The L.A. Rep-port: 2/17 to 2/23, by Scott Nye

16 Feb

If you’ve been following this column this month, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect this week – female filmmakers at UCLA, David Lynch at the Egyptian, and B-westerns at the New Beverly. But certainly don’t start tuning out now, there’s too much good stuff to come.

I’ll start with a film that was one of my favorite discoveries last year when Cinefamily showed it as part of their own independents-of-the-’80s series – Susan Seidelman’s Smithereens (1982, 35mm). This is one gutsy, frank, audacious movie, featuring an unapologetically unlikable female protagonist who you wouldn’t dare to stop watching. She might just pick your pocket. They’re also showing a Jane Campion short before that, so that’s pretty cool.

The series on female filmmakers continues Sunday with some films slightly more towards the avant-garde, by the looks of them – A Question of Silence (1982, 35mm) and Riddles of the Sphinx (1977, Blu-ray). Then on Wednesday, two sides of the porn industry with Variety (1983, 35mm) and Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography (1982, 16mm). The former features a young Luis Guzman and Will Patton and a score from John Lurie, while the latter was banned in its home country of Canada for obscenity. Good times!

The Egyptian’s David Lynch series concludes this weekend with a doozy of double-headers. First on Friday, it’s Lost Highway (1997, 35mm) and Luis Buñuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire (1977, 35mm). On Saturday it’s Eraserhead (1977, 35mm) and Raising Arizona (1987, DCP). And on Sunday it’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, 35mm) and Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (1962, DCP). I’m racing against all sense and logic to finally finish watching the Twin Peaks series before Sunday’s screening – only three episodes to go! I will say that their Lynch stuff has been selling out, so show up early or order in advance if you plan on attending.

If your tastes run more classical, the Egyptian’s sister theater, the Aero, is playing a noir double feature of Double Indemnity (1944, DCP) and Dead Reckoning (1947, 35mm) on Friday, and The Seventh Seal (1957, 35mm) on Sunday. If you’ve never seen the latter in the theater, or especially at all, I could not possibly recommend it enough. All of Bergman’s films are so much more suited to the big screen than our televisions, but The Seventh Seal in particular has a scale and a scope to it that many of his others do not.

The Aero is also showing Salome (1953, 35mm), an almost-never-screened Technicolor biblical epic by William Dieterle of all people, on Thursday.

Cinefamily has two more opportunities to catch the new restoration of Josef von Sternberg’s Anatahan (1953, DCP), which I talked about in last week’s column, on Saturday and Tuesday. Von Sternberg’s son will appear to discuss the film at Saturday’s screening. The real highlight at Cinefamily this week, though, is Robert Altman’s California Split (1974, 35mm). It’s about a pair of charismatic gamblers played by Elliot Gould and George Segal, and is one of my very favorite Altman films. It was also rather obviously the inspiration – from the title to the way the characters meet to the relationship they form, all up and down the line – for Mississippi Grind, if that does anything for you. California Split has been out of print on DVD for years, and, due to music licensing issues, was never really in complete form there anyway. It’s sold out, but if that stops you from attending a Cinefamily show, you don’t know Cinefamily’s ability to pack people in.

We’ll get to the New Beverly’s B-westerns in a second – first, on Saturday, they have an early Woody Allen triple-feature with Bananas (1971, 35mm), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Too Afraid to Ask (1972, 35mm), and Sleeper (1973, 35mm) that should be a real good time at the movies.

Then come the westerns on Sunday and Monday – The Golden Stallion (1949, 16mm) and Desert Gold (1936, 35mm) to be specific. The former’s a Roy Rogers joint, and the latter has a young Robert Cummings!

Tuesday and Wednesday bring the rare foreign-language films to the Bev – Shall We Dance? (1996, 35mm) and Brief Encounter in Shinjuku (1990, 35mm).

LACMA’s Tuesday matinee is Roman Holiday (1953, 35mm), you lucky so-and-so’s.

The Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo is showing the Astaire and Rogers musical The Gay Divorcee (1934, format unspecified) on Friday and Saturday. It is, quite frankly, a blast.

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