Critic's Picks: An October To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.

Home Vision Entertainment (HVE)/ Photofest
'Mr. Klein' (1976)

A digital restoration of Joseph Losey's 'Mr. Klein,' a variety of horror favorites just in time for Halloween and a handful of Taiwanese classics are among options for SoCal cinephiles in October.

A FAREWELL TO ANGELA RICCI LUCCHI AT REDCAT | 631 W 2nd St.

On Tuesday, REDCAT will pay tribute to the late Angela Ricci Lucchi with a six-film program of shorts made by the Italian artist in tandem with her longtime partner and collaborator Yervant Gianikian. Among the first filmmakers to utilize found footage as an explicitly political tool, Ricci Lucchi (who passed away in February 2018) and Gianikian spent over 40 years exploring issues of violence, war, oppression and corruption through the rich and provocative use of historical imagery and archival materials. Beginning with their first work, 1975’s Erat-Sora, a beautiful 8mm montage film comprising images of the Virgin Mary that Ricci Lucchi shot during a religious holiday in her native Lugo, the program brings together many rarely seen titles from across the duo's filmography. Other highlights include 1994’s Criminal Animals, made up of startling footage, taken from the archives of fascist documentarian Luca Cornerio, of animals attacking and devouring other animals; 2008’s Lost Film, a silent short of reconstituted images originally shot in 1976 of sick female laborers juxtaposed with footage of wounded soldiers; and 2010’s Notes From Our Journeys to Russia, in which Ricci Lucchi’s beguiling watercolor caricatures of various authors, poets and photographers provide a brief glimpse into the insatiable curiosity and creativity of an artist whose work deserves to be better known.

MR. KLEIN AT LAEMMLE ROYAL, PLAYHOUSE 7 AND TOWN CENTER 5 | 11523 Santa Monica Blvd.

On Oct. 11, a new digital restoration of Joseph Losey’s long-unseen 1976 film Mr. Klein will begin a weeklong run at three different Laemmle locations: the Royal, the Playhouse 7 and the Town Center 5. Made in Europe near the end of Losey’s career, Mr. Klein was the blacklisted Hollywood director’s first film in French and one of his most controversial productions. Set in Nazi-occupied France, the film centers on Robert Klein (played by the iconic Alain Delon), a Roman Catholic art dealer who exploits French Jews who have been forced to sell off their art collections to raise money to flee the country. Meanwhile, a second Mr. Klein, a Jew on the run from the police, is attempting to ruin his namesake’s reputation from afar by outing him as an anti-Semite. As Klein tries to convince authorities of his identity and track down his doppelganger, the Nazis continue to exert control, culminating in the July 1942 roundup of Parisian Jews. Rejected by audiences at the time of its release, the Kafka-esque Mr. Klein today seems keenly perceptive about the moral complexity of collaboration and ramifications of political paranoia, a topic intimately familiar to Losey and one with more than a little contemporary resonance.

PHIL SOLOMON AT ECHO PARK FILM CENTER | 1200 N Alvarado St.

On Oct. 20 at Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles Filmforum will host a tribute screening for the recently departed experimental filmmaker Phil Solomon, who died earlier this year at the age of 65. Curated by Academy film preservationist Mark Toscano, the program will feature a number of restored 16mm prints of films from throughout Solomon’s career, including two of his most revered works, Remains to Be Seen and The Exquisite Hour, both made in 1989. As seen in such formative pieces as 1979’s As If We and 1983’s What’s Out Tonight Is Lost — both receiving rare public presentations as part of this program — Solomon’s early films were largely patterned after the work of Stan Brakhage, his mentor and eventual colleague at the University of Colorado Boulder. But by the end of the '80s, Solomon’s films would accrue a distinctly personal, authorial touch, exemplified by the optical printing techniques, autobiographical allusions and elements of found footage used in Remains to Be Seen and Exquisite Hour — unique touches that would reach a zenith in his four-part Psalms series, represented in this program by 1999’s The Lateness of the Hour, a cinematic nocturne and spiritual sequel to Joseph Cornell’s seminal 1936 collage film Rose Hobart.

KING HU AND RICHARD CHEN AT THE BILLY WILDER | 10899 Wilshire Blvd.

A majority of this month’s programming at the Billy Wilder Theater will be dedicated to the Taiwan Biennial Film Festival, a month-long survey (presented by the UCLA Film and Television Archive) of some of the more interesting movies to come from the East Asian island these past couple of years. Alongside the new titles are a pair of programs featuring recently rediscovered Taiwanese classics. On Oct. 26, four films produced by director Richard Chen during his time at UCLA in the mid-1960s will be presented in new restorations; these include 1967’s groundbreaking Liu Pi-Chia, a 30-minute portrait of a military veteran that’s been called Taiwan’s first cinema verite film. And two nights later, on Oct. 28, the newly restored Raining in the Mountain, by action master King Hu, will celebrate its Los Angeles premiere. Set during the Ming Dynasty in a secluded Buddhist monastery, Raining in the Mountain centers on two groups of thieves attempting to steal a sacred scroll from under the watchful eye of the local abbott. A richly detailed and epic drama of corruption and betrayal, it’s one of the last great films of Hu’s golden period.

PEPPERMINT PEACE AT THE BOOTLEG THEATER | 2220 Beverly Blvd.

Continuing their mission to dig up and present cinematic obscurities in their proper format, the Projections screening series, in collaboration with Vidiots, returns to the Bootleg Theater on Oct. 27 with a 16mm archival print of Marianne S. W. Rosenbaum’s 1983 wartime drama Peppermint Peace. The story of a 5-year-old German girl and her displaced parents living in rural Bavaria, the pic approaches World War II through adolescent eyes. As young Marianne comes of age and her curiosity about the town’s interpersonal dramas intensifies, memories of her traumatic upbringing alter her perception of those around her, including an American GI (played by the late Peter Fonda), who ingratiates himself to the local kids by giving them sticks of peppermint chewing gum. Combining stark neorealism with colorful dream sequences, Peppermint Peace is a late entry in the “Heimatfilm” genre and one of the few narrative films made by the relatively obscure Rosenbaum, whose work often dealt with children and the repercussions of war. Preceding Peppermint Peace will be the Oscar-winning 1989 stop-motion short Balance, directed by brothers Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein.

HALLOWEEN HORROR AND CULT CLASSICS AT THE NEW BEVERLY | 7165 Beverly Blvd.

October is traditionally the liveliest month at the New Beverly Cinema, and this month should prove no different, with an array of seasonally themed horror films scheduled to screen, as always, on 35mm. The Wednesday matinees are where you’ll get your classic film fix, beginning on Wednesday with Alfred Hitchcock’s trailblazing Psycho and continuing in consecutive weeks with Robert Wise’s supernatural thriller The Haunting (Oct. 9), Robert Aldrich’s feverish sibling melodrama What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Oct. 16), Georges Franju’s elegantly unsettling Eyes Without a Face (Oct. 23) and Jack Clayton’s masterful ghost story The Innocents (Oct. 30). Elsewhere are a number of non-horror titles to note, including Rudy Ray Moore’s cult blaxploitation classic Dolemite (screening on the second half of two double bills on Oct. 7 and 8 with the new Eddie Murphy-starring Moore biopic Dolemite Is My Name), Robert Altman’s Hollywood private-eye pic The Long Goodbye (Oct. 14 and 15, alongside Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice) and Jacques Demy’s own tale of late-'60s L.A. ennui, Model Shop (Oct. 16 and 17, also paired with Inherent Vice). And, finally, to close out the month on a more appropriate note, there is Masaki Kobayashi’s 1964 folk anthology Kwaidan (Oct. 31), the great Japanese director’s eye-popping spin on four fables of supernatural intrigue.