SISTER AIMEE Q&A’s following the 7:40 pm show with Anna Margaret, Bettina Barrow, Michael Mosley and moderated by Lily Rabe on Friday, 9/27; with Marie Schlingmann, Samantha Buck, Anna Margaret, Michael Mosley, Amy Hargreaves and moderated by Danielle DiGiacomo on Saturday, 9/28 and with Marie Schlingmann, Samantha Buck, Bettina Barrow; moderator TBD.
Sex, drugs, power, and vice: welcome to the mid-2000s Italy of Silvio Berlusconi, the egomaniac billionaire Prime Minister who presides over an empire of scandal and corruption. Sergio (Riccardo Scamarcio) is an ambitious young hustler managing an escort service catering to the rich and powerful. Determined to move up in the world, Sergio sets his sights on the biggest client of all: Berlusconi (Toni Servillo), the disgraced, psychotically charming businessman and ex-PM currently plotting his political comeback. As Berlusconi attempts to bribe his way back to power, Sergio devises his own equally audacious scheme to win the mogul’s attention. Exploding with eye-popping, extravagantly surreal set-pieces, the dazzling, daring new film from Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) is both a wickedly subversive satire and a furious elegy for a country crumbling while its leaders enrich themselves.
Loro, a film in two parts, is a fictional story, a sort of costume drama, which narrates probable or invented facts that took place in Italy, between 2006 and 2010.
Using a variety of characters, Loro seeks to sketch, through glances or intuitions, a moment of history – now definitively closed – which, in a very synthetic vision of events, might be defined as amoral and decadent, but also extraordinarily vital.
And Them [Loro] also seeks to describe certain Italians, simultaneously new and old. Souls in an imaginary, modern purgatory who decide, on the basis of heterogeneous impulses such as ambition, admiration, love, self-interest, personal advantage, to try to revolve around a sort of paradise in flesh and blood: a man by the name of Silvio Berlusconi.
These Italians, to my eyes, contain a contradiction: they are predictable but indecipherable. A contradiction which is a mystery. An Italian mystery which the film tries to deal with, but without being judgmental. Inspired only by a desire to understand, and adopting a tone which today, rightly, is considered revolutionary: a tone of tenderness.
But here comes another Italian. Silvio Berlusconi. The way I imagined him.
The story of the man, above all, and only in a marginal way of the politician.
Someone might object that we know plenty not only about the politician, but also about the man.
I doubt that.
A man, as far as I am concerned, is the result of his feelings more than a biographical total of facts. Therefore, within this story, the choice of facts to be recounted does not follow a principle of relevance dictated by the news agenda of those days, but only tries to dig, groping in the dark, in the man’s conscience.
What, then, are the feelings that stimulated Silvio Berlusconi’s days in this period? What are the emotions, the fears, the delusions of this man in dealing with events that appear to loom like mountains? This, for me, is another mystery the film deals with.
Men of power in the generations before that of Berlusconi were other mysteries, because they were unapproachable. Remember there was a time when we spoke of the disembodiment of power.
Silvio Berlusconi, instead, is probably the first man of power to be an approachable mystery. He has always been a tireless narrator of himself: think, for example, of the picture story Una storia italiana that he had sent to everyone in Italy in 2001, and for this reason too he inevitably became a symbol. And symbols, unlike mere mortals, are public property. And therefore, in this sense, he also represents a part of all Italians.
But, naturally, Silvio Berlusconi is much more. And it is not easy to provide a synthesis. For this reason I have to appeal to a much better man than me: Hemingway.
In The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway writes: “Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bullfighters.” Paraphrasing things, perhaps the most concise image we can have of Silvio Berlusconi is that of a bullfighter. ~ Paolo Sorrentino
CRACKED UP Q&A’s moderated by Trudy Goodman following the 7:20 pm show on Friday, 9/20 and Saturday, 9/21. Friday’s participants: Bonnie Greenberg with director Michelle Esrick, star Darrell Hammond, Macy Gray and Diane Warren. Saturday’s participants: Michelle Esrick and Darrell Hammond.
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LAEMMLE LIVE proudly presents talented faculty members from Santa Monica-based Elemental Music, performing Rondo from Duo 2 – Opus 81 by Friedrich Kuhlaum, Sao Paulo Shimmer by Jonathan Cohen and Mozart Clarinet Quintet K. 581. Beloved radio host Rich Capparela returns to host
Since 2004, Elemental Music has provided over 2,000 young musicians with high-quality music education experiences. Elemental Music envisions a community where youth are inspired and empowered through quality music education. Students study with expert teachers to hone their musical technique while learning the art of collaboration and responsibility. Elemental Music offers exciting ensembles for elementary school students in nearly all instruments and voice, as well as beginning programs for guitar and strings, and even an advanced full orchestra for middle school students.
“I feel the real kind of happy in my heart!” This is the exclamation of an Elemental Music student overflowing with joy after performing in his very first orchestra concert. As a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to inspiring, training, and nurturing young musicians in Santa Monica and surrounding communities, Elemental Music teachers witness special moments like this all season long!
Emily Senchuk, Christie Glaser, flutes
Amanda Walker, clarinet
Susan Rishik and Sam Lorenzini, violins
Josephine Moerschel, viola
Betsy Rellig, cello
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Sunday, October 13, 2019
Monica Film Center
HEADING HOME: THE TALE OF TEAM ISRAEL is a stirring story of sports, patriotism and personal growth, charting the underdog journey of Israel’s national baseball team competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic.
After years of defeat, Team Israel is finally ranked among the world’s best in 2017, eligible to compete in the prestigious international tournament. Their line-up included several Jewish American Major League players―Ike Davis, Josh Zeid and ex-Braves catcher Ryan Lavarnway―most with a tenuous relationship to Judaism, let alone having ever set foot in Israel.
Their odyssey takes them from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem where they are greeted as heroes, to Seoul where they must debunk their has-been, wannabe reputations. With their Mensch on the Bench mascot by their side, the team laughs, cries, and does much soul-searching, discovering the pride of representing Israel on the world stage.
HEADING HOME: THE TALE OF TEAM ISRAEL Zack Thornton will participate in a Q&A following the 5:20 pm show and into the 7:45 pm show on Saturday, 9/14.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a double dose of classic film noir in the popular Twofer program (two features for the price of one) with 75th anniversary screenings of DOUBLE INDEMNITY and LAURA, two of the most lauded films of 1944 and the entire noir canon.
The double feature will screen at two Laemmle locations: Pasadena Playhouse on September 26 and Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills on September 28.
DOUBLE INDEMNITY is writer – director Billy Wilder’s film adaptation (with co-scripter Raymond Chandler) of a crime novella by James M. Cain, a tawdry tale of an insurance salesman (Fred MacMurray) and duplicitous dame (Barbara Stanwyck), who scheme to murder Stanwyck’s businessman husband for the insurance proceeds. After pulling off the seeming “perfect crime,” the lethal lovers come under the scrutiny of MacMurray’s claims adjuster colleague (Edward G. Robinson), who smells something rotten in the film’s setting, the Hollywood hills.
LAURA is producer-director Otto Preminger’s film version of Vera Caspary’s novel (adapted for the screen Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, Betty Reinhardt, Ring Lardner Jr. and Jerry Cady, the latter two uncredited) about the murder of a beautiful socialite (Gene Tierney) and the spell she cast over three suitors: cynical columnist (Clifton Webb), playboy gigolo (Vincent Price), and necrophiliac detective (Dana Andrews).
The title character’s wealthy aunt (Judith Anderson), who yearns for Price, is also among the suspects. When Tierney, who is more a fascinating female than an archetypical femme fatale, turns up very much alive, the mystery deepens. Set among the sophisticates of Manhattan, Laura is a cosmopolitan counterpart to the middle class denizens and atmosphere of Double Indemnity.
Both films share key film noir elements, including sharp edged black-and-white cinematography (John Seitz, Double Indemnity; Joseph LaShelle, Laura), taut structure, well-crafted dialogue (Raymond Chandler’s main contribution to Double Indemnity), and low motives matched with high style. The two films also showcase masterful music (Miklos Rosza’s Oscar-nominated Double Indemnity score and David Raskin’s memorably haunting Laura).
Among the acting highlights, Clifton Webb’s acid-tongued turn in Laura was described wryly as “sophistry personified” by the New York Times, which also praised Dana Andrews as closely matching Webb’s incisive performance. Double Indemnity features Barbara Stanwyck’s expert take on the noir wicked woman, described by Pauline Kael as “the best acted and the most fixating of all the slutty, cold-blooded femme fatales of the film noir genre.” Kael also singled out Edward G. Robinson’s “easy mastery” in his sympathetic role.
Double Indemnity reaped seven Academy Award nominations, including best picture, director, actress, and screenplay. Laura scored five nods, including director, supporting actor (Webb), and screenplay, winning for LaShelle’s black-and white cinematography. Both films were added to the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress.
Laemmle’s Anniversary Classics twofer program of Double Indemnity and Laura will screen on separate dates and venues: Thursday, September 26 at the Pasadena Playhouse, and Saturday, September 28 at the Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills.
On Thursday, September 26th in Pasadena, LAURA screens at 5:15pm and 9:15pm. DOUBLE INDEMNITY screens at 7pm. Click here for tickets to the 5:15pm LAURA with the 7pm DOUBLE INDEMNITY included. Or, click here for tickets to the 7pm DOUBLE INDEMNITY with the 9:15pm LAURA included.
On Saturday, September 28th in Beverly Hills, DOUBLE INDEMNITY screens at 7:15pm with the 9:15pm LAURA with included. Click here for tickets.