Tag Archives: Laemmle Playhouse 7

LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD

Rialto Pictures 4K restoration of LAST YEAR AT MARIENBADAlain Resnais’ cryptic ravishment of pure style and structure—is out now on the big screen.

Starring Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, and Sacha Pitoëff as A, X, and M, the scenario and dialog is by Alain Robbe-Grillet.

Gabrielle Chanel designed all of Seyrig’s clothes for the film.

LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD

Through July 18.

Laemmle Royal

11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

Laemmle Playhouse

673 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.

Last Year at Marienbad (1961), directed by Alain Resnais, from top: Delphine Seyrig and Giorgio Albertazzi; grounds at Marienbad; Seyrig and Albertazzi; Sacha Pitoëff and Seyrig; Albertazzi and Seyrig; Seyrig; Albertazzi (left) and Pitoëff; Seyrig. Images courtesy Rialto Pictures.

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.

HALSTON

Nearly thirty years after his death, Halston—the master of American minimalism and fashion’s greatest cautionary tale—has finally received a documentary worthy of his contributions. Unlike the designs of its subject, the film is somewhat padded with yards of unnecessary material. But this should not deter its intended audience from enjoying the ensemble.

Directed by Frédéric Tcheng—the filmmaker behind documentaries about Raf Simons (Dior and I) and Diana Vreeland (The Eye Has to Travel)—HALSTON hits an early peak when, one after another, his core house models—dismissively labeled “Halstonettes” by Loulou de la Falaise—testify to the talent of the man who could throw a bolt of fabric onto the showroom floor and, within minutes, create the basis of a couture gown:

“[Wearing a Halston dress imparted] elegance and ease. A sense of owning power without being masculine. And honoring the body you have.” — Alva Chinn

“You were free inside his clothes.” — Karen Bjornson

“He took away the cage. You didn’t really need the structure as much as you needed the woman. He really based most of his collections on us girls.” — Pat Cleveland

So where did it all go wrong? Cocaine and Studio 54 may have started the slide—and in the film, jewelry designer and Halston confidante Else Peretti gives a hilarious digression on mind-altering substances and their use:

“We worked all night… we didn’t get high… yes, we smoked, but no hard drugs… well, maybe a little coke…”

Because when you’re working all night…

But the man who introduced Halston to Studio 54, illustrator Joe Eula, traces the designer’s fall to the delusions of grandeur that set in after the move to the Olympic Tower studio, with its lofty, across-the-street view of St. Patrick’s spires.

The irascible, amphetamine-dependent fashion genius Charles James, who briefly worked with Halston Limited, was—typically—incendiary:

“Halston is a middle-of-the-road man who’d be better as a buyer in a store, or a stylist. He knows how to select good things to copy. But his passion is to put his name on it, for which action the word ‘plagiarism’ is correct.”

In the film, Fred Rottman, a workroom supervisor at Halston, is quick to deflect:

“Halston didn’t copy. He took concepts of Charles James’ and relaxed them.”

Halston’s era—the 1970s and early ’80s—was a time of out-of-control franchising. A designer sold his name to and sometimes designed for an array of manufacturers, slapping the cachet of his or her moniker on, yes, perfume and handbags, but also bedsheets, luggage, rugs, car interiors, and—in Halston’s case—uniforms for Braniff Airlines and the Girl Scouts of America.

This obsession to design everything for everyone, trading “class” for “mass,” led to the sale of his company to a conglomerate—a subject the film spends far too much time on. Suffice to say, Halston lost his judgment: How could he imagine that Bergdorf Goodman would want to carry a brand that was also hanging on the racks at J.C. Penney?

The film includes interviews with the designer’s friends Liza Minnelli, Bob Colacello, Marisa Berenson, Iman, Joel Schumacher, Naeem Khan, and his niece Lesley Frowick.

HALSTON

Through Thursday, June 6.

Nuart Theatre

11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

The director will participate in post-screening Q & A’s after the 7 pm shows on Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1.

On June 7, HALSTON will open at the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, and the Town Center 5 in Encino.

See HALSTON, edited by Steven Bluttal, essays by Patricia Mears (New York: Phaidon, 2001).

From top: Halston at work in his Olympic Tower studio; Halston in the 1960s, photograph © Jean Barthet; the designer with Anjelica Huston—a frequent model for the house—and Liza Minnelli, photographs by Berry Berenson (2); U.S. poster; Halston in 1973 at 33 East 68th Street, New York City, photograph © estate of Charles Tracy. Images courtesy CNN Films and 1091 Media.

IF THE DANCER DANCES

“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.

IF THE DANCER DANCES

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.

Royal

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.

HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING

“I’ve believed that straying from structured acts of seeing can produce the strongest connection with an audience.” — RaMell Ross

HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING—a lyrical, experimental documentation of lives in a small Alabama community, directed by RaMell Ross—will screen this week at the Downtown Independent.

Following the film, Ross and Jheanelle Brown, co-curator of Black Radical Imagination, will discuss the writer-director’s work.

Ross will also present the film at the Hammer Museum and the Aero in early 2019

HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING

Wednesday, February 6, at 7:30

Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.

Tuesday, January 8, at 7:30.

Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood, Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 20, at 7 pm.

Downtown Independent

251 South Main Street, Los Angeles.

Through Thursday, September 27

Playhouse

673 Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.

Monica Film Center

1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica.

Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018). Image credit: Idiom Film.