On a weekend of UCLA Film and Television Archive screenings curated by Sandi Tan—publisher, film critic, and director of the acclaimed doc Shirkers (2018)—a standout is Tim Hunter’s cult eighties noir RIVER’S EDGE.
Favorably compared to In Cold Blood by Roger Ebert, the film centers on the non-reaction by a group of teens to a dead body in their midst, and stars Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye, Crispin Glover, and DennisHopper. (Skye will join Tan for an onstage discussion.)
RIVER’S EDGE will be preceded by Leos Carax’s 1999 shocker POLA X.
“QUEENOF DIAMONDS is my very personal portrait of the United States: an over-enlarged, profit-motivated core surrounded by mute and arid alienation. The female protagonist is both deeply estranged and psychically powerful. Her loner position is the backside of centuries of Western Heroes: she stands in the center as watcher and victim of a system which is starting to crack.” — Nina Menkes
The UCLA Film and Television program Nina Menkes, Cinematic Sorceress features a double-bill of two of Menkes’ key works—both starring her sister Tinka Menkes—including the 4K restoration of QUEEN OF DIAMONDS (1991). The filmmaker will be on hand to discuss her work.
“QUEEN OF DIAMONDS shares not only the formal sophistication and structural rigor of BarbaraLoden’s Wanda (1970) and Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman (1975) but also their themes: female alienation and the ways that passivity, muteness, and a refusal to engage can serve as forms of resistance to patriarchal oppression. Ironically, these same themes helped to eclipse the three works—and many others like them—for too long.” — Sarah Resnick
“My head is splitting! The wine last night, the music, the delicious debauchery!” — CharlesLaughton, as Emperor Nero, in The Sign of the Cross
The sensual freedom that constituted much of the imagery of Hollywood’s silent period persisted into the sound era for four more years until a nationwide morals crusade reached critical mass in 1934, and strict enforcement of the Hays Code began.
Small-town church-goers were pushed to the brink by The Sign of the Cross (1932)—Cecil B. DeMille‘s notorious epic—which purloined a “Christian” story and served up nudity, violence, a lesbian dance sequence, and Emperor Nero as a raging queen. Needless to say, big city audiences responded to DeMille’s decadence with curiosity and enthusiasm, flocking to cinemas wherever it was playing.
Also on the bill: John M. Stahl‘s Only Yesterday (1933)—Margaret Sullavan‘s film debut—depicting out-of-wedlock childbirth, feminist and socialist advocacy, and an openly gay couple (Franklin Pangborn and Barry Norton)—scenarios that would disappear from Hollywood scripts for the next thirty years.
Mark A. Vieira will sign copies of his book Forbidden Hollywood: The Pre-Code Era before the screening.
Join director Radim Špaček for the U.S. premiere of GOLDENSTING, which follows the young members of a Czechoslovakian basketball team navigating Hitler’s rise, postwar liberation, and the Czech coup d’état of 1948, when the Communist Party took control of the country.
The film stars Filip Březina and ZdeněkPiškula, and opens the UCLA Film and TelevisionArchive series Czech That Film.
In the early 1990s, Ian Hart played John Lennon in two movies.* The first—THE HOURS ANDTIMES (1991)—imagines Lennon and Beatles manager Brian Epstein engaging in a nascent sexual relationship during a long weekend in Barcelona.
The film—written and directed by Christopher Munch, and co-starring David Angus as Epstein—has been restored by the UCLA Filmand Television Archive, and will screen on the closing day of their 2019 FestivalofPreservation.