Rob Reiner) in 35mm with the Shawshank Redemption (1994, Frank Darabont) in DCP for a dash of the Oscar-pedigree Stephen King films.

Aero also has a cool double of Stephen Frears Wed Sept 20, with his brand-new film Victoria & Abdul starring Judi Dench and Ali Fazal, paired with The Grifters in 35mm, with Stephen Frears in person. This might be a members-only screening.

New Beverly will have the double feature that apparently Tarantino showed the cast and crew of Grindhouse before filming, and it sounds awesome: Torso (1973, Sergio Martino) and Zombie (1979, Lucio Fulci) at midnight Sat Sept 16. Plus their Hitchcock Wednesdays continues with the masterfully enjoyable The Man Who Knew Too Much (1954) Sept. 20 at 2:00pm. They'll also have what they're calling Grindhouse 2 & 3, which I may be squinting disapprovingly at that attempt, or it may be pretty awesome.

Old Town Music Hall will have San Francisco (1936, W.S. Van Dyke) Sept 15 and 16 with "an earthquake sequence you'll never forget". Yes, exactly what we want to see in LA with all the disasters happening lately. But hey go see this and be prepared for the worst?

Fri Sept 22 REDCAT (near the Walt Disney Concert Hall) and Los Angeles Film Forum will launch, oh, here I'll just let them tell you:

"REDCAT is pleased to launch Los Angeles Filmforum's Ism Ism Ism: Experimental Cinema in Latin America, an ambitious, five-month film series —the first in the U.S.—that surveys Latin America’s vibrant experimental production from the 1930s to today."
And the first program on Fri Sept 22 is entitled Dreams of Suitcases and a Blue Lobster, so I'm down based on that title alone! It actually features short films The Blue Lobster (1954, Álvaro Cepeda Zamudio and Gabriel García Márquez), Raul Ruiz’s previously lost La Maleta (The Suitcase) (1963), and Argentinian photographer Horacio Coppola’s landmark Traum (Sueño) (1933), all influenced by surrealism. If you've never gone out to a theater to see an experimental film, you really haven't expanded your mind enough yet.

And Sat Sept 23 that series at REDCAT continues with, oh, here I'll let them tell you again:

"Surveying an extraordinary body of works produced since the 1950s, this program maps South American “Camera-Less” or “Direct” filmmaking.  In "Direct animation or 'camera-less' filmmaking, figures are painted, scratched, or inked directly onto film leader.
22 short films, including Abecedario / B by Colectivo Los Ingrávidos (2013. México. 4’55”), Prueba by Rosario Sotelo (2014. México. 1’), Breathe by Leonardo Zito (2014. Argentina. 7’), Begin by Sameer Makarius (1953. Argentina. 1’), O Átomo Brincalhão by Roberto Miller (1981. Brasil. 4’), Cocktail de Rayas by Eduardo Darino (1964. Uruguay. 1’41”), TM by Pablo Marín (2008. Argentina. 2’10”), Abismo by Sebastian Wiedemann (2012. Argentina / Colombia. 3’35”), Ideítas by Víctor Iturralde Rúa (1952. Argentina. 1’05”), Kimono by José Castillo (1992. Venezuela. 3’56”), Al trance by Guillermo Zabaleta (2013. Uruguay. 1’30”), Tourist Hitchcock by Marco Pando (2003. Países Bajos / Perú. 4’39”), On the Road by Jack Kerouac by Jorge Lorenzo (2013. México / Colombia. 14’), and more.
And really so much more. Go to this REDCAT LINK and just scroll down and click on them all to see the great stuff they're playing.

One more screening of major note: Los Angeles Film Forum at its normal Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian screening location and usual time will have a screening of an incredible treasure trove of short films that are a time capsule of political activism during key historical moments in the US on Sun Sept. 17, called "Resistance Isn't Futile." Not to be missed! Including a short film by Straub-Huillet (very hard to see their stuff.) Just scroll through the descriptions here at this link: Resistance Isn't Futile program.

Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

That Obscure Object of Desire

Hunchback of Notre Dame

Repo Man

Death Watch

The Dead Zone 



The Man Who Knew Too Much 

San Francisco 

La Maleta (The Suitcase)

Pearl Pistols, by Kelly Gallagher 
(from Resistance Isn't Futile)  

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