An April To-Do List for Film Buffs in Los Angeles

M.J. Gourland/Photofest
'The Passion of Joan of Arc'

Los Angeles moviegoers suffering from 'Batman v. Superman' fatigue have a plethora of alternative options this month, including screenings of films by Godard, Dreyer, Farhadi, Akerman and more.


The unexpected passing of beloved Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman in October has prompted tributes and memorial screenings worldwide. Throughout April, in conjunction with the release of Akerman’s exquisite final film, No Home Movie, five Los Angeles venues — including REDCAT, Veggie Cloud, Fahrenheit and Los Angeles Filmforum — join forces for “Contre L’oubli” (“Against Oblivion”), a near-complete retrospective of the director's many short and feature-length works in the fields of both narrative and nonfiction. A majority of the most notable titles will screen at Cinefamily, including an extremely rare 35mm presentation of Akerman’s infectious musical Golden Eighties (April 9), a digital presentation of the equally under-seen Histoires d’Amerique (April 13), a 16mm screening of one her unequivocal masterpieces, From the East (April 17) and a concluding program bringing together the short La Chambre and her landmark first feature, Je tu il elle (April 19). 

TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL | 6801 Hollywood Blvd.

A feast for lovers of movies old and new alike, the annual TCM Classic Film Festival — this year running from April 28-May 1, largely at the TCL Chinese 6 — is once again presenting an array of restorations and vintage cinematic ephemera from across the golden age of studio filmmaking, interspersed with a handful of foreign-language classics. Highlights include new restorations of Josef von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express and Jean-Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders; special screenings of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (complete with live orchestral accompaniment); John Huston’s Fat City; the early-’70s Robert Altman films The Long Goodbye and MASH; and, finally, an intriguing, extra-sensory presentation of Jack Cardiff's Holiday Inn, aka Scent of Mystery, presented in Smell-O-Vision at the Arclight Cinerama Dome.


Beginning on April 8, Santa Monica’s Nuart Theater is hosting a week-long run of acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s 2006 drama Fireworks Wednesday, a film never released before in the U.S. In the decade since its premiere, Farhadi has established himself as one of world cinema’s most notable names, earning high praise for both his Oscar-winning 2011 film A Separation and its lauded follow-up, The Past. Like many of the helmer’s films, Fireworks Wednesday is an intimate portrait of a unstable marriage; set against a backdrop of the Persian New Year, Farhadi charts a tumultuous week in the lives of a family and their extended community, offering insight into the customs and creative fortitude of a culture too often kept from U.S. screens.


On April 17, veteran Boston experimentalist Saul Levine will appear in person as Los Angeles Filmforum hosts a selection of the filmmaker’s classic 8mm works at the Spielberg Theatre (located at Grauman’s Egyptian). Along with a trio of films from the Light Lick series, the evening will include a pair of Levine’s ‘60s classics (The Big StickWhole Note) alongside the comparatively epic New Left Note, a 27-minute tour-de-force to stand beside the best work of such contemporaries as Jonas Mekas and Bruce Baillie. Of additional note: A pair of supplemental programs of Levine’s films will screen on April 16 at the Echo Park Film Center and April 18 at REDCAT.


Revered British filmmaker Tacita Dean, a celluloid virtuoso whose material and historical interests entwine in highly tactile theatrical experiences, visits downtown’s REDCAT theater on April 25 for a rare selection of 16mm works never before seen in Los Angeles. Screening along with a handful of short films shot in widescreen — a format which REDCAT will preserve by outfitting their projector with an anamorphic lens — is Dean’s 57-minute film Presentation Sisters (2005), an intimate portrait of a remote convent where a group of elderly nuns toil away in preparation for their eventual transition to the afterlife.