Thurs., Dec. 22
Head to the Music Hall 3 tonight for the last chance to catch a couple of fine independents: Behold the remarkable “self-portrait through others” that is Charlotte Rampling: The Look; or revel in the seductive, soured sensuality of a fading Parisian brothel of the Belle Époque, presented with daring formal flourishes, in House of Pleasures.
Cinefamily wraps up its Kaneto Shindô series on Friday. Tonight, catch the final screening of his astonishing The Naked Island (1960), a poetic, neorealist portrait of harsh rural life, paired with the scarce Lucky Dragon No. 5 (1959), a piercing docudrama about a fishing boat caught in the Bikini Atoll fallout. And tomorrow night, classic ghost story Onibaba (1964) plays with late masterpiece Tree Without Leaves (1986). The former is a feverishly symbolic sexual psychodrama set against the dog-eat-dog shadow of medieval civil war; the latter is a gently measured but no less striking paean to mother love, mortality and memory.
Mon., Dec. 26-Tues., Dec. 27
A trip to Seal Beach is worthwhile this week, to catch Ernest Borgnine's Oscar-winning turn as Marty (1955), at the historic Bay Theater. The Paddy Chayevsky story gave Borgnine a rare opportunity to exercise his gentler chops, as the lovable, sad-sack Bronx butcher who looks like he'll never find love. Heart-on-sleeve humanistic it may be, but never sappy, with a concerted lack of glamour and heartbreaking humility.
Wed., Dec. 28
Indulge in some prime Lubitsch at the Aero's delightful midweek double bill of Ninotchka (1939) and Design for Living (1933). The first has shady aristocrats, stolen jewels and melting Russian ice maiden Greta Garbo (in a crackling script by Leigh Brackett and Billy Wilder); the second features struggling artists Gary Cooper and Fredric March entering into a decidedly eyebrow-raising, three-way living arrangement with pert Miriam Hopkins, in a charmingly dilapidated Parisian garret. —Tom von Logue Newth