An August To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.
Multiplexes may be filled with late-summer dregs, but Los Angeles' repertory screening scene is an oasis of quality, with offerings from Jacques Rivette, John Stahl, Maurice Pialat, Richard Lester and more.
'NITRATE NOIR' AT THE HAMMER | 10899 Wilshire Blvd.
The UCLA Film and Television Archive’s tribute to Kirk Douglas continues throughout August at the Hammer Museum (including collaborations between Douglas and such notable directors as Richard Fleischer, Michael Curtiz, Edward Dmytryk and Stanley Kubrick), while their partial retrospective of French director Maurice Pialat concludes on Aug. 6 with the unmissable double bill of Loulou and the Palme d’Or winning Under the Sun of Satan. For sheer cinephilic pleasure, however, the month’s highlight is an Aug. 13 “Nitrate Noir” double feature of John M. Stahl’s Leave Her to Heaven and Edmund Goulding’s Nightmare Alley. Stahl’s masterpiece, one of the most beautiful color films of its era, is showing on an ultra-rare IB Technicolor nitrate print, while Goulding’s black-and-white psychological noir will likewise be showcased in its purest form, on original 35mm nitrate, a now-prized and nearly extinct celluloid stock that went out of circulation less than half a decade after these films were made.
ANDRZEJ ZULAWSKI AT CINEFAMILY | 611 N Fairfax Ave.
Polish director Andrzej Zulawski passed away earlier this year at the age of 75, leaving behind one of the most consistently confounding and exhilaratingly liberated bodies of work in modern cinema. In conjunction with a weeklong run of his final film, the unhinged psychological chamber piece Cosmos (Aug. 24-31), Cinefamily will be presenting a selection of recent restorations of Zulawski’s work. Alongside a 35mm presentation of the director’s most iconic film, Possession (currently receiving a weeklong run of its own, on until Aug. 2), the series includes digital restorations of Zulawaki’s most ambitious and famously troubled work, On the Silver Globe (Aug. 5, 6 and 8), the twisted, ahistorical revenge allegory The Devil (Aug. 16), as well as his epochal debut, the Nazi-era vaccination saga The Third Part of the Night (Aug. 23). Together these films encompass the director’s entire career and speak to a singular vision that continues to challenge.
JACQUES RIVETTE AT THE BOB BAKER MARIONETTE THEATER | 1345 W 1st St.
Presented by Cinefamily’s French cinema series “La Collectioneuse,” and already underway at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Westlake, is a trio of Jacques Rivette films scheduled to screen over the first two weeks of August. Billed as “The Dream Cycle of Jacques Rivette,” the series brings together a series of fantastical films the late French director made in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s in collaboration with some of his most beloved actresses, including Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, Bernadette Lafont and Maria Schneider. Each film remains a fascinating enigma: Noroit, screening digitally on Aug. 4, spins a tale of female pirates into a musical fantasy of murderous amour fou; Celine and Julie Go Boating, in 35mm on Aug. 7, turns an idyllic country home into a time-altering theater of the absurd; while the little-seen Merry-Go-Round, showing digitally on Aug. 11, suitably reflects its title as a mystery narrative careening off the edges of reality. Never again was Rivette’s cinema as uninhibited and unbound to narrative traditions.
RICHARD LESTER AT THE NEW BEV | 7165 Beverly Blvd.
Best known for his two collaborations with the Beatles (Help! and A Hard Day’s Night), veteran director Richard Lester was consistently productive while working in many different genres from the early ‘60s through the 1980s. In celebration of the director’s lesser known work, the New Beverly Cinema pays tribute to the journeyman director throughout the month with six double features from throughout his career. Amongst the highlights are the franchise efforts The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers (Aug. 5 and 6), and Superman II and Superman III (Aug. 12 and 13); a double bill of ocean liner thriller Juggernaut and the Revolution-era war film Cuba (Aug. 21 and 22), both starring Sean Connery; and, finally, the contrasting pair of slapstick comedy homage The Knack...And How to Get It and the perceptive marital drama Petulia, starring Julie Christie in the title role alongside George C. Scott as her would-be lover.
SUZAN PITT AND PAT O'NEILL ANIMATIONS AT THE ACADEMY | 1313 Vine St.
On Aug. 25, as part of the Academy's ongoing "Archival Revival" series, two recently preserved works of classic Los Angeles animation will share the screen at the AMPAS' beautiful Linwood Dunn Theater. Suzan Pitt, whose gothic animations are vibrant as they are unsettling, will present Joy Street, a moody redemption tale following a suicidal woman whose fortunes are renewed by a benevolent spirit guide. Meanwhile, master of the optical printer Pat O'Neill will showcase his longform anthology film Trouble in the Image, which couples words and imagery from an untold number of forgotten Hollywood films with iconography of the American Southwest. Outfitting every frame with dizzying superimpositions and hand-processed effects, O'Neill emerges with a haunting simulacra of industrial filmmaking. Both artists will be in attendance to discuss their work.