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Around town: Cowboys, gangsters and groupies on the big screen

December 9, 2010 |  5:00 am

It's hard to believe it's been five years since "Brokeback Mountain" was released. The film, which won Oscars for director Ang Lee, screenplay adaptation and musical score, tells the poignant, tragic story of the secretive love affair between two cowboys (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) over the years.

This Saturday, the Autry National Center will celebrate the film with a day of, according to the Autry, "programs and reflection." The movie will screen at 11:30 a.m. and at 3 p.m. there will be a staged reading, by Gregory Hinton, based on the book "Beyond Brokeback." The shirts featured so prominently in the movie are also on display at the Autry. http://www.theautry.org/programs/brokeback-mountain

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents the U.S. premiere Saturday of the new 35mm restoration by the Academy Film Archive of legendary Indian director Satyajit Ray's 1977 color production, "The Chess Players." The film is presented in conjunction with the exhibition "India's Fabled City: The Art of Courtly Lucknow."

LACMA is also offering a sneak preview Friday evening of the new drama "Rabbit Hole," starring Nicole Kidman. Director John Cameron Mitchell will be on hand for a Q&A. http://www.lacma.org

The Independent Film & Television Alliance, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year by screening the 30 most significant indie films from the last three decades, presents "Where the Day Takes You," the 1992 drama about teenage runaways in L.A. Thursday at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. There's a discussion following the screening with many of the film's stars including Dermot Mulroney, Lara Flynn Boyle, Ricki Lake, Balthazar Getty and Laura San Giacomo.

On Friday, the Aero celebrates the 20th anniversary of Martin Scorsese's gangster film "GoodFellas," starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci, in his Oscar-winning supporting actor role. Following is Scorsese's first gangster flick, 1973's "Mean Streets" with De Niro and Harvey Keitel.

Returning Sunday at the Aero is the 330-minute version of Olivier Assayas' "Carlos," starring Edgar Ramirez as the infamous killer Carlos the Jackal. On Wednesday, Christophe Van Rompaey's quirky 2008 Belgian romantic comedy "Moscow, Belgium," screens at the Aero. A Belgian beer reception will follow. 

The Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre presents the 10th annual "Attack of the 50-Foot Reels" Thursday evening. Filmmakers will shoot and edit in camera a short movie using just one cartridge of Kodachrome Super 8 film -- the film stock was discontinued in 2005, and now the only remaining lab set up to process it is discontinuing the service at the end of this year -- and then introduce their work.

Two features directed by the late Frank Perry ("David and Lisa") are on tap for Friday at the Egyptian -- 1972's "Play It As it Lays," featuring an acclaimed performance by Tuesday Weld as a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and the haunting 1968 drama, "The Swimmer," starring Burt Lancaster in on of his best performances.

Saturday, the Egyptian pays tribute to Disney animator Glen Keane, who designed and supervised many of the contemporary Disney classics including "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin" and "Pocahontas." He was also the animation supervisor with Clay Kaytis and John Kahrs on the current hit, "Tangled." Keane will talk with animation historian Charles Solomon after the screening of "Little Mermaid."

On tap for Wednesday are two of Preston Sturges' comedic masterpieces, 1941's "Sullivan's Travels" and 1944's "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek."  http://www.americancinematheque.com

Alan Rudolph's underrated 1985 noir, "Trouble in Mind," starring Kris Kristofferson, Keith Carradine, Lori Singer, Genevieve Bujold and Divine in a rare non-female role, screens Friday-Saturday at the New Beverly, coinciding with its recent release on DVD. Carradine, Singer, producer David Blocker and composer Mark Isham are scheduled to appear. Also screening is a new documentary, "Making Trouble in Mind," and Rudolph's 1988 drama "The Moderns," with Carrradine, Bujold and Geraldine Chaplin.

At midnight on Saturday, the New Beverly presents the 20th anniversary screening of the blockbuster "Home Alone" with Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. http://www.newbevcinema.com

Though it only lasted two seasons on Starz, the comedy series "Party Down," about a misfit group of dreamers working for a Hollywood catering company, had a loyal following among audiences and critics. On Sunday, the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre is presenting a " 'Party Down' Memorial Service & Cinefamily Fun-Draiser." Besides presenting back-to-back episodes from both seasons, the event will feature co-creators John Enbom and Dan Etheridge, along with several members of the show's cast.

Speaking of partying down, rock 'n' roll historian Pamela Des Barres is the subject of the documentary "Let's Spend the Night Together: Confessions of Rock's Greatest Groupies," which screens Monday at the Silent Movie Theatre. Co-presented by VH1 and Don't Knock the Rock, the evening will also present a Q&A with Des Barres and director Jenna Rosher, among others. Michael Des Barres, the ex-husband of Pamela, moderates the Q&A. http://www.cinefamily.org

ArcLight Cinemas continue its holiday movie festival with the comedy hit "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," Monday at the Arclight Hollywood. Scheduled for Tuesday in Sherman Oaks is Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy "The Holiday" with Jude Law, Jack Black, Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. On tap for Wednesday at the ArcLight Pasadena is Ron Howard's lavish version of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," with Jim Carrey. Also Wednesday is the 1946 Frank Capra classic "It's a Wonderful Life," at the ArcLight Beach Cities. http://www.arclightcinemas.com

 -- Susan King

Photo: Heath Ledger (left) and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brokeback Mountain." Credit: Kimberly French / Focus Features