As a gifted filmmaker told the New Yorker last year, seeing a movie at home rather than in a movie theater is “like reading a novel where you read one word out of two.” With that in mind, check out the Academy’s just-announced list of feature documentaries and international films that they have shortlisted for nominations. We’ll be playing a number of them:
SOCIETY OF SNOW (Spain) is now playing at the NoHo for two-week run.
THE TEACHERS’ LOUNGE (Germany) opened Christmas Day at the Royal and is expanding in January.
Aki Kaurismäki’s FALLEN LEAVES (Finland) is on screen at the Monica Film Center and set to return to Glendale.
THE PROMISED LAND from Denmark (with Mads Mikkelsen!), THE MONK AND THE GUN from Bhutan and TOTEM from Mexico are all set to open on February 2. And THE TASTE OF THINGS from France (with Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel!) will be back starting February 9.
Make plans to enjoy the cinematic feast of the holiday season well into 2024!
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a year-end holiday treat: a 50th anniversary screening of the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1973, ‘The Sting,’ featuring the boffo box office team of Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Our screening is presented almost 50 years to the day when it originally opened, on December 25, 1973. It captivated audiences eager for lighthearted holiday entertainment and snagged huge box office returns in addition to seven Academy Awards in the spring of 1974. We’ll screen it at the Royal next Wednesday, December 27, at 7 PM.
Newman and Redford had scored an enormous success four years earlier when they teamed with director George Roy Hill to make the western romp, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.’ They joined Hill again when they agreed to play two grifters in the 1930s. Their characters set out to get revenge against a mob boss (played by Robert Shaw) by devising an elaborate con to bilk him of a huge fortune. The Oscar-winning script by David S. Ward (inspired in part by a nonfiction book, ‘The Big Con,’ written by David Maurer) is full of nifty twists and turns as the grifters stalk their prey. The expert supporting cast includes Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan, and Harold Gould. The movie was produced by Tony Bill, Julia Phillips and Michael Phillips.
In addition to its Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, the film was recognized for its expert art direction by Henry Bumstead and James Payne, costumes by veteran Edith Head, editing by William Reynolds, and music scoring by Marvin Hamlisch. The composer’s adaptation of ragtime hits by Scott Joplin (especially his signature tune, “The Entertainer”) helped to start a ragtime revival craze throughout the country. The award marked Hamlisch’s third Oscar that year; he also won for his Original Score and Best Song from another of the year’s hit movies, ‘The Way We Were.’
Variety raved about the movie, “George Roy Hill’s outstanding direction of David S. Ward’s finely crafted story of multiple deception and surprise ending will delight both mass and class audiences.” Roger Ebert agreed that it was “one of the most stylish movies of the year,” and the Los Angeles Times called it “an unalloyed delight.” According to New York magazine critic Judith Crist, “What glitters here is pure movie gold.” More recently, Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times called ‘The Sting‘ “one of the most enduring and exquisitely crafted blockbusters of all time.”
The movie took in over $160 million, a huge amount at the time, and it was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2005.
From Greg Laemmle: “I started this as a Christmas Eve event (tradition!) specifically because I wanted to celebrate that as Jews in America, we did not need to hide in our homes. My grandmother hated this time of year because she had memories of her childhood in Tsarist Russia and the frequent episodes of violence (pogroms) against the Jewish communities there around the holiday. The America that I grew up in was open enough that it could accept the diversity of our society, recognizing that Americans of all religious (or non-religious) backgrounds were free to celebrate the end of year period in their own fashion. I’m not sure America is as accepting right now, but I’m not prepared to cede this ground to those pushing for a more restrictive vision of what America is. Now, more than ever, it is important that we not hide. And now, as much as ever, we need to feel the joy of the free association that is a Constitutional right of living in America. Fiddler on the Roof tells a complicated tale about the fragility of living as a minority in an oppressive state. But it also shows the joy and beauty of life, and hints at the potential of modernity to provide a freer world that does not discriminate based on race, religion or gender. LOVE is the force that truly shakes the foundations of Tevye’s world. And LOVE, not HATE, will save us from our current predicaments.”
JOIN US on DEC. 24th for our umpteenth annual alternative Christmas Eve, the Fiddler on the Roof Sing-a-Long! Screening at 7 o’clock at our Claremont, Glendale, Newhall, NoHo, West L.A. and Encino theaters.
Belt out your holiday spirit … or your holiday frustrations. Either way, you’ll feel better as you croon along to all-time favorites like “TRADITION,” “IF I WERE A RICH MAN,” “TO LIFE,” “SUNRISE SUNSET,” “DO YOU LOVE ME?” and “ANATEVKA,” among many others.
We encourage you to come in costume! Guaranteed fun for all. Children are welcome (Fiddler is rated “G”) though some themes may be challenging for young children.
Prices this year start at $16 for General Admission and $13 for Premiere Card holders. Typically, Fiddler sells out … so don’t miss the buggy!
Originally based on Sholem Aleichem’s short story “Tevye and His Daughters,” Norman Jewison’s adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical is set in a Russian village at the beginning of the twentieth century. Israeli actor Topol repeats his legendary London stage performance as Tevye the milkman, whose equilibrium is constantly being challenged by his poverty, the prejudice of non-Jews, and the romantic entanglements of his five daughters. Fiddler was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and Actor, and won three, for Cinematography, Sound and Score (John Williams).
From Laemmle Theatres President Greg Laemmle:
My wife’s uncle Bert has been guiding a Sunday morning family Zoom that started up during the early days of the pandemic. While listening in, I have often heard him repeat a guiding principle for the group discussion. Before speaking, ask yourself these questions:
1.) Is it true?
2.) Is it kind?
3.) Is it necessary?
A quick online search provides a number of different attributions. This could come to us from Socrates (via Plato). Another version is attributed to the great Sufi mystic, Rumi. Or maybe it comes from radio host Bernard Meltzer …who may have picked it up from any number of Buddhist sources. Whatever the origin, the point is that across multiple cultures and philosophic traditions, we are urged to think before we speak.
And then there’s the platform formerly known as Twitter.
While Twitter has always had a confrontational side, adequate content moderation kept rancid contributors in check, allowing it to better serve more positive activities like fostering community, encouraging democracy, providing a space for underserved voices, and allowing for a bit of irreverent fun. However, since its sale last year, Twitter is increasingly a bullhorn for hate and harassment, and the unfettered dissemination of conspiracy theories, disinformation, and outright lies. The new owner, who has loudly proclaimed himself a “free speech absolutist,” recently crossed a dangerous line into fascist hypocrisy by suing journalists for using their free speech rights to point out how corporations’ ads are appearing next to neo-Nazi content. He regularly amplifies hateful posts and memes to his 164 million followers and for his latest provocation he has re-platformed the ghoulish torturer of Sandy Hook families, Alex Jones.
Twitter is not the only problematic platform. Social media in general has encouraged disinhibition, contributing to a coarsening of public discourse. But whatever their faults (and crimes), at least these other platforms are working to improve so that they can have a greater positive influence. Twitter has crossed into territory where the bad most definitely outweighs the good. And from what we can see, they are aiming to go even lower.
At Laemmle Theatres, we have a high degree of tolerance for diverse and provocative voices. But this chorus is offered in the hope that our community will be enriched by open discourse. It is the exact opposite of the negative and hateful commentary that has become the bread and butter of Twitter.
At this time, we are deactivating our accounts on Twitter. We hope to return, but only after serious efforts have been undertaken to provide greater content moderation and to root out hate speech. This is not a First Amendment issue. The Constitution limits the government’s ability to restrict speech. But as a private platform, Twitter has the right (and responsibility) to restrict the most extreme and hateful speech. They just don’t want to.
To connect with us on other platforms, visit laemmle.com/connect.
And for the New Year, let’s all make a resolution to better follow Uncle Bert’s maxim. Whether in person or online, always remember the three rules when communicating. Be truthful and kind, and always try to only say what is necessary for a listener to hear.
The just-released Only in Theaters DVD is now available for sale at all seven of our theaters. In his recent Film Factual review of the release, Brent Simon described the film as “a rich and fortifying watch, and it thankfully isn’t fanciful enough to peddle easy solutions, or clear skies on the horizon. It’s funny and sad and at times emotionally piercing, but most of all it’s honest — a quality we should all want more of in movies, big and small.”
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
The Anniversary Classics Series and Laemmle Theatres present 40th anniversary screenings of Ingmar Bergman’s semi-autobiographical masterpiece FANNY AND ALEXANDER (1983) on Wednesday, December 13 at 7:00 PM at four Laemmle locations: the Royal, Newhall, Glendale, and Claremont. The Academy Award-winning film is the last entry of the year of the popular Anniversary Classics Abroad series, and a timely program for the holiday season.
Bergman, one of the greatest and most influential film directors of all time, was a towering figure in international cinema who came to prominence in the mid-twentieth century “golden age of the arthouse” era, with such meditative classics exploring the psyche and soul as ‘The Seventh Seal,’ ‘The Virgin Spring,’ ‘Through a Glass Darkly’ (the latter two winning consecutive Foreign Film Oscars in 1960-61), ‘Persona,’ and expanding into the 1970s with ‘Cries and Whispers,’ a best picture Oscar nominee in 1973, and ‘Scenes from a Marriage’ among others. In the 1980s the Swedish auteur originally planned his memory piece FANNY AND ALEXANDER as his cinematic swan song, with a six-part version for television along with a shortened theatrical release, which premiered internationally first. The theatrical version went onto global acclaim and is widely considered one of Bergman’s finest films.
Set in the first decade of the twentieth century, the film opens with the Ekdahl family’s Christmas celebration, with extended family members and servants gathering for a merry holiday in the town of Uppsala (Bergman’s birthplace). The film unfolds principally through the eyes of ten-year-old Alexander Ekdahl (Bertil Guve) and his younger sister Fanny (Pernilla Allwin) who are soon separated from this warm family after the death of their actor-manager father, and the subsequent marriage of their mother (Ewa Froeling) to a strict, cold bishop (Jan Malmsjo). Familiar themes of religious zealotry, which Bergman explored throughout his career, are reexamined with a ghostly supernatural touch in Bergman’s haunted memories of his own clergyman father.
Plaudits for the film ranged from Variety’s “a sumptuously produced period piece (with) elegance and simplicity,” to Vincent Canby in The New York Times, “a big, dark, beautiful, generous family chronicle,” as a prelude to both the New York Film Critics and L.A. Film Critics naming it the best foreign film of the year. Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Examiner described it as “an epic family film that revisits Bergman’s favorite subjects—marriage, passion, infidelity, death, God—and yet in ways more generous and less austere than in his other films.” Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian praised “the glorious acting ensemble, an amazing collection of pure performing intelligence,” and summarized the film as “a brilliant—in fact maybe unique—fusion of Shakespeare and Dickens.”
The film went on to garner a record six Academy Award nominations, with directing and writing nods for Bergman, along with four wins: Foreign Language Film (Bergman’s third), Cinematography (Sven Nykvist, his consummate collaborator over two decades and his second win, both with Bergman), Art Direction (Anna Asp), and Costume Design (Marik Vos-Lundh). The four Oscars were the most for an international film in the twentieth century, and a fitting tribute to the legacy of a master filmmaker. Experience FANNY AND ALEXANDER back on the big screen this holiday season for one showing only on December 13.