Thurs., Dec. 8
The Aero starts off its Bigger Than Life: 70mm series with Jacques Tati's Playtime, the masterpiece that nearly led to his financial ruin. Tati reprises the comical character of Monsieur Hulot, a man at odds with the alienating technology of the ultramodern urban world. Across town at LACMA, you can catch a double feature of La Vie de Bohème and Drifting Clouds by the warmest and keenest of ironists, Aki Kaurismäki.
Fri., Dec. 9
Frank Tashlin's films rarely screen around L.A., so if you can see only one film at the Edgar Wright–programmed series beginning this weekend at the New Beverly, make sure it's Tashlin's The Girl Can't Help It (which is screening on a double bill with Alan Arkush's Get Crazy). Tashlin's self-reflexive concoction of rioting colors, rock music and Jayne Mansfield is every bit as modern and alive today as it was in 1956.
Also tonight, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life returns to the Music Hall for one week only, with special guests who worked on the film scheduled to appear at some of the screenings.
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Sat., Dec. 10
The L.A. Rebellion series continues over at UCLA with Passing Through, a film about the struggles of an African-American jazz musician recently released from jail, with filmmaker Larry Clark (no, not that Larry Clark) in person. And for those craving a grand epic, LACMA will be screening Raj Kapoor's Awaara, a sweeping tale of poverty, murder, revenge and redemption.
Sun., Dec. 11
A traveling showcase of films from the Ann Arbor Film Festival — one of the most prominent avant-garde events in the United States — will be stopping by the Egyptian Sunday night. The lineup includes Mati Diop's Atlantiques, Shiloh Cinquemani's Berlin Tracks 18h00-20h00, and Fern Silva's In the Absence of Light Darkness Prevails, which won Best Experimental Film at the festival. —Veronika Ferdman