The greatest L.A. stories are the ones that happen in the shadows. In 1980, while everyone was creaming themselves over Friday the 13th, The Empire Strikes Back or even Oh! Heavenly Dog, filmmaker Paul Mazursky was off making personal, small films about the interaction between people in their natural element. For Mazursky, the natural element is in the cinema itself, which you'll see in tonight's revival screening of Willie and Phil. Set in Greenwich Village in 1970, it unveils the lives of Willie (Michael Ontkean) and Phil (Ray Sharkey), and how their friendship abides even as they voyage through the ideals of '60s New York to the sunset realities of '70s L.A. Margot Kidder plays Jeannette, the free-wheeling, free-spirited woman with whom both men fall in love and on whose life theirs ultimately pivots. Hugely influenced by Truffaut's Jules et Jim, Willie and Phil is a window into a forgotten time — an era in which personal growth and the pursuit of love wasn't a backbiting orgy of doubt and covetous self-interest. Part of “Through a Glass Brightly: A Paul Mazursky Retrospective.” Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.; Tues., March 6, 1:30 p.m.; free. (310) 440-4500,

Tue., March 6, 1:30 p.m., 2012

LA Weekly