It’s the 20th anniversary of Alfonso Cuarón’s impossibly sexy, funny Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN, which we’ll screen on December 8.
ABOUT ENDLESSNESS is a reflection on human life in all its beauty and cruelty, its splendor and banality. We wander, dreamlike, gently guided by our Scheherazade-esque narrator. Inconsequential moments take on the same significance as historical events: a couple floats over a war-torn Cologne; on the way to a birthday party, a father stops to tie his daughter’s shoelaces in the pouring rain; teenage girls dance outside a cafe; a defeated army marches to a prisoner-of-war camp.
Simultaneously an ode and a lament, ABOUT ENDLESSNESS presents a kaleidoscope of all that is eternally human, an infinite story of the vulnerability of existence.
“Give Roy Andersson 76 minutes, and he’ll give you the universe.” ~ David Ehrlich, IndieWire
An official selection of the Venice Film Festival (where Andersson won the Silver Lion for Best Director), the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
To celebrate the 2021 Olympics, Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present one of the best-loved sports movies of all time: the 1981 Oscar-winning drama, ‘Chariots of Fire.’ The picture retrieved a largely forgotten chapter of Olympic lore, the British triumphs at the 1924 games in Paris. In a neat parallel to the story told on screen, the film’s victory at the Academy Awards ceremony has to be considered one of the most surprising but gratifying upsets in Oscar history. We’ll screen the film July 20 at the Newhall, Playhouse and Royal at 7 PM.
The year 1981 was one of the most competitive years in recent memory. The other films nominated for Best Picture were Warren Beatty’s ‘Reds’ (with a total of 12 nominations), ‘On Golden Pond’ (10 nominations), ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (eight nominations), and Louis Malle’s ‘Atlantic City.’ ‘Chariots of Fire‘ came into the ceremony with a total of seven nominations, and unlike the other contenders, it had no major stars in the cast. Yet audience and industry love for the movie pushed it over the finish line. In addition to winning Best Picture, it also won Best Original Screenplay for Colin Welland, Best Costume Design, and Best Musical Score by Vangelis. The film also earned nominations for Hugh Hudson as Best Director, Ian Holm for Best Supporting Actor for his delightful portrayal of the track coach who guided the winning runners, and Best Film Editing.
The two leading roles in the film are portrayed by Ian Charleson as Eric Liddell and Ben Cross as Harold Abrahams. Both of them confronted daunting obstacles in their preparation for the 1924 Olympics. Liddell, the son of Scottish missionaries, came from a strict Christian upbringing, and he created complications for the British team when he refused to race on Sunday. Abrahams was Jewish and faced discrimination as a student at Cambridge and as an Olympic competitor. The excellent supporting cast includes Oscar winner John Gielgud and acclaimed director Lindsay Anderson as two stuffy, bigoted Cambridge dons, Alice Krige, Nigel Havers, Cheryl Campbell, and young American actors Dennis Christopher (‘Breaking Away’) and Brad Davis (‘Midnight Express’).
Producer David Puttnam (‘Midnight Express,’ ‘The Killing Fields,’ ‘Local Hero’) had conceived the film as a drama about faith and principle, in the tradition of such earlier award winners as ‘A Man for All Seasons.’ He assembled a first-rate team, including award-winning cinematographer David Watkin (‘Out of Africa,’ ‘Moonstruck,’ ‘Yentl’) and first-time feature director Hudson. Perhaps Puttnam’s boldest move was to hire Greek-born electronic composer Vangelis to provide an innovative musical score. Vangelis said that he was inspired by the fact that his father was a runner, and the score was intended as a kind of family tribute. His music has proved especially durable, serving as the theme for the 2012 Olympics held in London 30 years after the film’s release.
Reviews were largely celebratory. Kathleen Carroll of the New York Daily News praised “a movie that, with the help of Vangelis’s wonderfully stirring score, lifts the spirits to a new high.” Time magazine’s Richard Schickel added, “Like every element in this picture, the actors look right; they seem to emerge from the past, instead of being pasted on to it.” Roger Ebert declared, “’Chariots of Fire’ is one of the best films of recent years.” Later evaluations echoed the praise. Writing in 2012, Kate Muir of the UK Times said “From the opening scene of pale young men racing barefoot along the beach, full of hope and elation, backed by Vangelis’s now famous anthem, the film is utterly compelling.”
ROADRUNNER is the latest from Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?). It’s unflinching look at chef, writer, adventurer, and provocateur Anthony Bourdain and it reverberates with his presence because it’s culled from 10,000 hours of raw footage from his TV shows. It’s “raw” in that most of it is from outtakes, but also in the sense that Bourdain’s technique to help his interview subjects open up was to get very personal with them first.
From Eric Kohn’s recent interview with Neville in Indiewire:
Q: How much footage do you estimate you went through?
A: There was anything from 60 – 100 hours of footage per episode. There were 96 episodes of “Parts Unknown.” That’s just “Parts Unknown.” Then there was “No Reservations” and “Cook’s Tour.” Not all the raw footage exists for those episodes, but it does for certain seasons. Of course, we didn’t go through all the footage, that would’ve taken years and years. We probably went through 10,000 hours. We had six of us all looking at footage, sometimes double-timed, because there was so much to go through. I love archive docs, and this was a unique one because the camera was always there and running. It becomes its own weird, interesting verite thing. It has a behind-the-scenes quality that feels raw, which I wanted to carry over into the telling of it.
Q: How did you narrow down the process?
A: We were going through footage for at least a year. Anytime there was an episode that he talked about or a crew member mentioned, we’d go through those episodes. There were definitely a number of episodes that were easy wins. A lot of the domestic ones. Or whenever Tony was on a beach. You can see that he’s in a different gear in those episodes. It’s pretty easy to tell early in a scene where Tony is phoning it in or actually wants to learn about a person. Those scenes floated to the top pretty quickly.
Q: Given how much of his shows were infused with his personality, what surprised you about the way he came across in this additional footage?
A: One of the biggest challenges early on was not to make the film feel like the show. Among the things that really surprised me was that he was fundamentally a shy person. Once you hear that, it makes sense — you can see that in him — but I don’t think it’s otherwise obvious. He overcame it in a big way, but there was always a part of him that was a little walled off.
When I was first talking to people who worked on the show, they would say, “Tony had this technique, and we didn’t know it was his technique.” When he was shooting a scene with someone he didn’t know, he would open up about himself in a really raw way. The crew would be sitting there wondering when he’d get to the point of speaking about the subject. Eventually he would, but by speaking about himself, he would get other people comfortable talking about themselves.
Of course, they cut all that stuff out of the show. But the raw footage has a lot of Tony revealing a lot about himself to people — knowing it was never intended for broadcast. It was part of who he was. I remember talking to David Simon about Tony and he said the first time he met Tony, the first thing he said was, “Oh, you’re from Baltimore. I tried to score heroin once there and couldn’t.” To which Simon replied, “Then you must have been a terrible junkie.”
Read Kohn’s full piece here.
This behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon is enjoying universal acclaim:
Based on a true love story, the decades-spanning romance I Carry You with Me begins in Mexico between an aspiring chef and a teacher. Their lives restart in incredible ways as societal pressure propels the couple to embark on a treacherous journey to New York with dreams, hopes, and memories in tow. We’ll open this moving film this Friday at our Playhouse and Town Center theaters, with additional venues in the subsequent weeks.
Reviews have been glowing. “A gay story and a border story, told in the universal language of love, family, and dreams.” (Entertainment Weekly). “Ravishing and unshakable, Ewing’s authentic film feels like the crossbreed between a painful memory and a hopeful dream about a place, a relationship and a fight for acceptance that’s not political but entirely humanistic.” (Remezcla) “Dreams make up both the form and substance of I Carry You with Me, Heidi Ewing’s accomplished narrative feature debut.” (Washington Post)
“Heidi Ewing knew her friends Iván García and Gerardo Zabaleta for seven years before learning the full story of their journey. Iván and Gerardo first fell in love in the 1990s in Mexico, where they had to keep their relationship a secret. They emigrated separately to the United States, with Iván crossing the border first on foot at great risk.
“In New York, the men eventually thrived as restaurateurs, and today run two Williamsburg establishments. But, Ewing learned, the couple remained undocumented, like millions of others.
“Ewing, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker (“Jesus Camp”), recognized a captivating romance when she saw one. But how could she portray her friends’ in-between status, living in a world that kept forcing them to conceal basic facts of their existence?
“In I Carry You with Me , now in theaters, Ewing found her own in-between path by filming a hybrid fiction. Spanning childhood through adulthood, from Mexico City to New York, it’s the rare movie that both stars actors — Armando Espitia plays Iván and Christian Vázquez plays Gerardo — and the people being portrayed.
“But the project — Ewing’s first fiction feature — looked a little different at first.
““It was so trial-and-error, because when they first told me their story, my go-to was, ‘This is a beautiful documentary,’” Ewing said one morning at a Lower East Side eatery.
“Beginning around 2013, she filmed significant moments in Iván and Gerardo’s lives — birthdays, restaurant openings, Cinco de Mayo. She also shot interviews with them (carefully lit and partly inspired by “My Dinner with Andre”). While gathering these materials for several years, she continued to make movies with her longtime co-director, Rachel Grady: “Detropia,” “Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You” and “One of Us.”
“Heidi Ewing directed a film about two of her friends and their love story, both following them in real life and using actors to portray them in narrative moments.” Here are the first few paragraphs:
“But her documentary about her friends kept posing certain challenges. Hardly any archival photos or video of Iván and Gerardo existed, for example. And she usually steered clear of documentary productions that did not have a “current-day evolution of a story or narrative,” as she put it.
“There was also the question of doing justice to her friends’ romance.
““You want to see somebody fall in love. A documentary camera is never there — at the bar, the restaurant, the street corner, the subway, the bus, the glance between two people,” Ewing said.
“She decided to cast actors to dramatize Iván and Gerardo’s history together. The couple gave their full support.
Read the rest of the piece on the New York Times website.
In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary: part music film, part historical record, created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten–until now. SUMMER OF SOUL shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more. SUMMER OF SOUL won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Feature Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Laemmle Theatres opens in July 2 at the Claremont, Glendale, Monica Film Center, Newhall, NoHo and Playhouse theaters.
Reviews have been rapturous:
“A joyous piece of filmmaking, something that I could have watched for literal hours, and contains quite simply some of the best concert footage ever put on film.” ~ Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“You can come for the music and stay for the politics, or vice versa; either way, it’s a vibrant document of an inspiring event that never loses sight of what that event meant for a community, a city and a culture.” ~ Steve Pond, TheWrap
“Seething through the entire documentary, against the backdrop of a racially turbulent 1960s, is an insistence on a new kind of racial pride and unity across the diaspora, which infuses “Summer” with an honesty and realism.” ~ Tambay Obenson, indieWire
“The lack of awareness of this event is another tragic example of black history being ignored. Only this time the record survived, and now we all get to share in it.” ~ Jordan Hoffman, Guardian)
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series invite you to celebrate the publication of Stephen Farber and Michael McClellan’s new book, Cinema ’62: The Greatest Year at the Movies, with a return to the big screen of one of the cinematic crown jewels from 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird. The film will be shown as a series of one night-only screenings at 7 PM the week of June 7-10 at four Laemmle locations, the Royal, Playhouse, NoHo and Newhall. The authors will introduce all screenings and sign their book, which will be on sale at the events. Acclaimed filmmaker Cecilia Peck, daughter of Gregory Peck, will join the discussion at the Royal screening on June 7.
A box-office smash in its day, To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of the most memorable films in Hollywood history. In 1995 it was selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, reserved for films of “historical, cultural, or aesthetic significance.” The film was faithfully adapted by playwright Horton Foote from Harper Lee’s beloved, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about childhood memories in the segregated South of the 1930s. The film version has become so intertwined with the book in the national consciousness that they have blended as “an inescapable part of our cultural DNA.”
Directed by Robert Mulligan and produced by Alan Pakula, the film gave Gregory Peck the iconic role of a lifetime, that of Atticus Finch, the small-town lawyer who heroically defends a black man (Brock Peters as Tom Robinson) accused of raping a white woman, invoking the ire of the bigoted white community. Peck’s performance resonated so strongly that when the American Film Institute conducted a poll of all-time screen heroes, his portrayal of Finch was voted number one, ahead of such screen favorites as Han Solo and James Bond. Peck closely identified with the themes of parenting two young children, and those of social and racial justice at the height of the Civil Rights era. He was awarded a very popular Best Actor Oscar in one of the most competitive Oscar races of the twentieth century.
Among the film’s eight total nominations (including Best Picture and Director) is one for Supporting Actress, which went to screen newcomer Mary Badham as Scout, the impressionable six-year-old daughter of Atticus, and it is through her eyes the story unfolds. Her remarkable performance conveys all the wonderment and innocence of childhood imagination, and she is ably joined by Philip Alford as her brother Jem and John Megna as Dill (a surrogate for Lee’s friend Truman Capote). The rest of the stellar cast includes Colin Wilcox, Frank Overton, Rosemary Harris, Estelle Evans, James Anderson, and in the pivotal role of the mentally damaged “Boo” Radley, Robert Duvall in his screen debut.
The transformation of childhood memory into black-and-white screen reality was achieved by the superb craftsmanship of cinematographer Russell Harlan and Oscar winning production design of Alexander Golitzen, Henry Bumstead, and set decoration by Oliver Emert. Elmer Bernstein’s exquisite score also enhances the film’s rich atmosphere and mood. Harper Lee was involved in the film’s preparation and was “very proud and very grateful” for the fidelity of the finished film.
The film received widespread praise, ranging from such varied sources as the mainstream press, presidential adviser and journalist Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Walt Disney, and numerous pop culture publications. Often considered a role model, Atticus Finch is understandably not always seen as an uncomplicated hero. But such reassessments have not diminished the popularity and appeal of To Kill a Mockingbird, which has been elevated to the level of American folklore. Witness the recent PBS poll of millions of viewers who voted it America’s most beloved novel, and Aaron Sorkin’s revisionist stage version that was sold out for the entirety of its two-year, pandemic-shortened Broadway run.
German filmmaker Christian Petzold is one of the most exciting — and perhaps underappreciated — auteurs in cinema today. Having completed his triumphant trilogy of Barbara (2012), Phoenix (2014) and Transit (2018) on the theme “Love in Times of Oppressive Systems,” his latest film Undine (pronounced oon-DEE-nuh) is a dark romance inspired by a fairy tale. Petzold boldly reimagines the ancient myth of Undine, the water nymph who becomes human when she falls in love with a man but is doomed if he is unfaithful to her. In Undine, the title character (Paula Beer, Frantz, Transit) works as a historian lecturing on Berlin’s urban development. When her lover leaves her, her namesake catches up with her. The mythical Undine has to kill the man who betrays her and return to the water. Will Undine defy fate when she meets a diver (Franz Rogowski, Transit) who offers her a chance at new love?
Undine was selected to compete for the Golden Bear in the competition section at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, where Beer won the Silver Bear for Best Actress.
Film critics have been rapturous:
DEADLINE: “Paula Beers dominates… she’s one of those fortunate and skilled actors who compels attention even when quiet and doing and saying nothing.”
In a recent interview, Petzold conveyed how essential it is to experience movies in theaters rather than at home, something especially clear because of something particular about Undine: “Underwater sequences have to be in a cinema. A cinema is a tank for our bodies. We’re with our bodies physically, but our mind is not in the room. When I was 11 and saw 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, it was as if the whole audience was underwater. But if you’re alone in front of a TV? I love underwater sequences because there’s no dialogue. The acoustics are based on gestures and sounds in your head. You hear things better in a cinema. It’s not good to see it on a TV with shit [speakers] from a supermarket.”