Friday, February 17, 2017

SALOME ON THE SCREEN AND AT THE OPERA

The story of Salome has inspired artists, filmmakers, and opera composers for centuries. Some adapted the original Biblical story – and scandalous Oscar Wilde play – while others have utilized elements from the tale of Salome to inform their own story. Nowhere does Salome’s story come to life more than in opera and on the silver screen.



To celebrate Salome in film and in opera, American Cinematheque and LA Opera have joined forces to present a special evening at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. First, there will be a screening of the famous 1953 film version of Salome starring Rita Hayworth. While the film takes liberties with the Biblical story, it is a perfect example of film epics in the “glory days of technicolor” and required viewing for both Salome and film enthusiasts. Following the screening, Maestro James Conlon (who conducts Salome at LA Opera starting on February 18) and actor Stephen Fry (who portrayed Oscar Wilde in the 1997 biopic) will discuss the importance of Salome in film and opera. All attendees will automatically be entered to win a pair of tickets to LA Opera’s production of Salome.

Monday, February 13, 2017

OUT OF TIME: DAVID LYNCH AND TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, by Jim Hemphill

The American Cinematheque asked Jim Hemphill to revisit David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me as the world gets closer to the unveiling of the new version of TV’s Twin Peaks, set to air on Showtime starting May 21. This month the Cinematheque is showing films from the the Lynch oeuvre, paired with films he didn’t direct, that have a spiritual connection.



David Lynch’s 1992 magnum opus Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is the director’s most fascinating experiment with cinematic time and shape – which is really saying something given the elaborate structures of later mindbenders like Lost Highway and Mulholland Dr. A prequel to Lynch’s beloved 1989 television series, it’s a movie that’s superficially all about looking back, to the point that most critics of the time dismissed it as a cynical and cheap ploy to exploit the TV show’s popularity after the fact. It’s always been a bit of a mystery to me how the relentlessly harrowing and intellectually demanding film Lynch made could be anyone’s idea of a commercial cash grab, but I think the problem isn’t that he was revisiting old territory – it’s that he was striking out in so many new directions that no one was really ready for it. While Fire Walk With Me might be essentially one 135-minute flashback, it’s also a film that looks forward to the themes and stylistic conceits that would preoccupy Lynch for the rest of his career (save for the delightful detour into narrative simplicity and clarity that was The Straight Story in 1999). Audiences and critics weren’t ready for what Lynch had to give them in 1992, or even in 1997 when Lost Highway came out, but by the time Mulholland Dr. rolled around in 2001 people had caught up with the director’s innovations to the point that he was nominated for an Oscar. (Of course, Lynch was still too ahead of the curve to actually win the award – the bald swordsman went home with Ron Howard and A Beautiful Mind.)

Friday, February 10, 2017

A CHAT WITH CINEMATOGRAPHER TONY RICHMOND, by Jean Oppenheimer

Cinematographer Tony Richmond is the subject of the in-person tribute “Do Look Now: The Cinematography of Tony Richmond,” at the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre February 10 – 12, 2017. The schedule, which features mostly his work with filmmaker Nicolas Roeg, is but a small portion of Richmond’s large body of work, can be found here.



London-born cinematographer Anthony (Tony) Richmond, BSC, ASC, was 16 years old when he landed his first job – as a messenger boy - in the film industry. He worked his way up from clapper boy to focus puller to camera operator to director of photography. Now, nearly 60 years later, Richmond is still shooting movies, but he also serves as the Faculty Chair in the Cinematography Department at New York Film Academy, Los Angeles.

GOLDEN GLOBE FORGEIGN-LANGUAGE NOMINEES Symposium



On January 7th, our historic Egyptian Theatre hosted the Golden Globe Foreign-Language Symposium, which welcomed the 5 nominated directors and droves of ardent film aficionados. The symposium crowned a week-long screening series of all the films, many of which boasted appearances from the filmmakers. Audiences near and far were able to enjoy the panel discussion both inside the auditorium and at home through an exclusive live stream.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

UNCERTAINLY EVER AFTER, by Scott Nye

You hear, growing up, that love isn’t exactly like they show it in the movies. But what movies? To focus only on romantic comedies rotating through basic cable, sure, one might glean a starry-eyed vision of head-over-heels adoration and nonstop sex that is unrealistic for the average couple. But as the Cinematheque’s programming in the week surrounding Valentine’s Day shows, love in the movies is anything but simple. For a medium often assailed for its “happily ever after” messages, film has proven to be a mightily fertile breeding ground for complex depictions of love and romance.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

CHAPLIN COMES ALIVE, by Susan King

Don’t get me wrong: I love Buster Keaton. He was a brilliant comedian with incredible athleticism and his silent films are a treasure, especially The General and Steamboat Bill Jr.

And I find Harold Lloyd just adorable - cute, sweet, and athletic and he still keeps audiences laughing with films such as Safety Last! and Speedy. But it’s Charlie Chaplin who has held my heart for over three decades.


The American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre is featuring some of his best comedies in its “Chaplin Comes Alive” series which begins this Friday, February 3rd, with 1936’s Modern Times and 1931’s City Lights, followed by 1921’s The Kid and 1925’s The Gold Rush and several of the newly-restored silent shorts he made for Essanay in 1915 including “The Bank” and “The Tramp.”