Tag Archives: Film Independent Presents

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS is Eliza Hittman’s third cinéma vérité feature, starring Sidney Flanigan as a young woman from rural Pennsylvania traveling to New York City for an abortion.

The film screened earlier this month at a Film Independent Presents event in Culver City, and is now playing in Hollywood and on the Westside, opening next week in Pasadena.

The spark for my new film came in 2012, when a woman named Savita Halappanavar died of blood poisoning in a hospital in Galway after being refused a life-saving abortion. Out of devastation, I naively began to research the history of abortion rights in Ireland. In a country where abortion was criminalized, I became fascinated to learn that women who needed abortions were forced to travel from Ireland to England. 
 
I began to read more and more about Ireland’s hidden diaspora and saw a compelling untold narrative about ‘women on the run’ traveling with the unbearable burden of shame. These migratory abortion trails also exist within our own country from rural areas with limited and restrictive access, past state lines and into progressive cities. Through extensive research and interviews over several years I developed this script. After premiering Beach Rats at Sundance in 2017 and following the inauguration of Trump, I felt an urgent need to make this film now. The fate of a woman’s fundamental right to access is at risk. If Roe v. Wade is attacked and abortion made illegal nationwide, how far will we have to travel?
 
Savita Halappanavar’s death revolutionized Ireland. It unified feminist groups throughout the country and galvanized a movement to reverse the cruel Eighth Amendment that recognizes the life of a mother and a fetus as being equal. They were activated because her identity was not anonymous. She had a name, a face, a warm smile that the country could feel and mourn. The abortion ban was historically repealed last May. 
 
 Amidst such a fraught moment in U.S. history, it’s hard not to ask myself how I am doing in my artistic practice can create change. Women’s issues are global issues. By taking a social and political issue and demonstrating its impact on one individual or character, my goal is to find ways to get past our audiences’ defenses against this stigmatized subject and open people up to confronting difficult realities. 
 
 As an extension of my body of work, the film balances realism and lyricism, beauty and horror, fear and hope. It is infused with intimacy, discomfort, tension and truth. It will ignite controversy and conversation. Never Rarely Sometimes Always is ultimately a story about resistance and will perhaps even inspire change.Eliza Hittman

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS

Now Playing.

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

The Landmark

10850 Pico Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

Eliza Hittman, Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020), from top: Sidney Flanigan; Flanigan; U.S. poster; Talia Ryder and Théodore Pellerin; Flanigan. Photographs by Angal Field, images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, the photographer, and Focus Features.

MICHAEL WINTERBOTTOM — GREED

Last night, longtime collaborators Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan joined Film Independent artistic director Jacqueline Lyanga at the Arclight Hollywood following a screening of GREED, Winterbottom’s new satire.

The film follows the money and the clothes as a London-based mogul builds a fast-fashion empire on the backs of overseas workers, working elaborate (but legal) self-enrichment schemes by stripping his companies of their assets just before filing for bankruptcy. To celebrate (and distract competitors), he hosts an over-the-top party in Greece.

In a filmmaker’s letter, Winterbottom explains GREED’s genesis and what he hopes audiences will take away from the experience:

In 2016, Britain’s most famous and flamboyant retailer—Sir Philip Green, owner of Topshop and Topman—was hauled before the House of Commons select committee and quizzed about his business practices. That was the starting point for making GREED.

Retail fashion is a huge industry, which employs tens of millions of workers in low wage economies like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam—the vast majority of them women.

The brands are owned by some of the richest men in the world. Stefan Persson, the owner of H&M, is worth about $20 billion; Amancio Ortega, the owner of Zara, is worth more than $60 billion.

GREED is a fiction, a satire on the world of Sir Richard McCreadie [played by Steve Coogan], a retail fashion tycoon, the “King of the High Street.” His reputation has suffered a blow as one of his brands has gone bankrupt. He has been hauled over the coals by the Select Committee of the House of Commons and they are threatening to take away his Knighthood.

So he decides to throw a lavish, Roman-themed party on the Greek island of Mykonos, and invite his celebrity friends. But it all goes horribly wrong.

One of the attractions, and challenges, of making the film was to show the real connections between the billionaire relaxing on his super yacht in Monaco and the women we filmed with in Sri Lanka, who are being paid $5.30 a day making clothes for international brands, and living in accommodations with no running water. They seem to live in different worlds, but they are in fact intimately connected, as the clothes that these women make have created the wealth of Sir Rich and his real world counterparts.

I hope our film is funny, and I hope you enjoy it, but I also hope it makes you angry. No matter how ludicrous our fictional world is, it pales in comparison to the real world. When we walk into a high street store we see images of powerful, beautiful people endorsing the brand, or modeling the clothes. We aspire to be like them, and we think of them when we buy the t-shirt or the dress, when really we should be thinking of the women who have made our clothes and the lives they lead. The world doesn’t need to be like this. We can change things. Doubling the wages of women garment workers would hardly make any difference to the price of the clothes in our local store—so why don’t we do something about it? Michael Winterbottom

GREED

Now playing.

ArcLight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

The Landmark

10850 West Pico Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

Michael Winterbottom, Greed (2020), from top: Steve Coogan; Michael Winterbottom (second from top) and Coogan (above) on February 27, 2020, at the Film Independent Screening Series of Greed at the ArcLight Hollywood, photographs by Amanda Edwards / Getty Images; film poster; Coogan (below, photograph by Amelia Troubridge) in Greed. Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, the photographers, Sony Pictures Classics, Getty Images, and Film Independent.

AFTER THE WEDDING

After a recent Film Independent Presents screening of AFTER THE WEDDING, Julianne Moore said something that revealed a uniquely generous approach to acting:

What I love about what we do is, regardless of age or experience, we all meet as peers. It doesn’t happen in a lot of professions, but it happens with acting.

In her new drama, the great accomplishment of Moore and two of her remarkable peers—Michelle Williams and Abby Quinn—is delivering memorable performances in the service of a schematic script about privilege and legacy among the one-percenters.

Moore plays Theresa, a nouveau-riche start-up billionaire ready to cash out. One of the loose ends that needs tying up is Isabel (Williams), an American-in-India who helps run an underserved aid facility for thousands of Calcutta street kids. Theresa would like to donate a very large sum to the program and—just before the Hamptons wedding of her daughter (Quinn)—Theresa summons Isabel to Manhattan for a meeting. Since she’s in town, Isabel also attends the wedding, where she meets Oscar (Billy Crudup), Theresa’s husband.

This comes as a shock to Isabel, since the last time she saw Oscar was twenty years ago, when they were both in their late teens…

AFTER THE WEDDING is Moore’s fourth feature collaboration with her husband, writer and director Bart Freundlich.

AFTER THE WEDDING

Now playing.

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Playhouse 7

673 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.

After the Wedding, from top: Michelle Williams (left), Billy Crudup, and Julianne Moore; Vir Pachisia and Williams; Film Independent Artistic Director Jacqueline Lyanga (left), Moore, Abby Quinn, and Bart Freundlich, July 30, 2019, The Landmark cinema, photograph by Araya Diaz, courtesy of Getty Images and Film Independent; Williams and Moore; Quinn and Williams; Williams. Film images courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

MARIANNE AND LEONARD — WORDS OF LOVE

In the 1960s, Hydra was a seemingly magical refuge from the world, a bubble that kept you safe as long as you stayed inside it. But for many who left the Grecian island and returned to what was then referred to as the “rat race,” life away from their sanctuary proved dangerous, and there were many casualties along the way.

Leonard Cohen met an early, essential inspiration for his life’s work on Hydra—Marianne Ihlen, a Norwegian woman who was visiting Greece with her husband and son. This is where MARIANNE & LEONARD—WORDS OF LOVE—the fascinating new documentary by Nick Broomfield—begins. Cohen’s obsessive self-involvement provided its own buttress against straight society:

“A large part of my life was escaping, whatever it was… It was a selfish life, but at the time it felt like survival.”

It was left to Marianne to take what Broomfield—during his Film Independent Presents post-screening interview with artistic director Jacqueline Lyanga—called the “oddly unflattering” role of muse. MARIANNE & LEONARD brings us the lifelong entanglements, the separations and reunions, the breakdowns and break-ups, the round-the-clock use of speed, wine, LSD, and other substances (“They used to call me Captain Mandrax,” explains Cohen in the film, citing the Quaalude-like drug he used to combat paralyzing stage fright)—all told through the eyes and hindsight of a man, Broomfield, who was also on Hydra in the ’60s and also fell in love with Marianne.

The film ends with Cohen reciting the last lines of his poem “Days of Kindness”:

“… What I loved in my old life
I haven’t forgotten
It lives in my spine
Marianne and the child
The days of kindness
It rises in my spine
and it manifests as tears
I pray that loving memory
exists for them too
the precious ones I overthrew
for an education in the world.”

Ihlen and Cohen died less than four months apart. And in the end he did give her what she wanted most, sending her a last message on her death bed: “See you down the road my friend. Endless love and gratitude, your Leonard.”

MARIANNE & LEONARD—WORDS OF LOVE

Now playing:

Playhouse 7

673 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles

The Landmark

10850 West Pico Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

Black and white photographs: Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen in Marianne & Leonard—Words of Love (2), courtesy and Nick Broomfield and Roadside Attractions. Color photographs: Broomfield (2) and Jacqueline Lyanga at the Film Independent Presents special screening of Marianne & Leonard at the Arclight Hollywood on July 2, 2019. Photograph by Araya Diaz/Getty Images.

KARYN KUSAMA’S DESTROYER

DESTROYER—a new template for sunshine noir and one of its greatest cinematic exponents since Chinatown—is the deeply evocative redemption song of an undercover cop (Nicole Kidman, jagged, reeling, transformed) on a contemporary odyssey across Los Angeles, finally making sense of a life marked and almost ruined by an act of hesitation seventeen years ago.

As director Karyn Kusama told a Film Independent Presents audience earlier this month at the Arclight Hollywood, “We all love genre, we all love criminals, but these kinds of movies get a little too easy… We want to see the consequences, the toll.”

Kusama was speaking for herself and her writers—her husband Phil Hay and his writing partner Matt Manfredi—and all three will return to the Arclight this week for post-screening Q & A’s, followed by Nicole Kidman during the first weekend in January.

DESTROYER

Now playing.

NICOLE KIDMAN and KARYN KUSAMA Q&A

Saturday, January 12, after the 7:30 pm show.

Cinerama Dome

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

 

NICOLE KIDMAN Q&A’s

Friday and Saturday, January 4 and 5, at 7:30 pm.

KARYN KUSAMA, PHIL HAY, MATT MANFREDI IN CONVERSATION

Wednesday through Sunday, December 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30, following the 7:15 pm shows.

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Top: Elvis Mitchell, Karyn Kusama, Phil Hay, and Matt Manfredi at the Film Independent Presents screening of Destroyer at the ArcLight, Hollywood, December 12, 2018.

Above: Kusama, Arclight, December 12, 2018.

Arclight photographs by Araya Diaz/Getty Images, courtesy the photographer and Film Independent Presents.

Below: Nicole Kidman and Sebastian Stan (back to camera) in Destroyer.

Kidman and Stan photograph courtesy Annapurna Pictures.