The L.A. Rep-port: 9/9-9/15, by Scott Nye
The Rep-port is a weekly series that aims to highlight the best and most compelling repertory screenings in the city.
So the big deal in town, as far as my own attendance priorities go, is Cinefamily screening all ten parts of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Dekalog (1989, DCP), his 1989 ten-part TV miniseries, recently restored by Janus Films. Each hourlong episode in some way confronts one of the Ten Commandments, though, just as his Three Colors trilogy riffed on the political ideals of the French republic, his approach to each “theme” is not always as head-on as all that. This is only what I gather, you understand. I saw two episodes years ago and will be seizing this opportunity to do the whole shebang. Cinefamily is screening them in sequential pairs (I & II screen together, III & IV, and so on), and each pair will screen three times apiece over the next week and change.
Cinefamily is also paying tribute to a similarly rigorous filmmaker by ambitiously showing every single film by Frederick Wiseman over the next four autumns, beginning with this one. This set covers the films from 1967-1976. Titicut Follies and High School have already played, and if those films are any indication, we’re in for something exceptional here in Los Angeles in the coming years. From here on, they’re settling into showing roughly one film per week through October. This week’s selection screens Saturday the 10th at 5:00 – Law and Order (1968, 16mm) looks at the police department of Kansas City, MO in a particularly tumultuous time for law enforcement.
For lighter fare, Frank Urson’s adaptation of Chicago (1927, 16mm), well before it became a musical, screens on the 10th at 2:00 as part of their Silent Treatment residency (live piano accompaniment provided, as always, by Cliff Retallick), and Jean Renoir’s French Cancan (1954, 16mm) shows on Sunday the 11th at 1:00 as part of their wonderful Hangover Matinees series.
If you want a little more spectacle, look no further than the Egyptian’s 50th Anniversary tribute to Star Trek, with The Motion Picture on Friday night (preceded by a panel featuring crew members and creative staff of the original series) and its two sequels on Sunday (featuring a discussion with producer Robert Sallin in between). Wrath of Khan screens on DCP; the other two are 35mm. More will screen the following week, but we’ll get to that then.
Elsewhere in Hollywood, the New Beverly is showcasing director J. Lee Thompson with The Guns of the Navarone (1961) and The Passage (1979). I’ve seen neither, but they boast solid casts (and share Anthony Quinn), but the Bev is pitching them as two sides of the same men-on-a-mission coin – Guns the classic, Passage the odd misfire – so they should make for an edifying double feature. The show plays Friday and Saturday evening.
The Thompson train keeps chugging along with The Greek Tycoon (1978) and The Ambassador (1984) on Wednesday and Thursday. The former is a very obvious (and thus highly-fictionalized) retelling of the romance between Jackie Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis, while the latter offers the first adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 52 Pick-Up, and – most excitingly for this writer – features one of the last screen performances by Rock Hudson.
Promising perhaps an odder evening, the Bev is also honoring the late Michael Cimino on Sunday and Monday with his 1974 breakout, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, and his widely-panned 1990 remake The Desperate Hours. Even the normally-polite Leonard Maltin said, of the latter, that Shawnee Smith plays “a daughter/victim you’ll beg to see cold-cocked”, so it certainly has the capacity to get a rise out of people.
As usual, all films at the Bev screen on 35mm.
If you want to prep for that onslaught of Very Manly stories, stop by the UCLA Film & Television Archive in Westwood Sunday night at 7:00 for a continuation of their Kirk Douglas series with André De Toth’s The Indian Fighter (1955, 35mm) and John Sturges’s Last Train From Gun Hill (1959, 16mm). Or take the kids that morning to Matilda (1996, 35mm).
On Monday, the Academy will host a new 35mm print of My Own Private Idaho with director Gus Van Sant in person at their Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Advanced tickets are sold out, but a standby line will form, and if my past experience there is any indication, determined audiences should have no trouble getting in. Just leave your water at the door; the Academy’s food-and-drink policy is no joke.
And if you’re feeling a need for some adventure, haul out to Santa Monica as the Aero kicks off its Hayao Miyazaki retrospective on Thursday at 7:30 with Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and Porco Rosso (1992). Both are on DCP, but at least they’re in Japanese with subtitles, and are sure to look quite good. As with the Egyptian’s Star Trek tribute, the Miyazaki series will continue into the following week.