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Wednesday night in Los Angeles: Mike Mills with 'Beginners' [Video]

June 1, 2011 | 12:43 pm

Wednesday night in Los Angeles, writer-director Mike Mills ("Thumbsucker") will screen and talk about his new film, "Beginners," which stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer.

In the film McGregor plays Oliver, a graphic designer whose life begins to change when he learns that his father, Plummer, is dying -- and that he's gay.

Oliver is working on an album cover -- as Mills himself has. Those drawings, actually done by Mills, can be found in the new book "Drawings from the Film Beginners" by Mike Mills, available from Damiani.

"We both often figure out what we're thinking by drawing," Mills said of the character Oliver, in a release about the book. "Oliver has the unfortunate idea of creating an illustrated 'History of Sadness' as a record cover for The Sades, including such episodes as Neaderthal man realizes he's outclassed by homo sapiens man, the Pilgrims, industrialization, birth of the novel, pets in general and many more."

The yellow-covered "Drawings from the Film Beginners" includes the sadness series, along with two other sets of drawings, "Scenes from 1955" and "The History of Love."

On Mills' blog about the film -- and now the screenings, from SXSW to Paris -- he has posted original videos and lots of influences. There are film clips, of course, and photographs, design, music and several literary influences, too. Among them: James Baldwin, Gary Snyder, William Carlos Williams and Charles Bukowski's "Mockingbird Wish Me Luck." "I'm not into alcoholics or macho-depressives," Mills writes, "and yet I find these poems magical."

The screening is at the Hammer Museum. Tickets, available from the box office an hour before the film's 7 p.m. start, are free.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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