Prepare for a wealth of high art this April, May and June because we’ll be projecting some excellent stuff on screens at our Claremont, Beverly Hills, Encino, Pasadena and now Santa Monica locations as part of our ongoing Culture Vulture series.
We begin April with a new production The Damnation of Faust, Berlioz’s légende dramatique. Director Alvis Hermanis grapples with the complexity of bringing Faust to modern audiences, asking us to identify the Faust of our times. Seeing a modern equivalent to Faust’s intellectual rigor in the fascinating mind of Stephen Hawking, Hermanis sets Berlioz’s work on the futuristic eve of mankind’s first settlement on Mars.
Next we’ll have the Bolshoi Ballet’s The Taming of the Shrew. Many suitors dream of marrying the lovely, docile Bianca, but her father will not let anyone marry her before her elder sister, the ill-tempered shrew Katharina, is herself married. French choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot lands a coup with his adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy tailored specifically to the Bolshoi dancers, and achieves a magnetic two hours of breathtaking, nonstop dance unlike any other, portraying the Bolshoi’s audacity and energy in a completely new way.
Subsequent to that: Oscar Wilde’s much-loved masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest is one of the most enduring plays in British theatre. Performed shortly before Wilde fell foul of society’s unbending condemnation, this farcical comedy fizzes with wit as Wilde delights in debunking social pretensions and piercing the hypocrisy and pomposity of the Victorian Era. Recorded live from the Vaudeville Theatre on 8 October 2015.
After that we will screen Florence and the Uffizi Gallery, a multi-dimensional journey through the city that was the cradle of the Italian Renaissance. Get an exclusive tour through the most beautiful and representative works of art of the period from Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, to Leonardo and Botticelli, with a detailed central chapter dedicated to the treasure house containing their masterpieces: the Uffizi Gallery.
We’ll start May with Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov. Following the death of the Tsarevich Dmitry, Boris Godunov is persuaded to become Tsar of Russia. Boris, however, seems plagued by guilt. A greedy aristocrat and a restless young monk each plot to turn Boris’s fears to their advantage. Musorgsky based Boris on the play of the same name by Alexander Pushkin, published in 1831 but the censorial ban on which was only lifted in 1866. Pushkin’s play was loosely inspired by the true story of Boris Godunov, Tsar of Russia from 1598 to 1605.
Then we are excited to host screenings of a dance/sculpture/music hybrid, Journey in Sensuality: Anna Halprin & Rodin. Auguste Rodin said, “the world will only be happy when all people have the souls of artists.” After the international success of Breath Made Visible, Journey in Sensuality brings new insight into Halprin’s influential artistic work. Auguste Rodin’s sculptures and Halprin’s creative process come together with the music of composer Fred Frith in this poetic film of dances in nature.
Based on the calls and email we’ve been getting, our most hotly anticipated Culture Vulture screening is Les Liaison Dangereuses. Choderlos de Laclos’ 1782 novel of sex, intrigue and betrayal in pre-revolutionary France follows former lovers the Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont, who now compete in games of seduction and revenge. Merteuil incites Valmont to corrupt the innocent Cecile de Volanges before her wedding night but Valmont has targeted the peerlessly virtuous and beautiful Madame de Tourvel. While these merciless aristocrats toy with others’ hearts and reputations, their own may prove more fragile than they supposed.
After that we’ll have Goya: Visions of Flesh and Blood. Heir to Velázquez, hero to Picasso, not only a brilliant observer of everyday life and Spain’s troubled past, Francisco Goya was a gifted portrait painter and social commentator par excellence. Discover Spain’s celebrated artist based on the National Gallery’s must-see exhibition Goya: The Portraits, originally captured as part of the acclaimed Exhibition on Screen series.
At the end of May we’ll screen Concerto: A Beethoven Journey. Filmmaker Phil Grabsky is renowned for bringing some of the world’s most important art exhibitions to cinemas. Also famous for his In Search of… classical music documentaries, he has now returned his lens to the world of classical music with Concerto: A Beethoven Journey. Filmed over four years, Grabsky followed leading concert pianist Leif Ove Andsnes’s attempt to understand and interpret one of the greatest sets of works for piano ever written: Beethoven’s five piano concertos.
As we do at the beginning of each month, we’ll start June with an opera, in this Turandot. No man shall ever possess her – the Chinese princess Turandot sets three riddles for every man that comes to woo her. So far none have been able to solve the riddles, and have paid with their heads. Then an unknown prince achieves the impossible: he correctly answers all three questions. But Turandot is still unwilling to surrender to him. So the Prince is ready to lay down his life if she can find out his name by morning. Throughout the night, no one may sleep: everyone must try to discover his name…
We follow opera with dance: A sensational new dance event from the acclaimed choreographer Matthew Bourne and his Dance Company New Adventures, The Car Man is loosely based on Bizet’s popular opera (CARMEN) and has one of the most thrilling and instantly recognizable scores in classical music, brilliantly arranged by Terry Davies. The familiar 19th century Spanish cigarette factory becomes a greasy garage-diner in 1960’s America where the dreams and passions of a small-town are shattered by the arrival of a handsome stranger.
The summer solstice finds us in London’s West End for Hangmen. In his small pub in the northern English town of Oldham, Harry (David Morrissey, The Walking Dead, State of Play) is something of a local celebrity. But what’s the second-best hangman in England to do on the day they’ve abolished hanging? Amongst the cub reporters and pub regulars dying to hear Harry’s reaction to the news, his old assistant Syd (Andy Nyman, Peaky Blinders, Death at a Funeral) and the peculiar Mooney (Johnny Flynn, Clouds of Sils Maria) lurk with very different motives for their visit.
We’ll end the first half of 2016 with one of the great masters: Leonardo Da Vinci: The Genius in Milan. Based on “Leonardo 1452- 1519,” one of the most decisive exhibitions ever to be held on Leonardo and the result of six years work by leading experts, Pietro Marani and M. Teresa Fiorio, divided into 12 sections, retracing with scientific rigor the multiple paths traveled by the mind of the genius: the foundation of drawing, the role of nature and science, comparison between the arts, reflection on the ancients, the utopian projects, anatomy and mechanics, the unity of knowledge, images of the divine, and more.