Tag Archives: Kino Lorber

LOUIS GARREL — A FAITHFUL MAN

I had better sex with other guys while thinking of him.

The quote above—a characteristic aside from one of the female leads in Louis Garrel’s A FAITHFUL MAN, the actor’s second turn in the director’s chair—refers to Abel (Garrel), a man of little agency in a romantic game of chance, seemingly happy to shuttle between Marianne (Laetitia Casta) and Ève (Lily-Rose Depp).

Abel and Marianne were lovers, until she announces—in the film’s first few minutes—that she is pregnant, and the father is their close friend Paul. Fast forward a decade and Paul has just died. Abel reconnects with Marianne at his funeral—a reunion witnessed by both Joseph (Marianne and Paul’s son, played by Joseph Engel), and Paul’s younger sister Ève, who has always had an unrequited crush on Abel.

We are deep in Rohmer and Truffaut territory—narrators voicing internal thoughts, chamber music on the soundtrack, a sense of timeless suspension in an everyday, non-touristic Paris—and Garrel (son of Philippe) and co-writer Jean-Claude Carrière (a Buñuel veteran) are indeed faithful to their antecedents, giving audiences a contemporary nouvelle vague experience and keeping the proceedings 100% français. (Even the Hollywood noir that Marianne and Abel go out to see is dubbed in French, which would not be the case in an actual Left Bank revival house.*)

 A FAITHFUL MAN is a piece of cinematic driftwood, smooth and lovely, kept afloat by its players’ charms. Selfishness and betrayal are expressed and accepted with hushed discretion. Complete happiness is not exactly on the menu, but fidelity to independence, choice, and the freedom to make mistakes is its own reward.

 A FAITHFUL MAN

Through August 8.

Laemmle Royal

11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

Wednesday, August 21, at 7:30 pm.

South Bay Film Society

AMC Rolling Hills

2591 Airport Drive, Torrance.

*The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, starring Van Heflin and Barbara Stanwyck.

A Faithful Man/L’Homme fidele, from top: Louis Garrel and Laetitia Casta; Casta; Joseph Engel; Lily-Rose Depp; Garrel and Depp; U.S. poster; Garrel on set. Images courtesy and © the filmmakers, the actors, and Kino Lorber.

THE QUEEN, RESTORED

My name is Jack. Well, my mother called me Jack, everybody that cares about me calls me Jack. But I work under the name Sabrina. And all the queens call me by the name Sabrina, whenever I see them. I go up to this queen and say, “What’s your name?” The queen says, “Monique.” And you say, “That’s marvelous darling, but what was your name before?” And the queen will look at you straight in the eye and say, “There was no before.”Jack Doroshow, aka Flawless Sabrina, in THE QUEEN

It’s the late 1960s and national representatives of a burgeoning countercultural movement are gathered in Manhattan for their annual conclave. These young men, however, are not protesting the war in Vietnam but—in at least one case—eager to enlist, not burning the flag but waving it in a musical number. Led by Doroshow—and armed with maquillage, Dexedrine, miles of wig tape, costumes by Mme. Berthé, and a devotion to retrograde Hollywood archetypes and the grand gesture—the “girls” have taken over a dive midtown hotel to prepare for the 1967 Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant, the country’s preeminent drag contest.

Interviewed by judges Larry Rivers and Terry Southern (Andy Warhol is also in the house), there is—all things considered—a minimum of shade-throwing, at least during pre-pageant prep. But once he action moves to the main event at Town Hall, the festivities come to a raucous end when runner-up Crystal LaBeija reads everyone within earshot to dirt.

Thanks to director Frank Simon, this was all captured on 16mm film and released as THE QUEEN in 1968. Thanks to a team of film preservationists, the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, and Kino Lorber, we can now watch this peerless time capsule—previously seen only in glimpses during the opening titles of the first season of Transparent—in its entirety.

THE QUEEN

Through August 8.

Downtown Independent

251 South Main Street, Los Angeles.

See “Flawless Sabrina,” interview by Michael Bullock, Apartamento 19 (Spring-Summer 2017), 272–287.

The Queen, from top: Jack Doroshow, aka Flawless Sabrina; backstage (2); Richard, aka Harlow (3); Kino Lorber poster; Doroshow; the gown competition finale (2). Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the performers, and Kino Lorber.

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.

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 Johnny Guitar speaks to something we demand of 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.

*Johnny Guitar (1954) was written by Philip Yordan and directed by Nicholas Ray.

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