A July To-Do List for Film Lovers in L.A.
Not tempted by Tarzan? Check out Godard, Wilder, Pialat or Boetticher instead.
MAURICE PIALAT RETROSPECTIVE AT THE BILLY WILDER THEATER | 10899 Wilshire Blvd.
French director Maurice Pialat, one of the great figures of the first generation of post-Nouvelle Vague filmmakers, receives a partial but crucial 35mm retrospective beginning in July (and concluding in August) at the Billy WIlder Theater courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Pialat, who often drew on his own experiences and tumultuous romances to imbue his work with a powerful and oftentimes painful authenticity, made character-based dramas that forewent moralizing and focused instead on the irreconcilable essence of the human condition. Proceeding roughly chronologically, the series begins July 22 with a double bill of Naked Childhood and Graduate First, two films dealing with adolescents at defining moments in their youths, and from there moves through the director’s devastating mid-period films We Won’t Grow Old Together (July 23), À nos amours (July 29) and The Mouth Agape (July 29) before arriving with the sterling late-career masterpiece Van Gogh (July 31), a biographical film of rare insight and intimacy.
KAMIKAZE ’89' AT CINEFAMILY | 611 N. Fairfax Ave.
Cinefamily’s “All of Them Witches” series, outlined in last month’s recommendations, has been extended through July (and features some choice additions, including a 35mm screening of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s immortal Day of Wrath on July 23), but the month’s most enticing offering is a restored 35mm print of Wolf Gremm’s cyberpunk extravaganza Kamikaze ’89 on July 15. Starring director R.W. Fassbinder in his final acting role as a flamboyantly outfitted detective on the brink of exhaustion, Gremm’s dystopian vision of underworld anarchy and corporate conspiracy holds more than a little contemporary relevance. With its garish designs, exaggerated mise en scène and propulsive score by Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream, the film is an infectious visual and aural experience, occasionally inscrutable in its logic yet compulsively watchable.
BUDD BOETTICHER AT THE AERO | 1328 Montana Ave.
The perennially under-recognized Hollywood journeyman Budd Boetticher is the subject of a two-night, four-film series at Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre, a brief but essential opportunity to become acquainted with the director’s unique take on his most beloved genre, the Western. On July 21, a 35mm double feature of two Randolph Scott classics, 7 Men From Now and Buchanan Rides Alone, should provide ample evidence of the chemistry between Boetticher and his frequent leading man, while the July 24 pairing of the matador saga Bullfighter and the Lady (screening digitally) and the CinemaScope spectacle Ride Lonesome (on 35mm), also starring Scott, should speak just as ably to the poetic grandeur of the director’s most enduring accomplishments.
MID-CENTURY GENRE CLASSICS AT THE NEW BEV | 7165 Beverly Blvd.
Unique to most other local venues, the New Beverly’s noble all-celluloid dictate helpfully directs the viewer’s attention to whatever title he or she may not have previously seen on the big screen, rather than toward whatever format it may be screening on. Thus, while no extensive series or retrospective is currently on offer, the theater’s July calendar still holds no shortage of wonderful films to choose from. Which is to say, if you’ve never experienced such landmark films as Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless or Band of Outsiders (July 10 and 11), Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (July 15 and 16, screening with Lawrence Kasdan’s quasi-remake Body Heat) or Masaki Kobayashi’s seminal samurai films Harakiri and Samurai Rebellion (July 17 and 18), then by all means, do not hesitate to see these great films on film. And for those interested in titles more rarely shown theatrically, there are the Andrew L. Stone productions The Steel Trap and Highway 301 (July 20 and 21), as well as a double bill of Anthony Mann’s God’s Little Acre and Arthur Ripley’s Thunder Road (July 24), the latter starring Robert Mitchum, sure to reward the adventurous.