September 6, 2019: L.A.’s Best Genre Fest, and a 16mm Rarity

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Beyond Fest

Beyond Fest 600x200

September 25 – October 8 at the Egyptian Theatre

Beyond Fest returns for a 14-day run at the Egyptian. The genre and horror-heavy lineup boasts 39 feature films, including what for many L.A. audiences will be the first chance to see Bong Joon-ho’s amazing Parasite (a film which gets our unqualified endorsement) and Taika Waititi’s satire Jojo Rabbit. Elliott Gould will turn up for a showing of The Long Goodbye, and the fest has the first-ever theatrical screenings of Mooch Goes to Hollywood, a weirdo “dog becomes friends with Zsa Zsa Gabor and Vincent Price while trying to make it as an actor” not-classic.

A repertory program includes Jennifer’s Body, The Exorcist director’s cut, and Natural Born Killers, all with directors in the house. There are more esoteric choices, too, like Paganini Horror and The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. Richard Stanley’s new Color Out of Space — which adapts H.P. Lovecraft’s story of the same name with Nicolas Cage in one of the lead roles — also comes to L.A. straight from the Midnight Madness program at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, while Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real and Judy & Punch by Mirrah Foulkes also migrate to the city from other successful festival runs. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Saturday) morning, and if past years are any indication, high-profile events will sell out quickly.




dir. Ann Hui

September 15 at 6:00 PM at the Bootleg Theater

The Projections group specializes in presenting 16mm prints of films that can’t easily be found on home media or streaming (if at all) such as Joseph Pevney’s Shakedown and the magnificent Les jeux sont faits, from 1947. The group’s next presentation is Ann Hui’s rarely-seen autobiographical / generational drama, based on the filmmaker’s own relationship with her mother. Hui is no fool: She cast the luminous Maggie Cheung in the role inspired by herself. The actress plays Hong Kong-born Cheung Hueyin, whose relationship with her Japanese mother is strained by layers of cultural and political friction. We have to wonder if the success of this year’s The Farewell helped influence this programming choice, which is presented in conjunction with Vidiots and LACMA. Plays with Daniel Barnett’s 1978 short The Chinese Typewriter.



dir. Charles Burnett

September 7 at 10:30 AM at the Vista Theatre

We try not to write up the same films more than once in the span of a year, but, yes, we did highlight Killer of Sheep back in January. However, this is a 35mm presentation of Charles Burnett’s incredible network of vignettes set in and around South Central Los Angeles. To repeat: “Superficially, it looks like the photography of Robert Frank, feels like the minimalism of Robert Bresson, and sounds like the pop-soundtracked movies of Martin Scorsese. But Killer of Sheep, shot in the early ‘70s and never commercially distributed until 2007, is wholly unique.”



dir. René Clément

September 7 at 4:00 PM at the Aero Theatre

René Clément’s sensual, ultra-cool film is one of several adaptations of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley. Depending upon which version of the story you encountered first, it might rank as the best. Certainly, with Alain Delon in his first major role as murderous social grifter Tom Ripley, there’s every reason to be seduced by this version — even with an ending that is a bit too soft to stand up to Highsmith’s original plotting.


dir. Thomas Ince / Unknown

September 12 at 7:00 PM at the Ray Stark Family Theatre, USC

Two short films produced by Tom Cochrane in 1911 are presented as an intro to discussion of the book The Cochrane Brothers and the Making of Universal Pictures. Cochrane made these movies in Cuba after fleeting the controlling hand of the Thomas Edison Trust, as Edison aggressively tried to stamp out competing production outfits such as Cochrane and Carl Laemmle’s Independent Motion Picture Company, which eventually morphed into the first incarnation of Universal Pictures. Mary Pickford starred in Artful Kate prior to her work with D.W. Griffith and eventual superstardom.


dir. Satoshi Kon

September 13 at 7:30 PM at the Aero Theatre

Outside of occasional dalliances with Akira and the films of Hayao Miyazaki, most L.A. theaters leave anime to the big chains and Fathom Events. So the Aero’s September program, featuring a sort of get-acquainted greatest hits package of anime highlights, is a welcome sight. Every film in this lineup is excellent (fair warning: we’ll talk about Grave of the Fireflies next week) but this program, with two of the late filmmaker Satoshi Kon’s four features, is really the special one. You won’t see anything else like Perfect Blue, which whips ideas about celebrity and identity into a swirl of narrative hallucinations and graphic slasher violence.