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American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre Presents...
Movies on the Big Screen Since 1940!
1328 Montana Avenue at 14th Street in Santa Monica


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Click to print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of a April 2009 Calendar!
Series compiled by: Gwen Deglise and Grant Moninger.

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The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the newly re-opened and renovated Aero Theatre at 1328 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica and at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Barry Gerber. Aero Theatre (c) 2004.

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<<< June 24 - July 1, 2009 >>>

Cine-Varda

 

http://www.myspace.com/americancinematheque

 

Presented in collaboration with the Unifrance and the French Film and TV Office in Los Angeles, French Embassy.

With the support of E.L.M.A. (European Languages and Movies in America)

A gifted and outspoken feminist and one of the most acclaimed directors anywhere in the world, Agnès Varda could be considered the prototype of today’s independent filmmaker. Varda is a survivor, a stubborn and patient observer of her time and her people, like the pop singer in CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7, the lovers in LE BONHEUR (HAPPINESS) or the drifter in VAGABOND. "I have fought so much since I started … for something that comes from emotion, from visual emotion, sound emotion, feeling, and finding a shape for that," Varda has said.

Varda directed her first feature, LA POINTE COURTE, in 1954, with no formal training in filmmaking. The movie has often been identified as the film that started the French New Wave ("and a famous flop," as Varda has wryly noted). Along with Alain Resnais and Chris Marker, she made up the so-called "Left Bank Group" of the early 1960s, distinct from other New Wave directors for their interest in both documentary and fiction and their passion for both political and social filmmaking. Her marriage to Jacques Demy (1931-1990) made her one-half of the most beloved filmmaking couple of their day, and her tribute to Demy, JACQUOT DE NANTES, is one of her finest films.

In 1962, Varda directed the legendary CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7, a French New Wave classic about two hours in the life of a pop singer. The film’s sense of profound realism crossed with lyrical visual poetry pointed the way toward much of Varda’s later work, which would alternate between acclaimed documentaries and romantic but naturalistic fiction features. Capable of crafting both gritty cinematic time capsules and expressionistic mood pieces like LES CREATURES, the breadth of Varda’s talent is nearly as astonishing as its depth. For more than 50 years, she has continued to experiment and innovate, creating one of the first digital video masterpieces (THE GLEANERS AND I) as well as timely portraits of cities from L.A. (LIONS LOVE) to Paris. She has worked in nearly every form of filmmaking that exists, from shorts to documentaries to a delightful celebration of film history (ONE HUNDRED AND ONE NIGHTS), and has mastered them all.

As if that weren’t enough, Varda also helmed one of the greatest French films of the 1980s, VAGABOND, and published a highly acclaimed autobiography. Recent years have seen no slowing down of her output and no lessening of her talent: Her latest film, THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS, won the Cesar (the French equivalent of the Academy Award) for best documentary. Varda has been quoted as saying that she wants "to illuminate women’s lives—not only their hardships, although they’re important, but also the light, the transparency, the pleasure of being a woman." While Varda has certainly accomplished this, the range of her work is more expansive than perhaps even she knows—it is not enough to label her a feminist filmmaker, or a New Wave filmmaker, or a political filmmaker. She is simply one of the greatest living directors in any country, working in any language, in any form.

Agnes Varda's official website.
Senses of Cinema Article on Agnes Varda

The Cinematheque is proud to present a sneak preview of THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS along with a series of Varda’s masterpieces, with the director herself live and in-person.

 

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Wednesday, June 24 - 7:30 PM
Kevin Thomas’ Favorites:
JACQUOT DE NANTES, 1991, Ciné-Tamaris, 118 min. Director Agnès Varda’s tender farewell to her late husband, Jacques Demy, JACQUOT re-creates the early years of Demy’s life in the port city of Nantes, delicately interwoven with clips from LOLA, THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG and his other films. Interspersed throughout the film are intimate close-ups of Demy’s fragile body, tenderly filmed by Varda in one of her most personal and affecting films. With Philippe Maron, Edouard Joubeaud, Laurent Monnier. "Has there been anything quite like JACQUOT DE NANTES?…It deserves to be called a CINEMA PARADISO without self-indulgence, or a 400 BLOWS without self-pity." – Film Comment. Trailer

Plus short: "Uncle Yanco", (1967, Ciné-Tamaris,, 22 min.) While in San Francisco for the promotion of her last film in October 1967, Agnès Varda, tipped by her friend Tom Luddy, gets to know a relative she had never heard of before, Jean Varda, nicknamed Yanco. This hitherto unknown uncle lives on a boat in Sausalito, is a painter, has adopted a hippie lifestyle and loves life. The meeting is a very happy one. Discussion following with director Agnes Varda, moderated by film critic Kevin Thomas.

 

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Thursday, June 25 - 7:30 PM
Agnès Varda’s Masterpiece Documentaries:

THE GLEANERS & I (LES GLANEURS ET LA GLANEUSE), 2001, Zeitgeist, 82 min. Once again Agnes Varda uses the documentary format as a jumping-off point for an expressionistic diary in which her own life intercedes. A marvelous "wandering road documentary" that focuses on the centuries-old tradition of "gleaning" in France -- literally picking up the castoffs of others. Varda follows rural scavengers who gather leftover vegetables after the harvest, and urban scavengers who collect discarded food and appliances from the streets of Paris. Interwoven with these are Varda's own intimate thoughts on aging, humorous interviews with judges and attorneys who debate, Monty Python-style, the legality of gleaning while standing in potato fields, and a host of other spontaneous musings on French art and culture. Through it all, Varda's patient sense of social obligation shines through, as she asks again and again, "How can one live on the leftovers of others?" "I managed to approach [the gleaners], to bring them out of their anonymity. I discovered their generosity. There are many ways of being poor, having common sense, anger or humor." -- Agnès Varda.

THE GLEANERS & I: TWO YEARS LATER, 2002, Zeitgeist, 60 min. Varda's exuberantly inventive follow-up to her critically lauded essay film, in which she revisits characters from the original and further explores what it means to be a gleaner. Discussion in between films with director Agnès Varda.

 

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Friday, June 26 - 7:30 PM
Los Angeles-Inspired:

LIONS LOVE (AND LIES), 1969, Ciné-Tamaris, 110 min. A blissed-out experiment in anarchy and illusion, featuring Warhol superstar Viva (from LONESOME COWBOYS) and "Hair" authors James Rado and Jerome Ragni playing "themselves" -- three innocents adrift in Hollywood. Freely mixing improvisation with scripted dialogue, and occasional news reports on the shootings of Robert Kennedy and Warhol, which interrupt the film, LIONS LOVE is Agnes Varda’s gloriously screwy time capsule of L.A. in its free-love acid-tripping let-it-all-hang-out heyday. In English.MurMurs_W.jpg (15186 bytes)

MURS MURS, 1980, Ciné-Tamaris, 81 min. Essential viewing for all Angelenos, MURS MURS is Varda’s lively tribute to this city’s outdoor murals, from the riotous Pig Paradise in Vernon to The Fall of Icarus in Venice. Along the way, she captures priceless interviews with the muralists themselves, including 23-year old Judy Baca, who observes, "I started painting because I realized… that I had never seen a Chicana in a museum." In English. Discussion in between films with director Agnès Varda.

 

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Saturday, June 27 - 7:30 PM

Agnes Varda’s Classics:

CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7 (CLEO DE 5 A 7), 1961, Ciné-Tamaris, 90 min. Dir. Agnès Varda’s international breakthrough film, CLEO ranks with BREATHLESS and THE 400 BLOWS as one of the seminal works of the French New Wave. Two hours in the life of a hopelessly pretty pop singer (Corrine Marchand), who may or may not be dying of cancer. Vain, childish and selfish at the start, Cléo’s journey through Paris becomes a journey of self-discovery. "The streets of Paris are filmed like they have never again been filmed" - Telerama

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VAGABOND (SANS TOIT NI LOI), 1985, Ciné-Tamaris, 107 min. Agnes Varda’s most acclaimed work since CLÉO and arguably the greatest French film of the 1980s, VAGABOND tells the brutal, simple, yet unrelenting story of the last months in the life of a young female drifter. Sandrine Bonnaire’s harrowing performance in the lead role made her an overnight international star at the age of 18. (The French title of the film literally translates as "without roof or law.") Shot in a semi-documentary style, the film opens abruptly on the body of Mona, frozen to death in a ditch on the side of the road. Interspersed with flashbacks of Mona’s life as a drifter are reminiscences by the people she met along the way. In spite of Varda’s attention, Mona ultimately remains unknowable, even to herself. She is a cipher, misunderstood by those she has encountered even as they recall their impressions and interactions with her for the camera. Discussion in between films with director Agnès Varda. Trailer

 


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Wednesday, July 1 - 7:30PM

Sneak Preview! THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS (LES PLAGES D’ AGNÈS), 2008, 110 min. "If you opened people up, you would find landscapes," Varda says in the opening voiceover of her new film. "If you opened me up, you would find beaches." Varda’s latest work is an autobiographical essay that takes a nostalgic yet penetrating look back at her life and films. Using photographs, recreations and scenes from her films, Varda illustrates the various stages of her life, from her marriage to Jacques Demy and his death in 1990 to her childhood memories of Sète, the fishing village that would become the subject of her first film. Woven through these reminiscences are lonely, dreamlike sequences shot on the beaches that have influenced and inspired her. Plus US Premiere! "Gwen From Brittany," a short portrait of the encounters over the last decade of Agnès Varda and Gwen Deglise, programmer at the American Cinematheque, shot at the Aero and Egyptian Theatres while Varda was in Los Angeles shooting THE BEACHES OF AGNÈS. Discussion in between films with director Agnès Varda. Trailer Roger Ebert Review