Your Weekly Movie To-Do List: Gena Rowlands, Claudette Colbert and Pulp Fiction

Gena Rowlands in Gloria
Gena Rowlands in Gloria

Friday, Jan. 9

The Egyptian’s tribute to Gena Rowlands continues with Gloria and Minnie and Moskowitz, both on 35mm. Arguably our greatest living actress, the two-time Oscar nominee is set to take part in a discussion between the films. In Gloria, she becomes an adoptive mother to a boy whose family was offed by the Mafia; in Minnie, she embarks on a tumultuous love affair. (It goes without saying at this point, but Rowlands is astonishing in both.) These are but two of the many powerful films she starred in directed by her husband and frequent collaborator, John Cassavetes, and they’re among their best. Visit americancinemathequecalendar.com for more.

Before Liz Taylor there was Claudette Colbert, and you can see her interpretation of the pharaoh fatale in Cecil B. DeMille’s Cleopatra at 7:30 p.m. The 35mm palatial intrigue doesn’t end there, however, as Colbert’s Empress Poppaea goes toe to toe with Charles Laughton’s Nero in The Sign of the Cross immediately after. This double feature of antiquity marks the beginning of UCLA’s “The Greatest Showman” retrospective, which is ongoing throughout January and February. Mark A. Vieira, co-author of Cecil B. DeMille: The Art of the Hollywood Epic, will appear in person to sign copies of the book starting at 6:30. Full details at cinema.ucla.edu.

Saturday, Jan. 10

Upcoming Events

The Silent Treatment, Cinefamily’s monthly showcase for underseen gems of the silent era, presents William Wellman’s You Never Know Women on a 35mm print from the Library of Congress at 2 p.m. Sandwiched between his earlier Westerns (The Vagabond Trail) and his later gangster/war pictures (The Public Enemy, Wings), this early rom-com stars Florence Vidor as one third of a love triangle with roots in the circus. Wellman was a true craftsman of Hollywood’s Golden Era, and if films like Safe in Hell are any indication, the less well-known entries in his filmography are well worth digging into. Avail yourself of more information at cinefamily.org.

Sing some songs with Julie Andrews and burn some books with Oskar Werner in a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (not to mention unusual) double feature at LACMA: Mary Poppins (5 p.m.) and Fahrenheit 451 (7:30). François Truffaut’s first and only foray into English-language filmmaking didn’t exactly light the world on fire at the time, but at least Ray Bradbury was pleased with the adaptation of his controversial novel. More at lacma.org.

Anna Karina in Pierrot le FouEXPAND
Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou

Prior to the American Cinematheque’s imminent run of Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language 3-D at the Aero, the repertory stalwarts are taking it upon themselves to acquaint viewers with his earlier works. Pierrot le Fou and Contempt kick off the series at the Egyptian at 7:30 p.m. French New Wave mainstays Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina (then Godard’s wife, though not for much longer) star as “the last romantic couple” in Pierrot, while Contempt, Godard’s semi-autobiographical dissection of a marriage on the rocks, is far more despairing in its outlook on love. Visit americancinemathequecalendar.com for more.

Sunday, Jan. 11

Tonight at 7:30, indulge in a curated selection from the longest-running mobile showcase of experimental cinema at Los Angeles Filmforum’s “A Series of Mysteries: The 52nd Ann Arbor Film Festival Traveling Tour.” Nine works (more than half of which are making their L.A. premiere) comprise the program, which runs a scant 90 minutes. Sarah J. Christman’s Gowanus Canal examines the thriving microorganisms of the famously contaminated waterway, to name but one of many enticing-sounding offerings, while Kevin Jerome Everson’s Fe26 serves to remind us of the desperate measures called for in hard economic times. Full details at lafilmforum.org.

Tuesday, Jan. 13

Quentin Tarantino’s epochal Pulp Fiction is as entertaining the 10th time as it is the first, making its 7:15 p.m. screening at ArcLight Beach Cities a good idea for aficionados and newcomers alike. Endlessly quotable and populated with some of cinema’s most memorably amoral characters, it inspired countless imitators that never came close to matching its verbose dialogue — ironic, considering how heavily QT relies on homage. For more, ride Zed’s chopper to arclightcinemas.com.


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