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Sep 9, 2012

NORA EPHRON AND CHRIS MARKER TRIBUTES – SCREENING THIS WEEK AT THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE (September 10 – 16, 2012)






In the last few months there has been the need for way too many high profile Entertainment tributes. This week the Cinematheque pays homage to the work of 2 more recently deceased filmmaking talents – Writer/Director Nora Ephron and Director Chris Marker – a director that FILM COMMENT absolutely adores. I forget how long ago and which issues, but their series which I believe spanned over 3 issues on Marker's work is a must read.

I had the opportunity to work on a Nora Ephron film when I was in feature Development. The film was LUCKY NUMBERS which admittedly was not the most successful of movies and (not surprisingly) not screening as part of this series still I thought I would add that little bit of personal trivia.

The Eastwood western series continues as well as the year-long Mayan Calendar series, and the Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian features a limited one-week run of a new film (there is a screening of it at the Aero as well).


THE EGYPTIAN – 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028




Wednesday, September 12th, 7:30pm

Mayan Calendar Countdown

2012 is almost over and with it possibly the end of civilization as we know it (according to the Roland Emmerich movie at least). So the Cinematheque has been screening a series of films that deal with bleak futures.

CHILDREN OF MEN (2006, Universal; Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron)




The ability to procreate has been lost (although I could say that in some cases, a situation like this would be a GOOD thing) and Clive Owen takes it upon himself to make sure the world's only pregnant woman survives.

One of the best movies of the year in which it was released, CHILDREN OF MEN is a powerful film with great performances by Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine.

Followed by…

1984 (1984, MGM; Directed by: Michael Radford)




This is not exactly a movie about the future, but a movie about a future that has already come and gone. 1984 was to be the year Big Brother had control over everything – our thoughts, our feelings and most significantly our privacy. Released in the year all this was supposed to happen, 1984 is not an easy watch but more intriguing now given the fact that we are almost 30 years beyond. Now BIG BROTHER is a (bad) reality show, and nobody needs to monitor anything because we all just post it all on Social Media for everyone to read anyway.

THE TRAILER for CHILDREN OF MEN:

 


 

THE TRAILER for 1984:

 


 

Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Thursday, September 13th, 7:30pm

The Museum of Memory: A Tribute to Chris Marker

SANS SOLEIL (1983, New Yorker; Directed by: Chris Marker)




I've been kind of dreading writing about these films simply because they are so difficult to describe. An experimental filmmaker, the Cinema of Chris Marker is nothing you have ever seen before and likely never to see again. Like the TWILIGHT ZONE it is a cinema of sight, sound and mind. Needless to say I'm not even going to try and breakdown SANS SOLEIL because anything I write would not do it justice. Let me just say if you like to taken to new and interesting places and think and see the world around you in a new and exciting way, this is a screening for you.

 

A CLIP:




 

Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Friday, September 14th, 7:30pm

The Museum of Memory: A Tribute to Chris Marker

A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT (1977, Icarus Films; Directed by: Chris Marker)




Another movie I just can't really put into words, the best that can be said about it is that it follows the revolutionary movement that was so prevalent in the late 60s through the 70s. It is 180 minutes that are worth spending in a darkened room.

THE OPENING SEQUENCE from A GRIN WITHOUT A CAT:





Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Friday, September 14th – Thursday, September 20th - 7:00pm and 9:00PM – Spielberg Theater

Limited Engagement

THE TROUBLE WITH THE TRUTH (2012; Directed by: Jim Hemphill)




Jim Hemphill will be on hand for the first screening on Friday at 7:30pm, then again Saturday at 7:30pm with his Director of Photography for this week long engagement at the Spielberg Theater in the Egyptian of his latest work.

Given that it is so new, I haven't seen it so can't comment on it personally, so I will borrow from the Cinematheque website in this instance.

Musician Robert (John Shea) is a perpetual starving artist with low overhead and minimal commitments. When Robert's daughter announces that she's engaged, he advises her against it - his own marriage to Emily (Lea Thompson) didn't last, and he doesn't understand why anyone would want to give up their independence. Yet when Robert and Emily reunite and dredge up old memories and hurts, both discover they have a lot of unresolved issues and that love, marriage and divorce aren't quite as simple as they'd like. With Danielle Harris and Keri Lynn Pratt.


A LINK TO THE TRAILER – HERE.

Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Saturday, September 15th, 10:30am

EGYPTIAN THEATER HISTORIC TOUR & FOREVER HOLLYWOOD


 


 

One of the tours to take in Los Angeles - the regular walking tour of one of the historic Egyptian theater in Hollywood.  Production costs and tax incentives may have driven most of the production out of Los Angeles and California, but when it comes down to it, Los Angeles is still and always will be the heart and soul of movies and the movie industry.  The American Cinematheque has kept that alive by moving their operations into the Egyptian, and taking you behind the scenes of the history of the building and the legendary area surrounding it - Hollywood and Hollywood Boulevard!

The tour concludes with a screening of FOREVER HOLLYWOOD, a 55 minute 1999 documentary produced by the Cinematheque and directed by Todd McCarthy and Arnold Glassman (both are also responsible for the amazing documentary VISIONS OF LIGHT: THE ART OF CINEMATOGRAPHY).

Viva Hollywood!

Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Saturday, September 15th, 7:30pm

The Museum of Memory: A Tribute to Chris Marker

It's a full night of Chris Marker shorts.

LA JETEE (1964, New Yorker; Directed by: Chris Marker)




A Chris Marker movie I can actually describe. This is a series of still photographs edited together about a man traveling through time who is inspired by the image of a woman at an Airport. May not sound like much and is only 30 minutes long, but it is 30 minutes you will never forget.

Notably this was the inspiration for the 1995 Terry Gilliam movie TWELVE MONKEYS with Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt.

JUNKTOPIA (1981; Directed by: Chris Marker, John Chapman and Frank Simeone)

6 minute short about the Mudflats in Northern California, and the only movie Marker made in the USA (that tidbit courtesy of the Cinematheque website)

REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS TO COME (2001, First Run Features/Icarus Films; Directed by: Yannick Bellon, Chris Marker)




One of Chris Marker's later movies, it is the personal history of France as seen through the eyes of photographer Denise Bellon.

Followed by…

A series of shorts devoted to animals. From the Cinematheque website:

A Chris Marker Bestiary: Five Chris Marker short films devoted to animals collected together and available for the first time! Includes:

"Cat Listening to Music," (1990, 3 min). Marker fans are familiar with the cartoon representation of Guillaume-en-Egypte, Marker's beloved pet cat, which has become the reclusive filmmaker's alter ego. In this charming short, Marker reveals the real-life Guillaume, stretched out lazily in the filmmaker's apartment, as he listens to the lilting rhythms of a piano sonata by Federico Mompou.

"An Owl Is An Owl" (1990, 3 min). A visit to an aviary yields a rhythmically edited series of close-ups of the rapidly rotating or intently staring feathered heads of a colorful variety of owls, accompanied by an ambient electronic soundtrack.

"Zoo Piece" (1990, 3 min). A leisurely paced montage of animals, many of them confined in cages or enclosures - including seals, kangaroos, leopards, gorillas, wolves, monkeys, ostriches and a sleeping rhinoceros.

"Bullfight in Okinawa" (1992, 4 min). Two enormous black bulls engage in a contest of brute force, egged on by their screaming handlers, as they butt heads and lock horns in an attempt to rout their opponent.

"Slon Tango" (1993, 4 min). In this astonishing, sustained shot, an elephant in the Ljubljana Zoo ambles around its enclosure, performing syncopated dance steps to the accompaniment of Igor Stravinsky's "Tango."

Oh and the night's not over yet as this is followed by…

CASE OF THE GRINNING CAT (2004, Icarus Films; Directed by: Chris Marker)




This is Chris Marker's final feature length film. A painting of a grinning yellow cat starts popping up on the walls in Paris in 2002, and Chris Marker follows them outlining international culture, politics and events leading into the new millennium.


A CLIP from CASE OF THE GRINNING CAT:




Link to Tickets and Information HERE.


THE AERO – 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403





Monday, September 10th, 7:30pm

Eastwood Westerns

UNFORGIVEN (1992, Warner Bros.; Directed by: Clint Eastwood)





The Eastwood Western series continues with Clint playing a retired gunfighter taking on one last job to avenge a prostitute that was maimed in the face by a customer. Hired by a younger man and with his old partner Morgan Freeman by his side, he heads to a town where his type isn't welcome by a Sherriff (Gene Hackman who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) that isn't kind to gunslingers.

Heroes and legends are not be all they are said to be, and this film features one of the most realistic reactions to someone in a western dealing with killing a man firsthand in the history of cinema. How many times have you seen a gunfighter kill a man in cold blood then walk away without a trace of sorrow or reaction? Not in this case.

UNFORGIVEN won multiple Oscars and began Clint's very healthy run since then of Oscar wins and nominations. It was the movie that catapulted his work into the realm of a director to be taken seriously.


THE TRAILER:




 

Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Thursday, September 13th, 7:30pm

AFTER THE TRIUMPH OF YOUR BIRTH (2012; Directed by: Jim Akin)




Ok I hate admitting this, but another movie screening that I know little about. So borrowing from the Cinematheque website:

Jim Akin wrote, directed and shot this surreally dark-humored portrait of outsider Eli Willits, compressed into a seven-day, philosophical-geographical quest through the wilds of Los Angeles. A music-driven celebration of uncertainty, the film features gorgeously composed digital cinematography and an original soundtrack by acclaimed singer-songwriter Maria McKee.


THE TRAILER:






Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Friday, September 14th, 7:30pm

When Hollywood Met Nora: A Tribute to Nora Ephron

From the work of experimental film maker Chris Marker to the Hollywood films of Nora Ephron, the Cinematheque programming covers all aspects of Cinema.

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (1989, Castle Rock; Directed by: Rob Reiner)




Nora Ephron wrote this breakout hit that took the summer of 1989 by storm even though it was surrounded by such heavy weights like BATMAN, STAR TREK V, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, LICENCE TO KILL, LETHAL WEAPON 2 and THE ABYSS. This was a true counter-programming jackpot proving that adults like to go to the movies during the summer as well and take in a movie not driven by action or special effects.

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY… also set the tone for romantic comedies that followed as it sparked the great debate of can a man and woman be friends – especially when sex gets involved. Unlike most in the genre even though you want Billy Cystal and Meg Ryan to get together, you feel it's not an automatic thing (most Rom Coms I feel it pretty obvious who is going to end up with whom by the end and how), and it is a fully fleshed out story of opposites attracting and growing through their feelings and emotions. And of course there is the now famous scene where Sally fakes an orgasm in a diner.

I always love the in between interviews that Director Rob Reiner added with real long-lasting couples telling stories on how they met.

Followed by…

MY BLUE HEAVEN (1990, Warner Bros.; Directed by: Herbert Ross)






Again written by Nora Ephron, Steve Martin is a gangster who ends up in a witness protection program and makes life difficult for the FBI agent assigned to his case (straitlaced Rick Moranis). It came out the same year as GOODFELLAS and the connections don't end there as Ms. Ephron was married to Nicholas Pileggis the author of WISE GUYS (the book GOODFELLAS was based on) and CASINO.

I believe Rupert Pupkin over at Rupert Pupkin speaks has a soft spot for this movie as do I.


THE TRAILER for WHEN HARRY MET SALLY…:




 

THE TRAILER for MY BLUE HEAVEN:



 

Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

 

Saturday, September 15th, 7:30pm

When Hollywood Met Nora: A Tribute to Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron steps behind the camera and makes Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks the "it" couple of the 1990s.

SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (1993, Sony; Directed by: Nora Ephron)




This was another romantic comedy that took box office by storm this time in the summer of 1993. Tom Hanks is a widower whose son calls into a radio call-in show and makes Hanks instantly popular with the ladies when he is dubbed "Sleepless in Seattle". Meg Ryan is a reporter who is out to track him down for a story, but is also attracted to him.

Using the Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER as a template and as an in-film reference, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE is a charming movie and you will think that there is nobody on earth more likable than Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan.

Followed by…


YOU'VE GOT MAIL (1998, Warner Bros.; Directed by: Nora Ephron)




You make a hit on-screen couple out of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, it's a given in Hollywood that they – as well as Director Nora Ephron – must re-team again. Here a take on the classic Ernst Lubitsch film SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (with James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan) Meg and Tom are e-mail pals (in the original film they go "snail mail") who are friendly over the Internet, but not so much in person as Tom's BARNES & NOBLE mega-bookstore threatens to put Meg's "Mom and Pop" shop out of business.

Possibly the most obvious corporate sponsored movie as even the title is an ad for the 90s Internet powerhouse AMERICA ONLINE (AOL) which merged with Time Warner the corporate entity owning the studio that made this movie – Warner Bros. Truly a product of its year as I don't think many people still use AOL, but back then it was all the rage and everyone knew the iconic "You've Got Mail" announcement. I still use AOL instant messenger which (I believe) set the standard for all IM programs to come like MSN or yahoo.


THE TRAILER for SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE:

 


 

THE TRAILER for YOU'VE GOT MAIL:

 


 

Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Sunday, September 16th, 4:00pm

THE TROUBLE WITH THE TRUTH (2011; Directed by: Jim Hemphill)




Director Jim Hemphill and star Lea Thompson will be on hand to discuss this film which is getting a week-long limited run at the Egyptian in the Spielberg Theater.

The description from above which is from the Cinematheque website:

Musician Robert (John Shea) is a perpetual starving artist with low overhead and minimal commitments.  When Robert's daughter announces that she's engaged, he advises her against it - his own marriage to Emily (Lea Thompson) didn't last, and he doesn't understand why anyone would want to give up their independence. Yet when Robert and Emily reunite and dredge up old memories and hurts, both discover they have a lot of unresolved issues and that love, marriage and divorce aren't quite as simple as they'd like. With Danielle Harris and Keri Lynn Pratt.



A LINK TO THE TRAILER – HERE.
    
Link to Tickets and Information HERE.

Sunday, September 16th, 7:30pm

When Hollywood Met Nora: A Tribute to Nora Ephron

Meryl Streep and Mike Nichols team up for a pair of Nora Ephron written screenplays.

SILKWOOD (1983, ABC Motion Pictures; Directed by: Mike Nichols)




Meryl Streep blows the whistle on an unsafe work environment at a Nuclear Power Plant, and was purposely contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered for her efforts. Based on a true story, the film also stars Kurt Russell and Cher.

Followed by…

HEARTBURN (1986, Paramount; Diirected by: Mike Nichols)




Marriage isn't all it's cracked up to be in HEARTBURN when Meryl Streep marries fellow columnist Jack Nicholson and discovers he's cheating on her while she's pregnant.

Said to be an autobiographical from Ms. Ephron's marriage to Washington Post writer and Watergate investigator Carl Bernstein.


THE TRAILER for SILKWOOD:



 

THE TRAILER for HEARTBURN:

 


 

Link to Tickets and Information HERE.