August 8, 2019: Apocalypse Now… and Again and Again

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We saw One Child Nation at the True/False documentary film festival in Columbia, MO back in February, and were completely devastated by it. That film opens in theaters this week, and will eventually make its way to Amazon. (We can’t recommend True/False highly enough, by the way. An excellent festival!)

As the headline suggests, we’re also looking at the latest edit of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which plays several different theaters over the next couple weeks. And the Aero’s mini-retrospective of the films of Abbas Kiarostami is under way all this weekend. The giallo programming at USC continues in the next couple weeks, too — we’ll probably be returning to that next week, as well, as one of our favorite nasty gialli is coming up in that series.


One Child Nation (2019) Documentary CR: Amazon Studios

dir. Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

Opens on August 9 at the Laemmle Royal

Documentarians Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang journey across China to report the story of the country’s one-child policy, which was in effect from 1979 to 2015. Their findings draw a harrowing portrait of infanticide — which, in the context of the film, reads like a slow, controlled genocide — with participants from many strata of Chinese life. Wang and Zhang’s filmmaking, which features interviews with people in Wang’s own family and home village, tying the film to her personal experience, is patient and observant, a contrast to the absolutely horrifying stories recounted by their subjects. It’s easy to make One Child Nation sound as if it revels in misery, but this is a compassionate film about processing grief and reckoning with a deeply institutionalized misogyny.



Close-Up 600x200

dir. Abbas Kiarostami

August 10, 7:30 PM at the Aero Theatre

The re-opened Aero has an excellent program of films by the late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami running over four nights. If you only have time for one evening out, however, make it the August 10 presentation of Close-Up, in which the director recounts the true story of a man who impersonated a filmmaker and then conned a family into thinking they would be featured in his next movie. Kiarostami cast his movie with the real people involved in the story. Close-Up understands that truth and fiction can be indivisible, and approaches the story from a deeply empathetic perspective.



dir. Sergio Martino

April 13, 6:00 PM / 8:00 PM at the The Ray Stark Family Theatre, USC

USC, in collaboration with Arrow Video, has been playing a handful of 4K remasters of giallo standouts over the past month. Films by Dario Argento and Mario Bava get a lot of attention, but audiences new to the grimy pleasures of the genre should also pay attention to filmmaker Sergio Martino, whose movies often look more like conventional thrillers until they erupt in bursts of strange and grotesque violence. Martino’s Torso, on this bill, is pretty far on the sleazy end of the giallo spectrum, and as such it also stands as more of a prototype slasher movie than most.
Digital | INFO (The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail) | TICKETS (Torso)


dir. Francis Ford Coppola

August 15, 7:00 PM at the TCL Chinese / AMC Universal CityWalk / AMC Burbank 16

Yes, it’s a new edit of Francis Ford Coppola’s hallucinogenic war film. This time, it’s cut to be more expansive than the original release version and shorter than the hour-longer Apocalypse Now Redux, from 2001. Coppola’s continued tinkering with his movie makes it a living document; the new 4K master is a new opportunity to revel in Vittorio Storaro’s stupendous cinematography. After these first shows on the 15th, Final Cut will continue to play around town in theaters such as the Pacific Theatres at The Grove and multiple Arclight locations.

JURASSIC PARK (with live score) (1993)

dir. Steven Spielberg

August 16 + 17, 8:00 PM at the Hollywood Bowl

When you want the score to be as big as the dinosaurs, head over to the Hollywood Bowl for either of these L.A. Philharmonic performances of the John Williams score, performed live to picture. (Or go to both! It’s your money.) One thing, though: If there’s no rendition of the main theme on a recorder, the entire audience should storm right out of the amphitheater.
Digital | INFO + TICKETS


dir. Esfir Shub / Carl Th. Dreyer

August 16, 8:00 PM at the Echo Park Film Center

Two very different films are on this bill: Komsomol, from the first days of sound filmmaking in the Soviet Union, explores the relationship between electricity and the workers building a new hydro-electric dam that will bring power to the people. The film is directed by Esfir Shub, one of the few women working in the early days of Soviet film. Two People, meanwhile, is a one-room drama in which a doctor accused of plagiarism seeks refuge at home — and fails to find it.
Format N/A | INFO


dir. Roberta Findlay

August 13, 9:00 PM at the Alamo Drafthouse

Roberta Findlay’s apartment-block thriller is the very picture of urban exploitation. When the residents of a tenement building try to push out a drug-dealing gang that has occupied the basement, they face an excessively violent retaliation… and then the conflict escalates. Hosted by House of Psychotic Women author Kier-La Janisse.