A February To-Do List for Film Buffs in Los Angeles

Photofest
'The Mother and the Whore'

The "dump months" are upon us, but Los Angeles cinephiles can take refuge at any of the following classic, cult or rare screenings.

SEIJUN SUZUKI RETROSPECTIVE AT THE HAMMER | 10899 Wilshire Blvd.

One of the most singular and rebellious of Japanese filmmakers, director Seijun Suzuki –– subject of an essential two-month retrospective at the Hammer Museum, courtesy of the UCLA Film and Television Archive — has built an enormous filmography on a combination of risqué subject matter, stylistic flights of fancy and playful genre excursions. All this and more is on full display in the series, which features a number of his most infamous outings — including double features of Branded to Kill and Youth of the Beast (Feb. 5), Tokyo Drifter and Fighting Elegy (Feb. 6) and Gate of Flesh and Story of a Prostitute (Feb. 12) — alongside a selection of his lesser known yet equally anarchic offerings. Amongst the latter, highlights include double bills of Kanto Wanderer and The Call of Blood (Feb. 8) and Tattooed Life and Carmen from Kawachi (Feb. 13), as well as a pairing of two strikingly unique later films, Pistol Opera and A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness (Feb. 21), made well after the director's popularity had waned, only reinforcing the uncompromising spirit which has guided Suzuki for over a half-century.

THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE AT CINEFAMILY | 611 N. Fairfax Ave.

Cinefamily’s monthly “La Collectionneuse” series, dedicated to classics of French cinema both past and present, returns on Feb. 12 with a 35mm presentation of Jean Eustache’s 1973 masterwork The Mother and the Whore. Though yet to be widely recognized in the West  — due in part to his films’ lack of availability on home video — Eustache, who died in 1981 at the age of 42, is one of the key figures of post-New Wave French filmmaking. Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud, Bernadette Lafont and Françoise Lebrun as a trio of young lovers whose laissez-faire ideals of romance foster a sense of jealously and estrangement within the group, Eustache's debut film — at nearly four hours in length, at once intimate and expansive — remains a touchstone of modernist cinema.

WESTERNS AND GENRE CLASSICS AT THE NEW BEVERLY | 7165 Beverly Blvd.

Quentin Tarantino’s 35mm roadshow presentation of The Hateful Eight continues throughout February at the New Beverly Cinema with a series of double features pairing his latest with a selection of Westerns and genre films which inspired the look, feel and form of his newest provocation. Predictably wide-ranging, these selections include such spaghetti Westerns as Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence (Feb. 9) and Giuseppe Colizzi’s Boot Hill (Feb. 23) and studio classics Stagecoach (Feb. 7 and 8) and Rio Bravo (Feb. 14 and 15), as well as New Hollywood landmarks McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Feb. 10, 11, 12, and 13), Straw Dogs (Feb. 21 and 22) and The Wild Bunch (Feb. 28 and 29). Also of note is a four-night spotlight of John Carpenter’s arctic thriller The Thing (Feb. 3, 4, 5, and 6), which, like The Hateful Eight, stars Kurt Russell and a gang of misfits holed up in a remote location attempting to fend off an unseen enemy.

TRIBUTE TO VILMOS ZSIGMOND AT THE EGYPTIAN | 6712 Hollywood Blvd.

The late cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who lensed a number of New Hollywood classics after emigrating from Hungary in the early 1960s, died earlier this year at the age of 85. In tribute to his indelible career, Grauman's Egyptian Theatre is hosting an two-week, eight-film series dedicated to a number of his most celebrated achievements. Screening in a combination of 35mm prints and digital restorations, double features include a pairing of Robert Altman’s two best films, McCabe & Mrs. Miller and The Long Goodbye (Feb. 5), mid-period Brian De Palma thrillers Blow Out and Obsession (Feb. 18) and a mid-'70s Steven Spielberg twofer of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Sugarland Express (Feb. 20). Meanwhile, receiving solo presentations are two of director Michael Cimino’s most storied productions, The Deer Hunter (Feb. 6) and Heaven’s Gate (Feb. 21), each indicative of Zsigmond’s unparalleled eye for intimate detail and natural beauty.

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