With humor and compassion, Silver Skies chronicles the unexpected events that occur when a group of eccentric seniors have their lives turned upside down by the sale of their beloved apartment complex.
Saturday, September 24th is Art House Theater Day! It’s a day to recognize the contributions of film and filmmakers, staff and projectionists, and fellow brick and mortar theaters dedicated to providing access to the best cinematic experience.
Most importantly, it’s a day to thank our patrons for their year-round support. As a thank you, we’re offering a ticket discount to select art house films! If you have a friend that’s never been to an art house, this is the perfect day to bring them along for a unique movie-going adventure.
Enter the promo code ARTHOUSEDAY when you buy tickets to Saturday screenings of the films listed below! Discounts are available on laemmle.com only.
Tickets for showtimes before 6PM are $6 for Adults and Seniors and $4 for Laemmle Premiere Card Holders. General admission is normally $9.
Shows after 6PM are $10 for Adults, $6 for Seniors, and $8 for Premiere Card Holders. General admission is normally $12.
THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT is a stranger-than-fiction documentary about South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang-ok and actress Choi Eun-hee, who were kidnapped by Kim Jong-il and forced to produce 17 films. Playing at the Playhouse 7, NoHo 7, and Royal Theatre. Click here for tickets.
A rivalry between two brothers reaches a fever pitch during a charity swim competition in the romantic comedy, MY BLIND BROTHER. Jenny Slate, Zoe Kazan, Adam Scott, and Nick Kroll star. Playing at the Monica Film Center, Playhouse 7, Town Center. Click here for tickets.
TANNA is set in the South Pacific where a young girl from one of the last traditional tribes falls in love with her chief’s grandson. When an intertribal war escalates, she is unknowingly betrothed as part of a peace deal. Playing at the Playhouse 7 and Royal Theatre. Click here for tickets.
Australian revenge comedy-drama THE DRESSMAKER stars Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, and Liam Hemsworth. Playing at the Playhouse 7 and Town Center. Click here for tickets.
View the trailers for all four films:
For more about Art House Theater Day, visit: http://www.arthousetheaterday.org
Two months from today we Americans might, finally, elect our very first female President, so it’s appropriate in the weeks leading up to that day we will be screening a series of excellent movies by and about girls and women filmed and set in places as diverse as the Negev Desert in Israel, Lyon, France, Mongolia, Tunisia and the USA.
First up is FATIMA, which we open September 16 at the Royal. The title character lives in Lyon with two daughters: fifteen-year-old Souad, a teenager in revolt, and 18-year-old Nesrine, who is starting medical school. Fatima speaks French poorly and is constantly frustrated by her daily interactions with her daughters. Her pride and joy, they are also a source of worry. While recovering from a fall, Fatima begins to write to her daughters in Arabic thoughts she has never been able to express in French. Writing in the New York Times, Stephen Holden called it “a small miracle of a film.” In the Hollywood Reporter, Leslie Felperin wrote that “FATIMA offers a gentle, affecting celebration of the fortitude and intelligence of an Algerian cleaning lady struggling to raise her two daughters in contemporary France.” The film won the Cesars Awards for Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for Best Actress this year.
The next week, also at the Royal, we’ll open the gorgeous documentary CAMERAPERSON. Look through the lens of master American documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson (“Darfur Now,” ‘The Invisible War,” “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “Citizenfour”) at a Brooklyn boxing match; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate family moment at home: these scenes and others are woven into the film, creating a tapestry of footage collected over Johnson’s 25-year career. Through a series of juxtapositions, she explores the relationships between image makers and their subjects, the tension between the objectivity and intervention of the camera, and the interaction of reality and crafted narrative. “Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson delivers a uniquely insightful memoir-cum-critical-treatise on the nature and ethics of her craft.” (Nick Schager, Variety) “Surprisingly emotional and heartfelt … CAMERAPERSON is a stunning achievement…makes a strong argument to assert the person behind the camera – who they are, how they live, and how they interact with others as a crucial focal point in the process of filmmaking.” (Katie Walsh, The Playlist)
On October 7th we’ll open AS I OPEN MY EYES at the Royal and Playhouse. The film depicts the clash between culture and family as seen through the eyes of a young Tunisian woman balancing the traditional expectations of her family with her creative life as the singer in a politically charged rock band. Director Leyla Bouzid’s musical feature debut offers a nuanced portrait of the individual implications of the incipient Arab Spring. “Like so many of the finest portraits of real life political events, the director has cleverly kept the story small, while hinting at a much bigger picture…Bouzid has joined the ranks Arab female filmmakers worth keeping tabs on.” (Kaleem Aftab, indieWIRE) “Leyla Bouzid displays considerable talent for dramatizing how young people eroticize peril and risk due to a lack of experience.” (Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine)
Also on October 7 at the Royal and Playhouse we’ll begin screening SAND STORM. Set in a Bedouin village in Israel, the movie follows a mother and daughter trapped by their community’s social norms. As Jalila, a 42-year-old Bedouin woman, must host her husband’s marriage to a second, younger woman, she uncovers her daughter’s affair with a boy from her university — a liaison that’s both forbidden and could shame the family. A moving film about two generations of Arab woman negotiating their identities and desires, SAND STORM is at its core a powerful story of resistance and female empowerment. “Filmmaker Elite Zexer…quickly immers[es] us in her Bedouin village setting and deftly manipulating our emotions so that our sympathies are torn and turned on a dime. Building on her award-winning short “Tasnim” – whose character here is minor but, in keeping with the film’s complexity, hints at more than one possible future – Zexer’s first feature deservedly took home the World Cinema Dramatic prize at Sundance earlier this year.” (Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film) “One of the most-admired films at this year’s Sundance…a lovely, deeply affecting film.” (Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine)
And, ending the year on a high note, a film you can bring young daughters, granddaughters and nieces (and their male counterparts) to, THE EAGLE HUNTRESS. The film follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. Set against the breathtaking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, the film features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this tale of a young girl’s quest the force of an epic narrative film. Narrated by Daisy Ridley, who played the heroine in “Star Wars: the Force Awakens”) “Aisholpan offers a real-life, profoundly inspiring testament to disregard age-old societal constraints and forge ahead with your passion.” (Jordan Raup, The Film Stage)
Some of the production company Merchant Ivory’s greatest triumphs are adaptations of E.M. Forster novels. There are three of them: A Room with a View (1985), Maurice (1987) and Howards End (1992), which is one of their undisputed masterpieces. Based on Forster’s 1910 novel, Howards End is a saga of class relations and changing times in Edwardian England. Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson, who won the Best Actress Oscar for this performance) and her sister Helen (Helena Bonham Carter) become involved with two couples: a wealthy, conservative industrialist (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife (Vanessa Redgrave), and a working-class man (Samuel West) and his mistress (Niccola Duffet). The interwoven fates and misfortunes of these three families and the diverging trajectories of the two sisters’ lives are connected to the ownership of Howards End, a beloved country home. A compelling, brilliantly acted study of one woman’s struggle to maintain her ideals and integrity in the face of Edwardian society’s moribund conformity. We played Howards End to packed, rapt houses in 1992 and are thrilled to open this fully restored digital version September 2nd at the Royal, Playhouse, Town Center and Claremont.
We’ll also soon screen two by Michelangelo Antonioni: Blow-Up (1966) and La Notte (1961). The latter, just restored by our friends at Rialto Pictures and opening at the Royal and Playhouse on September 16, takes place during a day and a night in the life of a troubled marriage, set against Milan’s gleaming modern buildings, its gone-to-seed older quarters, and a sleek modern estate, all shot in razor-sharp B&W crispness by the great Gianni di Venanzo. With Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau starring, Antonioni creates his most compassionate examination of the emptiness of the rich and the difficulties of modern relationships. Writing in his book Devotional Cinema, Nathaniel Dorsky said of La Notte, “the real beauty of the film, the real depth of its intelligence, continues to lie in the clarity of the montage — the way the world is revealed to us moment by moment. The camera’s delicate interactive grace, participating with the fluidity of the characters’ changing points of view, is profound in itself.”
Blow-Up, Antonioni’s first English-language production, is widely considered one of the seminal films of the 1960s. Thomas (David Hemmings) is a nihilistic, wealthy fashion photographer in mod swinging London. Filled with ennui, bored with his “fab” but oddly desultory life of casual sex and drugs, Thomas comes alive when he wanders through a park, stops to take pictures of a couple embracing, and upon developing the images believes that he has photographed a murder. Vanessa Redgrave and Sarah Miles co-star. In his review at the time, Bosley Crowther of the New York Times recognized just the film’s prescience, calling it “a fascinating picture, which has something real to say about the matter of personal involvement and emotional commitment in a jazzed-up, media-hooked-in world so cluttered with synthetic stimulations that natural feelings are overwhelmed.” Blow-Up came out 50 years ago, so we are celebrating it on September 13th at the Monica Film Center as part of our Anniversary Classics series with film critic Stephen Farber.
Beginning September 30th at the Royal we are pleased to screen Chabrol 5 x 5, a series featuring five of Claude Chabrol’s best, all fully restored and digitally remastered: Betty, The Swindle, Torment, Color of Lies and Night Cap. A founding father of French New Wave cinema, Chabrol’s fascination with genre films, and the detective drama in particular, fueled a lengthy and celebrated string of thrillers, which explored the human heart under extreme emotional duress. Chabrol began as a contributor to the celebrated film magazine Cahiers du Cinema alongside such film legends as Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard before launching his directorial career in 1957. He quickly established himself as a versatile filmmaker whose innate understanding of genre tropes informed the complex triangular relationships at the center of many of his films, which frequently served as a prism through which commentary on class conflict could be obliquely addressed. The talent he displayed in depicting these dark deeds, as well as his status among the pantheon of French New Wave cinema, underscored his significance as one of his native country’s most prolific and wickedly gifted craftsmen.
Set in 1940s New York, Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins is the true story of the legendary New York heiress and socialite (Meryl Streep) who obsessively pursued her dream of becoming a great singer. The voice she heard in her head was beautiful, but to everyone else it was hilariously awful. Her “husband” and manager, St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), an aristocratic English actor, was determined to protect his beloved Florence from the truth. But when Florence decided to give a public concert at Carnegie Hall, St. Clair knew he faced his greatest challenge.
All of our 7:10 PM screenings on Thursday, August 11 and 1:30 PM screenings on Sunday, August 14 at the NoHo 7, Playhouse 7, Town Center 5 and Claremont 5 will feature a special taped introduction from co-star Simon Helberg and after the screening a pre-taped Q&A with Mr. Helberg and stars Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant plus behind-the-scenes footage. Paramount Pictures will provide programs to audience members (while supplies last).
Directed by the great Mr. Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette, Dangerous Liaisons, The Queen), it’s no surprise the film has been getting great reviews. Writing in Slate, Dana Stevens said “Streep … makes the character’s delusional faith in her own talent so infectious that we ache at the thought of Florence’s impending humiliation even as we prepare ourselves to laugh at it.” In the New York Daily News, Stephen Whitty wrote “It’s a pleasure seeing Grant in a great part again, playing the sort of almost-cad he’s best at. And Streep – who, in real life, can belt anything from Broadway to Bruce – is clearly having a ball singing badly.” Jason Solomons of The Wrap said “There’s a deceptively masterful simplicity to Frears’ direction. In this age of blockbusters and superhero face-off mayhem, it reminds us that unfussiness is a virtue.”
Ariel has left his past behind. After growing up in the close-knit Jewish community of Buenos Aires he has built a new and to all appearances successful metropolitan life as an economist in New York. He has come back to his native city to meet his distant father Usher, but for days they miss one another as Usher continues to issue instructions to Ariel for a plethora of errands. Usher’s life’s mission, often to the detriment of his family, is the running of a Jewish aid foundation in El Once, the old Jewish neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Ariel is drawn back into the community and the very role his father plays in it. Along the way, his New York existence is gradually stripped away. After a few days, literally standing in the clothes that he once wore, he meets Eva, a mute, intriguing woman who works at the foundation.
Not coincidentally, Ariel’s visit coincides with Purim, a holiday commemorating the salvation of the Jewish diaspora from annihilation. It is a day of rejoicing in face of the averted disaster, a humorous, carnivalesque occasion that forms the subtext for a comedy of errors of missed and found people and connections, and a rumination on the extent to which we can ever really leave our past behind.
THE TENTH MAN director, producer, and screenwriter Daniel Burman is a founding member of the Academy of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts of Argentina. He is considered one of the most important Argentine filmmakers of his time, with great success both at home and internationally. Burman has directed eleven films and has produced more than seventeen movies. Throughout his work, he consistently utilizes the artistic touch and sophistication needed to explore existential issues with authenticity, always adopting a light yet profound tone at the same time.
He has been awarded the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival; Grand Prix of Public in Biarritz; FIPRESCI Prize at Valladolid; Coral Prize in Havana; Audience Award, Iberoamerican Film and SIGNIS, in Mar del Plata. In recognition of his humanitarian vision, Burman was awarded the Robert Bresson Award at the Venice Film Festival, an honor he shares with Wim Wenders, Alexander Sokurov and Manoel Oliveira. In 2008 he received the Achievement Award from the Israel Cinematheque during the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival. In 2011 he received the Visionary Award, from the Washington Jewish Community Center at Washington International Jewish Film Festival.
Mr. Berman recently gave the following interview:
Q: In THE TENTH MAN, you return to Once, the old Jewish quarter of Buenos Aires. How did you come to make this film?
Daniel Berman: THE TENTH MAN was born when I met Usher, the head of the foundation in my film, who is a real person. I wanted to join a trip that a group of friends from Russia, Ukraine and Poland take every year to visit the graves of Sadikin, Jewish mystics who lived between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These spiritual leaders, according to tradition, had a direct connection with God. And although Judaism is devoid of any forms of a death cult and neither leaves flowers in cemeteries nor builds monumental tombs, there is an exception in the worship of this army of holy men whose graves began to be seen as doors to the divinity. Direct contact with the stones in which the souls of the Sadikin are embedded is thought to put you in immediate contact with God by followers of certain Orthodox movements. And when I heard there was a group of Argentines who were undertaking a kind of pilgrimage to these tombs I wanted to do a documentary (“Tzadikim – Los 36 Justos”, 2011). The group traveled about 4,000 kilometers by bus, through villages where Jewish life endures, paradoxically, through those abandoned cemeteries.
Was it difficult to be accepted by the group? How did you manage to do that?
They told me that the gatekeeper was Usher, who basically had to like the idea. So we got together one day in the food court of Shopping Abasto, in what was a kind of a summit. Both of us ordered kosher pizza and initially Usher examined me, let me speak, almost ignoring me. After a while, we exchanged a few words and for some reason that even today is not clear to me, he finally accepted me. And I began to be so fascinated to get to know him that the actual journey through the Russian steppes took a back seat. During the trip, I shared with them a Jewish life that for me is unusual. And in that intimacy I
met this amazing person, and I began to establish a first closeness that was not yet a
How did you keep contact after that experience? When did this relation evolve into a real friendship?
I stopped seeing him for a while, until one day he called me in New York and without giving much explanation he asked me to get him a velcro sneakers in size 47, for a man who was half out of his mind in a public hospital. They were about to operate and he had no shoes in case he survived the intervention. And I was honored to help and started looking for velcro shoes in a 47, but did not find them anywhere. I ended up buying very good moccasins. I thought it would be important for this person to have some nice, good quality shoes, but when he saw them, the first thing Usher said was that they lacked the
velcro. And the second was that I had to take them to the hospital myself. Then he hung
This actually ended up in the film…
Yes what followed is told in the film, I went to Argerich Hospital to the man before he was operated on, he took the shoes and some cookies and I understood why the velcro: the man did not have good motor coordination, and he could not tie his shoelaces. Some time later Usher called me and we went out for coffee, and suddenly he threw a shoe at my head. I looked at the shoe and I realized it was the one I had bought. Usher then told me that the man had survived the operation but one of his legs had to be amputated, so he only needed a single shoe. And since it was the only one he had, he used it all the time,
and now it was broken and he needed another one, so he returned the old shoe to me. I have kept the shoe, because it represents the beginning of that connection.
What did strike you mostly about this person?
There was something about Usher that I found fascinating, and this feeling only grew when I learned more about his kingdom, his army of volunteers, that mysterious world of people giving without a special satisfaction beyond. Something provided by the fact of doing what needs to be done, as part of a particular logic of aid. In the Foundation the others who are being helped are not an undifferentiated mass that needs just anything. The help there is about the uniqueness of each individual. In order to give somebody exactly what he needs, there has to be an intention to understand why he needs this and nothing else. That world captivated me and motivated me to write the story. Because I had always been rather suspicious of those who gave their lives for others, I thought that most of these people wanted to get away from themselves or escape from something. And Usher made me change this outlook.
What happened when you realized that you wanted to make a fiction film?
We did not recreate anything but assembled a fiction within an existing world, in a fairly documentary register. Making a film to tell this story was a fact in itself so extraordinary that it did not matter how it was acted, or lit, or whatever. The figure of Usher haunted me, and at some point I began to wonder what the life of the son of a father who gives so generously would be like. Somebody who gives all his love to others when children always want to monopolize the love of their parents. I wondered what would be the link between the father and the son, and from that completely fictional construction I started writing the script.
How did you work in the real environment of the Foundation? How difficult was it to enter into their lives?
I really enjoyed invading their reality as little as possible. Reducing the fictional elements to the minimum needed to sustain the story, articulated as a documentary as much as possible. And it was a huge challenge, because it involved contact with people who had nothing to do with the dynamics of a shooting but with the dynamics of life, and accept that this dynamic was more important than ours, and that we had to adapt to it. I approached the film as a process and ended up establishing a deep emotional bond. I do not know how it is for other directors, but for me, my films are more and more processes
than results. Of course I always want audiences to like my films and give me a hug after seeing them, but I increasingly experience them as processes that are shaped by and occur at certain times of my life, and the imprint of life for me is stronger than the story, however wonderful the result may turn out to be.
Could you tell us something about your approach to the shoot?
I wanted to make a light film capable of incorporating the moment, and, for example, when we met a group of guys who were going to a party and wanted to participate we included them in the scene. I wanted to have that freedom of movement. And I wanted to shoot in Once , even though at the time I wasn’t consciously aware that I was referring to “El abrazo partido”. There is a dialogue between “El rey del Once” and and my first film. At a minimum there are issues that are touched upon in one and taken up again in the other. The truth is that I am the same person, even if ten years have passed. But the dialogue that occurs is more internal, between who I was – and who no longer exists – and
who I still remain.
How did you come to cast the real Usher in the film?
Because he is a great character and only he could play himself. Thinking of an actor for the role depressed me, I felt that it would not really work and I never doubted that Usher could do much better. The same is true for Hercules, the lieutenant in the humble and mighty army of Usher. An indispensible sidekick, carrying frozen chicken and beef back and forth through Once with his Citroen in the scorching heat without concern for alimentary rules and attentive only to the strictures of necessity and urgency, I thought he was an incredible character. Overall I was deciding who to work with in a fairly intuitive way. Many of the beneficiaries of the foundation I got to know also ended up in the film. What made it all work was that I felt comfortable with each person I was adding, as simple as that.
What about the opposite process: when did you choose to cast real actors instead of the
real people for certain roles?
The characters I imbued with higher dose of fiction are those who come from the outside, and I tried to make sure that they fit naturally into the environment. I wanted to work with Alan Sabbagh for some time. I thought he had a special gift for this role, because he was someone who could perfectly have left that universe only to return in the end. He could have taken this journey away and back. For the character of Julieta Zylberberg it never occurred to me to work with an Orthodox woman because it would have been impossible. Julieta did a great job of observing and above all managed to go beyond the stereotype. Because at first glance it is very easy to judge, but then if you look more closely, it is important to understand why a woman takes shelter in the way she does. There are people who choose the shelter of religion, as in this case. We try to understand why that woman takes cover, and why this guy played by Alan somehow is able to draw her out, how this match that initially seems highly improbable finally works out. So I thought of a very good actress able to channel this character without being judgmental.
We are proud to present the exclusive Los Angeles engagement of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s OUR LITTLE SISTER beginning Friday, July 8th at the Royal Theater, expanding July 15th to the Playhouse 7 and Town Center 5.
Internationally acclaimed for films like Still Walking, Like Father, Like Son, and After Life (one of my all-time favorites), Kore-eda’s latest is based on the best-selling manga series Umimachi Diary.
Three twenty-something sisters – Sachi, Yoshino and Chika – live together in a large old house in the seaside town of Kamakura. When they learn of their estranged father’s death, they decide to travel to the countryside for his funeral. There they meet their shy teenage half-sister Suzu for the first time and, bonding quickly, invite her to live with them. Suzu eagerly agrees, and begins a new life with her older sisters.
Set against the summer ocean sparkling with sunlight, radiant autumn foliage, a tunnel of gorgeous yet impermanent cherry blossom trees, hydrangeas damp from the rainy season, and brilliant fireworks heralding the arrival of another summer, their moving and deeply relatable story depicts the irreplaceable moments that form a true family.
Kore-eda wrote of his film: “I realized that to focus on and work up the troubled relationships between these human characters was not the right approach for this film.
“What interests me is not only the beauty of the scenery of Kamakura – or of the four sisters – but also the accepting attitude of this seaside town itself, absorbing and embracing everything. It is the beauty that arises from the realization – not sorrowful but open-hearted – that we are just grains of sand forming a part of the whole, and that the town, and the time there, continue even when we are gone.”
OUR LITTLE SISTER was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and holds a 93% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. All four actresses who portrayed the sisters were awarded or nominated for a Japan Academy Prize (Japanese Academy Award).
On July 1st we’ll open the quirky, wry dramedy The Kind Words at the Royal and Town Center. Nominated for 12 Israeli Academy Awards, the film follows three Jewish Israeli siblings – Dorona and brothers Netanel and Shai – who, in the wake of their mother’s death, learn the man who raised them is not their biological father. The revelation sends them on a trip from Israel across France to discover the truth about their real dad. The sixth feature from writer-director Shemi Zarhin explores an unraveling family secret and the bittersweet journey of self-discovery that follows.
Zarhin wrote of his film: “I love stories where life is lived ‘on the edge.’ I love reality’s ability to surprise until life often seems like an unrealistic movie, and reality itself acts like a wonderland. I especially love the protagonists’ amazed, stunned expressions every time they are faced with a new, extreme turn of the plot. These expressions reveal the exaggerated, childish confidence they have in their day to day routines, as well as their distress in the face of any change or discovery. It makes me laugh, it makes me sad, and mainly it makes me love them very much.
“But it also makes me worry: What will happen when they find out that the truth they are looking for is a pile of lies and prejudice? What will be their fate when they discover there is no consolation in the facts of the past, which only imprison the present and enslave the future? And love, even though it exists and is deep, is not always enough? And whether eventually they will realize that their lives and their identities depend solely on their desire?
“A strange thing happened to me: the production of The Kind Words is long over and I find that I am still worried about the characters who have become my immediate family. Maybe it expresses concern that I have for my kids, myself, and for the place where I live. Dorona, Natanel and Shai, three little liars, three young Israelis who do not know how to love and do not realize that it was time to say goodbye to the past in order to reconcile and live in peace with the present and the future. True, they are blind and desperate, but they have courage, humor and a bit of hope. So although I am concerned I trust them. They are three very Kind Words.”