Category Archives: FILM

CLAIRE DENIS — HIGH LIFE

HIGH LIFE is a space mystery and it’s a new film directed by Claire Denis, which are the only two things you need to know before going to see it.

(But between your first and second viewing, you’ll want to read as much as you can. And remember that one of Denis’ favorite songs is The Beach Boys‘ “In My Room”—which is not in the film.)

HIGH LIFE

Now playing

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

The Landmark

10850 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles.

From top: Juliette Binoche and Robert Pattinson in High Life (2018); Binoche, Lars Eidinger, Mia Goth, Pattinson, and Claire Tran; André Benjamin; Jessie Ross and Pattinson. Images courtesy A24.

RASHID JOHNSON’S NATIVE SON

For his directorial debut, Rashid Johnson has shot an update of Richard Wright’s controversial 1940 novel about Bigger Thomas’ seemingly irrevocable slide into the void. The screenplay by Suzan Lori-Parks changes some of the novel’s key plot points—”It’s not the book,” Elvis Mitchell told a recent Film Independent audience at the Arclight screening in Hollywood—but the expendability of black lives in this new NATIVE SON is, tragically, still contemporary.

“One of the criticisms of the book—and one I share—is the character’s lack of agency. Wright wrote them as archetypes.” — Rashid Johnson, at the Film Independent screening of NATIVE SON

As Bigger, Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) gives a performance of cool hesitation that recalls the voice and armature of James Dean and a young Keanu Reeves. For a scene at the home of Bigger’s rich, art-collecting employer, Johnson—in an audacious move—places his own 2015 painting Untitled (Anxious Man) directly behind Sanders as an angel/devil-over-my-shoulder figure.

NATIVE SON—which premieres tonight on HBO—co-stars KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), Bill Camp, Sanaa Lathan, Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, Elizabeth Marvel, and David Alan Grier.

NATIVE SON, on HBO

From April 6.

Film stills, from top: Ashton Sanders in Native Son (2019); Sanders and KiKi Layne; Sanders; Sanders and Nick Robinson (right); Sanders. Photographs by Matthew Libatique, images courtesy Sundance Institute and HBO.

Film Independent photos, from top: KiKi Layne and Rashid Johnson; Elvis Mitchell, Johnson, and Layne. Film Independent Presents HBO Screening Series—Native Son, March 20, 2019, Arclight Hollywood, photographs by Araya Diaz/Getty Images.

MIKE LEIGH — THE EARLY YEARS

The early film and television work of Mike Leigh extended so-called “kitchen sink realism” into the Thatcher era, and no one examined the decimation of Britain’s working class in the 1980s with the rigor and humor of Leigh in Meantime, High Hopes, and Life is Sweet.

Leigh reached an artistic apotheosis of sorts in 1993 with Naked, and an breakthrough in the United States with his follow-up Secrets & Lies (1996).

In their weekend series Bleak But Never Boring—Life According to Mike Leigh, the American Cinematheque brings these defining films to the Aero for three double-feature programs.

NAKED and MEANTIME

Friday, April 5, at 7:30 pm.

SECRETS & LIES and VERA DRAKE

Saturday, April 6, at 7:30 pm.

LIFE IS SWEET and HIGH HOPES

Sunday, April 7, at 7:30 pm.

Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.

From top: Tim Roth in Meantime (1983); Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Timothy Spall in Secrets & Lies (1996); David Thewlis in Naked (1993); Ruth Sheen and Phil Davis in High Hopes (1988); Jane Horrocks in Life is Sweet(1990).

GOLDEN STING

Join director Radim Špaček for the U.S. premiere of GOLDEN STING, which follows the young members of a Czechoslovakian basketball team navigating Hitler’s rise, postwar liberation, and the Czech coup d’état of 1948, when the Communist Party took control of the country.

The film stars Filip Březina and Zdeněk Piškula, and opens the UCLA Film and Television Archive series Czech That Film.

GOLDEN STING

Friday, April 5, at 7:30 pm.

Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

From top: Zdeněk Piškula (right) in Golden Sting (2018); Filip Březina and Piškula; on the court in Golden Sting (2).

FOSSE, VERDON, AND ALL THAT JAZZ

In anticipation of the upcoming limited series FOSSE/VERDON—the story of the personal and professional collaboration between director-choreographer Bob Fosse (1927–1987) and dancer-actor Gwen Verdon (1925–2000)—LACMA presents a screening of Fosse’s extraordinary “semi-autobiographical” film ALL THAT JAZZ (1979), featuring a tour de force performance by the late Roy Scheider.

Three nights later, the museum hosts a big-screen presentation of “Life is a Cabaret,” chapter one of FOSSE/VERDON, which stars Sam Rockwell as Fosse and Michelle Williams as Verdon. The series will air on FX from April 9.

Fosse was one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century dance, and the footprints—and indelible attitude—of his choreography in Cabaret, Chicago, Damn Yankees, The Pajama Game, and Sweet Charity are still apparent in works being created today.

ALL THAT JAZZ

Monday, April 1, at 7:30 pm.

FOSSE/VERDON

Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 pm.

Bing Theater, LACMA

5955 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

From top: Michelle Williams as Gwen Verdon and Sam Rockwell as Bob Fosse in Fosse/Verdon(2019); Roy Scheider in All That Jazz; Fosse backstage at New York’s City Center during the 1963 production of Pal Joey; Tab Hunter and Verdon in Damn Yankees (1958), courtesy New York Library for the Performing Arts; Liza Minnelli and Fosse on set, Cabaret (1972); Rockwell and Williams in Fosse/Verdon.