Tag Archives: Downtown Independent cinema

ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ

If Agnès Varda was the mother of the nouvelle vague, Alice Guy-Blaché (1873–1968) was the mother of cinema, period. She was an early viewer of the Lumière brothers shorts and was one of the first filmmakers of either gender to explore the narrative possibilities of the medium—influencing the work of Eisenstein and Hitchcock, to name just two. In addition to directing and producing, she founded and ran Solax Studio out of Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Not that anyone would know these things, considering how her male colleagues in the fledgling industry erased her contributions. Her husband, Herbert Blaché, took credit for Solax, and her boss, Léon Gaumont, failed to acknowledge her in the studio records. Male film historians hardly picked up the slack during Guy-Blaché’s life or since her death.

The new documentary BE NATURAL—THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ—directed by Pamela B. Green and narrated by Jodie Foster—goes a long way toward righting these wrongs, and is screening in downtown Los Angeles through Thursday.

BE NATURAL—THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ

Through May 23.

Downtown Independent

251 South Main Street, Los Angeles.

From top: Alice Guy-Blaché directing Bessie Love in Great Adventure (1918); Guy-Blaché directing My Madonna, with Olga Petrova and John Hass; Alice Guy-Blaché, A Fool and his Money (still), one of the first narrative films to feature an African-American cast; Alice Guy-Blaché, Scarlet Woman (still); Guy-Blaché directing My Madonna; Love (left) and Guy-Blaché. Images courtesy and © Pamela B. Green and Kino Lorber.

I AM CUBA — SASHA CALZATTI IN CONVERSATION

I AM CUBA—now playing at the Downtown Independent in a beautiful 4K restoration—is the landmark Cuban-Soviet one-off directed by Mikhail Kalatozov in the early 1960s.

On the closing evening of the run, the film’s camera operator Alexander “Sasha” Calzatti will participate in a post-screening Q & A.

I AM CUBA

Through April 21.

SASHA CALZATTI post-screening Q & A

Sunday, April 21, at 5:30 pm.

Downtown Independent

251 South Main Street, Los Angeles.

I Am Cuba images courtesy of Milestone Films.

MULHOLLAND DR.

Is David Lynch’s MULHOLLAND DR. one of the greatest puzzles in cinematic history? Or a sphinx without a riddle?

Revisit the great L.A. noir this week at the Downtown Independent.

MULHOLLAND DR.

Friday, February 22, at 8 pm.

Downtown Independent

251 South Main Street, Los Angeles.

From top: Naomi Watts as Betty/Diane Selwyn and Laura Harring as Rita/Camilla Rhodes in Mulholland Dr.(2001); David Lynch directing Justin Theroux directing a musical number; Melissa George; Watts and Mark Pellegrino. Image credit: Universal Pictures.

LUISE DONSCHEN’S CASANOVAGEN

“I was drawn to the idea of female infidelity being merely an unintended byproduct of male infidelity, which they claim has some evolutionary use. While this implicit disadvantaging of the female sex obviously reveals a way of thinking I don’t approve of, what I did like is the idea of female infidelity being pointless, that it resists having any sort of economic parameters applied to it.

“And that was the starting point [for CASANOVAGEN], a way of talking about desire, a form of discourse I found modern precisely because it actually isn’t modern at all.” — Luise Donschen

Don’t miss the Los Angeles premiere of CASANOVAGEN—Donschen’s debut feature—screening on the closing night of the UCLA Film and Television Archive series Art of the Real—Los Angeles.

The film stars Wolfgang ForstmeierJohn MalkovichElija PottUndine de RivièreLumi Lausas, Zacharias Zitouni, and Donschen, and will screen in downtown Los Angeles.

CASANOVAGEN

Thursday, January 17, at 8 pm.

Downtown Independent

251 South Main Street, Los Angeles.

Scenes from Casanovagen (2018) courtesy Luise Donschen.

CHRIS E. VARGAS

During a week which began with reports of an administrative attempt to eliminate “transgender” as an official federal designation, Chris E. Vargas—founder of the institutionally ambiguous Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art—will bring his early work to the Downtown Independent.

The Dirty Looks co-presentation will include screenings of EXTRAORDINARY PREGNANCIES, LIBERACÉON, FALLING IN LOVE (with Greg Youmans), and CRY BOY CRY. The artist will be in attendance.

And in New York City, the MOTHA AND CHRIS E. VARGAS—CONSCIOUSNESS RAZING show and residency continues at the New Museum.

CHRIS E. VARGAS—VIDEO AND MUSEUM MAKER

Tuesday, October 23, at 8 pm.

Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles.

MOTHA AND CHRIS E. VARGAS—CONSCIOUSNESS RAZING

Through February 3.

SPECULATIVE MOMENTS—SHOW AND PRAY TELL

Thursday, January 17, at 7 pm.

New Museum, 235 Bowery, New York City.

From top:

Criminal Queers, directed by Chris E. Vargas and Eric A. Stanley.

Vargas’ Have You Ever Seen a Transsexual Before?

Chris E. Vargas, New Museum in MOTHA Drag, 2018.

Greg Youmans (left) and Vargas in Falling in Love… With Chris and Greg: Work of Art Reality TV Special.