The Best Movies to See in L.A. This Week, Including Marilyn Monroe's Gratest Scene

The Color of Pomegranates
The Color of Pomegranates

Friday, Feb. 20

Tonight at 7:30 (repeating Saturday at 5 p.m.), Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates screens at Cinefamily. Parajanov was one of the 20th century’s most distinctive filmmakers, both for his lyrical, poetic approach and the fact that his work was frequently censored and/or banned by the U.S.S.R., who eventually imprisoned him for his bisexuality. In Pomegranates, he crafts a sensory biography of the Armenian poet Sayat-Nova. Few films have dared to take such an inventive approach in the five decades since Pomegranates was made; fewer still tried before it. cinefamily.org

Equally subversive, albeit in different ways, is the New Beverly’s pairing of Nagisa Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses and The Blood Spattered Bride. The former, Oshima’s story of an affair between a hotel owner and one of his maids, which features unsimulated sexual acts, has incited controversy and been banned by myriad countries since its premiere in 1976; Quentin Tarantino (who owns the New Bev) took inspiration from The Blood Spattered Bride for Uma Thurman’s character in Kill Bill. Tonight’s double bill starts at 7:30, Saturday’s at 5:20. thenewbev.com

Saturday, Feb. 21

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The Outfest UCLA Legacy Project Screening Series rolls on with Kiss of the Spider Woman at 7:30. William Hurt and Raúl Juliá star as prison cellmates in an unnamed Latin American country, the former for sex crimes related to his homosexuality, the latter for being a leftist revolutionary. Hurt’s character passes the time and escapes the reality of his situation by recalling lines from movies both real and imagined, and the two gradually bond. Hurt won an Oscar for his role in the film, which was adapted from Manuel Puig’s novel of the same name. cinema.ucla.edu

Sunday, Feb. 22

If all of this weekend’s out-there fare has put you in the mood for something a little more traditional, perhaps Our Winning Season and Breaking Away at the New Beverly will do the trick. High school athletes run really fast in the former and a recent high school grad rides his bike really fast in the latter. This writer hasn’t seen either, but his brother-in-law has stated numerous times that Breaking Away is the best inspirational sports movie ever, and, really, who are you to question him? thenewbev.com

The Best Movies to See in L.A. This Week, Including Marilyn Monroe's Gratest Scene (2)

Tuesday, Feb. 24

Another Tuesday, another Marilyn Monroe matinee at LACMA. This week it’s Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch, which spawned perhaps the most iconic image of the 20th century’s most famous sex symbol: standing above a subway grate, her white dress flowing in the wind. If it’s easy to forget all these decades later how gifted a comic actress Monroe really was, it’s just as easy to be reminded of that talent by her performance here as the temptress next door. lacma.org

Wednesday, Feb. 25

Los Angeles Filmforum continues its two-month tribute to Harun Farocki with Workers Leaving the Factory and Prison Images tonight at 7. Taking its title from the first film ever to be publicly shown, Workers examines the impact of the Lumière brothers’ massively influential, 45-second short, while Prison Images compiles shots from documentaries, narratives set in the big house and even surveillance footage. The series is co-presented by Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, where all screenings take place. lafilmforum.org

Thursday, Feb. 26

Tonight at 7:30, the Aero closes out its Movie Alchemist: The Films of John Boorman series with a double feature of Excalibur and Zardoz. These are two of the English filmmaker’s more fantastical ventures, with Boorman delving into the legend of King Arthur in one and a postapocalyptic society that can only be braved by a Speedo-clad Sean Connery in the other. americancinemathequecalendar.com


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