Claire Denis’ City of “Bastards”

Film
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Her first feature, “Chocolat”—autobiographical, set in Africa, brazen in the extreme—announced Claire Denis as Europe’s most daring writer-director. She still is, with only a few filmmakers from Iberia (Pedro Costa, Joao Pedro Rodrigues, Albert Serra, Miguel Gomes, all much younger than Denis) as serious competition. Her latest, “Bastards,” (at Laemmle’s Town Center 5 in Encino) ...

Around the world with Enzo Avitabile

Film · Music
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One of globalization’s least noted benefits has been the rise of world music, led by a motley crew of legends ranging from Peter Gabriel and Mickey Hart to Djivan Gasparyan and Enzo Avitabile. Drums and frets form the basis for the cross-cultural exchanges, even though an artist like the Naples-born Avitabile is a singer and ...

Koehler on Cinema: Clips

Film
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It may well be, as one Los Angeles cinephile said to me last week, “the year’s most important film series.” UCLA Film Archive’s “A Century of Chinese Cinema,” unlike the archive’s recent survey of contemporary Chinese cinema curated by former archive programmer Cheng-Sim Lim and REDCAT film series co-director Berenice Reynaud, takes a more historical ...

Koehler on Cinema: The Jia “touch”

Film
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The Fifth Generation of Mainland Chinese filmmakers who emerged in the 1980s, such as Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, began their careers as rebellious independents, but have settled for roles as state-approved makers of harmless epic period pieces like Zhang’s “The Flowers of War.” (To seal his official bona fides, Zhang masterminded the ultra-nationalist Beijing ...

A la française: food & fashion films

Fashion · Film
If you are me, you’re going to the movies this weekend. You’re going to skip “Rush,” but there are two oh-so-French movies opening, one which I have seen and recommend highly. I loved “Haute Cuisine.”  Hortense Laborie (Catherine Frot), a renowned chef from Perigord, is astonished when the President of the Republic (Jean d’Ormesson) appoints ...

Koehler on Cinema: When Losey Went Pinteresque 1

Film
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At the center of Harold Pinter and Joseph Losey’s “The Servant” (opening Friday at Laemmle’s Royal) is how wonderful—no, how scrumptious—it is to watch James Fox’s sniveling, weakling upper-class gent brought down and subverted by Dirk Bogarde’s all-seeing, smirking house servant. Pinter’s name precedes Losey’s in the first sentence for a few reasons. One has ...

Koehler on Cinema: Love in Texas, Wandering in Vienna

Film · Reviews
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Los Angeles—like all American cities—tends to get so few of the exceptional films from the international festival circuit that when two arrive in the same week, it’s worth paying attention. The fact that most moviegoers aren’t aware of the tiny slivers they’re getting from the huge festival pie is an issue by itself, another story ...

Catskills University, educating Jewish comics 2

Film · Language & ideas
Oh pure pleasure to watch these guys — and a few very brave women, Totie Fields and Joan Rivers — spiel, kvetch and kill in WHEN COMEDY WENT TO SCHOOL. A wonderful new documentary opening Friday at Laemmle theaters spools a nostalgic tour of a sweaty swathe of summertime civilization — the erstwhile Borsht Belt, a ...

Exceptional French film to spool at Laemmle Theatres 1

Film
Laemmle Theatres and Rialto Pictures present Marcel Carné’s Port of Shadows (1938) in a new DCP restoration featuring an all-new translation and subtitles by Lenny Borger. When Jean (Jean Gabin), a deserter from the Colonial Army, arrives in Le Havre searching for a place to lie low, he doesn’t expect to wind up in the ...

Bob Marley remembered 2

Film · Music
What I learned about reggae artist Bob Marley from “Marley,” an inspiring new documentary produced by his son: he was biracial (I did not know that) he was the soul of jamaica  he was gorgeous and nicely built he was all music, from childhood he was all artist, beatific in the final years of his ...