Category Archives: FILM

JEAN-LUC GODARD — THE IMAGE BOOK

Johnny “Guitar” Logan (Sterling Hayden): Don’t go away.

Vienna (Joan Crawford): I haven’t moved.

Johnny: Tell me something nice.

Vienna: Sure. What do you want to hear?

JohnnyLie to me. Tell me all these years you’ve waited. Tell me.

Vienna“All these years I’ve waited.”

Johnny: Tell me you’d have died if I hadn’t come back.

Vienna: “I would have died if you hadn’t come back.”

Johnny: Tell me you still love me like I love you.

Vienna: “I still love you like you love me.”

Johnny: Thanks. [Takes another drink.] Thanks a lot.

The cinema of Jean-Luc Godard—unmatched in its longevity and rigor—is a history of versions, revisions, and doubles, and his new work The Image Book (Le livre d’image) is a filmmaker’s autobiography by a cineaste whose curiosity shows no sign of flagging. The film has five sections, referencing the fingers of a hand, and borrows from a century of footage, including clips from his own durational Histoire(s) du cinéma.

As in all of Godard’s work, standards of continuity, editing, and sound-and-image sync are distorted or discarded. Flows of knowledge and experience are interrupted and memory is questioned. When Godard’s screen turns blank, we can daydream. But when the soundtrack drops out, a chill descends and the world falls through an abyss of silence.

“A truth in art is that which the opposite is also true.” — Oscar Wilde

For Godard, truth appears in fragments. When it comes to the truth, it would be arrogant to think otherwise. In The Image Book, his use of the “lie to me” conversation from Nicholas Ray’s 1954 film Johnny Guitar speaks to something we demand from cinema, something to do with hope. Film is always eluding us—”running away,” as Raymond Bellour wrote. It’s an act of abandonment by a thousand cuts, relieved only by the assurance that there is so much more to come.

The Image Book is screening twice daily at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre for the next five days. You’ll want to see it more than once.

THE IMAGE BOOK

Daily at 7:30 pm and 9:40 pm. Sunday matinee at 4 pm.

Through Thursday, February 21.

Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.

Jean-Luc Godard, The Image Book/Le livre d’image, courtesy Kino Lorber.

THE HOURS AND TIMES

In the early 1990s, Ian Hart played John Lennon in two movies.* The first—THE HOURS AND TIMES (1991)—imagines Lennon and Beatles manager Brian Epstein engaging in a nascent sexual relationship during a long weekend in Barcelona.

The film—written and directed by Christopher Munch, and co-starring David Angus as Epstein—has been restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, and will screen on the closing day of their 2019 Festival of Preservation.

THE HOURS AND TIMES

Sunday, February 17, at 8:59 pm.

Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood, Los Angeles.

*Hart’s second Lennon portrayal was in Backbeat (1994), directed by Iain Softley.

From top: Ian Hart (foreground) as John Lennon and David Angus as Brian Epstein in The Hours and Times; Angus (left) and Hart (2). Images courtesy the filmmaker, Antarctic Pictures, and Good Machine.

ALEX ROSS PERRY IN CONVERSATION

A sensation at last year’s New York and American Film Institute festivals, HER SMELL returns to Los Angeles as part of the inaugural Red Bull Music Center Channel film fest.

Starring the always-remarkable Elisabeth Moss as Becky Something—a rocker in drastic free fall—HER SMELL is not, according to the writer-director Alex Ross Perry, based on Courtney Love.

Perry will participate in a post-screening conversation, joined by the film’s composer Keegan DeWitt.

HER SMELL

Friday, February 15, doors at 7 pm.

Ukrainian Culture Center

4315 Melrose Avenue, East Hollywood, Los Angeles.

From top: Original poster; Elizabeth Moss in Her Smell; Moss with Dan Stevens. Images courtesy Gunpowder & Sky.

JEROME ROBBINS AND NEW YORK

“My beautiful city is set on rock between two flowing paths of water that run to the sea. My city is tall and jagged—with gold-slated towers… My city chokes on its breath, and sparkles with its false lights—and sleeps restlessly at night. My city is a lone man walking at night down an empty street watching his shadow grow longer as he passes the last lamp post, seeing no comfort in the blank, dark windows, and hearing his footsteps echo against the building and fade away.” — Jerome Robbins

Admired, disparaged, beloved, feared, Jerome Robbins (1918–1998) was one of the great choreographers of the twentieth century. Arthur Laurents told Robbins he was “a shit” for naming names as a “friendly witness” for HUAC. (Robbins feared being exposed as bisexual.) Yet Laurents continued to collaborate with him, most notably on West Side Story. (Stephen Sondheim, the show’s lyricist, said that Robbins was one of the only geniuses he’d ever worked with.)

Through his work with the American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet, and on Broadway—On the Town, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof, to name just three shows among dozens—Robbins was indelibly associated with his home base and muse: Manhattan.

A new exhibition curated by Julia Foulkes marks Robbins’ centenary and his lifelong celebration of the city, and includes dance films and videos, diaries, paintings, story scenarios, press clippings, and extensive photographic documentation.

VOICE OF MY CITY—JEROME ROBBINS AND NEW YORK

Through March 30.

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York City.

From top: Sharks and Jets dance in West Side Story, on tour in Europe in the early 2000s; the original Fancy Free cast—Muriel Bentley, Janet Reed, Harold Lang, John Kriza, and Jerome Robbins—in Times Square in 1958, with photographer Gordon Parks leaning over his tripod, courtesy the Jerome Robbins Dance Division/The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Mikhail Baryshnikov in the New York City Ballet production of The Four Seasons (1979), choreographed by Robbins; Antoinette Sibley rehearses Afternoon of a Faun with the choreographer, photograph by Michael Childers, courtesy Dance Magazine; Damian Woetzel and Tiler Peck dance Robbins at Kennedy Center, 2017; Carmen de Lavallade, Robbins, and Yves Saint Laurent—photograph by Whiteside—and Robbins in 1944, both courtesy Dance Magazine.

MALCOLM LE GRICE IN LOS ANGELES

Malcolm Le Grice—”one of the most compellingly original and radical artist-theorists in the history of the post-war moving image”—will be in Los Angeles for the next week or so.

During this rare visit Le Grice and Los Angeles Film Forum will present his work around town in a series of venues, including the world premiere of the new edit of his immersive multi-screen piece FINITO at the Spielberg Theatre.

See links below for locations. Le Grice—author of Experimental Cinema in the Digital Age— will be on hand to talk with the audience at all three programs.

MALCOLM LE GRICE AT USC

Thursday, February 14, at 7 pm.

USC School of Cinematic Arts 

Broccoli Theatre

900 West 34th Street, Los Angeles.

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MALCOLM LE GRICE—HERE AND NOW

Sunday, February 17, at 7:30 pm.

Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian

6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

MALCOLM LE GRICE—BEFORE AND AFTER CINEMA

Monday, February 11, at 8:30 pm.

Redcat

631 West 2nd Street, downtown Los Angeles.

From top: Malcolm Le Grice, Berlin Horse (1970); Malcolm Le GriceHorror Film 1 (1971); Le Grice presenting his work in Europe, early 2000s; Malcolm Le Grice, Marking Time, 2015; Malcolm Le Grice, Reign of the Vampire, 1970; Le Grice in the early 1970s; Malcolm Le Grice, Threshold (1972). All images © Malcolm Le Grice and courtesy the artist.