From Cinema Classics To New Indie Releases: Movies To Catch In L.A. This September
September means summer is coming to a close, and with that we say "good riddance" to the dismal blockbuster season we had over the past few months. For moviegoers in Los Angeles, there's still plenty ahead at our local repertory and indie movie theaters this month to make up for that. Here are the highlights of what's coming up in September for cinephiles in L.A.
AT REPERTORY THEATERS
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
The region-wide art initiative Pacific Standard Time returns for a third time to Southern California, this time focusing on Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with the city of Los Angeles. The whole series covers a wide swath of media and events, with film screenings starting the weekend of September 23 at venues including REDCAT, the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Over at REDCAT, in conjunction with Los Angeles Film Forum, a whole weekend (Sept. 23-25) of experimental film from Latin America is showcased with the program Ism, Ism, Ism. The Academy kicks off their own series, From Latin America To Hollywood: Latino Film Culture in Los Angeles 1967-2017 with an opening screening of Zoot Suit, starring Edward James Olmos and featuring a lineup of hits like La Bamba, Pan's Labyrinth and Amores Perros. Over in Westwood, the UCLA Film & Television Archive screens Latin American classics from Mexico, Cuba and Argentina in Recuerdos de un cine en español: Latin American Cinema in Los Angeles, 1930-1960, a series that showcases films that may have once played at downtown's now-forgotten venus like Teatro Eléctrico, the California Theatre, and the Million Dollar Theatre (schedule tbd).
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA starts in September and runs through January 2018. Check website for more information about events and participating venues.
Grindhouse Month at the New Bev
Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly Cinema celebrates two anniversaries this month, with the 20th anniversary of his ode to the South Bay and Pam Grier, Jackie Brown, and the 10th anniversary of the double-feature extravaganza Grindhouse. Jackie Brown runs for a week (Sept. 3-9), and is paired with the likes of Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight (both films are based on Elmore Leonard novels), the reptile-horror film Alligator (with actor Robert Forster in person), Sam Peckinpah's Junior Bonner (starring Steve McQueen), John Frankenheimer's 52 Pick-Up, and the Pam Grier blaxploitation vehicles Sheba, Baby and Coffy. The full theatrical cut of Grindhouse (with both Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror and Tarantino's Death Proof, plus "trailers") runs for all of the following week (Sept. 10-16), followed by a "Grindhouse 2" program (Machete and Hell Ride—Sept. 17-20) and "Grindhouse 3" program (Machete Kills and The Man With the Iron Fists—Sept. 21-23). The rest of the sleazy month is padded out with classic exploitation double-features for a whole week (Sept. 24-30) and on Saturday nights at midnight. Highlights include Roger Vadim's sexy black comedy All The Pretty Maids in a Row (starring Rock Hudson) and Grave of the Vampire, penned by The Sopranos creator David Chase. As always, all films are screening on "glorious 35mm."
New Beverly Cinema is located at 7165 Beverly Blvd, Fairfax. (323) 938-4038.
A Tribute to Jeanne Moreau
World cinema lost a legend just over a month ago with the passing of French icon Jeanne Moreau. In Santa Monica, the Aero will honor her with a series of her major roles as well as lesser-known gems (Sept. 7-10). Naturally, her legendary turns in François Truffaut's Jules and Jim and the Miles Davis-scored Elevator to the Gallows are the centerpieces of the program. Also screening are her collaborations with major European auteurs—Michelangelo Antonioni's La Notte, Luis Buñuel's Diary of a Chambermaid, and Jacques Demy's Bay of Angels. However, the one that's not to be missed is her third and final collaboration with Truffaut—The Bride Wore Black, a dark comedy about a bride who seeks revenge on the men who murdered her newlywed husband. The rarely-shown Bride Wore Black screens on a 35mm print.
The Aero Theatre is located at 1328 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica. (310) 260-1528.
Charles Burnett In Person
No history of American cinema is complete without mention of the L.A. Rebellion, a tight-knit group of UCLA film students who created a socially-conscious black cinema as an alternative to both blaxploitation and Hollywood cinema in the 1970s. At the center of this group is Charles Burnett, whose poetic masterpiece Killer of Sheep is regarded today as one of the greatest, yet unheralded, American films of all time. The director sits down for a conversation at the Academy with film scholar James Naremore (Sept. 7) to discuss his career, with a screening of Burnett's To Sleep With Anger (starring Danny Glover) to follow. While tickets are already sold out for this free (!) event, we'd be remiss to not suggest waiting in the stand-by line for a chance to attend.
Charles Burnett: A Cinema of Symbolic Knowledge takes place on Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's Linwood Dunn Theatre, located at 1313 Vine St. in Hollywood. (310) 247-3000.
Stanley Kubrick x James B. Harris
Considering how most of his films have become regular mainstays at revival theaters, it's hardly worth mentioning when a Stanley Kubrick series rolls around. However, at the end of the month, the Aero puts the spotlight on one of Kubrick's major collaborators during his time in Hollywood. Harris Kubrick: Genius Takes Two (Sept. 28-Oct. 1) not only includes the three Kubrick films that James B. Harris produced (Paths of Glory, The Killing, Lolita), but also three that Harris made himself as director. The duo would have a falling out over Dr. Strangelove (which also screens Sept. 30), and Harris would go on to make his own Cold War nuclear thriller for his directorial debut, 1965's The Bedford Incident (Sept. 29). Harris himself will make an appearance for every night of the series.
The Aero Theatre is located at 1328 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica. (310) 260-1528.
Lena Horne at LACMA
If you have some sick days or vacation days to burn, be sure to drop by LACMA for their Tuesday afternoon matinees this month as they pay tribute to pioneering African-American star, singer and civil rights activist Lena Horne. The all-35mm series showcases Horne at the beginning and the end of her career, with two all-black musicals from 1943—Cabin in the Sky (Sept. 5), the directorial debut of Vincente Minnelli, and Stormy Weather (Sept. 11), from which the title track would become one of the Horne's signature tunes. The roles dried up for Horne after 1950, when she says she was blacklisted for her political activism, but she made a brief comeback in the 1969 Western Death of a Gunfighter (Sept. 19). Her final appearance would be in 1978's The Wiz (Sept. 26), a reimagination of The Wizard of Oz. Tickets are only $4!
LACMA's Tuesday matinees take place at 1 p.m. in the Bing Theater. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. (323) 857-6000.
OPENING IN THEATERS:
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
Frederick Wiseman is America's greatest documentary filmmaker, and arguably one of its greatest filmmakers, period. In a career that has spanned over six decades and seen an output of over 40 feature films, Wiseman has become known for his fly-on-the-wall treatises on systems and bureaucracy, lending the viewer an observant eye for the behind-the-scenes machinations of institutions, both public and private. His latest subject is the New York Public Library, with a focus on its iconic Main Branch on Fifth Avenue. Load up on coffee beforehand—Ex Libris, like most Wiseman films of recent vintage, boasts a runtime that's over three hours long.
Nathan Silver—not to be confused with FiveThirtyEight's stats maven—has been one of the preeminent artists of the American independent scene, and Thirst Street marks a departure for the director. A semi-ironic, lurid tale of female obsession driven to extreme ends, the film evokes the colorful and fantastical worlds of Andrzej Żuławski and Italian giallo with a helping hand from cinematographer Sean Price Williams (whose work can be seen earlier this summer in Good Time). The film features voiceover narration from the one and only Anjelica Huston.
Thirst Street opens Sept. 29 at Laemmle's NoHo 7.
Carman Tse is a diehard Giants fan living in Los Angeles as well as a freelance arts and culture writer and former editor-in-chief at LAist. Follow him on Twitter at @CarmanTse.