A June To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.

Courtesy of Photofest
'The Witches'

Not tempted by the early-summer multiplex menu? Check out these retrospective and revival offerings this month in L.A., including works by queer directors during Hollywood's Golden Age, classic concert films and movies about witches.


The UCLA Film and Television Archive’s latest series, “Marquee Movies: Movies on Moviegoing,” running throughout June at the Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater, packs a rich array of classic and contemporary films under its banner, turning up some fascinating pairings in the process. Among the classics, there’s a double bill bringing together two early Hollywood musicals, Lloyd Bacon’s Footlight Parade and Robert Florey’s This Way Please (June 12), and another featuring Gregory La Cava’s silent slapstick His Ribs and Basil Dearden's mid-century movie house comedy The Smallest Show on Earth (June 25). It’s the contemporary couplings, however, that hold the most intrigue: First, two uber cinephilic delights in the form of Federico Veiroj’s art house amour A Useful Life and Luc Moullet’s wry send-up of French film criticism’s halcyon days, The Seats of the Alcazar (June 15). And second, a pair of slow cinema masters, Tsai Ming-liang and Lisandro Alonso, who will be granted a conducive thematic setting for two of their most personal works, the ghostly Goodbye, Dragon Inn and the enigmatic Fantasma (June 19).


Already underway and continuing throughout the month at Cinefamily is “All of Them Witches,” a series dedicated, as you might have guessed, to witch and occult-themed films. But it isn’t strictly doom and gloom. In keeping with the spirit of the theater, the featured films alternate between the macabre and the comedic. Highlights include 35mm presentations of Nicolas Roeg’s demented family fantasia Witches (June 10), Ken Russell’s phantasmagoric The Devils (June 11, 13 and 14), Roman Polanski’s Satan-spawning fable Rosemary’s Baby (June 12, 13 and 14), Andrew Fleming’s post-modern teen tribute The Craft (June 17), Dario Argento’s Giallo nightmare Suspiria (June 24) and finally, zombie maven George A. Romero’s own hallucinogenic take on the genre, Season of the Witch (June 30).


Alongside the New Beverly Cinema’s typically diverse slate of cult items and auteurist enticements (of which the mid-40s Robert Siodmak pictures Phantom Lady and The Suspect, screening June 12 and 13, are of most interest), each weekend in June will feature rare 35mm presentations of classic concert films. Titles include the psychedelic free-for-alls Fillmore and Monterey Pop (June 3 and 4); the cultural, musical and cinematic landmark Woodstock (June 8, 9, 10 and 11); the captivating Jimi Hendrix films Rainbow Bridge and Jimi Plays Berkeley (June 17 and 18); the beloved Prince showcases Purple Rain and Sign o’ the Times (June 17 and 18); and, lastly, a double feature of the early rock ‘n’ roll and R&B special T.A.M.I. Show, and the late-career Elvis Presley concert doc Elvis: That’s the Way It Is (June 24 and 25).

QUEER HOLLYWOOD AT LACMA | 5905 Wilshire Blvd.

In collaboration with Outfest, LACMA’s Tuesday Matinees program for the month of June will double as a four-film, all-35mm series entitled “Classically Queer: LGBTQ Directors in Hollywood’s Golden Age.” Per its title, the quartet of selections highlight queer filmmakers who worked, often times under duress, in the studio era of Hollywood, and who not only made stylistically sound films in the process, but also personal films featuring covertly queer subtexts. With directors both well known and ripe for reevaluation, the series — which includes George Cukor’s Sylvia Scarlett (June 7), Dorothy Arzner’s Craig’s Wife (June 14), James Whale’s Show Boat (June 21) and Irving Rapper’s Now, Voyager (June 28) — should shine revealing light on a number of artists who were, in more ways than one, hidden in plain sight.