Thursday, August 17, 2017

A SEASON FOR OZU, by Scott Nye

Scott Nye takes a look at the work of Yasujiro Ozu as the American Cinematheque rolls out a short series of Japanese classics August 24-26, 2017 at the Aero Theatre.

Yasujiro Ozu liked to begin his films with outdoor establishing shots: disassociated from the narrative, but a comfortable way to introduce the feeling of his film. Tokyo Story and An Autumn Afternoon, two of his most acclaimed films, are no exception. Ozu and his stalwart cinematographer Yûharu Atsuta chose two very telling images to kick things off. The black-and-white, 1953 film Tokyo Story begins at the seaside town of Onomichi, some 50 miles away from the city of Hiroshima. Our first glimpse is of the Jodo-ji temple, built in the 14th century and seeming to have survived the ruinous bombings of World War II, a testament to endurance and tradition. An Autumn Afternoon, by contrast, is in booming color. It’s 1962, nearly a decade later, and the national mood in Japan is shifting. We begin not at a seaside temple, but at a modern office and factory, its modernist striped cylinders seemingly constructed and arranged for the purpose of this shot.

Monday, August 7, 2017

THE RETURN OF 70MM, by Wade Major

The long overdue resurgence of the 70mm format – which headlines the American Cinematheque’s “The Return of 70mm" series at the Aero, starting on August 10 – arrives at a moment in time when the film industry has never been more filmless. For a digital generation raised on such designations as 1080p, 2k, and 4k, wrapping one’s head around the sprocketed arcana of 16mm, 35mm, and 70mm can sometimes seem as daunting as Euclidean geometry. As is so often the case, the best advice is the simplest: stop trying so hard. In fact, stop trying at all. Forget the comparisons. Because there is no comparison. In point of fact, 70mm film is the best thing you will ever see. Ever. Did I say ever? That’s right. Ever.

Monday, July 31, 2017


When film historian/author Joseph McBride was writing his book on Howard Hawks, Hawks on Hawks, he asked the famed filmmaker about working with Robert Mitchum in 1967’s western El Dorado.

McBride recalled telling Hawks: “Mitchum is extraordinarily good in El Dorado, but he
tends to be a sort of lazy actor, doesn’t he, if you don’t push him?”

Hawks wasn’t sure, noting that “When the picture was half over, I said [to Mitchum], 'you know you’re the biggest fraud I’ve ever met in all my life…you pretend you don’t care a damn thing about a scene, and you’re the hardest-working so-and-so I’ve ever known.'"

Mitchum’s response to Hawks?

Monday, July 24, 2017


Susan King interviewed director Barbet Schroeder on the eve of his American Cinematheque tribute, MINING DIAMONDS: THE FILMS OF BARBET SCHROEDER, at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, July 28-30, 2017.

Over the years, several foreign film directors such as France’s Patrice LeConte (Monsieur Hire) have told me they turned down offers to work in Hollywood for fear they would be giving up the freedom they have as a filmmaker in their country.

But that was not the case for Barbet Schroeder, the Swiss-German, Iranian-born filmmaker of such documentary and narrative features as 1974’s General Idi Amin Dada,  1975’s Maitresse and 1990’s Reversal of Fortune.

When he came to the U.S. to make the acclaimed 1987 Barfly, poet/author Charles Bukowski’s semi-autobiographical drama, it was a dream come true.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


From July 14 to 19, 2017, the American Cinematheque revisited a selection of Luc Besson’s films, and also hosted a special members-only advanced screening of his new movie, Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets. Such a series, where the movies from one specific director are being shown, always helps put his or her work into perspective and Luc Besson is among the directors who have a very apparent signature style. His movies are marked by strong female characters, climactic action scenes, amazing visuals, and tons of humor.

Luc Besson photographed by Silvia Schablowski

On July 16, between the screenings of
The Professional and La Femme Nikita, Luc Besson appeared for discussion with Today Show entertainment interviewer David Karger. The conversation focused on his earlier work, especially the films that were screened during the Cinematheque’s retrospective, yet the upcoming movie Valerian could, of course, not be ignored.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Richard Gelfond and Greg Foster on Behalf of IMAX To Receive Sid Grauman Award Sponsored by Hill Valley

The American Cinematheque announced today that Richard Gelfond and Greg Foster, on behalf of IMAX, will receive the 2017 Sid Grauman Award Presented by Hill Valley. IMAX will be honored for its achievements in the motion picture industry at the top of the American Cinematheque’s annual benefit award show, where, this year, the non-profit organization will present its 31st annual career achievement award, known as the American Cinematheque Award Sponsored by GRoW @ Annenberg. The 2017 American Cinematheque Award recipient is Academy Award-nominee Amy Adams. The presentation of both the Sid Grauman and American Cinematheque awards will take place Friday, November 10, 2017 at The Beverly Hilton (9876 Wilshire Blvd.).

American Cinematheque Chairman Rick Nicita said “The American Cinematheque is pleased to present this year’s annual Sid Grauman award to Richard Gelfond and Greg Foster on behalf of IMAX for their outstanding contribution to theatrical exhibition. Their leadership of IMAX has resulted in a breathtaking expansion of not only box office grosses around the world but in a quantum leap forward for the excitement and enjoyment of the moviegoing audience. There is no better way to see a movie than on the big screen and IMAX gives us the biggest screens of all.”