THE DIVIDE director/star Perry King will participate in a Q&A following the 7:00 pm show on Friday, 11/9.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present the latest in our Anniversary Classics Abroad program, Jean Renoir’s anti-war masterpiece, GRAND ILLUSION. We present this program to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. Renoir’s film is generally regarded as the finest set during the First World War, and it endures as a memorable lament for the loss of an entire generation.
Part of the originality and impact of ‘Grand Illusion’ comes from the fact that it has no battle scenes. Much of it is set in a German prison camp where several French soldiers are under the command of an aristocratic German officer, played by silent film director Erich von Stroheim. The prisoners are portrayed by rising French actors Jean Gabin, Pierre Fresnay, and Marcel Dalio. Their struggle to escape the camp provides the suspense in the film’s second half.
Throughout the picture, Renoir sees the humanity in both captives and captors, and the film is especially notable in its portrayal of Dalio’s character, a wealthy French Jew. Filmed on the eve of the Second World War, Renoir deliberately chose to include a prominent Jewish character at a time when virulent anti-Semitism was on the rise in Europe. Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels called ‘Grand Illusion’ “Cinematic Public Enemy No. 1.”
Elsewhere, the film received nothing but acclaim. In 1937 it won a prize at the Venice Film Festival for Best Artistic Ensemble. When the film opened in the United States in 1938, it became the first foreign language film ever to be nominated by the Academy for Best Picture. (This would not happen again for 30 years, when ‘Z’ received a Best Picture nod in 1969.) Over the years the film was acclaimed by critics and also by other filmmakers. Orson Welles named ‘Grand Illusion’ as one of two films he would take with him to a desert island.
When the film was reissued years later, the New York Times’ Janet Maslin called it “one of the most haunting of all war films… an oasis of subtlety, moral intelligence and deep emotion on the cinematic landscape.” Pauline Kael praised the film as “a triumph of clarity and lucidity; every detail fits simply, easily, and intelligibly.” And Leonard Maltin acclaimed “Renoir’s classic treatise on war, focusing on French prisoners during WWI and their cultured German commandant. Beautiful performances enhance an eloquent script.”
GRAND ILLUSION screens at 7pm on Wednesday, November 14th at the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, Royal Theatre in West LA, and Town Center 5 in Encino.
Click here to purchase tickets.
We are opening the superb, “brutally relevant” new documentary THE WALDHEIM WALTZ next Friday, November 16 at the Royal and Town Center. “A timely and engagingly personal reminder of recent European history,” the film has enjoyed wide acclaim. It’s a film about truth and lies and how a dishonest man can rise to power.
Filmmaker Ruth Beckermann documents the process of uncovering former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim’s wartime past. It shows the swift succession of new allegations by the World Jewish Congress during his Austrian presidential campaign, the denial by the Austrian political class, and the outbreak of anti-Semitism and nationalism, which finally led to his election in 1986. “If it sounds like a dry history lesson, think again. Thanks to her smart narration — clear, impassioned but never polemical — and the astute way she allows exceptional footage to play out to its full extent, “The Waldheim Waltz” has a sense of urgency made more pressing given political developments not just in Austria but Poland and Hungary as well.”
In his recent New York Times review, Bilge Eberi describes the film’s origins and captures its success:
“What does it take to make a nation reconsider its self-image? That’s the question lying at the heart of the Austrian documentarian Ruth Beckermann’s informative and unnerving “The Waldheim Waltz.” Using mostly contemporaneous material — TV reports and news conferences, as well as documentary video footage she shot herself — the filmmaker follows the controversial 1986 presidential campaign of the Austrian politician Kurt Waldheim, whose candidacy was plunged into chaos by new revelations regarding his Nazi past.
“Waldheim had portrayed himself as an honest soldier who had been conscripted into the Wehrmacht during World War II and returned home in 1941 after getting wounded on the Eastern front. While rumors of further Nazi association had bubbled during his term as United Nations secretary general from 1972 to 1981, it wasn’t until Waldheim sought higher domestic office that more damning evidence emerged — particularly of his involvement in the 1942 massacre of Yugoslav partisans in Kozara and the 1943 deportation of Jews from Salonika, the historical name for Thessaloniki, Greece.
“The candidate claimed he was the victim of an international conspiracy — by American politicians, the World Jewish Congress and others. As unsettling footage Beckermann herself shot at the time proves, many voters not only sided with him, but went even further, openly spouting anti-Semitic vitriol.
“The director views Waldheim’s candidacy as a moment when Austria could no longer see itself as an innocent casualty of Nazi rule. The country had often presented itself, we’re told, as “Hitler’s first victim,” and people like Waldheim as honest soldiers caught on the wrong side. The truth, it seems, was a lot more complicated, and disturbing.
“Beckermann, who narrates, makes no claims to objectivity. She tells us at the outset that she participated in protests against Waldheim. Some of the most fascinating parts of her film show the growth and coalescing of her fellow activists, who became invested in stopping his candidacy. As such, “The Waldheim Waltz” sometimes dances between a brisk, present-tense recounting of political history and a more wandering, personal reflection on the filmmaker’s history.
“But it leans more toward the political. Beckermann wants not so much to contextualize as to invoke — with the hope, perhaps, that placing us in the middle of this debate will create its own context. Indeed, watching Waldheim’s campaign, it’s hard not to think about the present day — from the emergence of old hatreds, to the closure of elite ranks around their own, to the weaponizing of nationalism against the truth. The film may end in 1986, but the darkness it reveals still looms.”
Director Ruth Beckermann made the film because she sees history repeating itself. “When I looked at the material I shot 30 years ago, I was shocked. Had I really forgotten how easily emotions can be stirred up against others and used by populist politicians? In THE WALDHEIM WALTZ I attempt to analyse what was going on back then, things which seem all too familiar in our present day of Trump, Kurz & Strache and other masters of alternative facts and populism.”
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This is a Free Event
Please join us for a very special event as LAEMMLE LIVE presents Project LENS for their Los Angeles debut event on Sunday, November 18, 2018. The event will be presented by LENS co-founders Ariel Mitnick and Rainer Crosett, with featured guest speaker Hillary Green-Lerman, an expert data scientist from DataCamp, the premier online educational platform for data science learning.
Every Project LENS event features thrilling performances of classical music interwoven with a presentation from a non-musical field. For their LA debut, the LENS team will be revealing the commonalities between doing data science and interpreting works of music. A musician’s aim to tell a story through music by interpreting scores in a specific way is, as they will show, not so different from a data scientist’s mission to make raw data intelligible and meaningful to others. These parallel interpretative journeys often lead to conflicting conclusions among both musicians and data scientists, with disagreements over whether, for example, a work of music is fundamentally humorous or tragic, or whether drinking coffee makes you live longer or shorter. What does an honest interpretation based on deep analysis look like in both cases, and what can go wrong? Join Project LENS for this discussion and live performances of string quartets by Beethoven and Debussy!
Project LENS is a performance collaborative founded in Boston in 2014 with the mission of exploring the many ways in which music is connected to the world around it. Our events weave TED-style talks given by experts in their fields together with classical performance, revealing parallels that cast both subjects in a new light. We believe music can interact meaningfully with virtually any other discipline, and our events have featured topics as diverse as evolution, moral philosophy, neurobiology, visual art, and documentary filmography. Our featured speakers have included world-renowned psychologist Steven Pinker, painter Samuel Bak, and numerous Harvard professors and researchers.
Our musical collaborators have included the GRAMMY Award-winning Parker Quartet, and we have appeared at venues ranging from Harvard’s Paine Hall to the Oberon Theatre, the Harvard Ed Portal, and Boston’s Pucker Gallery. Our three co-founders, Ariel Mitnick, Rainer Crosett, and Alan Toda-Ambaras, met during their studies in the Harvard-New England Conservatory Joint Program, and their combined accolades include prize-winning theses and top academic honors at Harvard College, top prizes at international music competitions, and collaborations with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma.
This is a Free Event
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Sunday, November 18, 2018
Monica Film Center
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present the latest installment in our popular Anniversary Classics Abroad program, 60th anniversary screenings of the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film of 1958, Jacques Tati’s MON ONCLE.
Tati made only six feature films over the course of his career (including Jour de Fete, Playtime, and Traffic), and this comedy—his first film in color—is considered one of the highlights.
Tati had introduced the character of Mr. Hulot in Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, his highly praised film from 1953. He once again plays the character of Hulot in this more ambitious satire of modern technology and its dehumanizing effect on family life. Jean-Pierre Zola and Adrienne Servantie play a married couple in thrall to a sterile, workaday world. Alain Becourt plays their young son who finds liberation with his playful uncle.
As in many of Tati’s films, Mon Oncle pays homage to the masters of silent comedy. There is very little dialogue in the film; instead the humor is visual, where the slightly futuristic settings are as important as the human characters. The ingenious sets were designed by Jacques Lagrange at the Victorine Studios outside Nice.
Variety wrote, “Jacques Tati’s film has inventiveness, gags, warmth and a ‘poetic’ approach to satire.” Leonard Maltin declared, “Tati’s first color film is a masterpiece… Continuous flow of sight gags (including the funniest fountain you’ll ever see) makes this easygoing, nearly dialogue-less comedy a total delight.”
The film has also had an enduring impact on many other directors. At the AFI Festival in 2010, David Lynch presented a screening of Mon Oncle and announced that it was one of the films that had the greatest influence on him.
Monica Film Center
Friday, 10/19: Q&A following 7:20 PM show with Rémi Kessler (producer/director); Mel Tillekeratne (advocate); & Alisa Orduña (Senior Advisor to the City Manager on Homelessness, City of Santa Monica). Moderated by Maryam Zar (Chair, Westside Regional Alliance of Councils).
Saturday, 10/20: Q&A following 7:20 PM show with Rémi Kessler (producer/director); Rudy Salinas (advocate); special guests; and team members of United Way of Greater LA’s Everyone In campaign.
Sunday, 10/21: Q&A following 7:20 PM show with Rémi Kessler (producer/director); Claudia Perez (advocate with lived experience); & Maryam Zar (Chair, Westside Regional Alliance of Councils).
Monday, 10/22: Q&A following 7:20 PM show with Rémi Kessler (producer/director); Bill Parent (Chair of the Santa Monica Social Services Commission and Co-Chair of the Steering Committee on Homelessness); Tara Barauskas (Executive Director, Community Corporation of Santa Monica)
Tuesday, 10/23: Q&A following 7:30 PM show with Rémi Kessler (producer/director); Claudia Perez (advocate with lived experience); Mary Kirchen(Founder, Housing Works); and Anne Miskey(C.E.O., Union Station Homeless Services).
Wednesday, 10/24: Q&A following 7:30 PM show with Rémi Kessler (producer/director); Rudy Salinas (advocate); and executives from L.A. Family Housing.
Town Center 5
Thursday, 10/25: Q&A following 7:30pm show with Rémi Kessler (producer/director); Mel Tillekeratne (advocate); plus special guests.
THE SAMUEL PROJECT Q&A with Hal Linden and Ryan Ochoa Friday, 10/05 at the Town Center after the 7:10 PM show and at the Music Hall following the 7:40 PM show.
Laemmle NoHo 7
Wednesday, October 17, 7-9 pm
This is a free event
Laemmle’s Art in the Arthouse presents SCREENINGS, a new art show in Noho based on ideas of scale, reproduction, and projection. This special exhibit features a slideshow on the big screen, artist talks and the wine, cheese, and conversation Art in the Arthouse is known for. Sales benefit the Laemmle Foundation and its support of humanitarian and environmental causes in Los Angeles.
The artists are: Brody Albert, Stephen Aldahl, Theodora Allen, Allen Brewer, Andy Brown, Jason Burgess, Pablo Carrillo, Milano Chow, Michael Dopp, Andy Faulkner, Kim Garcia, Rochele Gomez, Dustin Hodges, Daniel Ingroff, Max Karnig, Nick Lowe, Nancy Lupo, Nevine Mahmoud, Maura Murnane, Jean Nagai, Ben Wolf Noam, Nick Perr, Paul Pescador, Pam Posey, Heather Rasmussen, Cally Robertson, Georgia Sands, Asha Schechter, Katie Shapiro, Dylan Sharp, Orion Shepherd, Augustus Thompson, Tristan Unrau, Jessica Williams, Nate Wolf, and Bruce Yonemoto.
About the Exhibit
Screenings started with a very simple idea; make an artwork in the shape of a movie screen. In order to produce an exhibition to include a range of voices, moods, and tones, we engaged a group of artists from diverse practices and offered them a uniform, structured point of departure: the widescreen format. We thought it would be fantastic to see these artworks displayed on the big screen. For the duration of screenings, the artworks are projected, silently, as part of Laemmle’s pre-show trailers. This creates a two-part viewing experience; the original artwork and its scaled-up reproduction.
The prompt to “make an artwork in the shape of a movie screen” naturally inspires thoughts about the history and context of cinema. The movie screen is probably the most iconic rectangle of all time (maybe only recently surpassed by the smartphone). It’s compelling to see how different visual artists compose in this scenic format. Some artists in Screenings, such as Bruce Yonemoto and Paul Pescador, work with film/video as a primary medium. Others have certainly been influenced by films in their aesthetic development. Our hope is that a moviegoer who comes to a Laemmle Theatre to see a film discovers not only the artworks on display but also a meditation on composition that enhances their cinematic experience.
– Conor Thompson, CURATOR
Laemmle Noho 7
Wednesday, October 17, 7-9pm
Refreshments will be provided