“Erivo’s full-bodied commitment to the role, capturing how even the worst experiences can become a part of you, results in a performance so powerful that it’s occasionally too difficult to watch.” ~ Siddhant Adlakha, indieWire
Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, How to Have Sex is a vibrant and authentic depiction of the agonies, ecstasies and ride-or-die glory of young female friendship, from rising British filmmaker Molly Manning Walker. Three British teenage girls go on a rites-of-passage holiday, drinking, clubbing and hooking up in what should be the best summer of their lives. As they dance their way across the sun-drenched streets of Malia, they find themselves navigating the complexities of sex, consent and self-discovery. We open the film this Friday at the Laemmle Glendale and Monica Film Center.
In a recent interview with Film Inquiry, Walker spoke about the film’s potent impact on audiences: “We didn’t really know the scale of it when we were making it. We kind of felt like it was quite personal. And then as we put it out into the world, we saw that.”
“Walker often lets the camera linger on McKenna-Bruce’s face and eyes that convey all the things she can’t find the words for. It is a shattering performance and made all the more devastating because it’s so subtle.” ~ Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press
“McKenna-Bruce’s fearless lead is both emotionally exposing and very finely calibrated, slipping from exuberance to anxiety to desperation sometimes in a single shot.” ~ Jonathan Romney, Financial Times
“Manning Walker’s film lays out the minefield of sexual education and consent for a post-#MeToo generation, with a precision to its ambiguities that will draw gasps from its characters’ contemporaries and elders alike.” ~ Guy Lodge, Variety
“In its frankness and often frightening candor, How to Have Sex is of a piece with coming-of-age dramas like Thirteen and The Diary of a Teenage Girl, with a dash of the lascivious, neon-colored bacchanalia of Spring Breakers thrown in for good measure.” ~ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
“[It] could easily have become a simplistic cautionary tale, a racier version of an after-school special. Instead, Walker’s delicate eye and feel for rhythm lend the movie an ominous cadence.” ~ Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine/Vulture
“A different kind of Greek tragedy — no grand myth, just a heart-sore, everyday observation of what the world does to girls and what the world makes girls do to themselves.” ~ Jessica Kiang, Los Angeles Times
Gently devastating in its compassion, Monster, the latest from Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda (After Life, Shoplifters, Broker), is a masterpiece of shifting perspectives that defies expectations. It begins with a mother who confronts a teacher about her child’s behavioral changes. This is the first time Kore-eda has directed a film he did not write in almost 20 years. (The film was the last scoring project by Ryuichi Sakamoto.) We open Monster this Friday at the Laemmle Monica Film Center, Glendale, Town Center/Encino and Claremont 5.
Leading film critics have weighed in:
“Monster is one of the finest films of the year, and its structure — like its circle of characters — carries secrets that can only be unraveled through patience and empathy.” ~ Natalia Winkelman, New York Times
“One of the director’s finest, its thematic scope and emotional power growing with each new revelation.” ~ Nick Schager, The Daily Beast
“Across the film, you can feel the push and pull between a master technician who built his career on the patient, delicate plucking at our heartstrings and his newfound desire to please a wide audience with the broadest of affective strokes.” ~ Kyle Turner, Slant Magazine
“A case of Kore-eda’s incredible felicity in handling child actors, or perhaps the kids challenging and inspiring Kore-eda yet again.” ~ Namrata Joshi, The New Indian Express
La Syndicaliste is the stunning true story of Maureen Kearney (Isabelle Huppert), the head union representative of a French multinational nuclear powerhouse. She became a whistleblower, denouncing top-secret deals that shook the French nuclear sector. Alone against the world, she fought government ministers and industry leaders tooth and nail to bring the scandal to light and to defend more than 50,000 jobs. Her life was turned upside down when she was violently assaulted in her own home and the investigation is carried out under pressure: the subject is sensitive. Suddenly, new elements create doubt in the minds of the investigators. At first a victim, Maureen becomes a suspect. We open La Syndicaliste this Friday, December 8 at the Royal.
“A politically tinged back room drama of shifting power hierarchies…[Huppert] taps into a level of vulnerability rarely seen throughout her vast filmography.” – Nicholas Bell, IONCINEMA
“Derives its power from the knowledge that this shocking story actually happened.” – Lee Marshall, Screen Daily
“Maureen Kearney’s story is unbelievable. Played with an electric stillness by the great Isabelle Huppert…this is the story of one individual. A heroine, in fact.” – Stephanie Bunbury, Deadline
“Sometimes the best reason to watch a movie is because Isabelle Huppert is in it.” ~ Manohla Dargis, New York Times
“Salomé’s film pivots from itchy whistleblower thriller to irate courtroom drama, with institutional misogyny as its binding thread.” ~ Guy Lodge, Variety
“At no point is a link made between this narrative and The Scarlet Letter, but both the book and the film induce shivers by exposing the gross misogyny of so-called respectable establishment figures.” ~ Charlotte O’Sullivan, London Evening Standard
“This is a truly shocking story that is told with precision and sensitivity.” ~ Linda Marric, The Jewish Chronicle
For much of cinema history, the sight of a big Z slashing across the screen promised the fictional adventures of a sword-wielding caped crusader, but starting in 1988, that big red Z started to stand for something else amongst discerning cinephiles, as real life heroes Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo believed there was a better way forward for the films they loved. Starting Zeitgeist Films out of a small West Village apartment after working a variety of jobs in film distribution, the two have played an outsized role in shaping film culture in the decades since, taking a quality over quantity approach to making room in a crowded American theatrical marketplace for some of the most daring work from around the world. Limiting their acquisitions to a manageable slate of four to five releases a year where each one would receive their undivided attention, a necessity when championing artists such as Bruce Weber (“Let’s Get Lost”), Peter Greenaway (“The Draughtman’s Contract”), Derek Jarman (“Blue”) and Guy Maddin (“Cowards Bend at the Knee”) without deep pockets, the duo has not only had the foresight to see the enduring nature of the films themselves that they release, but the value of time in how much they put into each film and how it has afforded them the sustainability to keep going.
“We noticed that there were companies that started that spent a lot of money on films and would acquire a lot and those companies went out of business extremely quickly,” Gerstman said recently on the occasion of the company’s 35th anniversary. “And we wanted to stay in business and we were able to.”
Their latest milestone has led the Metrograph in New York to pay Zeitgeist a much-deserved month-long tribute with an in-theater 13-film retrospective, kicking off this Friday with Gerstman and Russo introducing a newly spiffed up 4K restoration of “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days,” Marc Rohemund’s unfortunately all-too-relevant WWII tale of the Munich University student who stood up against the infiltration of Nazi thought at school, and an additional 20 films being made available on the theater’s streaming service Metrograph-At-Home, tilting towards the visionary meta-fiction works from Yvonne Rainer, Atom Egoyan and Jennifer Baichwal that the distributor pushed long before such playful documentaries were in fashion. Guests of the series such as Raoul Peck (“Lumumba”), Christine Vachon (“Poison”) and Astra Taylor (“Examined Life”) reflect the range of Gerstman and Russo’s belief in taking advantage of the big screen’s ability to hold a variety of perspectives, yielding a catalog deep with films where the ordinary becomes extraordinary simply by telling stories that have been overlooked, particularly when it comes to the hidden histories of women and gay life in the 20th century.
With the machinery they’ve built over the years, Gerstman and Russo have celebrated the careers of free-thinking artists and activists as a home to documentary profiles of filmmakers such as Maya Deren (“In the Mirror of Maya Deren”) and Alice Guy Blache (“Be Natural”), photographers Cecil Beaton (“Love Cecil”) and Bill Cunningham (“Bill Cunningham: New York”) and intellectuals Noam Chomsky (“Manufacturing Consent”), Hannah Arendt (“Vita Activa”) and Slavoj Zizek (“The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology”) while helping launch so many others, picking up on the early promise in the work of Todd Haynes (“Dottie Got Spanked”), Laura Poitras (“The Oath”), Chaitanya Tamhane (“Court”), Talya Lavie (“Zero Motivation”), and Andrey Zvyagintsev (“Elena”). (Only they could arrange for a documentary to be made about the stop-motion animation maestros the Brothers Quay made by Christopher Nolan, whose first film “Following” they shepherded to theaters.)
As Gerstman and Russo readily acknowledge, the work has only gotten more difficult as time has gone on, but leaning on good taste and institutional knowledge, they have beaten the odds to become a pillar of arthouse cinema and in having such a hand in bringing important voices into those sacred spaces, it was truly an honor to get to speak to them on the eve of their retrospective at the Metrograph, which may be a short distance from their offices, but involves a journey that cuts across multiple countries and decades as they’ve brought global cinema to the city and beyond.
Click here to read the interview.
This Friday we’re pleased to open a touching and charming Irish indie film My Sailor, My Love. It follows Howard (James Cosmo), a widowed sailor living alone on the coast of Ireland and struggling to care for himself. His daughter, Grace (Catherine Walker), hires Annie (Bríd Brennan) to help out around the house. Though Howard initially rejects this imposition, Annie’s charm and gentle care win him over, and the two fall in love. Annie’s large and loving family welcomes Howard into their lives, but these new relationships only serve to illuminate the depth of pain and hurt between Howard and Grace, who is facing challenges of her own. Grace’s resentment tears at Howard and Annie’s otherwise idyllic seaside love story. This windswept drama deftly balances a universal family saga with a tender and timeless romance. We open My Sailor, My Love this Friday at the Town Center, Monica Film Center and Claremont with Saturday and Sunday morning screenings at our Newhall theater.
Critics around the world have been writing about the acting. The film’s director, acclaimed Finnish filmmaker Klaus Härö, said this about his experiences working with the actors:
“The cast has been an immense joy, from the moment the roles were confirmed and when we first went on set. I would often sit very close by to the actors and get to witness what goes into their work, which left me very impressed. Sometimes when I looked around, I could see the emotions brought to surface after a take. Someone might have tears in their eyes, or the crew might burst into applause after a scene. This isn’t very common on a movie set, and it might even seem unprofessional in a way. The atmosphere at the set has been exceptional, and the actors left a very strong imprint on the whole crew.”
“Sharp writing, subtle acting, and a winning Irish setting. My Sailor, My Love will play to any nation where humans struggle to make themselves understood.” – Donald Clarke, The Irish Times
“A quiet yet profoundly powerful feature, aching in emotional sophistication and depth. Cosmo and Brennan are divine.” – Andrew Murray, The Upcoming
“A lovely indie. Klaus Härö’s gentle and special family drama has much more at play than rote tear-jerking. Magnificently shot and acted. Sailor is filled with sage wisdom and vulnerable people struggling to do the best that they can even when they are at their worst.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
“Prepare to be moved.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail
“Beautiful and heartbreaking in equal measure.” ~ Bobby LePire, Film Threat
“It’s a daring narrative mix of the personal and the political.” ~ Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Park Chan-Wook’s cinematic masterpiece, Oldboy has been restored and remastered in stunning 4K. After being mysteriously kidnapped and imprisoned with no human contact for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-sik) is suddenly released without any explanation. In a twisted game of cat and mouse, he has only five days to retrace his past, track down his captors, and get his revenge.
Oldboy, which remains a cult classic and has served as inspiration for auteurs for nearly two decades, will return to theaters for the first time in 20 years. Now playing at the Laemmle Glendale and NoHo.
All screenings of Oldboy will feature a new post-screening bonus conversation about the film with director Park and filmmaker Nicolas Refn (in English and Korean with English subtitles; running time: 12 minutes).
“A revenge film like none you have seen.” ~ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
“Oldboy is a delirious, confronting ride, a movie full of visceral shocks and aesthetic pleasures: it has an explosive immediacy and a persistent afterlife, a lingering impact that is hard to shake.” ~ Philippa Hawker, The Age (Australia)
“Both brutal and lyrical, writer-director Park Chan-wook’s existential nail-biter has torture scenes that will have you avoiding dentists, sushi bars and badly appointed hotel rooms.” ~ Jami Bernard, New York Daily News
“A dark and thrillingly horrible adventure into the realms of the unthinkable.” ~ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian