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Around Town: Superman flies again and the New Wave returns

December 1, 2011 |  7:00 am


A Francois Truffaut retrospective, an animation festival and a screening of 1978’s “Superman” are among this week’s highlights.

The American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre celebrates the legacy of one of the founders of France’s New Wave cinema, Francois Truffaut, who died at the age of 52 in 1984. “The Film Lover: A Francois Truffaut Retrospective” commences Friday evening with his first feature film, 1959’s “The 400 Blows,” his critically acclaimed autobiographical drama about a troubled young boy, Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Leaud in a stunning performance). The second feature is Truffaut’s third entry in the Antoine Doinel series, the 1968 romantic comedy “Stolen Kisses,” with Leaud and Delphine Seyrig.

Truffaut pays homage to one of his icons, Alfred Hitchcock, in his 1968 mystery thriller “The Bride Wore Black,” starring Jeanne Moreau in the title role, which screens Saturday. Also on tap is his 1962 masterwork, “Jules and Jim” with Moreau and Oskar Werner. The retrospective concludes Sunday with his 1960 film noir, “Shoot the Piano Player” with Charles Aznavour, and 1980’s World War II drama “The Last Metro,” with Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve. http://www.americancinematheque.com

Cinefamily’s Silent Movie Theatre gets highly animated this week. The “Animation Breakdown” begins with “An Evening With Don Hertzfeldt” on Thursday, featuring the L.A. premiere of his latest animated short, “It’s Such a Beautiful Day.” The filmmaker will be appearing in person. On Friday, Cinefamily shines the spotlight on Polish animation with several shorts by noted animators including an exclusive presentation of the Brothers Quays’ latest film, “Maska.” Saturday afternoon’s offering is a sneak preview of Pixar’s newest short film, “La Luna,” six months before its theatrical release. Later in the afternoon, Cinefamily presents a cast and crew reunion of the Cartoon Network series “Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.”

The animation programs continue Saturday evening with a selection of Polish animation shorts followed by a tribute “Brad Neely: From Creased Comics to China, IL.” There are more Polish animation shorts in the offing early Sunday afternoon as well as a tribute to animator Bruce Bickford later in the evening.

Animation historian Jerry Beck presents a new 35mm restoration of the once lost Disney “Laugh-O-Gram” cartoons Tuesday evening. These were Walt Disney's first animated shorts produced in Kansas City nearly 90 years ago. Included are “Jack the Giant Killer” and “Goldie Locks and the Three Bears.” http://www.cinefamily.org

UCLA Film & Television Archive’s Wednesday evening screening series at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles takes flight with the 1978 blockbuster “Superman,” directed by Richard Donner, and starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. http://www.cinema.ucla.edu.

Henry Jaglom will be on hand at the Cinematheque’s Aero on Theatre Thursday evening for a screening of his 1977 psychological drama “Tracks,” starring Dennis Hooper as a Vietnam sergeant who is mentally unstable due to the conflict.

On Friday, the Aero kicks off its “Spectacular Holiday Spirit on the Big Screen” with two rarities: 1944’s drama “Christmas Holiday” with Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly, and Bill Forsyth’s underrated 1986 comedy “Comfort and Joy,” with Bill Paterson and Clare Grogan. On Saturday, the Aero celebrates the 20th anniversary of the box office hit “The Addams Family,” directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring Anjelica Huston as Morticia and Raul Julia as Gomez. Also screening is the far more entertaining 1993 sequel, “Addams Family Values.” 

Steven Spielberg’s lavish 1991 fantasy, “Hook,” starring Robin Williams as an adult Peter Pan and Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook, screens Sunday afternoon in a 70mm print. Later in the evening, the Aero screens 70mm prints of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1993 box office dud “Last Action Hero,” and Sylvester Stallone’s 1993 thriller “Cliffhanger.”

Brazilian director Jose Padilha will appear in person Wednesday at the Aero with his latest film, “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within,” which is the country’s official submission for the foreign language film Oscar. Screening Wednesday at the Egyptian is the 2010 low-budget indie “Dirty Old Town.” One of the film’s stars, actress Janell Shirtcliff, will participate in a discussion after the screening. http://www.americancinematheque.com

Directors Gavin O’Connor (“Warrior”) and Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”) will discuss director Barry Levinson’s directorial debut, 1982’s “Diner,” after a screening of the memorable comedy starring Steve Guttenberg, Kevin Bacon and Mickey Rourke, Thursday evening at Film Independent at LACMA at the Leo S. Bing Theatre. Tuesday’s matinee screening is Otto Preminger’s wonderful 1959 courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Murder” with Jimmy Stewart and Lee Remick. http://www.lacma.org

UCLA Film & Television Archive’s “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema” enters its third month at the Billy Wilder Theater on Friday with several short films from director Alile Sharon Larkin, including "A Different Image” and “Your Children Come Back to You.” Larkin will be appearing in person.

Director Charles Burnett will be appearing in person Wednesday at the Wilder with a screening of his well-received 1990 drama “To Sleep With Anger,” starring Danny Glover and Vonetta McGee.

On Saturday, the archive’s Legacy Screening series presents the 1991 documentary “American Fabulous,” directed by Reno Dakota, about his friend, a gay man living in Central Ohio. Dakota will be in attendance at the screening at the Wilder.

Though Jeanne Moreau is best-known as an actress, she has also directed two features. On Sunday, the archive presents 1979’s “The Adolescent” and 1976’s acclaimed “Lumiere.” http://www.cinema.ucla.edu.

The New Beverly Cinema offers a Wes Anderson double bill Thursday-Saturday: 1998’s “Rushmore,” with Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and Seymour Cassell, and 2001’s “The Royal Tenenbaums,” starring Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Stiller. The new 35mm restoration of Sergei M. Eisenstein’s 1925 masterwork “Battleship Potemkin” screens Sunday and Monday. http://www.newbevcinema.com

The L.A. Conservancy has a special Sunday matinee of the 1947 holiday classic "Miracle on 34th Street," with John Payne, Maureen O'Sullivan, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn, who won the supporting actor Oscar as Kris Kringle. The screening is at the venerable Million Dollar Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. http://www.laconservancy.org/matinee

The Los Angeles Filmforum presents “Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980” Visual Communications” Sunday afternoon at the Downtown Independent. Among the films on the program is 1974’s “I Told You So.” http:/www.lafilmforum.org

The ArcLight Cinemas are presenting holiday classics this month. Screening Monday at the Arclight Hollywood is arguably everyone’s favorite yuletide fare, Frank Capra’s 1946 “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. The 1993 stop-motion animated delight from producer Tim Burton, “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” visits the Arclight Sherman Oaks on Wednesday and the Beach Cities venue Wednesday evening. http://www.arclightcinemas.com

The Skirball Center screens “Shame” Tuesday evening. No, not Steve McQueen’s current controversial drama about a sex addict, but a 2006 documentary about a spokesperson for women’s rights in Pakistan. http:://www.skirball.org.

The Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival takes over the New Beverly Cinema for six days beginning Tuesday evening. The festival promotes independent cinema and includes feature films, documentaries, shorts and videos by new artists. http://www.hollywoodreelindependentfilmfestival.com
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “2011-2012 Documentary Series” visits the California Science Center IMAX Theater on Wednesday for a screening of the 2010 “Hubble 3D.” http://www.oscars.org


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Photo: Jean-Pierre Leaud, left, in "The 400 Blows." Credit: Fox Lorber Features