Los Angeles Film Festival 

Critics Choices and Schedule


Writing in these very pages one year ago, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, I suggested that the Los Angeles Film Festival was really only 4 years old — its rebirth marked by the moment when the Independent Feature Project/Los Angeles took control of the erstwhile Los Angeles Independent Film Festival and began a fruitful process of reinvention. One year later, it’s the IFP/L.A. itself that has been born again, having recently broken rank with the five other national IFP chapters and re-christened itself Film INDependent (or FIND for short). Though little change will be evident to the outside observer — the IFP/L.A. staff remains in place, as does its involvement in both LAFF and the Independent Spirit Awards — the move speaks to the maverick attitude of an organization that has consistently and diligently sought to expand our definition of “independent” film. To wit, the imaginatively programmed lineup of this year’s LAFF (which runs today through June 26) juxtaposes new films from the far corners of the globe against those made right here in our own back yard, music videos against short films, and the favorite movies of veteran director Sydney Pollack against those of hip-hop wizard The RZA. And that’s just for starters! Also on tap: sneak peeks at some of the summer’s most anticipated art-house films (including Wong Kar-Wai’s 2046 and Jim Jarmusch’s direct-from-Cannes Broken Flowers), posthumous tributes to three seminal figures of the American independent cinema (Morris Engel, Ossie Davis and Stan Brakhage) and an in-depth discussion with legendary screenwriter Robert Towne. You can FIND out more at www.lafilmfest.com. In the meantime, our critics offer their takes on those films and special events made available for preview.

—Scott Foundas

A list of the films and their showtimes can be found here.

Related Stories

  • SZA Crashes the Top Dawg Boys' Club

    When I reach SZA on the phone, she is just about to get naked with her friends and smoke a blunt on the beach, an experience that almost perfectly approximates the vibe of her music: cozy but exposed, sensual but funny, and deliberately fuzzy around the edges. It hasn't been...
  • Best Pastrami 28

    Finding a pastrami sandwich to eat in Los Angeles has never been a challenge. From Boyle Heights to Tarzana, there are burger stands, dedicated pastrami shacks and classic delis, all offering sandwiches made with the salty smoked meat. Lately, with a renewed interest in all things house-made, you can also...
  • $100 Short 2

    L.A. is the most unaffordable rental market in the United States. And if you're lucky enough to be in the market to buy your own place, you're also facing some of the highest prices in the nation. Now comes word that the cash in your pocket has become less valuable...
  • Are You Ready to Vote on Weed Shop Policing?

    A proposed law that would have established policing of marijuana dispensaries statewide was essentially killed in the California legislature last week. Dale Gieringer, state coordinator of California NORML, says it's now time to take the matter directly to voters. He envisions the possibility, in 2016, of an initiative that would...
  • Porn's Condom Law Goes Down

    A proposal, dreaded by the porn industry, that would have mandated condom use for adult performers on-set throughout the state of California, was essentially defeated in the legislature today. The bill by L.A. state Assemblyman Isadore Hall would have expanded L.A. County's own mandatory condom rules to reach across the...


This enlightening documentary chronicling the Vietnam War era’s GI protest movement has, by accident or design, a homegrown, cut-and-paste quality, much like the movement itself, which was spurred along by mimeographed newspapers secretly distributed from base to base, and by GIs in the war zone itself. Such rebellion within the ranks stunned military brass and got more than one soldier court-martialed or sentenced to hard labor. Director David Zeiger brings to fresh light all manner of half-forgotten events, from brave on-base protests that date as far back as 1965, to cultural minutiae such as the wittily elaborate handshakes black soldiers devised to distinguish their units. Only ostensibly a primer for Vietnam-era recruits, including an onscreen glossary of slang words like “Charlie” and “grunt,” Sir! No Sir — which probably doesn’t have a Fox News Channel airing in its future — offers rare footage of the antiwar stage shows organized (by Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland, among others) as counterpoint to Bob Hope’s boost-the-troops extravaganzas. Fonda’s actor son Troy Garity narrates, and the Lightning Rod herself, clearly delighted at being quizzed, for once, by friendly inquisitors, shakes her head in wonder that men fierce in their unity and free in their hearts once dared to lay down their guns and say “No.” (DGA1, Sun., June 19, 7 p.m.; DGA2, Thurs., June 23, 5 p.m.)

—Chuck Wilson


Photo by James Lozeau

Few in either Hollywood or the world of hip-hop have demonstrated as strong and smart a grasp on the deep blood ties between rap/hip-hop and movies as has the Wu-Tang Clan’s sonic architect, the RZA. His music production has always had a cinematic scope to it: the meticulous yet organic layering of beats, samples and studio wizardry that underscores the imagery of their accompanying rhymes; the evocative way his grooves build in emotional power, then fall away to let the vocals and lyrics hold sway. Even Wu Tang’s very construction is lifted from martial-arts films that the RZA and his cohorts consumed as kids. Having scored Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: the Way of the Samurai to critical acclaim, and become Quentin Tarantino’s favorite musical go-to guy (Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), the RZA is now appearing in front of the camera as well — his segment with Bill Murray was one of the highlights of Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes, and he’ll soon appear with Clive Owen in Derailed. As this year’s LAFF artist in residence, he’s programmed two films that were huge influences on him (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) and one where he flexes his own creative muscle (Ghost Dog). But the don’t-miss ticket is Toon Time With the RZA, where he will deejay live to a lineup of offbeat animated shorts.

—Ernest Hardy

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin screens at DGA 1 on Tues., June 21, at 10 p.m. and at Sunset 5 on Fri., June 24, at 11:45 p.m.
Toon Time With the RZA screens at Ford Amphitheater on Wed., June 22, at 8:30 p.m.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly screens at Sunset 5 on Sat., June 25, at 10 p.m.
Ghost Dog screens at Sunset 5 on Sun., June 26, at noon.

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Wed 20
  2. Thu 21
  3. Fri 22
  4. Sat 23
  5. Sun 24
  6. Mon 25
  7. Tue 26

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office Report

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!


  • 20 Neo-Noir Films You Have to See
    The Voice's J. Hoberman was more mixed than most on Sin City when he reviewed it in 2005, but his description of the film as "hyper-noir" helps explain why this week's release of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For has us thinking back on the neo-noir genre. Broadly speaking, neo-noir encompasses those films made outside of film noir's classic period -- the 1940s and '50s -- that nevertheless engage with the standard trappings of the genre. As with most generic labels, there isn't some universal yardstick that measures what constitutes a neo-noir film: Where the genre might begin in the '60s with films like Le Samourai and Point Blank for one person, another might argue that the genre didn't find its roots until 1974's Chinatown. Our list falls closer to the latter stance, mainly featuring works from the '80s, '90s, and 2000s. Though a number of the films mentioned here will no doubt be familiar to readers, it's our hope that we've also highlighted several titles that have been under-represented on lists of this nature. --Danny King

    See also:
    35 Music Documentaries Worth Seeing

    15 Documentaries That Help You Understand the World Right Now
  • Emmy-Nominated Costumes on Display
    On Saturday, the Television Academy and FIDM Museum and Galleries kicked off the Eighth Annual exhibition of "The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design" with an exclusive preview and reception party. 100 costumes are featured from over 20 shows representing the nominees of the 66th Emmy Awards. The free to the public exhibition is located downtown at FIDM and runs from today through Saturday, September 20th. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.
  • Cowabunga! 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    The COWABUNGA! - 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tribute show opened Friday night at Iam8bit. Guests donned their beloved turtle graphic tees, onesies and a couple April O'Neils were there to report on all the mean, green, fighting machine action. Artist included Jude Buffum, Tony Mora, Nan Lawson, leesasaur, Jim Rucc, Mitch Ansara, Guin Thompson, Stratman, Gabe Swarr, Joseph Harmon, Alex Solis, Allison Hoffman, Jose Emroca Flores, Jack Teagle and more. All photos by Shannon Cottrell.

Now Trending