Mildred Pierce
Mildred Pierce
Warner Brothers

Your Weekly Movie To-Do List: Revisiting Michael Curtiz and Tripping Through Fantastic Planet

Friday, Feb. 9
UCLA’s tribute to Michael Curtiz (prompted by the release of Alan K. Rode’s new biography) continues with one of the studio director’s most famous: Mildred Pierce. The James M. Cain story of a housewife who divorces her husband, begins a successful restaurant business and endures a murder case furnished Joan Crawford with one of her juiciest roles (for which she won an Oscar) and gave the noir style a deceptively domestic setting. The second feature, Flamingo Road, reuniting director and star, finds Crawford navigating the treacherous politics of an American small town. UCLA will screen a rare 35mm nitrate print for what should be a flammable evening. UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Fri., Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (310) 206-8013, cinema.ucla.edu.

SalesmanEXPAND
Salesman
Janus Films

Sunday, Feb. 11
The American Cinematheque concludes its retrospective of Japanese genre master Seijun Suzuki with “ultra-rare” 35mm prints of Everything Goes Wrong and Fighting Delinquents. Suzuki’s early devil-may-care demolitions of classical Japanese cinema were at the forefront of what would become an exciting new wave, and his kinetic camerawork and focus on youth culture set him apart from his countrymen. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Sun., Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.

Albert and David Maysles’ Salesman is one of the best documentaries ever made, and a goldmine for devotees of downbeat Americana. A close examination of door-to-door Bible salesman, the film is remarkable for its close attention to process and ritual, which accumulate toward a shattering emotional climax. The Aero Theatre will screen a DCP of a new digital restoration from Janus Films, which indicates that a Blu-ray is in the works. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (323) 466-3456, americancinemathequecalendar.com.

Tuesday, Feb. 13
LACMA’s monthlong tribute to Czech director Milos Forman presses on with The Firemen’s Ball, a rich satire having to do with a fire department’s disastrous attempt at a farewell party in a small Czech town. A favorite of British director Ken Loach, Forman’s social satire lays bare the brokenness of human nature with an unsparing yet benign sense of humor. The film was considered an allegory of Communist society and was subsequently banned. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Tue., Feb. 13, 1 p.m.; $4. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.

Fantastic Planet
Fantastic Planet
Criterion Collection

Thursday, Feb. 15
“Trippy” is the term most commonly applied to Fantastic Planet, René Laloux’s sci-fi animation, based on a novel by Stefan Wul, about a race of giant humanoid aliens who keep humans as pets. The creature design is daring and imaginative enough to compensate for their limited mobility, and the entire project is rich with historical allegory, including references to state-sponsored fascism. Laemmle’s Throwback Thursday series presents this one-of-a-kind spectacle in partnership with Eat/See/Hear. Laemmle NoHo, 5420 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; Thu., Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m.; $12. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.

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