Friday, Feb. 23
In the wide world of horror, Frank Henenlotter has carved out a gory niche for himself as a good-natured exploitation filmmaker. His breakout feature, Basket Case, about a man who carries around his hideously deformed, homicidal twin brother in a picnic hamper, has an elusive attitude that places it somewhere in the neighborhood of John Waters. The American Cinematheque will show a new 4K restoration funded by MoMA, along with two other Henenlotter flicks, Brain Damage and Frankenhooker, in conjunction with Beyond Fest, Cinematic Void and Friday Night Frights. Pack along your sense of humor and a few Tums for good measure. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
Au hasard Balthazar, the ultimate animal movie for intellectuals, has been selected to launch a unique series at the Billy Wilder Theater. UCLA’s Film & Television Archive has partnered with the Getty Center and the UCLA Center for European & Russian Studies to present a quarterly arts festival that explores European culture in four themes. The first theme is animals, and that’s where Balthazar comes in. Director Robert Bresson’s protagonist is a humble donkey who gets baptized by the local children, gains a soul and bears witness to all manner of human cruelty before finally achieving sainthood. It’s a major work from France’s greatest cinematic transcendentalist. UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.
Sunday, Feb. 25
The American Cinematheque continues its Studio Ghibli tribute with 35mm screenings of Princess Mononoke and Pom Poko. The former is a medieval fairy tale teeming with magical beasts and mythical warriors brought vividly to life by the undisputed king of long-form Japanese anime, Hayao Miyazaki. The latter is a delicate fantasy featuring folkloric animals whose existence is challenged by crass suburbanization. Together, they demonstrate the range and imagination that quickly became Ghibli’s trademark. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., Feb. 25, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.
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Tuesday, Feb. 27
LACMA wraps up its monthlong tribute to Czech filmmaker Milos Forman with Amadeus, the director’s ribald yet ravishing pseudo-biography of Mozart. Extracted from the play by Peter Shaffer, the film frames this musical-drama as a tale of revenge told by envious court composer Antonio Salieri (played wryly by F. Murray Abraham in an Oscar-winning performance). Long but never dull, the film earned Forman his second Academy Award. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Feb. 27, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.
Thursday, March 1
Wes Anderson’s sophomore effort, Rushmore, with its assortment of eccentrics and acidic wit, established the auteur as a star in the indie firmament. Anderson’s bold visual style brings humor and pathos to the story of a rivalry between a prep school aesthete (Jason Schwartzman, in his screen debut) and a glum millionaire (a wonderfully hangdog Bill Murray) for the love of a first-grade teacher (Olivia Williams). Laemmle’s Throwback Thursday series — a joint effort with Eat/See/Hear — presents this neo-classic for one night only at the NoHo. Laemmle NoHo, 5420 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, Thu., Mar. 1, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.