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	Image: Mullholland Drive

Postcards from LA film series

A collection of films evoking one of America’s iconic cities

Steeped in the atmosphere of the “centreless metropolis of high hopes and great distances, whose moods are hard to read behind the bright façade” (Kristin Hohenadel, The Observer) this series includes popular classics, cult and experimental films. Themes include the relationship between landscape and architecture, high and low culture, representations of the body, crime and politics. We meet the fortune hunters, sex workers, housewives, movie stars, criminals, new arrivals and hard-bitten denizens whose lives intersect in the City of Angels, “a sunny place for shady people”.

The series screens in conjunction with Making sense: contemporary LA photo artists, which presents 13 photographs from artists based in Southern California.

Image: Mullholland Drive

Wednesdays 2pm & 7.15pm, Sundays 2pm
28 March – 6 May 2012
Wednesday 9 May 2012, 2pm & 7.15pm

Special Saturday screenings:
7, 21 & 28 April, 5 May 2012, 2pm

Free

Tickets are issued at the Domain Theatre one hour before commencement. Films start at the advertised time. Doors open 30 minutes before this. Latecomers not admitted.


Location: Domain Theatre

Related exhibition: Making sense

 
National Film & Sound Archive

Targets

Dir: Peter Bogdanovich 1967 (US)
90 mins 16mm Colour Rated M
Boris Karloff, Tim O’Kelly
The year 1968 was a pivotal one in the United States. The most turbulent twelve months of the post-war period, this was marked by the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, of race riots and anti-war protests. It was the year the war in Vietnam began to look unwinnable. Released in 1968, the filmmaking debut of critic-turned-director Peter Bogdanovich consists of two narratives: the story of an unhinged killer, Bobby Thompson (Tim O’Kelly), and that of an old-fashioned horror movie actor, Byron Orlock (Boris Karloff). Karloff effectively plays himself, a horror star on the point of retiring. While making a publicity appearance at a Los Angeles drive-in theatre, he confronts Bobby, a Vietnam veteran who has become a psychotic mass-murdering sniper. When their paths cross, real and fictitious violence become blurred. Bogdanovich emphasises the ironic contrast between the kind, rather weary horror actor, and the real horror of a psychopathic young person.

 

Wednesday 28 March 2012 2pm – 3:30pm

Wednesday 28 March 2012 7:15pm – 8:45pm

Sunday 1 April 2012 2pm – 3:30pm

Point Blank

Dir: John Boorman 1967 (US)
92 mins 35mm Colour Rated MA15+
Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson
John Boorman’s brutal crime-drama is one of the finest films of its type. A gangster (Lee Marvin) is double-crossed by both his wife and his crime partner. They shoot him and leave him for dead on Alcatraz Island – only to have him turn up in LA a few years later, bent on revenge. Marvin plays an old fashioned loner gangster, challenging a modern, corporate, criminal operation. Unconcerned with psychology and motivation, the film places its emphasis on action and surface appearances, superbly capturing the depersonalized feel of 1967 Los Angeles – a nightmare landscape of concrete, glass and coiling freeways.

 

Wednesday 4 April 2012 2pm – 3:32pm

Wednesday 4 April 2012 7:15pm – 8:47pm

Sunday 8 April 2012 2pm – 3:32pm

Me and You and Everyone We Know

Dir: Miranda July 2005 (US)
91 mins 35mm Colour Rated R
John Hawkes, Miranda July
Written and directed by noted performance artist Miranda July, Me and You and Everyone We Know tells the story of Christine, a would-be artist who supports herself as a driver with a car service for the elderly in Los Angeles. She falls in love with Richard, a shoe salesman, who is separated from his wife. As Richard and Christine fumble their way into a relationship, Richard’s two sons develop disturbing issues of their own. A unique take on contemporary life, the film is a penetrating and poetic observation of how people struggle to connect in an alienating city. Audacious, shocking, sly and often very funny, it scooped the awards at the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals the year of its release.

 

Saturday 7 April 2012 2pm – 3:31pm

LA Confidential

Dir: Curtis Hanson 1997 (US)
138 mins 35mm Colour Rated MA
Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pierce
Based on the best-selling novel by James Ellroy and directed by Curtis Hanson, this award-winning crime drama explores the dark side of the Los Angeles police force and Southern California’s criminal underbelly in the early 1950s, when Hollywood was America’s capital of sophistication. Dedicated to the crime movie genre, Hanson’s elegant film is faithful to the multi-layered and labyrinthine novel. The superbly chosen locations – from downtown police headquarters to the Hollywood Hills, South Central and such well-known haunts as the Formosa Cafe and the Frolic Room – convey a growing city drenched in corruption and tawdry glamour.

 

Wednesday 11 April 2012 2pm – 4:18pm

Wednesday 11 April 2012 7:15pm – 9:33pm

Sunday 15 April 2012 2pm – 4:18pm

Jackie Brown

Dir: Quentin Tarantino 1997 (US)
154 mins 35mm Colour Rated MA15+
Pam Grier, Robert Forster
Less frenetic than the director’s most famous films (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs), Jackie Brown offers a more textured mapping of Los Angeles, lingering on the details of place. Tarantino himself has said he felt this might be his best and most nuanced representation his hometown. Based on the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch, the story follows Jackie (Pam Grier), a stewardess with a small airline, who improves her slim earnings by transporting money for an arms dealer. Jackie is caught and ends up in prison, where a touching romance with a bail bondsman begins. Tarantino relocates the action of the novel from Miami to Los Angeles, celebrating the 1970s with his choice of music and settings, choosing two actors who rose to prominence in that decade (including blaxploitation queen, Pam Grier), exploring tender moments between two lonely people.

 

Wednesday 18 April 2012 2pm – 4:34pm

Wednesday 18 April 2012 7:15pm – 9:49pm

Sunday 22 April 2012 2pm – 4:34pm

[Safe]

Dir: Todd Haynes 1995 (US)
119 mins 35mm Colour Rated M
Julianne Moore, Xander Berkeley
[Safe] could be described as an intellectual horror film. Carol White (Julianne Moore), a Southern Californian housewife, is afflicted with an environmental illness. Fumes from trucks on the freeway result in an extreme coughing fit, her new perm causes a bleeding nose, she is allergic to her husband’s deodorant. Are there real environmental poisons at work devastating her body? Or is this her imagination? Leaving her protected suburban existence, she attempts to investigate her affliction but becomes even more isolated after joining a bizarre New Age retreat. Todd Haynes’ least-known film (he also directed Velvet goldmine and Far from heaven) moves at a leisurely pace, reflecting the rhythms of the central character’s life, as it explores the notion that everything in our environment is potentially lethal.

 

Saturday 21 April 2012 2pm – 3:59pm

Bowfinger

Dir: Frank Oz 1999 (US)
97 mins 35mm Colour
Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy
Bowfinger is a witty commentary on modern filmmaking. Steve Martin’s deliciously cynical script, coupled with a high-octane performance by Eddie Murphy, provides a rare insight into an unreal world. Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin) has struggled for years to make it in Hollywood with no real success. With no money and no big star, Bobby concocts an audacious plan, using borrowed equipment, a motley cast and an alien-invasion story written by his part-time receptionist. Satirising the elite, successful side of the movie business, as well as the desperate, down-on-their-luck Hollywood castoffs, this is a strange, boisterous and under-appreciated comedy. Directed by Frank Oz, Bowfinger isn’t just funny – it shows a genuine affection for movies and the process by which they are made.

 

Wednesday 25 April 2012 2pm – 4:18pm

Wednesday 25 April 2012 7:15pm – 9:33pm

Sunday 29 April 2012 2pm – 4:18pm

Pine Flat

Dir: Sharon Lockhart 2005 (US)
138 mins 16mm Colour Unclassified
Sharon Lockhart is renowned for films and photographs that examine quiet moments of everyday life. Set in a town of 300 people, about 170 miles northeast of Los Angeles, Pine Flat is a series of visually breathtaking, intimate scenes that portray childhood and the American landscape. Over a period of three years, Lockhart befriended local children and documented their lives. Her camera follows the children with an extraordinary sense of colour, sound and composition. Lockhart’s photographic work is included in the exhibition Making sense: contemporary LA photo artists.

 

Saturday 28 April 2012 2pm – 4:18pm

Mulholland Dr.

Dir: David Lynch 2001 (US)
147 mins 35mm Colour Rated MA15+
Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring
The starry image of Los Angeles is familiar from dozens of movies, but Mulholland Dr. is one of the few to capture the darker, bizarre side of the city. It depicts the beautiful but dangerous netherworld of Hollywood, deconstructing the dream factory and land of opportunity. David Lynch wrote and directed this mesmerising, visually menacing horror picture – a complex story of suspense set in an unreal universe. Focusing on two women who inadvertently walk a fine line between truth and deception, the film explores LA’s schizophrenic nature, an uneasy blend of innocence and corruption, love and loneliness, beauty and depravity. ‘This is a movie to surrender yourself to. If you require logic, see something else. Mulholland Drive works directly on the emotions, like music.’ – Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)

 

Wednesday 2 May 2012 2pm – 4:27pm

Wednesday 2 May 2012 7:15pm – 9:42pm

Sunday 6 May 2012 2pm – 4:27pm

Gerry

Dir: Gus Van Sant 2002 (US)
103 mins 35mm Colour Rated M
Casey Affleck, Matt Damon
Gus Van Sant’s languid film borrows from experimental cinema in its preoccupation with the dimensions of time and space, over conventional Hollywood storytelling. Employing basic film language – ever changing points of view contrasted with long static takes – the director depicts two young men on a metaphysical odyssey through a hostile desert landscape. The film provides no clues as to who these characters are or why they are on the journey. But, as it progresses, their journey becomes increasingly abstract and hypnotic: a friendship is tested to its limits and isolation becomes universal.

 

Saturday 5 May 2012 2pm – 3:43pm

The Limey

Dir: Steven Soderbergh 1999 (US)
89 mins 35mm Colour Rated MA15+
Terence Stamp, Lesley Ann Warren
With its rapid, fragmented cutting, time jumps and reflexive style, Steven Soderbergh’s brash, economical movie invokes John Boorman’s 1967 revenge/mystery masterpiece, Point Blank (screening 4 & 8 April). Wilson (Terence Stamp) is a London ex-career criminal wanting to avenge his daughter’s death. A spry Cockney, when he learns that his daughter was killed in a suspicious car accident in Southern California, he hops on a jet to investigate. In LA, he coolly embarks on his warpath, hooking up with a couple of his daughter’s friends, dispatching some underlings and finally decides to confront a record producer/drug lord named Terry Valentine (Peter Fonda). The Limey alternates between various periods of Wilson’s life, one being the young Wilson in happier days. For this, Soderbergh and his editor Sarah Flack cunningly appropriated footage from one of actor Terence Stamp’s 1960s films: Ken Loach’s first feature, Poor Cow (1967).

 

Wednesday 9 May 2012 2pm – 3:29pm

Wednesday 9 May 2012 7:15pm – 8:44pm