THE LAST LAUGH filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein will participate in Q&A’s at the Music Hall after the 7:30 PM screenings on Friday and Saturday, March 17 and 18, and after the 3:10 PM show at the Town Center on Sunday, March 18. Renee Firestone, Robert Clary (Hogan’s Heroes), and producer Anne Hubbell will join her for the Friday Q&A. Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum will join her for the Saturday Q&A.
The results of Sunday’s Oscars were pretty ho-hum right up until somewhere around the 245th minute, when we all witnessed the most embarrassing accounting error of all time. Apparently the gentleman from PricewaterhouseCoopers was more focused on his star-struck tweeting than making sure he gave Warren Beatty the right envelope. However, let’s not let this snafu obscure the fact that the Academy surprised everyone and honored a genuinely marvelous film, Moonlight, only the second Best Picture Winner about LGBTQ people (the first was Midnight Cowboy) and the first with an all-African American cast.
Anyway, in our little Oscar contest, the winner was the only one with 20 correct, so they stood alone at the top. For the 2nd-5th place winners, 24 people correctly guessed 18 categories – and even with the Tie-Break question about the show’s running time there were still multiple ties.
Interestingly, for Best Picture, our winner picked La La Land – which for about two minutes was the correct answer – but they still beat their competition by two answers. Among the winners, the difficult categories were Best Picture (Moonlight or La La Land), Best Actor (Denzel Washington or Casey Affleck), Best Sound Mixing (La La Land or Hacksaw Ridge), and Best Live Action Short.
1st Place) Mariano A. of Beverly Hills.
18 Correct – 1 minute off official time
Tie 2nd) Jen M. of Pasadena.
Tie 2nd) Marina O. of Los Angeles.
18 Correct – 6 minutes off official time
3rd Place) Martha C. of Valley Village.
18 Correct – 8 minutes off official time
Tie 4th) Tristan K. of West Hollywood.
Tie 4th) Cory G. of Los Angeles.
Tie 4th) Jacob W. of Los Angeles.
18 Correct – 9 minutes off official time
5th Place) Rachel S. of West Hollywood.
We are having so much fun with our American repertory film series Anniversary Classics, which we began with film critic Stephen Farber two years ago, that we are pleased to announce a companion series: Anniversary Classics Abroad. We will be screening great foreign films on the third Wednesday of every month at three venues simultaneously: the Royal in West L.A., the Town Center in Encino, and the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. We are launching the Abroad program with 30th anniversary screenings of Bille August’s award-winning Danish film, Pelle the Conqueror (1987) at 7 PM on March 15. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 1988 and also won the Palme d’Or in Cannes that same year. Master Swedish actor Max von Sydow received his first Oscar nomination for his performance in the film.
The beautifully crafted film is adapted from a popular Danish novel by Martin Andersen Nexo, published in 1908. It tells the story of a widower and his young son who journey from Sweden to Denmark in the 1850s in search of work. There they encounter prejudice and harsh working conditions; the story clearly takes on renewed urgency in light of rising anti-immigrant bias in Europe as well as the United States. August cast newcomer Pelle Hvenegaard in the title role.
In Newsweek, David Ansen wrote, “We are engrossed by the serene confidence of the storytelling, by August’s painterly eye, by von Sydow’s and Hvenegaard’s touching performances.” TIME Magazine’s Richard Schickel wrote, “Bille August’s gifts for austere, striking imagery and for the short, perfectly shaped scene impart to this film an epic richness, range and energy.” The film helped to catapult August to the front ranks of international directors. He went on to make several films in the U.S. as well as Europe, and Ingmar Bergman chose August to direct his autobiographical screenplay, The Best Intentions.
“The von Sydow performance is in a category by itself. It is another highlight in an already extraordinary career, and quite unlike anything that American audiences have seen him do to date.” – Vincent Canby, New York Times
“In Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror, Max von Sydow is so astoundingly evocative that he makes your bones ache.” – Hal Hinson, Washington Post
The subsequent films in our Anniversary Classics Abroad series are:
Wednesday, April 19: Yojimbo (1962). Akira Kurosawa’s energetic, tongue-in-cheek samurai Western had an enormous influence on filmmakers all over the world. Toshiro Mifune stars as the amoral swordsman who strides into town and manipulates the opposing factions in a turf war.
Wednesday, May 17: Divorce Italian Style (1962). This Oscar-winning film from director Pietro Germi is a ferocious black comic dissection of Sicilian mores. The picture helped to cement Marcello Mastroianni’s position as a rising international superstar.
Wednesday, June 21: Smiles of a Summer Night (1957). To coincide with the summer solstice, we present Ingmar Bergman’s elegant romantic comedy set on a Swedish estate on the longest night of the year. Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson, and Gunnar Bjornstrand star in the film that Pauline Kael called an “exquisite carnal comedy.” The film later inspired Stephen Sondheim’s musical, A Little Night Music.
Again, we will show all Anniversary Classics Abroad films on the third Wednesday of each month at three venues, the Royal, Playhouse, and Town Center, at 7 PM. Come experience these classics of world cinema as they were intended to be experienced, on a big screen in a dark auditorium full of fellow cinephiles.
Hundreds of thousands of Turkish cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, the cats of Istanbul live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame –and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. In Istanbul, cats are the mirrors to the people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could.
Critics and internet cats agree – the cat documentary KEDI, which we open at the Royal, Playhouse and Town Center on February 17, will charm its way into your heart and home as you fall in love with the cats in Istanbul. This film is a sophisticated take on your typical cat video that will both dazzle and educate. What’s more, free organic “Turkish blend” catnip to opening weekend audiences, while supplies last!
In his Variety review, Joe Leydon called KEDI a “magical and remarkable…splendidly graceful and quietly magical documentary about the multifaceted feline population of Istanbul…heartfelt…the beautifully spare musical score by Kira Fontana provides the perfect accompaniment for what gradually emerges as a profoundly affecting meditation, at once dreamy and precise, on a force of nature – several forces of nature, actually, with paws and tails – surviving and thriving in an industrialized world.”
Writing in the Hollywood Reporter, Sheri Linden said, “for anyone who’s curious about the historical events and municipal policies affecting Istanbul’s thriving population of street cats, KEDI offers little in the way of informative detail. But if you’d just like to hang with a few of the scrappy felines, Ceyda Torun’s entrancing documentary is manna from the cat gods. A collective portrait that’s as elegant as its light-footed subjects, it’s guaranteed to soothe a weary mind, and just might lower blood pressure, too.
Born in Istanbul, KEDI director-producer Ceyda Torun spent her formative early years among the street cats while her mother worried she’d get rabies and her sister worried she’d bring home fleas. After her family left the country when she was eleven, Ceyda lived in Amman, Jordan, and ended up in New York for her high school years, never encountering a street cat. Ceyda studied Anthropology at Boston University, returned to Istanbul to assist director Reha Erdem and then off to London to work alongside producer Chris Auty. She returned to the U.S. and co-founded Termite Films with cinematographer Charlie Wuppermann and has since directed her first feature documentary. She still misses her feline companions, gets excited whenever she sees a cat on the streets of Los Angeles, but they rarely feel the same way about her. About KEDI, she said the following:
“I grew up in Istanbul until I was eleven years old and I believe my childhood was infinitely less lonesome than it would have been if it weren’t for cats. And I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Every year that I returned to the city, I saw it change in ways that made it less and less recognizable, except for the cats; they were the one constant element, becoming synonymous with the city itself and ultimately, embodying its soul. This film is, in many ways, a love letter to those cats and the city, both of which are changing in ways that are unpredictable.
“When we set out to make this film, I had many ideas about what it should be. I hoped to show Istanbul in ways that went beyond tour guides and news headlines. I wanted to explore philosophical themes that would make you, the audience, ponder about our relationship to cats, to nature, to each other.
“In the end, I hope this film makes you feel like you just had a cat snuggle up on your lap unexpectedly, and purr fervently for a good long time, while allowing you to stroke it gently along its back; forcing you, simply because you can’t move without letting go of that softness and warmth, to think about things that you may not have given yourself time to think about in the busy life you lead, to discuss them with a group of new friends, friends from Istanbul who tell you what the city is really like.
“Hopefully this film will be that experience for you, and that you’ll leave with a yearning in your hands to pet a cat, and visit Istanbul.”
It’s time for our annual Predict the Oscars Contest! The person who most accurately predicts the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s choices in all 24 categories, from the shorts to Best Motion Picture, will win fabulous prizes (free movies and concessions at Laemmle)!
First place wins a Laemmle Premiere Card worth $150. Second place wins a Laemmle Premiere Card worth $100. Third place wins a Laemmle Premiere Card worth $50. Entries are due by 10AM the morning of the awards ceremony on February 26th.
Not sure what a Laemmle Premiere Card is? Think of it like a prepaid gift card for yourself! Use it to pay for movie tickets and concessions. Plus, Premiere Card holders receive $2 off movie tickets and 20% off concessions. To find out more, visit www.laemmle.com/premiere-cards.
We’ve got some smart cookies for customers so we have a tie-breaker question: you also have to guess the show’s running time. Take the tie-breaker seriously! Last year, the running time question broke a tie between five entrants who correctly predicted 19 out of 24 categories!
We’ll announce the winners right here on our blog by March 1st. Good luck!
A real life 19th century American western adventure story, CARVALHO’S JOURNEY tells the extraordinary story of Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815-1897), an observant Sephardic Jew born in Charleston, South Carolina, and his life as a groundbreaking photographer, artist and pioneer in American history. We’re screening it this Monday, January 30 at 7:30 PM and Tuesday, January 31 at 1 PM at the Claremont 5, Playhouse 7, Fine Arts, Town Center 5 and Monica Film Center as part of our ongoing Culture Vulture series.
Daguerreotypist Robert Shlaer is featured in CARVALHO’S JOURNEY as an interviewee and also on location, re-creating daguerreotypes along the route Carvalho traveled in 1853. He will participate in Q&A’s after the Pasadena screening on Monday night and the Beverly Hills screening on Tuesday afternoon. Filmmaker Steve Rivo will participate in Q&A’s after the Beverly Hills screening on Monday night and after the Encino screening on Tuesday afternoon.
“Today, Rivo makes his own movies. He’s founder and owner of Down Low Pictures, an independent documentary production company based in Brooklyn. When he was offered a project about the painter and daguerreotypist Solomon Carvalho, a Sephardic Jew from Charleston, South Carolina, who accompanied legendary explorer John Fremont on his 1853 Fifth Western Expedition, the story’s resemblance to “The Frisco Kid” helped win him over.
“He talked about the resulting documentary, CARVALHO’S JOURNEY, on the phone from his studio in New York.”
Q. Did repeated viewings of “The Frisco Kid” give you an insight into Carvalho’s story?
A. That was kind of my only frame of reference. The comedic situations involved in having a rube on the trail, and not just any rube, but a classically Jewish character who has Jewish anxieties. Those elements of the Carvalho story were fun to play with. He was an observant Jew, so he couldn’t eat certain foods even when they were starving. And he wasn’t good at a lot of outdoorsy stuff like the rest of the party. He was a 38-year-old city slicker artistic type.
Q. The hardships of his trip were not so funny, though. More like “The Revenant.”
A. It is always surprising how physically difficult, challenging, and a little bit crazy it would be to get in a wagon and try to cross the country in the middle of winter. It’s inconceivable to us today. We get on an airplane and complain.
Q. What do you think viewers will take away from this film other than a new appreciation for air travel?
A. There are a lot of different things people have responded to — American Jewish history, Western expansion, the birth of photography, and a personal story of an artist. What attracted me was that it was a little bit of biography, but it was also kind of a travel story, and an adventure story through which you could talk about other things, the experience of outsiders in American culture. It’s a film about someone we didn’t know anything about.
Q. I understand you just finished a 10-part series for the True TV network on Hollywood comedies. Did you get to include “The Frisco Kid?”
A. I jokingly raised the possibility, but so few people have seen that movie. It’s the Solomon Carvalho of Jewish Western comedies.
Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, I, DANIEL BLAKE is the latest from legendary director Ken Loach. The film is a gripping, human tale about the impact one man can make. Gruff but goodhearted, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a man out of time: a widowed woodworker who’s never owned a computer, he lives according to his own common sense moral code. But after a heart attack leaves him unable to work and the state welfare system fails him, the stubbornly self-reliant Daniel must stand up and fight for his dignity. Below is a recent interview with Mr. Loach:
There were rumors that Jimmy’s Hall was going to be your last film. Was that ever the case, and if so what persuaded you to make I, DANIEL BLAKE?
That was a rash thing to have said. There are so many stories to tell. So many characters to present…
What lies at that root of the story?
The universal story of people struggling to survive was the starting point. But then the characters and the situation have to be grounded in lived experience. If we look hard enough, we can all see the conscious cruelty at the heart of the state’s provision for those in desperate need and the use of bureaucracy, the intentional inefficiency of bureaucracy, as a political weapon: “This is what happens if you don’t work; if you don’t find work you will suffer.” The anger at that was the motive behind the film.
Where did you start your research?
I’d always wanted to do something in my home town which is Nuneaton in the middle of the Midlands, and so Paul and I went and met people there. I’m a little involved with a charity called Doorway, which is run by a friend Carol Gallagher. She introduced Paul and me to a whole range of people who were unable to find work for various reasons – not enough jobs being the obvious one. Some were working for agencies on insecure wages and had nowhere to live. One was a very nice young lad who took us to his room in a shared house helped by Doorway and the room was Dickensian. There was a mattress on the floor, a fridge but pretty well nothing else. Paul asked him would it be rude to see what he’d got in the fridge. he said, “No” and he opened the door: there was nothing, there wasn’t milk, there wasn’t a biscuit, there wasn’t anything. We asked him when was the last time he went without food, he said that the week before he’d been without food for four days. This is just straight hunger and he was desperate. He’d got a friend who was working for an agency. His friend had been told by the agency at five o’clock one morning to get to a warehouse at six o’clock. He had no transport, but he got there somehow, he was told to wait, and at quarter past six he was told, “Well there’s no work for you today.” He was sent back so he got no money. This constant humiliation and insecurity is something we refer to in the film.
Out of all the material you gathered and the people you met, how did you settle on a narrative?
That’s probably the hardest decision to take because there are so many stories. We felt we’d done a lot about young people – Sweet Sixteen was one – and we saw the plight of older people and thought that it often goes unremarked. There’s a generation of people who were skilled manual workers who are now reaching the end of their working lives. They have health problems and they won’t work again because they’re not nimble enough to duck and dive between agency jobs, a bit of this and a bit of that. They are used to a more traditional structure for work and so they are just lost. They can’t deal with the technology and they have health problems anyway. Then they are confronted by assessments for Employment and Support Allowance where you can be deemed fit for work when you’re not. The whole bureaucratic, impenetrable structure defeats people. We heard so many stories about that. Paul wrote the character Daniel Blake and the project was under way.
And your argument is that the bureaucratic structure is impenetrable by design…
Yes. The job centers now are not about helping people, they’re about setting obstacles in people’s way. There’s a job coach, as they’re called, who is not allowed now to tell people about the jobs available, whereas before they would help them to find work. There are expectations of the amount of number of people who will be sanctioned. If the interviewers don’t sanction enough people they themselves are put on ‘Personal Improvement Plans’. Orwellian, isn’t it? This all comes from research drawn from people who have worked at the DWP, they’ve worked in job centers and have been active in the Trade Union, PCS – the evidence is there in abundance. With the sanctioning regime it means people won’t be able to live on the money they’ve got and therefore food banks have come into existence. And this is something the government seems quite content about – that there should be food banks. Now they’re even talking about putting job coaches into food banks, so the food banks are becoming absorbed into the state as part of the mechanism of dealing with poverty. What kind of world have we created here?
Do you feel it’s a story that speaks mainly to these times?
I think it has wider implications. It goes back to the Poor Law, the idea of the deserving and the undeserving poor. The working class have to be driven to work by fear of poverty. The rich have to be bribed by ever greater rewards. The political establishment have consciously used hunger and poverty to drive people to accept the lowest wage and most insecure work out of desperation. The poor have to be made to accept the blame for their poverty. We see this throughout Europe and beyond.
What was it like going to film in food banks?
We went to a number of food banks together and Paul went to more on his own. The story of what we show in the food bank in the film was based on an incident that was described to Paul. Oh, food banks are awful; you see people in desperation. We were at a food bank in Glasgow and a man came to the door. He looked in and he hovered and then he walked away. One of the women working there went after him, because he was obviously in need, but he couldn’t face the humiliation of coming in and asking for food. I think that goes on all the time.
Why did you decide to set the film in Newcastle?
We went to a number of places – we went to Nuneaton, Nottingham, Stoke and Newcastle. We knew the North-West well having worked in Liverpool and Manchester so we thought we should try somewhere else. We didn’t want to be in London because that has got huge problems but they’re different and it’s good to look beyond the capital. Newcastle is culturally very rich. It’s like Liverpool, Glasgow, big cities on the coast. They are great visually, cinematic, the culture is very expressive and the language is very strong. There’s a great sense of resistance; generations of struggle have developed a strong political consciousness.
Describe the character of Daniel – who is he and what is his predicament?
Dan is a man who’s served his time as a joiner, a skilled craftsman. He’s worked on building sites, he’s worked for small builders, he’s been a jobbing carpenter and still works with wood for his own enjoyment. But his wife has died, he’s had a serious heart attack and nearly fell off some scaffolding; he’s instructed not to work and he’s still in rehabilitation, so he’s getting Employment and Support Allowance. The film tells a story of how he tries to survive in that condition once he’s been found ‘fit to work.’ He’s resilient, good humored and used to guarding his privacy.
And who is Katie?
Katie is a single mother with two small children. She’s been in a hostel in London when the local authority finds her a flat in the north where the rent will be covered by her housing benefit – that means the local authority doesn’t have to make up the difference. The flat’s fine, though it needs work, but then she falls foul of the system and she’s immediately in trouble – she’s got no family round her, no support, no money. Katie is a realist. She comes to recognize that her first responsibility is to survive somehow.
Much of the story deals with suffocating bureaucracy. How did you make that dramatic?
What I hope carries the story is that the concept is familiar to most of us. It’s the frustration and the black comedy of trying to deal with a bureaucracy that is so palpably stupid, so palpably set to drive you mad. I think if you can tell that truthfully and you’re reading the subtext in the relationship between the people across a desk or over a phone line, that should reveal the comedy of it, the cruelty of it – and, in the end, the tragedy of it. ‘The poor are to blame for their poverty’ – this protects the power of the ruling class.
What you were looking for in your Dan and in your Katie when you cast Dave Johns and Hayley Squires?
Well, for Dan we looked for the common sense of the common man. Every day he’s turned up for work, he’s worked alongside mates; there’s the crack of that, the jokes, the way you get through the day; that’s been his life until he was sick and until his wife needed support. And so alongside the sense of humor you want someone quite sensitive and nuanced. And for Katie, again it’s someone driven by circumstance who is realistic but has potential; she’s been trying to study, she failed at school but she’s been studying with the Open University. We looked for someone with sensitivity but also gutsy courage. And, as with Dan, absolute authenticity.
Dave Johns is a stand-up comic as well as an actor. Why did you cast him as Dan?
The traditional stand-up comedian is a man or woman rooted in working class experience, and the comedy comes out of that experience. It often comes out of hardship, joking about the comedy of survival. But the thing with comedians is they’ve got to have good timing – their timing is absolutely implicit in who they are. And they usually have a voice that comes from somewhere and a persona which comes from somewhere, so that’s what we were looking for. Dave’s got that. Dave’s from Byker, which is where we filmed some of the scenes, he’s a Geordie, he’s the right age, and he’s a working class man who makes you smile, which is what we wanted.
How did you come to cast Hayley Squires as Katie?
We met a lot of women who were all interesting in different ways but again, Hayley’s a woman with a working class background and she was just brilliant. Every time we tried something out she was dead right. She doesn’t soften who she is or what she says in any way, she’s just true really, through and through.
How was the shoot?
To begin with, Paul’s writing is always very precise, as well as being full of life. This means we rarely shoot material we don’t use. The critical thing in filming is planning. It is preparation: working things out; getting everyone cast before you start; getting all the locations in place before you start. To do all that you need a crew, a group of people who absolutely understand the project and are creatively committed to it. And all those things we had: amazing efficiency from everyone and great good humor. That’s what gets you through, because it means all your effort is then productive. Working with good friends is a delight and, crucially, we even got a little coffee machine that used to follow us around. That was a key element: a good espresso got us all through the day.
You changed how you edited this film from previous ones. How and why?
We’d been cutting on film for many years but we found that the infrastructure for cutting on film was just disappearing. The biggest problem was the cost of printing the sound rushes on mag stock and also printing all the film rushes. It was more than I could justify so, reluctantly, we cut on Avid. It has some advantages but I found cutting on film was a more human way of working – you can see what you’ve done at the end of the day. Avid seems quicker but I don’t think the overall time taken is any less. I just find the tactile quality of film is more interesting.
Do you make films hoping to bring about change and, if so, what would that mean in the case of I, DANIEL BLAKE?
Well it’s the old phrase isn’t it: ‘Agitate, Educate, Organize.’ You can agitate with a film -you can’t educate much, though you can ask questions – and you can’t organize at all, but you can agitate. And I think to agitate is a great aim because being complacent about things that are intolerable is just not acceptable. Characters trapped in situations where the implicit conflict has to be played out, that is the essence of drama. And if you can find that drama in things that are not only universal but have a real relevance to what’s going on in the world, then that’s all the better. I think anger can be very constructive if it can be used; anger that leaves the audience with something unresolved in their mind, something to do, something challenging.
It is the 50th anniversary of Cathy Come Home this year. What parallels are there between this new film and that film?
They are both stories of people whose lives are seriously damaged by the economic situation they’re in. It’s been an idea we’ve returned to again and again but it’s particularly sharp in I, DANIEL BLAKE. The style of filmmaking, of course, is very different. When we made Cathy we ran about with a hand-held camera, set up a scene, shot it and we were done. The film was shot in three weeks. In this film the characters are explored more fully. Both Katie and Dan are seen in extremis. In the end, their natural cheerfulness and resilience are not enough. Certainly politically the world that this film shows is even more cruel than the world that Cathy was in. The market economy has led us inexorably to this disaster. It could not do otherwise. It generates a working class that is vulnerable and easy to exploit. Those who struggle to survive face poverty. It’s either the fault of the system or it’s the fault of the people. They don’t want to change the system, therefore they have to say it’s the fault of the people. Looking back, we should not be surprised at what has happened. The only question is – what do we do about it?
Dear opera, ballet, fine art and live theater buffs, we have completed the schedule for our weekly Culture Vulture series, January, February and March 2017 and we have got some wonderful things to show you. As you may or may not know, we screen these every Monday night at 7:30 and Tuesday afternoon at 1 at the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, the Town Center 5 in Encino, the Claremont 5 in Claremont, the Ahyra Fine Arts and the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica. The full schedule is below and at https://www.laemmle.com/culturevulture.
January 9 & 10: THE GOLDEN AGE from the Bolshoi Ballet
A satire of Europe during the Roaring 20s, THE GOLDEN AGE makes for an original, colorful, and dazzling show with its jazzy score and music-hall atmosphere. This ballet that can only be seen at the Bolshoi has everything to it: mad rhythms, vigorous chase scenes, and decadent cabaret numbers. With its passionate love story featuring beautiful duets between Boris and Rita, the Bolshoi dancers plunge into every stylized step and gesture magnificently.
January 16 & 17: NO MAN’S LAND from the National Theatre
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart star Sean Mathias’ acclaimed production of NO MAN’S LAND, one of the most brilliantly entertaining plays by Harold Pinter. One evening, two aging writers, Hirst and Spooner, meet in a pub and continue their drinking into the night at Hirst’s stately house nearby. As the pair become increasingly inebriated, and their stories more unbelievable, the conversation soon turns into a revealing power game, further complicated by the intrusion of two sinister younger men.
January 23 & 24: THE CURIOUS WORLD OF HIERONYMOUS BOSCH from the Noordbrabants Museum
Who was Hieronymus Bosch? Why do his strange and fantastical paintings resonate with art lovers now more than ever? THE CURIOUS WORLD OF HIERONYMOUS BOSCH features the critically acclaimed exhibition ‘Visions of a Genius’ at the Noordbrabants Museum in the southern Netherlands, which brought the majority of Bosch’s paintings and drawings together for the first time to his home town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and attracted almost half a million art lovers from all over the world.
January 30 & 31: CARVALHO’S JOURNEY
A real life 19th century American western adventure story, CARVALHO’S JOURNEY tells the extraordinary story of Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815-1897), an observant Sephardic Jew born in Charleston, South Carolina, and his life as a groundbreaking photographer, artist and pioneer in American history.
February 6 & 7: SAMSON ET DALILA from l’Opéra de Paris.
Based on the biblical story, Saint-Saëns’s 1877 opera would not be performed at the Palais Garnier until fifteen years later. This first Parisian performance in 1892 included the hitherto unperformed “Dance Of The Priestesses.” Nevertheless, it became one of the most performed French operas in the world, together with Faust and Carmen. Conducted by Philippe Jordan, this new production brings back a repertoire masterpiece that has not been performed at the Paris Opera for twenty-five years.
February 13 & 14: FEELINGS ARE FACTS: THE LIFE OF YVONNE RAINER
Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer chronicles the defiant, uncompromising, and highly influential ideas of postmodern choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer. Over the course of her career, she revolutionized modern dance, generated what later became known as performance art, and changed the basic tenets of experimental filmmaking – all during a time when women were largely ignored in the art world.
February 20 & 21: AMADEUS from the National Theatre
Lucian Msamati (Luther, Game of Thrones, NT Live: The Comedy of Errors) plays Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s iconic play, captured live at the National Theatre, and with live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a rowdy young prodigy, arrives in Vienna, the music capital of the world – and he’s determined to make a splash. Awestruck by his genius, court composer Antonio Salieri has the power to promote his talent or destroy his name. Seized by obsessive jealousy he begins a war with Mozart, with music, and ultimately, with God.
February 27 & 28: I, CLAUDE MONET
From award-winning director Phil Grabsky comes this fresh new look at arguably the world’s favorite artist – through his own words. Using letters and other private writings I, CLAUDE MONET reveals new insight into the man who not only painted the picture that gave birth to impressionism but who was perhaps the most influential and successful painter of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
March 6 & 7: UN BALLO IN MASCHERA from the Bayerische Staatsoper
The Bavarian State Opera’s former music director Zubin Mehta returned to the fabled house, where his image in bronze adorns one of the foyers, to celebrate his 80th birthday by conducting Verdi’s middle-period masterpiece for the first time in a staged production. His remarkable cast includes soprano Anja Harteros singing Amelia for the first time and “filling every note with Verdian intensity;” tenor Piotr Beczala as a “visually and vocally dashing Riccardo;” and George Petean as an “exemplary” Renato (Neue Musikzeitung).
March 13 & 14: WOOLF WORKS from the Royal Opera House Ballet
The first revival of Wayne McGregor’s critically acclaimed ballet triptych to music by Max Richter, inspired by the works of Virginia Woolf and starring Alessandra Ferri and Mara Galeazzi.
March 20 & 21: SAINT JOAN from the National Theatre
Joan: daughter, farm girl, visionary, patriot, king-whisperer, soldier, leader, victor, icon, radical, witch, heretic, saint, martyr, woman. From the torment of the Hundred Years’ War, the charismatic Joan of Arc carved a victory that defined France. Bernard Shaw’s classic play depicts a woman with all the instinct, zeal and transforming power of a revolutionary. Josie Rourke (Coriolanus, Les Liaisons Dangereuses) directs Gemma Arterton (Gemma Bovery, Nell Gwynn, Made in Dagenham) as Joan of Arc in this electrifying masterpiece.
March 27 & 28: THE ARTIST’S GARDEN: AMERICAN IMPRESSIONISM from the Florence Griswold Museum
American impressionism took its lead from French artists like Renoir and Monet but followed its own path that over a thirty-year period reveals as much about America as a nation as it does about a much-loved artistic movement. The story of American impressionism is closely tied to a love of gardens and a desire to preserve nature in a rapidly urbanizing nation. Traveling to studios, gardens and treasured locations throughout the Eastern United States, UK and France, this mesmerizing film is a feast for the eyes.