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The L.A. Rep-port: 2/10 to 2/16, by Scott Nye

9 Feb

Dear readers, I feel like I am going to positively burst with excitement for all that is screening this next week.

UCLA continues its tribute to female filmmakers in the ‘70s and ‘80s with a pair of knock-down, bonafide, can’t-miss classics – Claudia Weill appears in person on Saturday for a screening of her film Girlfriends (1978, 35mm), while Sunday brings Chantal Akerman’s titanic, much-imitated-but-never-bested Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, 35mm). Jeanne Dielman in particular is going to get very difficult to see on 35 as a DCP was recently made, so seize this moment, friends.


A Cure for Wellness: Falling Apart to Live Again, by Scott Nye

8 Feb

Gore Verbinski has spent the better part of the past fifteen years making enormous studio tentpoles, and even if you respond to the insanity of his Pirates of the Caribbean films or the cultural subversion in The Lone Ranger as strongly as his more ardent admirers (count me deep in the Pirates crowd and a skeptical guest of the Ranger bunch), it’s not hard to see the bundled creative force dying to fully break free of Disney’s chains. A slight outlet in Rango provided such an opening, but I would submit that A Cure for Wellness – more comfortably though it fits in a genre mode – is the true cry of an artist yearning for, and finally finding, that freedom. It’s explicitly about becoming brainwashed by a domineering, eternal life force that drains you of your individuality and briefly convinces you that maybe that’s not so bad. Like so much Verbinski, it’s grotesque and overlong, casually indulgent in its weirdest aspects and a little overheated when it needs to be graceful. But it’s creepy, incisive, gorgeous, nightmarishly imaginative, and a potent reminder that we’re always dying.


New to Home Video 2/7/17

7 Feb





The L.A. Rep-port: 2/3 to 2/9, by Scott Nye

3 Feb

The Rep-port is a weekly(ish) series highlighting the best and most compelling repertory screenings in the city.

UCLA is kicking off a fantastic retrospective celebrating female filmmakers in the 1970s and ‘80s, starting with their new restoration of Desert Hearts (1986, DCP) on Saturday and a double bill of Hester Street (1975, 35mm) and The Gold Diggers (1983, 35mm) on Sunday. The series runs through the rest of the month, and includes major works by Chantal Akerman, Susan Seidelman, Barbara Loden, and more.



30 Jan

In this episode, David is joined by Scott Nye to discuss the films they saw at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The Salesman: Everything We Cannot See, by Scott Nye

26 Jan

As with About Elly, A Separation, and The Past (to conveniently name three of his films that have actually received American distribution), Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman is centrally concerned with the limitations of our own perception, and how we fill in those blank spaces with whatever narrative fits our general world view. It’s a bear of a theme, one that necessitates revisiting for how difficult it is to wrangle, and moreover one that benefits directly from telling different types of stories. Everyone fills those gaps differently, and seeing how so many different people deal with them can help us understand how the people in our lives might be misinterpreting our silences and absences.

On 1930s Class Relations, Dangerous, Bette Davis, and Background Players; by Scott Nye

17 Jan

1935’s Dangerous is rightly discussed in relation to 1934’s Of Human Bondage anytime is comes up – both deal with responsible men of mediocre artistic talent becoming infatuated with and nearly ruining their lives for Bette Davis. Davis is the best part of both films, and though Of Human Bondage is the infinitely superior film, she won her Oscar for Dangerous, many say as a way for making up for the fact that she was infamously not even nominated for the prior work. Dangerous isn’t a bad film, but it’s a water-treader, a rock-solid story not told particularly well, shielding minor notes as mysteries and far too straightforward in its dialogue.

But it had one moment that completely captivated me, one that should have been commonplace in the 1930s but one that I instantly realized I don’t think I’d ever quite seen before.



17 Jan

In this episode, Tyler and David are joined by Scott Nye to discuss this year’s upcoming Sundance Film Festival.

Scott’s Top Ten of 2016

14 Jan

I struggled with the final form of this list, trying to truly ascertain the degree to which I loved much-beloved films. Usually I enjoy – and am quite comfortable with – including mostly personal choices that few others have on their lists, but this year I found myself rallying around a set of films very similar to many others’ favorites. But what can I say, we chose a good batch this year. As with last year, I will cheat and call attention to some honorable mentions to accompany my ten picks – films that share some similar concern, and are often equally as accomplished as those I did settle on – and I will truly cross the line in choosing one central honorable mention after this introduction.

But first, some runners-up – Aquarius, Elle, The Salesman, Julieta, and In the Shadow of Women deserve a place on anyone’s top ten.

The L.A. Rep-port: 1/13 to 1/19, by Scott Nye

12 Jan

I have now seen three Straub-Huillet films, and can state with confidence that UCLA’s retrospective is exhilarating and vital stuff. Better still, if Fortini/Cani is any measure, the new DCPs look really, really good. From the Cloud to the Resistance (1978, DCP) and These Encounters of Theirs (2005, 35mm) show on Friday. I will say that Straub-Huillet apparently prefer not to subtitle all the dialogue in their work, so that may be a factor in any forthcoming programming.