Special Events-May 2014

The Five Minutes Game: Memorial Day '14 Edition

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5/26/2014 - 5PM

One of our favorite Cinefamily events ever IS BACK! Summer’s around the corner, and you know how we here at the Cinefamily love two things in tandem: busting out the patio grill, and The Five Minutes Game. What’s all this about a game, you ask? We’re firm believers in “Every movie is interesting for at least its first five minutes”, those fascinating moments when you’re still entering the new world a film presents you, and trying to figure out what the hell’s going on. What we’re gonna do is choose fifteen movies you’ve likely never seen before (with most, if not all the films unavailable on DVD), line ‘em up, and only show you the first five minutes of each, not counting their opening credits. Then you, the audience, votes on which film we all then watch in its entirety. So, bring something to cook on our grill, and let’s get started!

5-6:30PM – The Five Minutes Game!
6:30-8PM – we tally the votes and BBQ on the patio!
8-10PM – we watch the winning film!

Herzog's "Fata Morgana" (5/24)

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5/24/2014 - 10PM

In 1969, Werner Herzog journeyed to the Sahara to film mirages — and in the process, came home with some wonderously trippy footage, and layered it with narration from charming film critic Lotte Eisner (a recitation of the Mayan “Popol Vuh” creation myth) to create this dense lasagna of a nature doc. One of Herzog’s earliest features, Fata Morgana begins with a audacious zoned-out opening, and immediately hits transcendent marks straight off, before getting even stranger as its chimerical imaginary civilization passes from Golden Age to Decline. As well, Herzog films like a tourist to a different planet — one where the presence of life is largely manifest through detritus and death: a car turns endlessly in circles, a bearded man in welding goggles flourishes a monitor lizard at the camera. Here, the onscreen subjects are frequently enhanced by the mythic, mirrored properties of the heat haze, and an eclectic soundtrack that switches from Handel organ music to Leonard Cohen, and onto a weird local drum/piano duo. An absolutely stunning Herzog head film!
Dir. Werner Herzog, 1971, DCP, 79 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Fata Morgana”!

Herzog's "Fata Morgana" (5/23, Werner Herzog in person!)

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5/23/2014 - 9:50PM

Werner Herzog in person!In 1969, Werner Herzog journeyed to the Sahara to film mirages — and in the process, came home with some wonderously trippy footage, and layered it with narration from charming film critic Lotte Eisner (a recitation of the Mayan “Popol Vuh” creation myth) to create this dense lasagna of a nature doc. One of Herzog’s earliest features, Fata Morgana begins with a audacious zoned-out opening, and immediately hits transcendent marks straight off, before getting even stranger as its chimerical imaginary civilization passes from Golden Age to Decline. As well, Herzog films like a tourist to a different planet — one where the presence of life is largely manifest through detritus and death: a car turns endlessly in circles, a bearded man in welding goggles flourishes a monitor lizard at the camera. Here, the onscreen subjects are frequently enhanced by the mythic, mirrored properties of the heat haze, and an eclectic soundtrack that switches from Handel organ music to Leonard Cohen, and onto a weird local drum/piano duo. An absolutely stunning Herzog head film!
Dir. Werner Herzog, 1971, DCP, 79 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Fata Morgana”!

Kurosawa's "Ran"

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5/12/2014 - 8PM

Delivered with blunt horror, towering visuals and some of the most majestic sweep of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s career, this “God is dead” take on King Lear is void of any sensation of honor — for in A.K.’s vision for this masterpiece, life is a ladder of predation and merciless opportunism. The weak are fair game to be taken, the pious ground to dust, and “victory” arrives via suckerpunches of gunfire and betrayal. A damnation portrait of existential horror in the feudal era, Ran is bathed in electric color, and covered in fine-detail flourishes: the symbolism of clouds, the subtle uses of natural light, the over-the-top costumes, and the landscape-porn avalanche of wide shots that crawl over poison-green mountains and scorched earth. At the center of this blood-red whirlwind: Tatsuya Nakadai, painting his heart black in a Noh-fueled rendition of “Lord Hidetora”, obliterating himself in freefall alongside his disintegrating kingdom. Impossibly cool stuff.
Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1985, 35mm, 160 min.

Watch the trailer for Kurosawa’s “Ran”!
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An Evening With Tatsuya Nakadai (feat. Kurosawa's "Ran")

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5/11/2014 - 7:30PM

AN EVENING WITH TATSUYA NAKADAI – 7:30pm
The world over, there’s simply no equivalent to Japanese screen giant Tatsuya Nakadai, a truly versatile performer capable of both extreme stylization and off-the-cuff naturalism, and a deep collaborator with some of his country’s all-time greatest filmmakers (Kurosawa, Kobayashi, Ichikawa, Naruse, Teshigahara and many more.) Here in the U.S., Nakadai unjustly never became a symbol or an icon, for his screen persona was always too diverse. Whether the format was a samurai sword-and-sandal epic, an emotionally raw, novelistic tragedy or a lurid horror/suspense romp, the genius of Nakadai instantly shone through — and what makes these films timeless partly stems from his perfect marriage of craft, discipline, risk, adventure and expression. Through a rare confluence of events, Tatsuya will be in Los Angeles to join us for a special evening of remembrances, reflections on his craft, and a big-screen show of Ran: Akira Kurosawa’s 1985 jidaigeki battleship, in which Tatsuya grabs the King Lear reins for the stylized performance of a lifetime. Tatsuya may never get to visit Los Angeles again, so come visit with the master for this extraordinary Q&A appearance!

Kurosawa’s RAN – approx. 9:00pm
Delivered with blunt horror, towering visuals and some of the most majestic sweep of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s career, this “God is dead” take on King Lear is void of any sensation of honor — for in A.K.’s vision for this masterpiece, life is a ladder of predation and merciless opportunism. The weak are fair game to be taken, the pious ground to dust, and “victory” arrives via suckerpunches of gunfire and betrayal. A damnation portrait of existential horror in the feudal era, Ran is bathed in electric color, and covered in fine-detail flourishes: the symbolism of clouds, the subtle uses of natural light, the over-the-top costumes, and the landscape-porn avalanche of wide shots that crawl over poison-green mountains and scorched earth. At the center of this blood-red whirlwind: Tatsuya Nakadai, painting his heart black in a Noh-fueled rendition of “Lord Hidetora”, obliterating himself in freefall alongside his disintegrating kingdom. Impossibly cool stuff.
Ran Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1985, 35mm, 160 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “An Evening With Tatsuya Nakadai”!

MOTHER'S DAY MATINEE: Mildred Pierce

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5/11/2014 - 4:30PM

A film noir mother-lode for the ages! Recently remade for HBO by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), this 1945 Joan Crawford classic contains a number of sharp familial themes that still ring true today. “The strain on a family during the Great Depression, a working single mother, an entitled and rebellious teenager, and a woman with an entrepreneurial spirit and vision — it’s for these reasons that HBO thought it perfect to bring back. We also have many actors at their peak here, with most nominated for Oscars, including Ann Blyth (Veda, the spoiled daughter) and the wonderful Eve Arden (Mildred’s best friend Ida). But it was Crawford who won Best Actress, strong yet vulnerable in the role — and she’s so good that there are actually moments you may forget you’re watching Joan Crawford. What impresses me most, though, are her close ups — the perfect bone structure of her face and the emotion that she’s able to bring to her big blue eyes. See if they don’t draw you into all the drama of Mildred Pierce.” — Kimberly Truhler, Glamamor
Dir. Michael Curtiz, 1945, 35mm, 111 min.

Watch the trailer for “Mildred Pierce”!
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Cut Chemist performs Funk Off Live! (U.S. premiere) + "La Brune Et Moi"

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5/10/2014 - 10:30PM

Cut Chemist: one of the greatest mixmasters on the planet, a world-class scratch artist, and collaborator with Jurassic 5, Edan, Blackalicious and DJ Shadow. It goes without saying he’s also a LP collector assassin too; amongst the genres through which he loves to crosscut, a big love of Cut’s is crunchy electronic post-punk — so much so that he’s now issued the compilation “Funk Off”, highlighting French minimal synthheads Vox Populi! and Pacific 231 with tracks that originally appeared on their rare ‘80s cassette and vinyl releases. Tonight’s show is a live performance that encompasses all forms of media (vinyl, cassettes and video), along with live delay and loop effects. Here, Cut reunites with longtime collaborator and Cinefamily’s own Tom Fitzgerald, who’ll perform a dense blanket of live visuals along with the music. After the break, it’s La Brune Et Moi: a “lost” film recently re-discovered, and a whizz-bang tour through the Parisian punk underground (circa 1980), starring The Conformist’s Pierre Clementi and featuring energetic Gallic bands like Metal Urbain, the Go-Go Pigalles and Astroflash!
La Brune Et Moi Dir. Phillipe Puicouyoul, 1980, digital presentation, 50 min.

Watch the trailer for “Funk Off”!
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Man On A Swing + Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (Joel Grey in person!)

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5/10/2014 - 4:30PM

Man On A Swing – 4:30pm
Fresh off an Oscar win for Cabaret, Joel Grey gives a terrifying, hilarious and inscrutable turn in Man On A Swing, a jewel in the crown of paranoid ‘70s conspiracy thrillers. Odds are good that David Fincher had this gripping film with occult overtones in mind when he made Zodiac, for this true-crime tale is brisk, efficient and all-too-real. When a young woman is discovered smothered to death inside her car at a supermarket parking lot, police chief Cliff Robertson withholds key facts from the press to sift out false leads — and then gets a phone call from Grey, a factory worker who claims to be clairvoyant and who knows an awful lot about the case’s hidden particulars. Grey’s a real wonder to watch here as a sort of jittery, slightly domesticated version of Cabaret’s Emcee. Man On A Swing marked another quirky success for Frank Perry (The Swimmer, Last Summer, Play It As It Lays), one of his era’s most undervalued directors. And, this one may sport a PG rating, but remember — that’s a Seventies PG, which means this is still really creepy, intense stuff.
Frank Perry, 1974, digital presentation, 110 min.

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins – approx. 7:30pm
After the fantastic one-two of Cabaret and Man On A Swing, Joel Grey hung tight to his New York theater roots, only coming back to Hollywood for sporadic film roles. What lured him back was a doozy of a good time: the chance to play a martial arts master in a tongue-in-cheek adaptation of the hugely popular Destroyer series of spy novels! A kind of American James Bond saga with Marvel-style supervillains in the mix, the Destroyer books starred the hero Remo Williams, a rough-’n-tumble former cop tapped by a secret agency to fight robotic, telekinetic and undead baddies — and trained by the Korean kung fu badass Chiun. Here, Fred Ward (always one of our favorite film gruffians) is Remo — and Grey (in a Golden Globe-nominated performance) is Chiun, taking a role that might have been mere caricature in the hands of a lesser actor into way loftier territory. Grey turns on the burn and steals the show, utilizing his finely honed skills as both a comedian and a dancer to create an unforgettably fluid and hilarious fighting wizard.
Dir. Guy Hamilton, 1985, 35mm, 121 min.

Watch the trailer for “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins”!
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An Evening With Joel Grey (feat. "Cabaret"!)

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5/9/2014 - 8PM

With only a gesture, a step or a single line, he instantly captures the audience’s attention — and with the rest of the show, he mesmerizes with a brand of storytelling, song and dance that no other performer can duplicate. Simply put, the Tony-winning, Oscar-winning, Golden Globe-winning, BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated Joel Grey has always been one of Cinefamily’s super-favorite performers. We’re overjoyed to welcome Joel to our house to discuss his epic and storied career, not only working with world-class collaborators of stage and screen such as Bob Fosse, Lars von Trier, Frank Perry, Robert Wilson, Robert Altman and Steven Soderbergh, but also honing and advancing his magnificently versatile craft over a span of many decades. After the break, we’ll screen Cabaret on 35mm, which contains the defining role of Joel’s film career: that of the wicked, strange, sensual, otherworldly Emcee.
Cabaret Dir. Bob Fosse, 1972, 35mm, 124 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “An Evening With Joel Grey”!

Allday Everyday & Luaka Bop present A William Onyeabor Celebration (w/ The Lijadu Sisters in person!)

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5/7/2014 - 7:30PM

Co-presented by Allday Everyday, Luaka Bop & Cinespia

“If Fela Kuti was a child of James Brown, fellow Nigerian William Onyeabor is something like the next-generation musical offspring of Parliament-Funkadelic.” — NPR

Waaaaay far away from being just another obscure artist stacked on the reissue pile, Nigerian mystery man William Onyeabor generated the kind of warm-yet-crisp, blissed-out Afrobeat fun with his extended keyboard jams that crate diggers only stumble upon once every several years. This is music that’s impossible not to feel as your ears take it in. Onyeabor’s story is compounded by both the lack of extant info and the dearth of rumors about him: did he actually study cinematography in Russia, invest in Swedish business, make his own Nigerian movies, or give it all away for Jesus? Tonight, David Byrne’s label Luaka Bop — the folks who did a mitzvah by bringing Onyeabor’s music to the 21st century world — presents: 1) Fantastic Man, the Onyeabor doc that takes us on a heady trip through the myths, legends and semi-truths of this shadowy figure; 2) Konkombe, the 1979 Nigerian film showcasing the Afrobeat, highlife and traditional music of the region; and 3) a SUPER-RARE live Q&A appearance by the Lijadu Sisters, contemporaries of Onyeabor who are performing at the Greek on May 8th! Q&A moderated by Jeremy Sole (KCRW.)

Watch the trailer for “Who Is William Onyeabor?”!

The Illumination (director Krzysztof Zanussi in person!)

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5/3/2014 - 4:30PM

Filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi in person! As the ‘60s crashed into the ‘70s, our homegrown American cinematic rebellion manifested in such kaleidoscopic elements as Easy Rider’s rebel yell, or the soul-searching of Five Easy Pieces. At that same time in Poland, that rebellion took the form of Krzysztof Zanussi’s landmark The Illumination, which blends physics, metaphysics, art, artifice and an unflinching take on the disaffected collegiate class into a generation-defining mosaic — a shocking raised fist to the Iron Curtain establishment. Zanussi’s first years were spent studying both science and philosophy, which highly inform this autobiographical narrative/doc/essay excursion into life’s universal questions, as seen through the lens of a wayward grad student grappling with money, responsibility and existential anguish. It’s a miracle how Zanussi pushed The Illumination through Communist censorship, given that it’s not only totally alive with enough energy to irk a bureau’s worth of Bloc-heads, but that it also includes characters openly questioning why they bother staying in Poland (answer: so that they can gain enough work experience and ditch it, natch.) A brilliant burst of precision, intellect and emotion.
Dir. Krzystof Zanussi, 1973, DCP, 91 min.

Check out Cinefamily’s original trailer for “The Illumination”!

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