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

Courtesy of Photofest

Among retrospective and revival highlights in Los Angeles this month are a series curated by Olivier Assayas, an annual noir festival and a weekend of films about "gaslighting."


The UCLA Film and Television Archive’s biennial Festival of Preservation returns to the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum this month for a multiweek showcase of the organization’s newly restored classics and rescued obscurities. And this year’s edition kicks off on Friday with an evening comprised of each, with Ernst Lubitsch’s beloved comedy Trouble in Paradise toplining a double bill alongside the previously elusive I Take This Woman, a romantic Western starring Gary Cooper and Carol Lombard. Not everything is as star-studded, but nearly every evening promises something strange or intriguing. Of particular note are a pair of rarities from Mexico (Los Tallos Amargos and She-Devil Island, Saturday), two fraught horror productions from the early 1930s (The Vampire Bat and Almost Married, Monday), a double bill of films by the all-but-unknown female independent filmmaker Juleen Compton (Stranded and The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean, March 9), two sterling and under-seen film noirs (He Walked by Night and Open Secret, March 10), and, finally, a pair of provocative mid-‘30s race movies (God’s Step Children and She Devil, March 19). Taken together, these freshly minted works speak to the breadth of what’s become one of the city’s most essential repertory events.


With his latest film, the intoxicatingly odd thriller Personal Shopper, due for theatrical release in early March, the Cinefamily has invited French director and noted cinephile Olivier Assayas to select and present a group of some of his favorite films, alongside a selection of his own celebrated shorts and features. On Saturday, Assayas will introduce a pair of French artist and political insurrectionist Guy Debord’s films, including the little-seen feature In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni, which will be followed by a second show comprised of Assayas’ most recent short films. Similarly, on Sunday, Assayas will be on hand to present a 35mm print of the Swedish director Bo Widerberg’s proletarian saga Adalen 31, before an evening screening of a DCP restoration of his own international breakthrough, Irma Vep. And later in the month, rounding out this mini tribute, will be 35mm presentations of two of Assayas’ most polarizing works, the cybernetics thriller demonlover (March 25) and the hypnotic junkie drama Clean (March 26), which reunited Assayas with his Irma Vep star Maggie Cheung.

NOIR CITY AT THE EGYPTIAN | 6712 Hollywood Blvd.

One of the year’s most consistently pleasing repertory programs, the annual Noir City festival makes its way back to Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre this month for its 19th edition. Curated and hosted by film scholars and Noir Foundation founders Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode, the festival brings with it a typically delectable array of dark cinema delights. Opening the series on March 24 is a 35mm double bill of Los Angeles-set gems: Frank Tuttle’s This Gun for Hire, starring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, and Quiet Please, Murder, a quintessentially efficient B-production featuring George Sanders in the lead role. Elsewhere you’ll find enshrined auteurs such as Fritz Lang (Ministry of Fear, screening March 25 with William Cameron Menzies’ Address Unknown), Budd Boetticher (Escape in the Fog, paired with Charles David’s Lady on a Train, March 26), and Otto Preminger (Where the Sidewalk Ends, March 31 with Earl McAvoy’s Killer That Stalked New York) reveling in unique genre settings, while rarities from journeymen such as Otto Brower (Behind Green Lights, March 27), Eugene Forte (Backlash, March 28) and Jack Bernhard (The Hunted, March 29) should please diehard noirists digging for lost gems.


The incredibly titled series “Gaslighting and Tormenting: From Hitch to The Love Witch,” runs over four nights at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica in early March. As you might expect from the name, the inspiration for the series is the recent, exquisitely rendered sexploitation homage The Love Witch, which kicks off the program on March 9 alongside John M. Stahl’s Leave Her to Heaven. (Anna Biller, director of The Love Witch, will be on hand opening night to discuss the films.) While those two movies, plus the March 11 double bill of Rosemary’s Baby and Diabolique, will be screened on various digital formats, the other two evenings feature at least one celluloid print. On March 10, Biller will introduce a 35mm presentation of George Cukor’s suddenly topical Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, followed by a DCP of David Miller’s Sudden Fear, with Joan Crawford and Jack Palance toplining the cast. And finally, on March 12, two Alfred Hitchcock classics, Dial M for Murder (screening on DCP, but in 3D) and Shadow of a Doubt (35mm), will bring things to an appropriately tense conclusion.


Your monthly sift through the New Beverly’s busy calendar should turn up the requisite number of delights and curiosities, enough to stoke just about any moviegoer's intrigue. Of special note are a pair of Dustin Hoffman vehicles, Straw Dogs and Lenny (Friday and Saturday); two underrated 70s Westerns, Ulzana’s Raid and Valdez is Coming (Wednesday and March 9); Japanese master Kaneto Shindô’s gothic horror masterpieces Kuroneko and Onibaba (March 17 and 18); the Hollywood classics Only Angels Have Wings and Blonde Venus (March 24 and 25); two underrated films, The Fireman’s Ball and Intimate Lighting, from Czech legends Milos Forman and Ivan Passer (March 27); a solo showcase of R.W. Fassbinder’s World on a Wire (March 31); and, in an intriguing programming stroke, a trio of very rare Frank Perry double bills. Between them, these films, which include Last Summer and Ladybug Ladybug (Sunday and Monday), Diary of a Mad Housewife and Play It as It Lays (March 12) and the duo of Doc and Rancho Deluxe (March 20), star such names as Barbara Hershey, Bruce Davison, Frank Langella, Tuesday Weld, Anthony Perkins, Faye Dunaway, Sam Waterston and Jeff Bridges.