Purchase a ticket to #TogetherTogether at Laemmle starting April 23 and see an exclusive pre-recorded intro and Q&A with Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, and writer-director Nikole Beckwith on the big screen! Get your tickets today.
Until then, we have Laemmle Virtual Cinema to tide us over. (And we’ll continue LVC after April 9 for those who can’t make it out to the theaters.) Leading the pack this week are the always amazing 2021 OSCAR SHORTS: DOCUMENTARY. The five nominees this year are A Love Song for Latasha: A portrait of a 15-year-old girl whose shooting death sparks the ‘92 L.A. Uprising. Do Not Split: The story of the 2019 Hong Kong protests. Filmed from inside therapeutic feeding centers in war-torn Yemen, Hunger Ward documents two health care workers fighting to thwart the spread of starvation. Colette: Resistance took courage in Nazi-occupied France. Seventy-five years later, facing one’s ghosts may take even more. A Concerto is a Conversation: A jazz pianist and composer tracks his family’s lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
In the winning comedy SHIVA BABY college student Danielle must cover her tracks when she unexpectedly runs into her sugar daddy at a shiva — with her parents, ex-girlfriend and family friends also in attendance. THE OUTSIDE STORY is a comedy about an introverted editor (Brian Tyree Henry) on a tight deadline who gets locked out of his apartment. In order to get back inside, he’s forced to do something he always avoids, interacting with his neighbors. NINA WU, which earned its director a nomination for the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes, follows a struggling actress who finally gets her big break with a leading role in a spy thriller set in the 1960s, until her psychological resolve begins to crack under the pressure.
When her village is threatened with forced resettlement due to reservoir construction, an 80-year-old widow at the center of THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION finds a new will to live and ignites the spirit of resilience within her community. In CENTER STAGE Maggie Cheung embodies tragic screen siren Ruan Lingyu, known as the ‘Greta Garbo of China,’ in this unconventional biopic by Hong Kong New Wave master Stanley Kwan. In SOUL ECLIPSE a gold digger is coerced into a spiritual quest for enlightenment by a shaman, a man with dark secrets of his own.
Finally, we are delighted to have French New Waver Eric Rohmer’s restored Four Seasons tetralogy, A TALE OF SPRING (1990), A TALE OF WINTER (1992), A TALE OF SUMMER (1996) and A TALE OF AUTUMN (1998). In SPRING, a burgeoning friendship between philosophy teacher Jeanne and pianist Natacha is strained by jealousy, suspicion, and intrigue. WINTER is about a woman trying to choose between two men five years after losing touch with the love of her life and the father of her young daughter. In SUMMER amateur musician Gaspard travels to a seaside resort in Dinard, on the coast of Brittany, where three women each offer the possibility of romance, if he can overcome his inability to make a decision. AUTUMN is set in the Rhone Valley, the final film of the series concerns simultaneous schemes to find a new love for reserved winegrower and widow Magali.
Now that L.A. County’s health department has announced we have left the purple tier and entered the red, we are thrilled to announce that we will reopen on April 9, 2021 at 25% capacity! If the County is in the orange tier at that time, we’ll go with 50% capacity. Our veteran general managers have returned, like cavalry coming over the hill, to ready our theaters and make sure the reopening will be safe. We’ll share the big date with you shortly. Go to www.laemmle.com/reopening for details on venues, films, advance ticketing, and more.
For those who are hesitant about returning, we understand. Consider, however, that a recent study — reported by the New York Times yesterday — showed that there has been a negative bias in national media coverage of the pandemic. International and U.S. local and regional coverage has been markedly more balanced. The virus is still an issue and we must not drop safety practices, but we want to share that there is good news, and not just regarding the resumption of commercial activity.
For now, virtual cinema is still all we are offering. And as always, we have some terrific new films available via Laemmle Virtual Cinema, starting with The Mole Agent, the warm, funny, Oscar-nominated feature documentary about an 83-year-old man who poses as a resident in a Chilean nursing home to investigate allegations of abuse. The powerful documentary Francesco portrays Pope Francis as he confronts gigantic issues such as the climate crisis, the refugee crisis, peace and religious intolerance, economic inequality, and more. Based on a real-life 1972 experiment, The Marijuana Conspiracy is a beautifully-made ensemble drama about an outlandish study on the effects of ever-increasing doses of tetrahydrocannabinol on young women. William Shatner and Jean Smart star in the Palm Springs-set Senior Moment. He plays a retired NASA test pilot fighting to regain his driver’s licence and impounded car who meets Smart’s character on a bus. Kuessipan is a Canadian film about two girls in a Quebec Innu community whose longtime friendship is shaken when one of them falls for a white boy. Her Name is Chef spotlights six bad-ass, inspiring, sheroes of the restaurant industry. We’re also screening Charles Gounod’s Faust, filmed lived at the famed Teatro Real in Madrid in 2018. Finally we’ll have two gallery experience films: Water Lilies of Monet: The Magic of Water, which recounts the story of Monsieur Claude’s groundbreaking series of paintings of Giverny, and The Prado Museum: A Collection of Wonders, which offers viewers a spell-binding experience through the works of Vélazquez, Rubens, Titian, Mantegna, Bosch, Goya, El Greco and more.
This Friday Laemmle’s Glendale, Santa Monica, North Hollywood and Pasadena venues will open THE WILD GOOSE LAKE, acclaimed director Diao Yinan’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to his 2014 Berlinale winning neo-noir BLACK COAL, THIN ICE. Toppling box office records in Diao’s native China, the film “cements his status as a master filmmaker with another ingenious crime epic” (Little White Lies).
When smalltime mob leader Zhou Zenong (Chinese superstar Hu Ge) accidentally kills a cop, a dead-or-alive bounty is placed on his head, forcing him on the lam from both the police as well as dangerous gangsters out for the reward. Hiding out in China’s densely populated (and deeply divided) Wuhan province, Zhou becomes entangled with a beautiful, enigmatic woman, who has mysterious intentions of her own. Featuring gorgeous, neon-drenched cinematography and bursts of shocking, expertly choreographed action, THE WILD GOOSE LAKE is “spellbinding” (Rolling Stone), “brilliant” (Indiewire) and “downright Hitchcockian” (AV Club).
Some of the copious praise for the THE WILD GOOSE LAKE:
“Diao Yinan cements his status as a master filmmaker with another ingenious crime epic. THE WILD GOOSE LAKE is another assured, exhilarating tale of criminality and the havoc it wreaks on interpersonal connection, with everything impressive about its predecessor – attentive procedural detail, curious experiments with colour and shadow, action set pieces that’d make Michael Mann envious – raised to the Nth degree. There’s not a single false step in its two hours; every edit, every shot setup, every movement of the camera maximises the raw cinematic effect. There’s power in Diao’s more subdued passages, but when he really lets loose and the fists (or bullets, or strategically concealed booby-traps) start flying, this film’s greatness transforms from the kind that sneaks up on you to the kind that blows you away.” ~ Charles Bramesco, Little White Lies
“Like a beautifully constructed puzzle box, THE WILD GOOSE LAKE‘s various layers unfold in satisfying ways. With elegant violence, emotional richness and a complex yet coherent storyline, this is a rare bit of crime thriller treat that truly pays off. Above all, it’s a highly entertaining film that doesn’t for a moment eschew aesthetics, crafting a world of shadow and subterfuge that’s terrific. THE WILD GOOSE LAKE is a hoot, a Chinese crime thriller that proves Diao Yinan is a new master of dark, thrilling noir.” ~ Jason Gorber, Slash Film
“Diao Yinan’s twisting and turning nocturnal noir is full of moody attitude and glorious cinematography.” ~ Dave Calhoun, Time Out
“Diao Yinan’s THE WILD GOOSE LAKE starts with a rainy night, a guy on the lam, a dame who sidles up to him and murmurs, “Got a light?” In other words, this Chinese gangland thriller kicks off in classic noir style, and gets progressively noirer and more nocturnal as it goes on. The fourth feature from writer-director Diao, who made a major impression with 2014’s investigative drama BLACK COAL, THIN ICE, this hyper-stylish manhunt drama laces slow-burn atmospherics with abrupt outbursts of staccato action, and boils down characterisation to the leanest of bare bones, making for minimalist existentialism in the style of Jean-Pierre Melville.” ~ Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily
“Diao Yinan delivers a definitive Chinese crime noir, in which the ravishing style and inventive staging form the substance.” ~ Jessica Kiang, Variety
“In a movie where just about every scene contains some inventive technique or choice, I was most taken with the way Diao boldly abstracts some of his action: a close-quarters fight that unfolds entirely through associative close-ups; a stabbing conveyed through the scattering of bills; a cop discovering one of his colleagues is dead when a dollop of blood lands on his face. Some of these moments are downright Hitchcockian, giving us the implication of violence without always actually showing it.” ~ A.A. Dowd, AV Club
“While Chinese director Diao Yinan’s THE WILD GOOSE LAKE hardly reconfigures the crime thriller afresh, it does pare it down to the essentials to exhilarating effect, progressively jettisoning the whys and wherefores of plot to focus on little more than two bodies moving through any number of ravishing, noirish spaces.” ~ James Lattimer, Sight & Sound
“This enjoyable and elegantly styled noir thriller is … awash with wonderful set-pieces and exquisite visual moments which skillfully echo China’s gilded past and leave us in no doubt of its contemporary criminality and territory wars.” ~ Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia
“Like the waters lapping up against the shores of its murky titular setting, Diao Yinan’s fugitive thriller THE WILD GOOSE LAKE (Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui) is a film that doesn’t hit you like a tidal wave as much as it gradually washes over you, leaving in its wake a series of memorable set-pieces and a dense, dark web of violence and fatality.” ~ Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
“It’s a spellbinding pulp noir with a stylish edge and a sui generis fatalism. (12 Best Movies at the Toronto Film Festival)” ~ David Fear, Rolling Stone
“A dizzying, frenetic plunge into the winding and over-populated working-class districts of the city, THE WILD GOOSE LAKE is an exceptional auteur film and noir. Each and every shot is well worth the detour in this sea of coup de force visuals (a very special mention goes to Director of Photography Jingsong Dong), on which the plot never lingers; instead, it takes them in as it twists and turns torrentially (as written by the filmmaker himself), blasting its way through a three-day period, broken up by some nice atmospheric moments where all the actions slows. It makes for a dazzling, labyrinthine journey through a criminal underworld. Here, violence plays an eternally cathartic role and sometimes bursts with black humour, making great use of the laconic and darkly romantic charisma of the two main actors and confirming the immense, fascinating and highly entertaining talent of Diao Yinan.” ~ Fabien Lemercier, Cineuropa
“More even than on its strengths as an expertly directed piece of entertainment, Diao’s latest impresses for its scathing, and unexpected, indictment of societal ills—for how the filmmaker recognizes the extent to which the contours of a sordid genre film appropriately express realities of Chinese life.” ~ Sam Mac, Slant Magazine
“…this film is fascinating because of how those genre thrills are complicated by these off-kilter, idiosyncratic formal choices that trigger not just a lurid dreamscape and uncomfortable humor… but also a vulnerability in the face of alienation and suffering. Watching THE WILD GOOSE LAKE feels like watching a society crumble in real-time, the architecture itself decaying and being painted over while people’s baggage and experiences become more and more exposed….” ~ The Film Stage
“…I thought Diao Yinan’s THE WILD GOOSE LAKE had something of Eisenstein about it, the percussive directionality and suggestiveness of each edit, the way violence happened by implication because a cut is made from a violent instrument to a blood stain. It’s a film of sensual tension wrung from its cinematic touchstones….” ~ Scout Tafoya, RogerEbert.com
“[THE WILD GOOSE LAKE] offers some of the most thrillingly original fight scenes you’ll see onscreen this year.” ~ Nate Jones, Vulture.com
From Kenneth Turan’s February 14, 2020 Critics Choice column in the Times:
“Independent films were not an invention of Sundance, they existed in the golden age Hollywood as well, and one of the most unusual, and the most gorgeous, was 1951’s Pandora and the Flying Dutchman. It was directed by Albert Lewin and starred James Mason and, looking especially beautiful, Ava Gardner in a pleasantly surreal supernatural tale of a cursed sea captain and a heedless young woman who lives only for pleasure. Or so she thinks.
“Gardner looked as photogenic as she did because Pandora’s cinematographer was the great Jack Cardiff, famous for works like Black Narcissus, and because the film was shot in the knockout process known as three-strip Technicolor.
“Restoring Pandora to its original glory has taken more than a dozen years, with the Cohen Media Group ultimately funding a glorious 4K version, which included more than 700 hours of digital restoration lavished on 177,120 frames of the film. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Now is the time to enjoy fantastic films from around the world. All five of the Oscar-nominated documentary features — THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY, THE CAVE, FOR SAMA, AMERICAN FACTORY and HONEYLAND are in theaters now, before the awards show on February 9. Four of the five Oscar nominees for Best International Feature — LES MISÉRABLES, PAIN AND GLORY, PARASITE and HONEYLAND (deservedly, it’s nominated twice!) are now in theaters.
We hope to open the Polish drama CORPUS CHRISTI, the fifth foreign film nominee and the dark horse in the race, on March 6 at the Monica Film Center, Playhouse and Town Center.
The film is about 20-year-old Daniel, who is released and sent to a remote village to work as a manual laborer after spending years in a Warsaw prison for a violent crime. The job is designed to keep him busy, but Daniel has a higher calling. While imprisoned he became deeply religious and now aspires to join the priesthood, but his criminal record makes it impossible. When Daniel arrives in town, one quick lie allows him to be mistaken for the town’s new priest, and he sets about tending to his newfound flock. An international sensation with an electrifying lead performance by a previously unknown actor, CORPUS CHRISTI is the twelfth Polish film to earn an Oscar nomination. Only one of them has taken home the prize, IDA in 2015.
We are thrilled to announce that beginning this weekend we will be screening all of the documentaries short-listed for the 2020 Oscars. Together the 15 films offer a breathtaking portrait of our world, from the micro — the freelance Mexico City ambulance drivers of Midnight Family and the Macedonian beekeeper of Honeyland — to macro — the data theft crisis depicted in The Great Hack and the savage forced family planning of One Child Nation, all told with peak cinematic genius. The final five Oscar nominees will be announced January 13 and the 92nd annual Academy Awards ceremony is set for Sunday, February 9, but all of these documentaries are as good as the finest fiction films and well worth your time to experience with the big canvass of a movie screen.
MAIDEN is the story of how Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World in 1989.
THE GREAT HACK uncovers the dark world of data exploitation with astounding access to the personal journeys of key players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal. (Also playing January 3-9 at the Laemmle Glendale.)
AQUARELA takes audiences on a deeply cinematic journey through the transformative beauty and raw power of water. Captured at a rare 96 frames-per-second, the film is a visceral reminder that humans are no match for the sheer force and capricious will of Earth’s most precious element.
ADVOCATE ~ Since the early 1970s, Jewish-Israeli attorney Lea Tsemel has made a career out of defending Palestinians in Israeli courts: from feminists to fundamentalists, from non-violent demonstrators to armed militants, including suicide bombers.
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM follows two dreamers and their beloved dog when they make a choice that takes them out of their tiny L.A. apartment and into the countryside to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature.
MIDNIGHT FAMILY ~ In Mexico City’s wealthiest neighborhoods, the Ochoa family runs a private ambulance, competing with other for-profit EMTs for patients in need of urgent help. As the Ochoas try to make a living in this fraught industry, they struggle to keep their dire finances from compromising the people in their care.
HONEYLAND ~ Hatidze lives with her ailing mother in the mountains of Macedonia, making a living cultivating honey using ancient beekeeping traditions. When an unruly family moves in next door, what at first seems like a balm for her solitude becomes a source of tension as they, too, want to practice beekeeping, while disregarding her advice.
FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. (Also playing December 28 & 29 at the Royal.)
THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY ~ A cautionary tale for these times of democracy in crisis – the personal and political fuse to explore one of the most dramatic periods in Brazilian history. Combining unprecedented access to leaders past and present, including Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva, with accounts of her own family’s complex past, filmmaker Petra Costa witnesses their rise and fall and the tragically polarized nation that remains.
THE APOLLO chronicles the unique history and contemporary legacy of the New York City landmark, the Apollo Theater.
KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE ~ At a moment of historic volatility in American politics, four women decide to fight back, setting themselves on a journey that will change their lives and their country forever. Without political experience or corporate money, they build a movement of insurgent candidates challenging powerful incumbents in Congress. Their efforts result in a stunning upset.
THE CAVE is an unflinching story of the Syrian war. For besieged civilians, hope and safety lie underground inside the subterranean hospital known as the Cave, where Dr. Amani Ballor and her female colleagues have claimed their right to work as equals alongside their male counterparts, doing their jobs in a way that would be unthinkable in the patriarchal culture that exists above.
Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, APOLLO 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin household names.
AMERICAN FACTORY ~ In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.
China’s One Child Policy may have ended in 2015, but the process of dealing with the trauma of its brutal enforcement is only just beginning. The sweeping ONE CHILD NATION explores the ripple effect of this devastating social experiment, uncovering one shocking human rights violation after another. (Also currently playing at the Laemmle Glendale through at least January 2.)
We are delighted to announce the first four films of 2020 in our Anniversary Classics Abroad series! A companion to our American repertory film series Anniversary Classics, our Abroad program screens great foreign films one Wednesday every month at three venues simultaneously: the Royal in West L.A., the Glendale, and the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
January 22: FELLINI SATYRICON
Federico Fellini’s surreal depictions of ancient Rome is loosely based on Petronius’s Satyricon, written during the reign of the Nero and set in imperial Rome. The film is divided into nine episodes and follows the scholar Encolpius and his friend Ascyltus as they try to win the heart of the young boy Gitón, whom they both love. Roger Ebert said, “It is so much more ambitious and audacious than most of what we see today that simply as a reckless gesture, it shames these timid times.” Click here for tickets.
February 19: ALPHAVILLE
In ALPHAVILLE, Jean-Luc Godard’s hard-boiled detective/science fiction fusion, Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), comes to Alphaville, the capital of a totalitarian state, in order to destroy its leader, an almost-human computer called Alpha 60. While on his mission, Lemmy meets and falls in love with Natacha (Anna Karina), the daughter of the scientist who designed Alpha 60. Their love becomes the most profound challenge to the computer’s control. Click here for tickets.
March 18: EAST/WEST
EAST/WEST, French director Regis Wargnier’s (Indochine) romantic period drama, is set in 1946 when Stalin launched a propaganda campaign offering amnesty to Russians who had settled in the West. Alexei Golovin (Oleg Menshikov) decides to takes his young French wife Marie (Sandrine Bonnaire) and son Serioja with him on the long journey back to his homeland but Stalin’s offer is not what it appeared. This 1999 Best Foreign Language nominee also stars Catherine Deneuve and Bohdan Stupka. Click here for tickets.
April 22: FRENCH CANCAN
Jean Renoir’s musical dramedy chronicles the revival of Paris’ most notorious dance as it tells the story of a theater producer who turns a humble washerwoman into a Moulin Rouge star. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw said, “The glorious final sequence, in which the cancan is finally unveiled to the rowdy audience, is some kind of masterpiece, perhaps the equal of anything Renoir ever achieved: wild, free, turbulent, exhilarating.” Click here for tickets.
Again, we will show all Anniversary Classics Abroad films at three venues, the Royal, Playhouse, and Glendale, at 7pm. 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. Click here for full details.