Tag Archives: Laemmle Music Hall


“The beauty of dance… is that it gets passed from one body, one soul, to another. There’s something so beautiful, so precious about that. It comes out of the body, it goes into the air, and then it disappears.” — Stephen Petronio

In the afterglow of the Merce Cunningham—Night of 100 Solos events, the immersive new documentary IF THE DANCER DANCES tells a different Cunningham story: the 2015 restaging of the choreographer’s RainForest by the Stephen Petronio Company.

The sexual quality and hint of narrative in this 1968 dance—with music by David Tudor, costumes by Jasper Johns, and décor by Andy Warhol (the silver, helium-filled pillows)—create an atmosphere distinct from almost every other Cunningham work. The challenge for the stagers—and Cunningham company veterans—Andrea Weber, Meg Harper, and Rashaun Mitchell is replacing the continuous-movement ethos of the Petronio dancers with Cunningham’s non-momentum aesthetic. As the film demonstrates, how to do this is perhaps a subject of dispute:

“The focus needs to be exactly on what you’re doing, and not on an image of anything.” — Meg Harper

RainForest… transcended pure movement… [The dancers] need to hear images that might help them.” — Gus Solomons, Jr., Cunningham company veteran

IF THE DANCER DANCES—directed by Lise Friedman and Maia Wechsler—mixes extensive performance and interview footage of Petronio’s dancers and their teachers with scenes of Cunningham rehearsals from the 1960s. This essential document of modern dance making and Cunningham’s philosophy and practice is playing around town through May 9.


Through May 9.

Q & A with former Cunningham dancers following 3 pm show on May 4.

Music Hall

9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.


Monday and Tuesday, May 6 and 7.

Q & A with former Cunningham dancers following 7:30 pm show on May 6.


11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

Playhouse 7

673 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.

From top: Nicholas Sciscione and Davalois Fearon in If the Dancer Dances, performing Merce Cunningham ‘s RainForest; Jaqlin Medlock and Sciscione rehearsing RainForest; Meg Harper (center) with Fearon in rehearsal, Gino Grenek behind Foster; Stephen Petronio Company, Grenek, Fearon, and Sciscione, RainForest performance, Joyce Theater, April 2015, photograph by Yi-Chun Wu, image © 2015 and courtesy the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, and the photographer; Stephen Petronio. Film stills courtesy of Monument Releasing. Below: Merce Cunningham in RainForest, 1968, photograph by Martha Keller, courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust.


“The [social media] companies have more and more power to decide what can stay up and what must be taken down.

“They take advantage of our desire for ease, our resistance to effort, our resistance to challenge, and, I think, over time—if we’re not already there—it will interfere with our ability to have critical thinking.” — David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, in THE CLEANERS

In an office building in Manila, over a thousand content moderators each hit a target of 25,000 removed images per day. 25,000,000 videos and photographs posted to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc., are deleted every twenty-four hours at this particular location—one of the world’s largest. The Philippines is 90% Christian, and the moderators’ adherence to concepts like “sin” and “evil”—as well as an inflated sense of their own importance—shade their interpretation of company guidelines.

And, as demonstrated in THE CLEANERS—an incisive new documentary directed by Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck—members of this workforce may lack the historical knowledge that would guarantee accurate assessments. (An image of an American soldier and his dog taunting an Abu Ghraib prisoner is mistaken for an ISIS torture video.)

Hired by the social media empires via third parties to see things that algorithms can’t, the cleaners are exposed to a continuous stream of violence and sexual imagery. One employee asked to be transferred from his division. When he was turned down, he killed himself. Other moderators are compelled to bring their work home in other ways:

“When I went to sleep, I would dream about different kinds of penises. That’s all I saw—penises everywhere. It became my guilty pleasure.”

Videos exposing the Syrian government’s bombardment of its citizens—or satirical art depicting the commander-in-chief in the nude—are flagged as content violations. Yet Facebook executives sit idly by as their platform is used to facilitate the genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

Among those interviewed for the film are artists Illma Gore and Khaled Barakeh, Manila journalist Ed Lingao, former Silicon Valley policy maker and Obama Administration tech officer Nicole Wong, former Facebook product manager Antonio García Martínez, Istanbul law professor Yaman Akdeniz, former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris, Myanmar activist Nay San Lwin, and Abdulwahab Tahhan of Airwars in London.



At 2:20 pm, through Thursday, November 29.

Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.

From top:

German film poster. Image credit: Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion.

Nicole Wong. Photograph by Ann Hermes.

Illma Gore Instagram. Image credit: Illma Gore.

Below: The Cleaners. Image credit: Sundance Institute.


In L’AMANT D’UN JOUR, Jeanne (Esther Garrel, recently seen in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name) moves back to dad’s place, only to discover—and befriend—her father’s twenty-something lover Ariane (Louise Chevillotte).

The new film by Philippe Garrel opens in Los Angeles this weekend. The black-and-white cinematography is by Renato Berta (Au revoir les enfants).


L’AMANT D’UN JOUR—LOVER FOR A DAY, opens Friday, January 26.

LAEMMLE MUSIC HALL, 9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.


Esther Garrel (foreground) and Louise Chevillotte in L’Amant d’un jour (2017). Image credit: SBS distribution.

Image result for l'amant d'un jour



Jean-Pierre Léaud (fifty-eight years after The 400 Blows):

“When Albert Serra offered me the role of Louis XIV, I said to myself that this film would mean a great deal to me, in my life and in my filmography. I said to myself that I must succeed, with all the energy that’s in me. So I was in Louis XIV’s bed, trapped within an apparatus of three cameras that filmed me continuously from eight in the morning until eight in the evening, every single day. Even though the apparatus was hard to put up with, I hung on until the end. Any other actor would have said, ‘This is too much. I can’t make it.’ Well, I decided to make it.

“Through this apparatus, I stepped into the shoes of an old man in his death throes, and you cannot avoid personal repercussions if you play someone like that. And that’s when I began to feel the proximity of my own death and realized that Serra was recording my own death through Louis XIV’s. At my age, you cannot banish death from your life. I was reminded of Jean Cocteau’s quote: ‘Cinema is death at work.’ ”*

LA MORT DE LOUIS XIV/THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV (2016), is directed by Albert Serra, and written by Serra and Thierry Lounas.

The film screens daily at 4:45 pm only, through June 15, at the Laemmle Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.

*Yonca Talu, “The Long Goodbye: An interview with Jean-Pierre Léaud,” Film Comment, March/April 2017.

(Top) Jean-Pierre Léaud in The 400 Blows, directed by François Truffaut. Image credit: Janus Films.

(Bottom) Jean-Pierre Léaud in the title role of La Mort de Louis XIV. Image credit: Capricci Films.

Jean-Pierre Léaud in The 400 Blows, directed by François Truffaut. Image credit: Janus Films.

Jean-Pierre Léaud in nthe title role of La Mort de Louis XIV. Image credit: Capricci Films